Pitch Deck Guide: The 12 Top Slides You Need

by | Apr 10, 2017 | Startups, Funding, Guides, Pitch Deck, Startup-Slides | 20 comments

Example Pitch Deck Guide: Background

What is a pitch deck?

Firstly, let’s get right down to the basics and define what a pitch deck is. A pitch deck is a presentation, often created using PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Slides, that entrepreneurs use to provide investors with a quick overview of their business plan. A pitch deck averages 9 to 15 slides and we encourage using the KISS principle to avoid unnecessary distractions.

Every Startup that is new to fundraising will need a guide on how to create a good pitch deck or fundraising slides, so we have decided to create an example pitch deck guide for Startups to conduct their fundraising effectively. I have also included bonus tips here and there, which startups usually find useful.

The Pitch Deck Example Slides

It is based on a fictional company called CleanerOnDemand, and the content is made to be real & logical. The content examples are for new startups to understand what information investors look for.

p/s CleanersOnDemand could actually be a workable business. Feel free to copy the idea, or even have a chat with us on investment!

The Pitch Deck Guide

It is to provide explanations, in case founders need to know the reasons behind the decisions made on each slide. This, I hope, will provide a good understanding of how we Angel Investors & VCs think as well, in terms of how we investors look for ‘invest-able’ Startups.

The Problem – Why We Wrote This Pitch Deck Guide

Often, we get pitch decks/slides that are;

  • Incomplete or has too much information, but not the kind of information that matters to investors.
  • Too fancy with all kinds of animations and decorations.
  • More of a 50-slide/100+MB business plan rather than what a pitch deck should be.

The Pitch Deck/Slides Example:

You can jump right into the slides below and get yourself a copy, or go further down to read the guide.

I should really say that the example pitch deck guide above is merely a guide and not an ideal pitch deck. It is something I created quickly to roughly illustrate my points above. However, feel free to make a copy of the pitch deck example and use it for yourself.

If that doesn’t work, then go here and click on File > Make a Copy

Slide by Slide Pitch Deck Explanation

Before We Begin

Please, no more animations or special effects!

  • For a 5-minute pitch session, you do not have time for that!

The Keep It Simple, Stupid Design Principle.

  • KISS Design Principle; “Unnecessary complexity should be avoided”. Delete anything unnecessary until what is left is absolutely needed.
  • Keep all text as short as possible. You can explain the points verbally during a presentation to avoid any information loss. This keeps the focus on you and not the slides. It also reduces information overload and confusion among investors.
  • Only include images that are absolutely needed. Unnecessary images not only distract but contributes to information overload.

Bonus tips for a pitch session:

  • The general rule of thumb is to have no more than 9-15 slides, excluding backup slides.
  • Backup slides are for the Q&A session, usually held after a 5-minute pitch.
  • Yes, you read that right. 5 minutes is the standard pitching time allocated. It is usually followed by 10 minutes of Q&A if you are in a pitching event with other Startups.
  • Investors care about your business, and not your slides. So, focus 80% on what they want to hear about your business and 20% on keeping the slides very clear & simple, and you should be fine!

Slide 1: Cover Page Slide

Example Pitch Deck Guide - Cover Slide

Why I Included This Slide

  • Merely to introduce the name & logo of the Startup
  • Acts as a ‘waiting’ slide in group presentations

Slide 2: Notes (Delete this slide after reading)

Pitch Deck Example Guide Notes

Why I Included This Slide

  • Just some information for people who are given the slides and not this article. You can delete it as it is just for the purpose of this example pitch deck guide.

Slide 3: Problem Statement Slide

Pitch Deck Example Guide Problem Statement

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck

  • Investors want to see that you understand what problem you are solving. More importantly, they want to see if you have a solid or real and painful (to the target market) problem being solved. This problem statement usually indicates if a startup will be able to find paying customers (if it’s so painful that they will pay to solve it) or not.
  • Bonus Tips:
    • A rule of thumb I use to identify pain points is if a problem has no solution and it makes life hard for people.For example, Uber’s is addressing poor taxi service and the instant need for a taxi. Gmail is addressing poor user experience (of competitors) and cost. Google Sheets solved Microsoft Excel’s ‘it didn’t save’ & group collaboration (emailing files to edit one-by-one) problems.
    • Identifying target groups of customers in your pitch deck helps a lot in determining the problems you are solving.

