A pitch deck is a tool to better inform potential investors and company builders about your company and its concept. Therefore, informative facts and a consistent structure are critical for your success. In this article we will show you how to structure and present your pitch deck to maximize your results.
The pitch deck and its objective
The primary objective of a pitch deck is not to fund the project, but to move the project to the next meeting. Especially startups should work on creating an informative and engaging pitch deck which attracts investors and company builders. Often it is made up of ten slides in a presentation. On each slide, only one aspect is presented and briefly explained.
Pitch decks as an inevitable tool for startups and ventures
The pitch deck should be structured in such a way that it presents an overview of the business idea and includes an overview of the financial and non-financial (i.e. soft skills, market entrance etc.) requirements for the implementation of the project. A pitch deck does not replace a business plan but it contains its key points. It is an opportunity for startups and ventures to present their structure for a concept in a concise form and also for potential financiers to have a business idea explained in a short and enticing way.
How to structure a pitch deck
The structure of a pitch deck follows a stringent scheme, which is as follows:
Key steps for the optimal startup pitch deck (Source: XPRESS Ventures).
In order to give a brief explanation of the contents of the pitch deck, the different contents are exemplarily illustrated. In each point we describe the general requirements and, if needed, the requirements we are personally aiming for in a logistic pitch at XPRESS Ventures. The differentiation is important as the request for Venture Capital focuses on funding and its allocation. In contrast company building aims to support the project operationally and in our case also with the valuable infrastructure and network of FIEGE Logistics.
1. The executive summary
In the executive summary, technically oriented logistics projects or startups should present who they are in an understandable and pictorial way. Logos and pictures of the company itself can be used here.
XPRESS Ventures also attaches great importance to the logistic context of your project/venture. Please include a brief overview of key facts about the state of your project/venture, the idea and the request.
2. The problem
The problem should be presented both comprehensively and concisely on a slide. It is important to highlight the relevance and the magnitude of the problem to be solved and to present it convincingly.
As a company builder for the logistics branch, XPRESS Ventures always focusses on improvements in this specific sector. While preparing your pitch deck for us, the problem you want to solve should be related to the logistic sector.
3. The solution/approach
A previous solution approach can be optimally inserted here. A completely elaborated solution strategy is not yet necessary but a current solution status shows initiative and solution-oriented thinking.
Especially startups who present digital solutions for the logistics industry should pay attention not to overwhelm the audience with technical details but to list the essential points in an understandable way.
4. The product/service
To give potential investors and incubators a first impression of the solution, it is a good idea to create a slide with a picture of the prototype (or bring a prototype if possible) and highlight the key functions of the product or service. This makes the idea more tangible.
5. The market
When presenting the current market, it is especially important not to use embellished figures. It should be clearly and truthfully shown which target group is addressed and how they are solving the problem at the moment. This creates a picture of how valuable your solution is to customers.
6. The competition
On this slide you should describe which competitors exist and what their solution to the previously mentioned problem is. This will serve as an indication for the saturation of the market and also shows in which niches there is potential. Therefore, mention products with a similar use case and highlight, why there is a need especially for your product.
Ideally undermine your idea with relevant empirical evidence.
7. The unique selling proposition
This is the point in the pitch deck where you can entirely convince investors . Since many are reluctant to invest in ideas for an oversaturated market or in products that already exist in the same form, it is possible to clearly demonstrate what exactly makes your product or service so unique. It also makes sense to outline the differentiation from competitors, in terms of price, quality or other relevant business criteria.
8. The business model
In order to justify the profitability of the idea, it must be shown how sales are generated. The best way to do this is to use the canvas model. It is important that potential investors or partners can understand how the product will generate revenues. In addition to that, unit economics matter even more. Based on the revenue model, the cost structure gives insights about the scalability and path to profitability. These two aspects are arguably the most important drivers for a promising and substantial business model.
Make sure to also mention your future plans for the business model and your vision for your startup. How can new revenues be generated? Are there any new services or products that would make a great addition to your existing idea?
9. The team
Another important point is the introduction of the team. Here, the investors/incubators are not only presented with a personal point of contact but a general overview. On this slide it is advisable to also work with the pictures of the team leads, so that the spectators know who is responsible for the relevant tasks.
For us at XPRESS Ventures it is always relevant to see how the team in that specific constellation can drive and execute the idea. Convince us with your knowledge and experience!
10. The request for action
The aspect of financing and operational support runs through the pitch deck presentation, but on the last slide it is important to make clear exactly how much money and/or operational support is needed. Transparency and specific projections of how the cash will be used are evidence of a serious and profitable project.
As a company builder our primary focus lays on providing operational support and technical advice for early stage ventures and founders that seek to start a logistics venture with us. With XPRESS Ventures you can benefit from years of experience in the logistics market, access to logistics assets, customers and FIEGE infrastructure as well as a reliable co-founding partner.
How should a pitch deck be presented?
The average attention span for a presentation is max. 20 minutes. Therefore, a pitch deck should not only be aesthetically prepared in terms of design, but also presented in a way that attracts attention. The central message should run like a thread not only through the slides but also through the verbally mentioned points. A pitch deck presentation should be kept to a certain level of professionalism but cleverly placed humorous phrases can still lighten the mood and relax the audience.
Guy Kawasaki’s “10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint” is a popular example for successful and interesting presentations. According to these rules, a presentation should only consist of 10 slides, it shouldn’t exceed 20 minutes and it should further not contain any fonts smaller than 30 points.
What tools can be used for a pitch deck?
When it comes to tools, there are a variety of offers you can choose from.
The simplest and most popular tool to adequately present a pitch deck is a PowerPoint presentation. However, other tools can be considered to strengthen the design and overall structure of the presentation. One pitch deck assistant is Prezi. The program has multiple features and allows you to zoom in on ideas. Another way to boost your pitch deck is with the use of Haiku Deck. This program supports especially the design-heavy part with a variety of decks and filters.
Where can I find a good pitch deck example?
In order to design your own pitch deck, it is often worthwhile to take a look at existing ones. This can provide ideas for your own presentation and serve as inspiration for industry-specific structures. Some well-known companies shared their pitch deck for the public. Here are two some examples of successful pitch decks:
AirBnB: The linked pitch deck covers the early AirBnB version aka AirBed&Breakfast
Launch Rock: A service that allows users to create quick landing pages
The platforms slideshare and piktochart offer a lot more of these famous pitch deck examples.
A pitch deck, if thoughtfully designed and attractively presented, is a first step in securing support for your startup and to take your idea to the next level. A successful presentation leads to further negotiations, presentation of the business plan and a potential partnership that can make the difference in a startup’s journey. Therefore, it’s worth it to continuously sharpen your pitch deck until it hits a high score on the above-mentioned aspects.