Building a Solid Investor Pitch Deck: Key Elements and Best Practices

Need help crafting a great pitch deck for potential startup investors? Whether you need a startup pitch deck or a slide deck to grow a new business, you need to know how to craft and deliver a successful pitch presentation.  

And that’s where we come in.

In this guide, we’re walking you through what to do before building your deck, along with four simple steps you can take to build your very own pitch deck.

Ready to learn more?

Grab a pen and a notepad, and let’s get started!

3 things to do before building your investor pitch deck

Techcrunch did research on 320 pitch decks. This study showed that investors decide in the first two minutes and 13 seconds whether to end the presentation or allow it to continue. That means you’ve got under two and a half minutes to make your case. 

You’d better make it count. 

Here’s how to lay the groundwork for your investor pitch deck:

1. Outline your ideal target investors 

Start by assessing your ideal investors. 

Keep everything organized by creating a buyer persona:

  • Who are they? 
  • What’s their risk comfort level? 
  • What kind of businesses do they typically invest in? Are they in the same industry and niche as your startup? 
  • What are their pain points and how can you solve them?

Then, conduct research and create a list of solid potential investors. Be sure to uncover how their investments typically turn out and if they’ve had any issues investing in the past.

To find potential investors, take advantage of networking tips for small business owners. These include using virtual or “smart” business cards and strategizing follow-up plans.

Consider attending industry events, joining directories, and building your brand on LinkedIn.

Networking is vital to establishing meaningful connections and finding aligned investors. Feel free to check out the following fundraising solutions for additional support. 

*Pro-Tip: Get clear on each investor’s preferred messaging style before reaching out! Speaking to them in their ideal “language” is key to getting on the same page.

2. Get clear on your funding goals and mutual benefits 

Outline your investment needs and how an investor could benefit by supplying you with funding.

Create specific goals that lay out how you’ll use the money and how investing in these objectives can help both of you. 

3. Collect trust elements 

Gather examples of previous successful startups you’ve created in the past and how much money investors have earned by helping you. Grab past financial projection charts and compare them against your real results. 

How to build your investor pitch deck in four simple steps

Now it’s time to choose a pitch deck template. Choose one with professional slide layouts you can easily customize in your brand colors, fonts, and graphics. 

To take your pitch deck presentation up a notch, consider using a video presentation maker. It can help you incorporate personalized recordings into your pitch deck so investors can rewatch it. This humanizes your pitch and gives you the opportunity to explain parts of your proposal in depth.

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If you don’t have time to record yourself speaking, consider using professional voice-over actors. This allows you to create voice-overs to your presentation. Simply choose a voice that aligns with your natural sound and your potential investor’s ideal messaging style.

Another way to make your presentation stand out is to add an audio option for the text portion. This not only allows your audience to hear your entire pitch, but also demonstrates your dedication to inclusivity. Anyone with vision difficulties may appreciate text-to-speech services without having to ask.

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Without further ado, here’s how to build a winning pitch deck: 

1. Use storytelling to introduce your vision and investment needs 

Share your vision and investment needs by using storytelling techniques. 

Here’s how:

1.1 Start with an official elevator pitch

Introduce yourself with a brief summary of who you are and what you need in 30 seconds or less. 

For instance: 

“Hi, we’re Jacob and Janna from PSoft, and we invented a new productivity software tool for business owners with ADHD called FocusEasy. We need YOUR help to launch our new app to market.” 

Then go more in-depth …

Introduce the story and outline your investment offer as the “hero” of the story 

Dig deeper into your brand story. 

How’d you get to where you are today? What inspired you? And how can an investment take your company further? 

Position the investor’s capital as the “solution” to your long-term vision and communicate in their ideal messaging style. 

1.2 Lay out your business model, target market, and investment vision

Offer target investors a glimpse into your future plans and how you intend to use their funds.

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For instance, let’s say you’re looking to streamline the home-buying process with an app that compares mortgage rates in real time. Your go-to-market strategy could involve partnering with mortgage lenders. They’d benefit from your app’s increased visibility and customer reach. 

Your pitch to investors could include how this partnership accelerates market penetration. You’d also mention how it provides a steady revenue stream through fees and commissions.

By including mortgage lenders as key partners in your business model, you prove a clear understanding of your industry. You also showcase a strategy leveraging existing infrastructure and networks for business growth. To an investor, this shows promise, potential, and profit. 

Then, share where their money will go, specifically, and why it’s an essential part of your growth plan. For instance, that might include capital to build the app, hire outreach specialists, and fund robust campaigns. 

1.3 Explain your audience’s pain points and what you offer as the solution

While your vision and ideas may sound promising, investors need assurance. They need to know your target customer has a need for what you’re offering and that there’s a solid market opportunity there.

Consider using the pain-point-agitate-solution (PAS) framework to drive this home. 

Here’s an example:

“Hers, a leading telehealth brand, is on a mission to provide accessible healthcare solutions to women worldwide.