Why I Included The Points

  • The three problems or pain points are the pains I have identified asking around quickly for the sake of this example, from people who have used maids & cleaners in Malaysia. The bigger these problems are, the larger the market potential. It could be better, but it’s good enough for the purpose of this example pitch deck guide.

Slide 4: Solution Slide

Pitch Deck Example Guide Solution

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck

  • Investors look at this as the prescribed medicine to the pain points above. And like medicine, it has to fix the right pains to work. Investors look at the effectiveness of your solution, e.g. if your solution can actually fix the pain points or not.
  • Bonus Tips: A general rule of thumb is “10X better” (it’s more of a figure of speech) than the current default/common solutions to the problem for market disruption to happen. Some Startups go as far as 10X better and 10x cheaper, although that is never easy!

Why I Included The Points

  •  3 key points and a screenshot of the mobile app solution is used to quickly give an impression of how our startup is trying to solve the problem.

Slide 5: Market Size Slide

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck Guide

  • Market Size should not be mistaken for what your single Startup revenue can be. Instead, it should be a total of what you and your competitors are able to take up as revenues. Investors see this as the revenues of all businesses in this market that determines the maximum potential size of your startup in the future. Market growth numbers help a lot too.
  • Calculating market size, a simple formula:
    • Use your supply side number as X. This, for example, is the number of maids in Malaysia. For products, it would be the number sold per year.
      Use an average spend as Y. This is, for example, the cost of hiring a maid in Malaysia. For a product, it would be the average price.

      X*Y=320K Maids x RM14900 = RM4.77B/year
    • Since the Malaysian market itself is huge, I may choose to focus just here and not in the entire ASEAN region. If you do plan to expand regionally, then do include the number (total market size) for the entire SEA region.
  • Bonus Tips: A general rule that I use is a minimum of 30-100M potential revenue for the startup or minimum of 300M-1B potential market revenue for all players in the market. This is to ensure Startups can grow to a size where they are able to go for public listing, if not acquisitions. Without this kind of growth, startup investors would not be able to make their money back from that one startup that covers the losses of all the other (90%) failed Startups.

Why I Included The Points

  •  Basically, I included how many maids the market demands, and how much the market has been willing to pay for it. It indicates that as a startup, I can grab a percentage of this market. Referencing helps your credibility too.
  • The reason I included ‘registered’ maids is that there is a huge unaccounted number of illegal migrants working in the country. That is also part of the ecosystem in which this Startup operates.

Slide 6: Product Slide

Example Pitch Deck - Product

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck Guide

  • Investors would like to see what your product looks and feels like. Investors are looking for things that affect user experience & therefore market adoption rates, e.g. if it is easy to use, if people will find a strong need for it, the ‘stickiness’ of the product, etc.
  • Bonus Tips: Investors know that the product itself is not really useful to evaluate. This is because products change so fast over time to match the customer needs and to fix any current problems. Investors would rather look at the founders to understand how capable the founders are in solving problems.

Why I Included The Points

  • I attempted to show (using drawn images and not a real app) how easy it is to book a cleaner so that they can get a good feel of the product. This is especially important for idea-stage startups who have yet to develop a product.

Slide 7: Business Model Slide

Example Pitch Deck Guide - Business Model

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck Guide

  • Investors want to know how you make money. They evaluate how you plan to make money to find a viable and sustainable business in the long-term. This goes back to your problem statement as well – if you are not addressing a strong pain point, it is unlikely that someone will pay for your product/service.
  • Bonus Tips: Not all business models are equal. However, business models are usually determined by each different market. Here is a list of different types of business models. Understanding this list is crucial for all startup founders, as we often find Startups that need to improve on their business model.

