Our Guide to Building a Seed Round Pitch Deck: Tips & Templates

Matt Preuss
Marketing Manager

Imagine stepping into a boardroom, facing a panel of seasoned investors, knowing you have a secret weapon to turn their interest into commitment. A compelling seed round pitch deck can do just that, transforming an idea into an irresistible investment opportunity. With the right slides, you can captivate investors, clearly communicate your vision, and demonstrate why your startup is poised for success. Investors will want to see various assets and data points throughout the fundraising seed stage. One thing that founders can expect most if not all, investors to see is a seed round pitch deck. This guide will walk you through creating a pitch deck that stands out and effectively wins over investors.

What is a Seed Round Pitch Deck?

A seed round pitch deck is a carefully crafted presentation that communicates your startup's vision, business plan, metrics, and other critical insights to potential investors. It is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of your business, highlighting its potential and viability in the market.

The primary goal of a pitch deck is to engage investors, moving them further down your fundraising funnel and increasing your chances of securing the capital you need to grow. By effectively presenting your story, team, product, market opportunity, and financial projections, you can make a compelling case for why investors should support your startup.

Related resource: How To Build a Pitch Deck, Step by Step

What Investors Want To See in Seed Round Pitch Decks

Companies raising funds for the first time need a seed round pitch deck to share their story with investors effectively. In a seed round, it’s common to raise funds from angel investors, startup accelerators, and early-stage VCs. With the growing number of pre-seed and seed-stage investors, venture capital has also become more accessible for early-stage startups.

Regardless of the investor type, there are certain key elements that every early-stage startup should include in their pitch deck. Founders should tailor their pitches based on their audience, but successful seed round pitches generally include a succinct and exciting story, an exceptional team, product potential or traction, and a clear growth plan.

Related resource: Tips for Creating an Investor Pitch Deck

A Succinct but Exciting Story

Your pitch deck needs a compelling narrative outlining your vision and future plans. Since your company is still developing, it's crucial to inspire and excite your audience about your mission and potential. Make your story engaging and relatable, showing why your company’s purpose is important and why you are the right team to execute this vision. The goal is to make investors want to be part of your journey and invest in not just your company, but also in your vision and the impact it aims to create.

An Exceptional Team

Having a top-notch team is one of the most critical factors for many venture capitalists. In this slide, you need to establish credibility, demonstrate expertise, and build trust in both your idea and your company. Highlight the relevant experience, unique skills, and past successes of your team members to show why they are the best people to execute this vision. This builds confidence in investors that your team can navigate challenges and drive the company to success.

Product Potential or Traction

If you have achieved product-market fit, gathered user/customer metrics, or generated revenue, make sure to share these as proof of concept. Highlight any key metrics that demonstrate traction, such as user growth, engagement rates, or revenue figures. This evidence helps build investor confidence in your product’s potential and market demand.

However, if you’re in the early stages and have limited or no data, be transparent about it. Investors understand that early-stage startups might not have extensive metrics yet. Focus on showcasing your product’s potential, the problem it solves, and the market opportunity. Use qualitative data, pilot program results, or early user feedback to support your claims.

A Growth Plan

Even if your product is still in development or you haven't finalized your business model, it’s essential to demonstrate a thorough understanding of your market, customers, and scalability. Present a well-thought-out growth plan that highlights your strategy for reaching and expanding your customer base, penetrating the market, and scaling your business.

Your growth plan should be data-driven to lend credibility to your projections. Use market research, customer insights, and relevant data points to support your strategy. This approach shows investors that you have a realistic and actionable plan for growth. For more detailed guidance on modeling your company's future, check out our guide, “Building A Startup Financial Model That Works.”

Our 10-Step Guide to Building a Seed Round Pitch Deck (+ A Free Template)

Seed-stage startups should approach their first pitch deck differently than they would in later rounds because they typically won’t have extensive stats or user data to rely on. This is why storytelling is crucial. Focus on elements such as the team, competitive advantages, and the market opportunity to help investors understand the future value of your company. These elements can paint a compelling picture of your startup’s potential, even if there isn’t much data available at this stage.

For a more detailed breakdown of successful pitch deck examples check out Visible’s guide here and download our free pitch deck template here.

Step One: Create The Cover/Title Slide

Your cover slide is the first impression investors will have of your pitch, so make it count. It should be visually appealing and include your startup’s name, logo, and a tagline that encapsulates your mission. This slide sets the tone for the rest of your presentation and should immediately grab attention.

