Pitch Deck 101

“Please send us your pitch deck”

If you have been looking for startup capital, you know that conversations with investors tend to always start the same: “Please send us your pitch deck.” The same is true for us at Yunus Social Business Balkans. But what is it? How can you become good at writing one? And where to find inspiration. In this article, we want to give you a brief overview.

What is a pitch deck?

“For entrepreneurs, life is a pitch”

A pitch deck is a brief overview of your business. It can come in many shapes and forms. Usually though, entrepreneurs prefer presentation formats (Powerpoint, Keynote, Google Slides, etc.) because it makes it easier to visualise key aspects of your venture.

Pitch decks are mainly used for fundraising with investors or at conferences to present your business. They are a great tool to start a conversation. Investors use it to get a rough understanding about your business and whether it fits their criteria. After getting this high level overview, they can already decide whether it is worth spending your and their time on an in-depth conversation.

A pitch is NOT:

An exhaustive business plan: Stick to the main facts. It is by definition incomplete. You want to make investors curious to know more. If investors get back with a long list of detailed question, that means “mission accomplished”.

Longer than 30 slides (ideally 15-20 slides): As per above, you want to keep it crisp, exciting and clear.

The reason why investors invest in you: Don’t over-engineer your pitch deck. Yes, it is the first point of contact. But if you’re business is good, it won’t be the last.

A pure sales pitch that has to paint the perfect picture: We are often approached by entrepreneurs that claim they do not have any challenges. When that happens, we’re VERY suspicious. Why? Because either the entrepreneur is trying to cover up the challenges (which is bad) or she/he is not aware of the challenges (which is worse). Your pitch deck should contain a clear statement of what your challenges are and how you will attempt to solve them. If we see that, we feel much more comfortable because it builds a basis for discussion. It shows us how you think. And it breeds trust.

What elements should be included in a pitch deck?

The following topics should be part of a pitch deck. You may add, combine or change the order of some of the elements. But the below list gives you a good overview.

  1. Introduction: Short intro about you and your business
  2. Customer Problem Statement: What is the problem you are solving for your paying customer. If you are a social business, do NOT confuse this part with the social problem you are trying to solve.
  3. Your solution and product: How are you solving the customer’s problem? What is the product you are offering?
  4. (Competitive) Advantages: How is your solution better than the customer’s current solution*?
  5. Progress so far (also called “traction”): How many paying customers do you currently have? How fast did your customer base grow? What are your revenues?
  6. Team: Who is behind the business and what is your team’s background
  7. Market: What is the market for your product and how do you expect the market to develop in the future?
  8. Competition & Positioning: Who are you competing against? How is your solution better than the competition?
  9. Business Model & Plan: How do you make money? What is your revenue model? What is your rough financial forecast for the next 3 years?
  10. Your ask: How much investment do you need? What is the form of funding that you seek (equity, loan, etc.)?

*A quick note on “advantages”: When describing your advantage, you don’t just want to look at products from competitors. Also consider alternative solutions for your customer’s problem in general. For example: If you are selling cars, one of your customer’s problems is getting from A to B. So compare how your car is better then other cars. But also compare how taking your car is better than taking the train, riding a bike or simply walking.

If you are pitching to Yunus Social Business, you want to add the following topics:

  1. Target beneficiary: Who benefits from your activities?
  2. Current Situation: What is their current situation?
  3. Impact logic: How do you make a difference in the lives of your beneficiaries?
  4. Impact Metrics: How do you measure your impact on your beneficiaries’ lives?

Where can I find examples of good pitch decks?

There are a number of good websites that host examples of pitch decks. We are sharing our favourite pitch deck below. Find out yourself why we love it. You should check out the following websites to find more examples – and please send us more websites if you find them:

 

About the Author

Daniel Nowack (@dannowack) has helped start four businesses in image manipulation, mobile payment, online marketing and publishing. He held various roles in startups such as CEO, CFO and Head of Business Development. He has a background in marketing and finance and has been involved in multiple 6- and 7-digit funding rounds in the past. He is a product and finance mentor for Google LaunchpadX and a lecturer at RheinMain University, Germany. Daniel has been working with nobel laureate Prof. Yunus since 2010 and currently heads YSB Balkans, an impact investing fund for the region, as Executive Director.