Why I Included The Points

  • The commission (or brokerage) business model is the business model I think best fits this solution. There is also a subscription business model here, for the cleaning consumables/products.
  • This is an example of a win-win-win (cleaners, manufacturers and the Startup) business model:
    The cost savings adds value to the business model by reducing costs for the cleaners who can only buy through us if they also sign up as a cleaner-on-demand. The 15% savings are given to them directly, and the Startup does not benefit. However, the Startup does benefit from the 5% Sales incentives from the manufacturers as we hit sales targets from the manufacturers. In this case, the retailers (e.g. supermarkets) are the losers as they are being bypassed.

Slide 8: Validation Slide (Include this if you do not have much traction)

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck Guide

  • The validation slide is important to show investors that:
    • You are a creative problem solver – finding ways to validate the business while bootstrapping.
    • You are productive in getting results. Startups in the early stage require a lot of Productive energy to get validation & traction.
  • Bonus Tips: See this startup idea validation framework which explains Startup Idea Validation, Market Validation, and Growth Validation. It is a useful validation framework for startups.

Why I Included The Points

  • Showing how much you can do with little resources is definitely a sign of frugality and resourcefulness. It signals investors that you are able to successfully convert some money into more money. It may sound stupidly simple, but we have seen and experienced business to be much harder than it sounds.
  • Showing the partner sign-ups help a lot as well, showing that you are not making stakeholders angry but have created a win-win situation – which is another sign of a good businessperson. Naturally,  if it is not a win-win, partners would usually not work with you.

Slide 9: Traction Slide (If you have traction)

Example Pitch Deck Guide - Traction

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck

  • Revenue traction is what investors value a lot, although it is not required if you are in the idea/validation stage. Basically, it is how investors can value your startup since it is a rough proxy to profit, which most startups do not have. It allows investors to calculate a revenue multiple, which I will cover in the Financials Slide below.
  • It is more important how investors know that you as the Entrepreneurs produce results, acting as one of the most effective filters on whether a startup will succeed or not.
  • Revenue Growth is a big one – even for listed companies. The faster you grow, the higher your valuation.
  • On charts in traction slides: It is always a big plus! Revenue and Net Profit over a certain period are always useful for investors to see. Example:
    Startup Financial Projections Net Profit Revenue
  • Bonus Tips:
    • Generally, newer startups grow faster – 30% month on month (2300% YoY) is not impossible because the numbers in absolute values are still small. Data shows that Startups with revenues of 25M can grow about 60% YoY, and even listed startups can grow at a rate of 40% a year.
    • GMV vs Revenue: This is for Broker/Commission business models only where you sell something you do not own. GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) is the value of products sold. Your Revenue is the commission on your GMV.
      GMV = Products sold * Average Price = 500 * RM200 = RM100k
      Revenue = GMV * Comission% = RM100k * 10% = RM10k

Why I Included The Points

  • Showing user & revenue traction is quite straightforward. When there is some proof that the business model can work, investors put in some money. Next round, you show more traction and even more investors put in more money.
  • Showing some of your metrics like website visits and average transactions shows investors that you understand your numbers, as well as you, are actually tracking them. It indicates that you know your business well, and therefore are able to make decisions wisely using those numbers rather than using your gut feel.

Slide 10: Competition Slide

Example Pitch Deck Guide - Competition

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck Guide

  • Investors want to know where you position yourself vs. the competition. This is basically a competitive landscape analysis for you MBA graduates out there. It determines a startup’s ability to survive in the long term and signals the strategies you are considering to compete in the market.
  • Bonus Tips:
    • We prefer if founders respect their competition rather than try to downplay them. Traditional businesses exist for a reason, and any competitor should never be taken lightly.

Why I Included The Points

  • Horizontal axis: This is a mistake done on purpose to illustrate why it is bad. Online and offline is not really a measure of competitive advantage, and hence it does not really give much meaning. Perhaps a better measure would be convenience or user experience (can be measured in steps needed to make an order or in customer satisfaction scores).
  • Vertical axis: Showing where we are in affordability (at the top)  gives investors a clear picture of our position and competitive strategy.
  • So, if I were to show we are both affordable and provide a “10x better” (it’s more of a figure of speech) user experience, and  that we are also more affordable, it is a killer combo to product/service value, and generally what is required for any market disruption to happen.