An example of a successful title slide includes:

  • Startup Name: Clearly displayed at the top
  • Logo: Positioned near the name for brand recognition
  • Tagline: A short, compelling statement about your mission or value proposition
  • Visuals: High-quality images or graphics that align with your brand

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Two: Introduce The Team

The team is one of the most critical factors for seed investors when considering a seed round investment. A strong team is often seen as a key to a company's success. Highlight how each team member brings a unique and beneficial aspect to the company, including their roles, relevant experience, and contributions to the company’s mission, the problem being solved, or competitive advantage. This establishes a solid foundation for the rest of the presentation, allowing investors to understand who they are engaging with and lending credibility to your pitch.

An example of a successful team slide includes:

  • Photos: High-quality images of each team member
  • Names and Titles: Clearly displayed for each person
  • Brief Bios: Highlighting relevant experience and expertise
  • Unique Contributions: How each member's skills and background benefit the startup

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Three: Diagnose The Problem

Clearly articulate the problem your startup aims to solve. Help investors understand the significance of the issue and its impact on the world or specific groups of people. Explain why this problem needs to be addressed and why existing solutions are inadequate or nonexistent.

Your goal is to make the problem relatable and compelling, showing that there is a genuine need for a solution. This sets the stage for introducing your product as the ideal answer.

An example of a successful problem slide includes:

  • Clear Problem Statement: Concisely describe the problem.
  • Impact: Explain how the problem affects individuals or industries.
  • Data and Examples: Use statistics or real-world examples to illustrate the problem's significance.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Four: Propose The Solution

State that the right solution to this problem hasn't been solved yet or can be significantly improved upon. Explain how your startup has innovatively developed a way to address the problem, why this solution will benefit customers, and why your company is uniquely positioned to execute it. This is essentially your elevator pitch and should be short, compelling, and to the point—aim for around 30 seconds.

An example of a successful solution slide includes:

  • Clear Solution Statement: Concisely describe your innovative solution.
  • Customer Benefits: Highlight how your solution benefits customers and addresses their needs.
  • Unique Positioning: Explain why your company is best suited to deliver this solution.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Five: Prove Your Product Has Traction

Use this slide to demonstrate the traction your product has gained so far. If you haven't collected any metrics yet, focus on showcasing your product's development and any qualitative feedback you've received. However, if you have data and are tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), this is where you should highlight them.

Metrics that prove traction could include user growth, revenue, engagement rates, customer testimonials, or any other relevant data points that validate your product's market acceptance and potential.

With Visible, you can track and automate your startup’s key metrics and build beautiful charts and dashboards for your seed-round pitches. This can help you present your data in a clear and visually appealing way.

An example of a successful traction slide includes:

  • Key Metrics: Display relevant data such as user numbers, revenue, or other KPIs.
  • Growth Charts: Use charts and graphs to visualize your growth.
  • Qualitative Feedback: Include customer testimonials or quotes if quantitative data is limited.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Six: Define Market Size and Opportunity

In this section, include all relevant information about the opportunity you’re aiming to seize and the size of that market. It’s crucial to highlight why this market is attractive and how your startup plans to dominate it. Investors often appreciate a strategy that starts with targeting a niche market before expanding. They value the potential for growth and scalability over the initial market size.

“Sequencing markets correctly is underrated, and it takes discipline to expand gradually. The most successful companies make the core progression—to first dominate a specific niche and then scale to adjacent markets—a part of their founding narrative.” – Peter Thiel, Zero to One

To effectively define your market size and opportunity, consider the following:

  1. Total Addressable Market (TAM): Estimate the total market demand for your product or service. This is the broadest measure of your market opportunity.
  2. Serviceable Available Market (SAM): Narrow down the TAM to the portion of the market you can realistically target.
  3. Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM): Further narrow the SAM to the market segment you can capture in the short term.

Check out our detailed guide on How to Model Total Addressable Market (Template Included). The guide covers:

  • What is Total Addressable Market (TAM)?
  • How to Calculate TAM
  • The Free Visible Total Addressable Market Template and Evaluation Model
  • Where Does Your Total Addressable Market Start (and End)?
  • Why Knowing Your Total Addressable Market is Important
  • Building Your Total Addressable Market Model

An example of a successful slide includes:

  • Market Segmentation: Breakdown of TAM, SAM, and SOM.
  • Visual Data: Charts or graphs to illustrate market size and growth potential.
  • Strategic Insights: Explanation of how you will capture and expand your market share.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Seven: Conduct a Competition Analysis

Having competitors in your space doesn’t mean your business idea isn’t viable; in fact, it can validate the need for your solution. However, you must clearly understand and articulate what sets you apart from the competition. Investors and customers need to know why your product or service is the better choice.