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The problem? Many women face challenges accessing affordable solutions to sensitive issues. These issues include hair loss, acne, and mental health concerns. This became an even bigger challenge after the pandemic wreaked havoc on people’s physical, emotional, and mental health.

Our solution? Partnering with pharmaceutical brands that offer generic products like Spironolactone for hair loss. And Escitalopram for depression and anxiety.

Our digital platform focuses on providing users with seamless access and exceptional experiences. We supply patients with online consultations, prescription deliveries, and personalized treatment plans. Our innovative technology allows us to meet their needs where they are.

When it comes to our patients, we’ll do whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy. As we tackle the problem of limited access to essential medications, we need your help. Your support will allow us to provide affordable solutions to our target market.”

1.4 Include a competition slide that outlines a competitive analysis

What does the competitive landscape look like in your industry? Who are you up against, and why does your company have the advantage? What’s your competitive edge or “secret sauce”? 

Share a competitive analysis to break it all down.

To keep this succinct, consider providing two assets: 

  1. An “alternatives” list 
  2. A comparison guide with your solution as the top choice on the list

For instance, here’s an example that breaks down five Citrix alternatives:

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And here’s a comparison guide that lists Connecteam as the top choice for online time clocks:

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1.5 Include important startup details

What stage is your startup in? Have you launched it yet, or are you proposing a new business idea? (If so, make sure you provide your business plan.) 

Win investors by showing transparency and integrity. Provide all necessary details about the current stage of your business. 

1.6 Recap your investment needs and what you’ll use the money for

Finish your story by recapping how many dollars in funding you need and where the money will go. I.e., “We need x million in funding to revamp our x, buy more y, and open z more locations.”

Go the extra mile by breaking down how your business will use the investment to achieve specific growth milestones.

Here’s a quick template you can use:

Growth Milestones Investment Plan

  • Milestone 1: We’ll apply $_________ toward _________ to  _________.
  • Milestone 2: We’ll apply $_________ toward _________ to  _________.
  • Milestone 3: We’ll apply $_________ toward _________ to  _________.
  • Milestone 4: We’ll apply $_________ toward _________ to  _________.
  • Milestone 5: We’ll apply $_________ toward _________ to  _________.

2. Provide trust elements that alleviate concerns about execution

Provide peace of mind to potential investors by going over the trust elements you collected before building your deck.

Here’s what to do:

Provide trust elements that back you up as an entrepreneur

Provide records of success, stats, research, and other examples that show your efficacy as an entrepreneur. Share examples of previous successful startups you’ve created and how much money investors have earned by helping you.

Be honest about the state of your business and consider asking a consultant to provide an official recap and sign off on it.

Consider including positive brand mentions and customer testimonials (if you have any). These help demonstrate to investors that your customers advocate for your business, too.

Include trust elements that alleviate concerns about your business

Highlight aspects of your business that inspire confidence in potential investors. These might include a robust infrastructure, secure data management, or records management strategy.

For instance, if you’re starting a technology company, you might explain why hosting equipment in a colocation data center is the best option. It offers robust security measures, enterprise-grade infrastructure, and advanced cooling systems.

You might also share that this model improves network security and reliability while keeping costs low.

Making the following points a priority can go a long way toward building trust with investors.

  • Show your commitment to safeguarding sensitive information
  • Ensuring uninterrupted operations

3. Walk the prospect through a realistic projected profit simulation timeline

While not guaranteed, you can give potential investors a glimpse into how much profit they could earn by betting on you.

The key?

Be realistic about the potential return they could earn and identify any potential risks. ‌To do so, create a projected profit simulation timeline with data backing up your projections.

4. Ask for the investment and list the exact steps your investor will need to take to support you

Now that investors have all of the information they need about your proposal, explain what they’d need to do next to support your goals, step by step.

Keep this part short and sweet.

Here’s a quick example:

“Ready to invest in our venture?

Follow these steps:

  • Book a meeting with us (book here).
  • Join us on a group call with our law firm to smooth out the details.
  • Wait to receive wire transfer details and all necessary paperwork.
  • Complete your paperwork and wire your investment.”

Once you’ve filled out your pitch deck, go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

Be sure to edit it for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Add captivating visuals, and ensure the formatting looks clean and professional. Add your company logo to each slide so your brand name stays top of mind, and get feedback on your deck before officially publishing it.

Finally, make sure to have a follow-up plan in place, whether the prospect chooses to invest or not. To create long-term, meaningful relationships, continue nurturing and networking with leads and investors.

Wrap up

A solid investor pitch deck lays out the mutual benefits of investing in your offer.

By following the steps in today’s guide, you can bring prospects on board and show them why investing in your venture is a win-win proposal.

Remember, it’s never too late to ask for support. Get clear on your needs, conduct research, and take steps to reach out to relevant investors. 

And speaking of support …

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That’s it for now.

Here’s to your success!


Kelly Moser is the co-founder and editor at Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era. She’s also the content manager at Login Lockdown, covering the latest trends in tech, business and security. Kelly is an expert in freelance writing and content marketing for SaaS, Fintech, and ecommerce startups.