Slide 11: Team Slide

Example Pitch Deck - Team

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck Guide

  • The team is usually one of the main things investors look at. The team can either be the cause of all the great successes or all the disastrous failure of any business. While the slide itself does not tell much, investors do like to see a little about the background of the team. At the very least, investors can tell what experience you might have.
  • Bonus Tips:
    • Investors generally favour teams that are genuine, have a focus on the business, has a vision for the company, and most importantly, the grit to withstand one of the toughest journeys one can have in life, that is entrepreneurship.

Why I Included The Points

  • Photos – this is a must, so investors know exactly who is who in the team. Otherwise, there would be added confusion.
  • Work experience & education are the main things to include. Keep the relevant & impressive information. Drop the rest, so that it is clear & simple.
  • Not related, but I think there should be more female CEO’s (or top management, for that matter). That’s why I put one in this CleanerOnDemand example pitch deck guide 🙂 Give us a shout in the comments below if you are a female founder!

Slide 12: Financials/Fundraising Slide

Example Pitch Deck Guide - Financials

Why I Included This Slide in The Example Pitch Deck Guide

  • Pretty straightforward – Investors need to know how much you are looking for and for how much equity. Investors are also looking at:
    • How you value your startup (if it has a reasonable valuation method or it is based on putting your finger in the air and then writing down a nice number).
    • The Price of your Startup – In our experience, startups almost never put down a reasonable price/valuation. If it is expensive, then investors need to figure out if someone is willing to invest in the following rounds. If there is a good chance someone will come up with follow-on investment, then all is good. Otherwise, Investors will stay away at that price/valuation.
  • Bonus Tips:
    • On Valuing Idea Stage Companies & Accelerators
      • Idea stage companies are very hard to value. So, most accelerators just say $X for Y% Equity to fix a valuation. If you are an idea stage company, I highly recommend accelerators for the help you can get from the mentors. Just make sure that the mentors are actual business owners who have exited or have gone through an IPO to be able to really benefit from their experience. People who have not gone through entrepreneurship (e.g. corporate professionals – no offence intended) tend not to understand how tough it can be, and what it takes to solve problems that entrepreneurs face.
    • Valuing Early Stage Companies (has Revenue)
      • To begin with, no method is better than the other. It really depends on how you use it and when you use it. Below are two methods from the perspective of valuations regarding Startups before Series A funding.
      • Our favourite is the Revenue Multiple Method. It is usually based on historical revenue and not projected revenue, and is based on actual prices transacted in the market. It also ensures that startups are at the very minimum generating reasonable revenues, which indicates that the startup has done proper validation.
      • Our least favourite is the DCF (Discounted Cash Flow) Method as it is based on projections. Someone once told me garbage in, garbage out, and DCF has that as a weakness. It only works if you can accurately input your future performance, which, in the startup world, almost everyone gets it wrong. There’s nothing wrong with the math of DCF, but it is meant for businesses with stable & predictable cash flows, which unfortunately most startups are not.
    • Formulas for Revenue Multiple Valuation Method:
      Average Competitors Valuation/Revenue = 4M/1M = 4X Revenue Multiple
      Your Valuation = Revenue Multiple * Your Revenue = 4 * 250k = 1M

Why I Included The Points

  • We are looking for X Months Funding to get Y Goals achieved
    • This makes it super clear for investors, and they will like you for it. If you don’t have this, they will have to ask you anyway – and if you don’t have the answer prepared, investors will figure that you do not know what you want.
  • Amount, Equity, and Post-money Valuation
    • Same as above. If you don’t have this, we will have to ask.
  • Fund Usage Breakdown
    • It is important to convince them that your plan to get more revenue is something achievable and that their money will be well used to secure the next funding round.


Congratulations on making it to the end of this example pitch deck guide! 

We hope you like this example pitch deck guide. Feel free to comment below or share this example pitch deck guide with any startups or investors that you know. I am sure they will appreciate it if they find it useful. Let me know below if you have any questions, and I will try my best to share or elaborate more on this pitch deck guide.

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