Do you need to use a pitch deck for your presentation?
Pitch decks have exploded in use alongside the startup boom in recent years. You'll most often find pitch decks from startups and small businesses seeking to gain support from investors. If you're starting a company or business and need support from others, this format is commonly expected in meetings.
In this tutorial, I'm going to teach you to use PowerPoint templates to rapidly build a winning pitch deck. You'll learn more about the format for a pitch deck and use a pre-built theme to speed up the process. We'll start by answering the question: what is a pitch deck?
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Now, let's look at how to make winning pitch decks:
What is a Pitch Deck?
The term "pitch deck" can mean a variety of things. Most often, the idea is that the pitch will lead to investment in your company in exchange for a piece of it. But, that's not the only time that you can use the pitch deck format.
In general, think of a pitch deck as inspiring action for your business. You could be pitching for new business, investment in your company, or even new employees to come on board. The point is that you share the vision you've got for what you do with the audience and inspire them to join you.
Pitch Decks in Action
There are plenty of successful pitch decks that have helped launch companies by making a strong impression. Let's see some of the top pitch decks used by companies for a pivotal round of fund raising and investor support.
Known as AirBed&Breakfast at the time, this pitch deck is an early look at how Airbnb became one of the leading ways to book accommodations. Let's take a look at the Airbnb pitch deck:
One thing I love about this deck is that the idea is summed up in one sentence on the opening slide: "Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels."
This deck does a great job sizing the opportunity that exists in the rental market by showing how many trips are booked. It also shows the competitive advantages that exist for Airbnb, illustrating why they're worthy of investment.
Mint is one of the most popular personal finance and budgeting tools, and it's easy to see that the vision was crafted early on in this pitch deck. Here's Mint's pitch deck:
The strongest part of this deck is illustrating how Mint differs from other tools (slide 6.) Compared to other tools, Mint offered a unique feature set that no other single tool could accomplish.
You might not have heard of Mixpanel, but it has carved a cornerstone in the analytics race like few other companies. Let's examine the slide deck from Mixpanel:
Not only does this pitch deck show past accomplishments, it also has a very clear goal for where the company is going. Investors can easily see how their capital will be deployed to grow Mixpanel.
How to Build a Pitch Deck
In this tutorial, we're going to use the impressive Pitch Werk theme to build out a pitch deck. You can grab this theme as part of a subscription to Envato Elements.
When you subscribe to Elements, you get access to over 400,000 creative assets as part of one low cost subscription. This includes over 750 different PowerPoint themes that you can use as a major head start over designing from scratch.
A pre-built theme offers many advantages. If you're a startup preparing for an upcoming pitch, it's likely that time is in short supply. Using a theme allows you to start with a basic template and swap in your own content.
Using Pitch Werk, we're going to build out a sample pitch deck for a fictitious business. Let's create a classic pitch deck style presentation to ask for funding from potential investors. We'll take existing slides and rework them for our own purposes.
1. Introduce the Team
It's often said that investors don't invest in ideas, they invest in teams. Reviewing the credentials and accolades of your team will build confidence in your abilities.
Many investors believe that if you put the right team around an idea, creative solutions will arise. It makes sense to start off by introducing the team that you've put together to work on your product.
For this slide, I really like slide 19. Each one of these boxes could be used to list a team member and their role at the company.
In my sample pitch deck, I actually decided to use the top boxes for employee photos and the bottom box to share more about them. In the screenshot below, check out how I simply removed the image placeholders and used those spaces for team descriptions.
When you use a PowerPoint theme like Pitch Werk, you've got to keep in mind that each starter slide can be easily customized. It doesn't matter if there's no "Team" slide built-in; simply find something with the placeholder boxes you need and drop in your own content.
Another slide choice: slide 30 has a more traditional approach to listing team members.
2. Describe the Problem That Exists
Even the savviest investors don't know every market opportunity that may exist for a new business. Part of a well-constructed pitch deck consists of making the audience aware of the problem at hand.
If you've got data and statistics about the size of the market that your business will be in, feel free to share those statistics. When companies are valued and opportunities are scoped, it helps investors to understand what size market that this potentially services.
Slide 14 is a great choice for this purpose. With concentric (overlapping) circles, you can describe the various markets or niches for the problem at hand. Use the circles to describe the size of the market (potential revenue) that you may be able to garner.