In your competition analysis slide, focus on the following elements:

  1. Identify Competitors: List your main competitors and provide a brief overview of each.
  2. Highlight Differentiators: Clearly state your unique value proposition and competitive advantages. Explain why your solution is superior or more effective than existing options.
  3. Market Positioning: Use a visual representation, such as a competitive matrix, to show where you stand in relation to your competitors. Highlight the areas where you excel.

By presenting a well-thought-out competition analysis, you demonstrate to investors that you have a strategic understanding of the market and a plan to capture and defend your market share.

An example of a successful competition analysis slide includes:

  • Competitor Overview: Brief descriptions of key competitors.
  • Competitive Matrix: A visual chart comparing features, pricing, market share, etc.
  • Unique Value Proposition: Clear articulation of what makes your product unique and better.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Eight: Prove Profitability With Financials/Metrics

In this section, you need to provide evidence of your startup's potential profitability and share projections for the next 3-4 years. At the seed stage, this information will be more high-level and based on assumptions, but it's crucial to include revenue and user/customer projections to give investors a sense of your financial outlook.

Here's what to include in your financials/metrics slide:

  1. Revenue Projections: Outline your expected revenue growth over the next few years. Use realistic assumptions based on your market research and business model.
  2. User/Customer Projections: Estimate the growth in your user or customer base. This helps demonstrate the potential demand for your product.
  3. Key Metrics: Highlight other important financial metrics such as customer acquisition cost (CAC), lifetime value (LTV), gross margin, and burn rate. These metrics provide insight into the financial health and efficiency of your business.
  4. Break-Even Analysis: Show when you expect to become profitable. This gives investors a timeline for when they can expect returns on their investment.

An example of a successful financials/metrics slide includes:

  • Revenue Graph: Visual representation of projected revenue growth.
  • User Growth Chart: Projected increase in users or customers.
  • Financial Metrics: Key metrics displayed in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Break-Even Point: Highlight the timeline for reaching profitability.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Nine: Answer The Question: “Why Now? Why Me?”

This section is another opportunity to pitch yourself, your team’s expertise, and your company's unique advantages. Emphasize what makes your team and solution the perfect combination for success. Here's how to craft a compelling “Why Now? Why Me?” slide:

Team Expertise and Competitive Advantage

  1. Team Expertise: Reiterate the strengths and relevant experience of your team. Highlight specific achievements and skills that make your team uniquely qualified to solve the problem and succeed in the market.
  2. Unique Value Proposition: Clearly articulate your “secret sauce” — what makes your product or service unique and better than existing solutions. Explain your competitive advantage and strategy for maintaining it.

Timing and Market Entry

Timing is a crucial factor that can significantly influence the success of a startup. Here's how to justify your market entry:

  1. Market Conditions: Explain any trends, technological advancements, or changes in consumer behavior that make this the ideal time for your product. Use data and market research to support your points.
  2. Early Entry: If you’re entering the market early, highlight the benefits of being a first-mover. Emphasize how this allows you to establish a strong brand presence and capture market share before competitors.
  3. Late Entry: If you’re entering a more mature market, detail your competitive advantage. Explain how you can leverage existing market data, customer feedback, and technological advancements to create a superior product. Discuss how you can avoid the pitfalls encountered by earlier entrants and use their learnings to your advantage.

Every potential disadvantage can be turned into an advantage with the right strategy. You can convince investors that your startup is poised for success by addressing timing and your competitive edge.

An example of a successful slide includes:

  • Team Highlights: Key achievements and relevant experience.
  • Competitive Advantage: Clear articulation of your unique value proposition.
  • Market Timing: Justification for entering the market now, with supporting data.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

Step Ten: Wrap Things Up With The Ask Slide

The ask can often be an underutilized section in investor updates, and founders might not realize it’s also essential to include in a pitch deck. Investors should not only be seen as capital resources but also as sources of knowledge and connections. Clearly stating your ask shows investors where you need help and allows them (and you) to determine if they are in a position to provide that support. When they decide to invest, it is in their best interest to contribute to the success of your business in any way they can.

