Our Guide to Building the Perfect Investor Pitch Deck
Pitch decks are one important aspect of a fundraise, but it takes more than a good pitch to earn the trust of investors.
Turn Your Fundraising Story into a Line, not Dots
A pitch deck is a vital part of a successful fundraise. Nurturing and constantly communicating with your investors and potential investors throughout the process can double your chances of raising follow-on funding. Founders and other startup leaders choose Visible for their investor reporting because we make it dead-simple to compose, distribute and track all of your updates in one place.
Free Pitch Deck Template
Being able to quickly and effectively pitch your business or product is vital to raising capital, attracting talent, and closing customers. A pitch deck should tell a compelling story and give reason for outside stakeholders to invest their time, money, and resources into your business. There are hundreds of free pitch deck templates on the internet. Below we lay out our favorite free pitch deck templates and examples.
What is a Business Pitch? A Business Pitch Template for Success.
A business pitch is a presentation to a group of stakeholders, mainly investors, but can also include potential customers, team members, and potential hires. A business pitch can be given in many forms including a pitch deck, email, PDF, or an impromptu conversation. The most effective business pitches include a combination of the forms listed. Everyone in your business should be able to pitch your business in some form (e.g. elevator pitch). So what makes up a great business pitch template?
First, make sure your business pitch is concise and easy-to-understand. You should be able to pitch your business in a few sentences and should be easy to understand what your business does. Everyone in your organization should be able to complete a simple pitch of your business.
Second, you need to answer this question; who is your audience? You need to tailor your business pitch to who are you pitching. Think about what you are trying to accomplish and what the person’s ultimate end goal is. If you’re pitching an investor, why should they give your business money? If you’re pitching a customer, why should they pick your solution over other options? If you’re pitching a potential hire, why should they pick to work for you over a different company?
Create a business pitch template to make sure everyone in your business can tell the same story and pitch your business in an effective manor. Below we lay out a free pitch deck template that will help turn your business pitch into a compelling story.
Pitch Deck Design and Slides
The free pitch deck template here is largely based off of the Guy Kawasaki Pitch Deck Template. Guy’s free pitch deck template is a great start for putting together your pitch deck then tailoring it to your needs. The pitch deck design is built for a total of 10 slides. Below are the pitch deck design and slides that Guy recommends using to pitch your business or product.
Pitch Deck Slide 1 – The first pitch deck slide of your business pitch is straightforward. A simple slide that shares your company name and contact info. Use this slide to set the stage for your pitch deck design.
Pitch Deck Slide 2 – The second pitch deck slide consist of what problem you are solving. This can take form in what the opportunity is or what the pain your potential customers are feeling.
Pitch Deck Slide 3 – The third pitch deck slide should explain the value proposition that you are offering. This explains the direct value that your customers receive when choosing your product or solution. This is where your business pitch template will come in handy as your describe your value.
Pitch Deck Slide 4 – The fourth pitch deck slide explains what differentiates your solution than others in the market. Guy Kawasaki suggests using a visual pitch deck design here by using images, charts, and diagrams of your “secret sauce.”
Pitch Deck Slide 5 – The fifth pitch deck slide should contain your business model. This shows how you are, or plan, to make money. Another slide where knowing your business pitch will be vital.
Pitch Deck Slide 6 – The sixth slide should contain your plan for acquiring customers. This slide will share how you can effectively find new customers and the costs associated.
Pitch Deck Slide 7 – The seventh pitch deck slide should show what the market looks like. This includes your competitor landscape. Guy suggests that “the more the better” for this slide.
Pitch Deck Slide 8 – The eighth pitch deck slide should be a highlight of your management team. Include a brief profile of your company’s managers and any other associated stakeholders. This can include your investors, board members, and advisors.
Pitch Deck Slide 9 – The ninth pitch deck slide should contain your financial projections and key metrics. The key to building a business is generating revenue and having a financial plan to effectively scale and grow. Use a top-down, not bottoms-up, projection to wow your investors. A visual pitch deck design will also help here by using charts to make your projections easy-to-understand.
Pitch Deck Slide 10 – The last pitch deck slide should be an overall timeline of your business. Where have you been in the past? What are the major accomplishments you’ve achieved so far? Where is your business headed and will the person you are pitching fit into this timeline?
Pitch Deck Examples
There are countless websites that share popular pitch decks examples from companies like LinkedIn, AirBnb, and Facebook. To help you put together the perfect pitch deck, we’ve laid out pitch deck examples from our favorite companies and the best pitch decks of 2018. You can find a library for pitch deck examples using this link.
LinkedIn Pitch Deck
One of our favorite pitch deck examples, the LinkedIn pitch deck is one of the original pitch decks that companies still look to today. While design and details have certainly changed since the 2004 LinkedIn pitch deck there are still relevant lessons and trends that have stood the test of time.
One of the most interesting aspects of the LinkedIn pitch deck is their ability to turn it into a compelling story. Keep in mind, at the time of this pitch deck, LinkedIn had zero revenue, were not leaders of a “hot market,” and had little to show for hypergrowth. Reid was aware that investors would have hesitations with LinkedIn’s lack of revenue so he steered immediately into their plan to generate revenue.