More important than describing the problem: shape it as an opportunity. Opportunities are how you create new businesses. When investors or potential advisers see that there's a legitimate need for what your company will offer, they'll be more inclined to get on board.
Another slide choice: slide 15 is a similar "opportunity sizing" approach, but with a different presentation.
3. Offer a Solution
So, you've set the stage for the problem that currently exists that your team is working on. By now, the potential investors should have an idea of both the problem that exists, and why it's a compelling area for a company to solve.
Now, it's time to offer up a solution. For your idea to be a compelling business, you've got to find the intersection of opportunity and possible tools to bridge the opportunity.
When you propose a solution, there are really two key parts that people need to see:
- How you're different. Solutions have been attempted for practically every problem, but that doesn't mean they worked. Why will your solution to the problem work if others have failed?
- Why you're the right team to do it. What makes your team different? If those teams have already failed at solving a problem, why is the team that you've assembled more fit to solve it than those in the past?
Both of these points are key reasons when investors or potential employees are deciding to back your mission and vision. When it comes to slide design, we really could use many of the slides that are built into Pitch Werk.
Let's use slide 85 for this purpose, since we're showing off an app that provides a solution. I'll simply drop in a preview image and update the points to match the goal.
Another slide choice: slide 90 is a more minimalist choice for showcasing your product.
4. Offer the How
If you're raising funds, investors are betting on your solution to a problem. If you've defined the problem and the solution, they're likely interested in the mechanics of how you'll accomplish the solution.
In this slide, it's time to pull back the curtain a bit and share at least some of the upcoming plans for how you'll accomplish the goal.
For slides like this, I recommend slide 24 in Pitch Werk as the best way to show the path that your company is taking. Each of the steps could describe a milestone that you've already accomplished. You could also use several of the points on the timeline to show potential future objectives you have.
In my case, I'm going to show several key milestones in my product development. Each of these provides a clear vision of how the problem is solved through your product.
Another slide choice: slide 25 is similar but a more minimalist choice to presenting a timeline.
5. Ask for Action
Why give a pitch if you aren't asking for action from the attendees? At the end of the presentation, it's time to ask for what you need to succeed.
Whether this is funding, advisory services, or a potential partner in the business, you need a slide that makes your intentions clear. Your audience can't possibly help you meet your goals if they don't know what they are.
For this pitch presentation, let's use slide 10 as the starting point for our action slide. It's a simple and clean slide that includes placeholders for multiple images as needed.
You could use this slide and list the details of the status of your current fundraising round. In many pitch decks, this is ultimately the goal: asking for funding in exchange for a share of the company. In most startup fundraising events, multiple investors will pool money to fund the company, so it may help to show other investors that are already on board.
If you're asking for advice or board members for your company, tweak the design accordingly. You could offer bulleted reasons of why your company is worth helping and what you offer in return.
Another slide choice: slide 57 has a circle chart if you want a more data-driven close to your pitch presentation.
In the example slide decks I shared earlier, you can see that there are plenty of other slides you can include a pitch deck. There's nothing stopping you from building in more detail, but these five slides are crucial to success.
If Pitch Werk isn't your style, don't hesitate to spend time checking out some other PowerPoint themes available on Envato Market. There are a variety of pitch presentation styles that would work great for practically any purpose.
- Microsoft PowerPoint20 Best Pitch Deck Templates: For Business Plan PowerPoint PresentationsSean Hodge
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Recap & Keep Learning
A successful pitch deck builds confidence and increases your chance of getting backed. Using the tips and themes I shared in this tutorial, follow the simple framework for creating a professional pitch deck.
At Tuts+, we've been building up a library of PowerPoint tools that can help you conquer your fears of giving a presentation. One resource you should definitely check out is the Ultimate Guide to the Best PPT, a comprehensive roundup of the best PowerPoint content we have.
Also, check out the following tutorials to learn more about how to create a presentation that you'll feel confident about:
- FinanceHow to Craft a VC-Ready Pitch DeckEddie Earnest
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to End Your PowerPoint Presentation With a Strong CloseAndrew Childress
- Microsoft PowerPoint10 PowerPoint Presentation Tips: To Make Good PPT Slides (Quickly)Andrew Childress
Have you ever given a presentation that used a pitch deck? If so, I'd love to get a tip from you in the comments section below.