Key Elements of a Successful Ask Slide

  1. Funding Request: Clearly state the amount of capital you are seeking. Provide a breakdown of how you plan to use the funds, such as product development, marketing, hiring, etc.
  2. Additional Support: Mention other forms of support you are looking for, such as mentorship, industry connections, or specific expertise. This shows that you value the investor's experience and network.
  3. Milestones: Outline the key milestones you aim to achieve with the requested funds. This gives investors a clear picture of your goals and how their investment will be utilized.

An example of a successful ask slide includes:

  • Clear Funding Amount: Specify the total amount you are raising.
  • Detailed Use of Funds: Breakdown of how the funds will be allocated.
  • Support Requests: Mention any additional support needed beyond capital.
  • Milestones: Key objectives to be achieved with the funding.

Create your own by downloading our free pitch deck template here.

The Best Seed Funding Pitch Deck Examples

Many successful founders and startups have shared the pitch decks they used to raise their seed rounds. Studying these examples can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own pitch. Here are a few of our favorite pitch deck examples:

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Before becoming a publicly traded company, Airbnb (originally AirBed&Breakfast) used a pitch deck to raise $600k to get things off the ground. The Airbnb seed round deck is an excellent example of effective storytelling and hooking potential investors with a compelling narrative.

Uber's Original Pitch Deck

Uber, initially named UberCab, started with a humble pitch deck that emphasizes the importance of clarity and brevity. Their original deck focuses on facts and data, avoiding unnecessary fluff, and clearly presenting their value proposition and market potential.

Buffer's Seed Round Pitch Deck

Buffer, a social media management toolkit for small businesses, raised a $500k seed round and shared their deck on their blog. The Buffer seed round deck is notable for its focus on traction, showcasing the product's early success and growth potential. The Buffer team reached out to over 200 investors, conducted 50 meetings, and ultimately secured 18 investors.

Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck Template

Sequoia Capital, one of the leading venture capital firms, has also shared a pitch deck template that outlines key elements of a successful pitch. This template is designed to help startups communicate their vision and value proposition effectively. You can view Sequoia’s pitch deck template here.

For more detailed breakdowns and to download our free pitch deck template, check out Visible’s guide here.

Related resource: 23 Pitch Deck Examples for Any Startup

How to Pitch Seed Stage Investors

Once your pitch deck is complete, the pitching process begins. Here are some best practices for pitching seed stage investors:

Best Practices for Pitching Seed Stage Investors

  1. Target the Right Investors: Save time by only reaching out to investors who match crucial factors such as industry, funding amount, stage, and geography. Use tools like our Connect Investor Database to find suitable matches. For tips on emailing your first investors, check out 5 Strategies for Cold Emailing Potential Investors.
  2. Incorporate Feedback: Treat feedback as a gift. When you start receiving feedback from your pitches, implement it back into your deck immediately. Notice which slides grab investors’ attention and consider moving those to the beginning or integrating their elements into other slides.
  3. Be a Confident Storyteller: Confidence and good storytelling are key to delivering a compelling pitch. Ensure investors feel your passion, energy, and ability to drive the company forward. Consider taking a stand-up comedy or public speaking class to enhance these qualities. Researching what makes good storytelling can also be advantageous.
  4. Prepare Thoroughly: Know your pitch deck inside out. Be ready to answer any questions investors might have about your business, market, financials, and growth plans. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll appear.
  5. Leverage Your Network: Whenever possible, seek warm introductions to investors. A recommendation from a mutual connection can significantly increase your chances of getting a meeting and receiving serious consideration.

For more inspiration and resources on creating a compelling pitch, check out our free pitch deck template here.

How Visible Helps Startups Raise Capital

There is no one-size-fits-all pitch deck solution these points are meant to help guide the process but you should also see what makes sense for your company. Fundraising can be boiled down to storytelling.

We believe a VC fundraise mirrors a B2B sales motion. The fundraising process starts by finding qualified investors (top of the funnel) and building relationships (middle of the funnel) with the goal of them writing a check (bottom of the funnel).

Just as a sales team has dedicated tools for their day-to-day, founders need dedicated tools for managing the most expensive asset they have, equity. Our community can now find investors, track a fundraise, and share a pitch deck, directly from Visible.

Easily upload your deck, set your permissions, and share your deck with potential investors via a unique link (check out an example deck here). In return, we’ll surface the analytics that matter most so you can better your odds of closing a new investor. Try Visible here.

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