Instead of immediately jumping into their product, LinkedIn’s first slide is their 3 strategies for generating revenue. Now, it would be ill advised for a consumer facing company to show multiple revenue streams with no conviction in a single product. Luckily for LinkedIn, they launched all 3 products and were an exception. Regardless, Reid does a good job of addressing any push back that he’ll eventually see from investors for their lack of revenue.
One of the most interesting aspects of the LinkedIn pitch deck is their plain to become “Professional People Search 2.0.” LinkedIn’s main argument and reasoning for deserving venture capital, is the fact that the way people do professional research was inadequate and the market was ready for a new way to conduct professional research.
Ideally, the investors believed that professional people search was in need of a revamp. The next step in LinkedIn’s story is to show investors examples of the “1.0” to “2.0” jump in other companies Reid then offers examples of other markets and verticals that have been lifted going from “1.0” to “2.0.” Using analogies Reid was able to paint a picture of how LinkedIn can radically change the market just as his presented examples, Google, PayPal, and eBay, had done in the past. The LinkedIn pitch deck is a great example of how you can still build a compelling story with a lack of revenue and hypergrowth.
Facebook Pitch Deck
Another classic pitch deck example, is Facebook’s pitch deck from 2004. The Facebook pitch deck comes from about the same time LinkedIn pitch deck as above. While it originally was not a pitch deck, rather a media kit, the original Facebook pitch deck has interesting examples that are worth mentioning. It is also fun to see how much Facebook has transformed from their original pitch deck to now.
The original Facebook pitch deck has a laser focus on the numbers. Covering everything from their own product to market data, Mark Zuckerberg uses data to tell the Facebook growth story. Facebook drills the stickiness and engagement with their product throughout the pitch and how Facebook can be a powerful advertising platform. While, it may not tell as a compelling story as the LinkedIn pitch deck, the Facebook pitch deck is an example of a company using their growth metrics as the driving force of their pitch.
Pitch Deck Template by Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki was one of the earliest Apple employees and was largely responsible for marketing the original Macintosh. The pitch deck template by guy kawasaki has almost become a staple in the startup world. Simple, yet effective, the pitch deck template by guy kawasaki is a great starting point for any pitch. The pitch deck template is based off of a rule that Guy calls the 10/20/30 rule:
- 10 – A pitch should have 10 slides.
- 20 – A pitch should last no longer than 20 minutes.
- 30 – A pitch should contain no font smaller than 30 point font.
The pitch deck template by Guy Kawasaki embodies the idea that “less is more.” By having only 10 slides, you are forced to focus on the things that are absolutely necessary. A 20 minute pitch, allows time for discussion and is a reasonable amount of time for everyone involved to stay focused. 30 point font, makes sure that you and your audience are in synch. The pitch deck template by Guy Kawasaki is a great starting point for any point.
Airbnb Pitch Deck
Airbnb is one of the most infamous stories from Silicon Valley. From their radically different idea to their scrappy early stages the Airbnb story is filled with plenty of tips and stories for startups. The original Airbnb pitch deck has turned to one of the most popular pitch deck examples for companies to turn to. AirBed&Breakfast at the time of the Airbnb pitch deck, Airbnb is now on the path to an IPO with a value north of $30B. We’ve laid out a few of our favorite slides and ideas from the Airbnb pitch deck.
One of the first things that jumps out from the Airbnb pitch deck is on the first slide. The description, “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.” is straightforward and easy-to-understand. Airbnb clearly lays out what they do in the first 10 seconds of their presentation.
From here, Airbnb uses a good combination of market data and the problems that their users face to create a compelling story. The Airbnb pitch deck also does a good job of clearly stating how they generate revenue; “we take a 10% commission on each transaction.”
A common, yet well done, slide from the Airbnb pitch deck is the “Competition” slide. They use a common 2-axis diagram to show where they stand amongst their competition.
Just like everything else in the Airbnb pitch deck, the competition slide is easy to understand and you get an immediate grasp where Airbnb stands. Airbnb went on to raise $600k with the pitch deck. They’re identity has obviously changed since their original pitch deck but the lessons and practices still stand today. We hope the slides laid out from the Airbnb pitch deck will help as you gear up for your venture raise.
Best Pitch Decks of 2018
The pitch deck examples above our great starting point but it is also good to get a look at more recent pitch deck. Below are a few of the pitch decks we have found to be the best pitch decks of 2018.
We have found the Front App pitch deck to be the best pitch deck of 2018. The pitch deck was used to raise their Series B and is full of great tips and practices. Mathilde Collin, CEO and Founder of Front, does a great job of focusing on what Front does, and what they do best. The pitch deck spends a good amount of time discussing their important metrics and their capital efficiency to date. Outside of their product and team, one of Front’s best attributes is their ability to efficiently spend and scale their company. The laser focus and clarity is why we believe Front’s deck is one of the best pitch decks of 2018. A few other of the best pitch decks of 2018: