Pitch Deck Playbook

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

One of the overused tools in the fundraising journey is Pitch Deck. If you need to raise funding from investors for your startup, the first step is to create a story and a pitch deck. A pitch deck is a brief presentation that provides investors with an overview of your business, whether it’s showcasing your product, sharing your business model, giving a look into your monetization strategy, and introducing your team.Investors invest in teams not slides. Your slides should make your ideas more clear. Don’t let your slides distract investors from what you’re saying out loud. You want them to be impressed by you. Not your slides.​A pitch deck serves three key purposes

  • To help the investor understand about your startup

  • To help position your startup in front of the investor with differentiation

  • To present a compelling case for investor to take action(get next meeting, or make him offer a term sheet)

So how should the Pitch deck be structured?

Pitch Deck Ground Rules

  • No slide should have more than 15 words

  • Use Images with caption and short texts

  • Don't include excessive explanation or caveats

  • Avoid using animations or transitions or memes in the slide

  • Avoid excessive branding

  • Don’t put any content that will end up distracting the investor from the storyline

  • Always remember that people read the slide from left to right

  • Use bullet to showcase sequence or steps

Now that we’ve established the ground rules. Let’s now work on the storyboard.Before starting the deck and adding content or images, First get the storyboard in place – So what’s a storyboard. A storyboard will have the slide titles and 1 or 2 key messages that you want to convey per slide.

Key Elements of a Pitch deck

Typically, the following elements need to be present in a storyboard


  • Use this slide to convey your domain with inviting image along with descriptive title. For example, if you are a Fintech or logistics startup then use some Fintech or Logistics images

  • Communicate a visual cover that tells about your product or service

  • Present a clean good resolution logo

  • A good test is if I look at cover slide, does it make me feel to open the pitch deck


  • This slide captures your startup idea, simple one liner on what your company does? 

  • Provide some facts on why the idea is a novel idea

  • A test for this slide is that are you able to describe your idea in one line, if not then probably the slide needs more clarity, then the refine to get


  • This slide should capture the insights about the market your company is targeting. What trends do you know that your startup wants to exploit?

  • How big is the market and how big can your company get?

  • Provide insights on macro and micro trends that your company is riding

  • A good test message of this slide is that there is explosive large market researched thoroughly that has ambiguity and under-served segments looking for a change


  • What problem are you truing to solve, why does the problem exist? How is the problem currently addressed?

  • A good message would be a deep understanding of a problem that has a large market


  • This is the key part of what your startup is doing about it. A scalable and repeatable model that can solve customer’s problem like a magic

  • What elements of your solution make it so amazing that the customer would fall head over heels to use it?

  • A good solution will be awesome way that improves customer’s life by 10x compared to previous situation


  • The proof of the pudding is in the eating. This slide should capture traction details like use growth or number of trips or transactions in last few weeks & months

  • Show significant signs of customer love like NPS, purchases, organic growth

Customer or market

  • This slide needs to define that who are the customers and how many of them are out there

  • A clearly defined market with your customer acquisition cost. Is the customer willing to pay for you service/product?


  • A good market landscape of competitors provides a good comfort to investors about the founders

  • Who are the direct and indirect customers, what are the potential substitutes?

  • Are you faster better and cheaper compared to competition? What is your unique differentiation?

  • A good slide should have the message that why it will be difficult for a new incumbent to enter while at the same time how will you differentiate compared to current players

Business Model

  • A complete view of your market revenues and well as the cost should be included in the business model

  • It should answer the monthly burn rate, LTV (Lifetime value) to CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)

  • The key message should be that the revenue projections are ambitious but feasible and costs are legitimate


  • Investors invest in early teams.  Teams with complementary skills, tier 1 pedigree, domain knowledge and experience have a higher chance of securing funds

  • The key message should be that team is enough and capable with right mix of experience, skills and education needed for the venture.

Use of funds

  • This slide should capture how much funds are needed and how far will the funding take the company.

  • A good slide should provide a breakup of funding usage and milestones that will be obtained with the funding

Pitch Master

How to pace the pitch

A founder after multiple followups may get a chance to pitch their product. Some of those meetings may lead to a commitment from investor. Each meeting is valuable moment and founders should make most of out every meeting. It is very important to provide a crisp overview to the investor without wasting time. Here are few insights on how best to pace your pitch. The comments are for a on-on-one meeting , if you are doing a demo to large audience then the way to pace differs and covered serately at the end​ T - Pitch start T+2 Mins- Elevator Right at the beginning of your pitch you should provide a very quick short pitch of what you do. in not more than 2-3 lines. Start with your startup name and what it does. For example “Chkdisout is a mobile app that makes it easy to take share audio books with friends and family.” You can just get to the point. It’s important to keep this one-liner very simple so that you can explain a baby. This needs to be predigested. This is your elevator pitch. ​T+ 3 Mins- Emphasize One you have given a teaser, then immediately investor is running a mental map of the closest success story, failure story, rejections, portfolio etc... At this point investor is trying to understand  and map where they have been pitched something similar. Good VCs often have heard it all, Its time to show the investor your product service and establish  why your product/service is X time better. You can show screens or quick 2 mins explainer video etc.. but make sure you communicate your differentiation from the crowd. ​ T+ 5- Edge​ At this point you've been speaking for 5 mins, Investor has so far been absorbing and patiently listening, minutes away from getting distracted by a text or whatsapp or someone passing by at coffee shop. This is the time to pull them right back. Talk about the edge that you've got. Is it about super resumes of the founders or great traction or large deal you are expecting to be signed with big company, Whatever, hold the interest, May be you've worked in the domain and have a brilliant insight of the market, throw some names and logos. If resumes are impressive then flash those for 30 seconds. Storytelling techniques in the next section will provide some tools for you to hold interest. ​T+ 8 Mins- Pause Take a pause and mention if here are any initial thoughts, anything specific they would like to deep dive:This pause is more for you than the investor. You would have spoken for 6 mins and now it time to judge the interest level, An engaged investor who has genuine interest will have whole lot of questions at this stage but may ask just couple based on experience. Let the investor share their initial thoughts for few minutes and observe their feedback, objections, observations​ T+ 9 Mins - Go with the flow From here the pitch should be free flowing based on nature of the questions. There are many areas that investor can draw you out. Remember to use the simplest possible explanation to make your points. No jargons, no complicated acronyms just simple language..........................​​ T+N mins Closure Once you've answered the main questions and investor has asked you to follow up with some more information, It is always advisable to ask the investor that what would be the next steps from here. Idea is to understand how much time investor needs to make a decision but avoid asking it directly, rather ask about next steps or how is the decision making process structured etc.?​

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