Pitch Decks 101: What Should a Start-up Pitch Deck Include?

As a start-up founder, creating a pitch deck is a crucial step towards gaining investment and attracting potential customers. It is essential to have a well-structured pitch deck that highlights your idea and its potential. Here's what your pitch deck should contain:

1. Elevator Pitch
The first slide of your pitch deck should be an elevator pitch, a one-liner summary that combines your product and mission. The first 15 seconds of your pitch are crucial, so make sure your elevator pitch is concise and compelling. It should capture the essence of your business idea, what makes it unique and the problem it solves.

2. Problem
The second slide should focus on the problem you're solving. Be concise and direct, and use indisputable statements. Think statistics and evoke emotions with a story. You want to make it clear that there is a significant problem that your product or service addresses, and why it's a problem worth solving.

3. Solution
The third slide should be about the solution you're proposing. Keep the solution simple and easy to understand. Is it a vitamin, painkiller, or cure? The key is to make it easy for the audience to understand what you are proposing and how it solves the problem.

4. Why you? Why now?
On this slide, you need to explain why you are the best person or team to execute this idea and why now is the right time to do so. Highlight your unique experiences and expertise that make you the best perosn or team for the job. Explain the reason why this is the right moment to bring this idea to life, and why the timing is critical.

5. Momentum and Traction
On this slide, you need to demonstrate that your idea is gaining momentum and has traction. Depending on your stage, this slide can include elements such as a timeline of your milestones, growth metrics, partnerships, and press coverage, or testimonials from early adopters. You want to provide evidence that there is interest and demand for your product or service, such as customer testiomonials, early adopters sign-ups or initial interest surveys.

6. Team
The next slide should be about your team. It's crucial to include relevant experience, capabilities, and “unfair advantages”. Showcase why your team is uniquely positioned to bring this idea to life and succeed.

7. Addressable Market Opportunity
This slide should be about the market opportunity you are addressing. Be realistic and focus on the Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) rather than the Total Available Market (TAM) or Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM). This slide should demonstrate the potential market size and why it's an attractive opportunity.

8. Competition
On this slide, you need to address the competition. Whatever you do, do not ever try to pretend that you have no competitors. This will always backfire! Use a matrix to make it clear how you stand out in terms of features and price. Demonstrate how your product or service is unique and different from your competitors.

9. Product Demo
The next slide should be a product demo. If you have a tech product, use a video. If it’s a physical product, bring it on! This slide should give the audience a tangible sense of what you are offering and how it works.

10. Product Roadmap
The product roadmap slide should highlight your priorities, the technology you're using, and the timeline of the product development. You should also explain how you plan to defend your product or service from competitors.

11. Business Model
The business model slide should explain how you plan to generate revenues, what your product costs, who your customers are, and whether the math adds up. This slide should demonstrate that you have a viable business model and a clear understanding of how you will generate revenue.

12. Go-to-Market and Marketing Strategy
Explain your go-to-market plan and how you plan to reach your target customers. What channels will you use? What is your customer acquisition cost? What is your customer lifetime value? Have you tested your strategies? Be specific about your growth strategy and how you plan to tackle the market.

13. Financials
A start-up pitch deck should also contain the financial projections of the company. This includes revenue, expenses, and profit projections for the next few years. Financial projections are often difficult to estimate accurately, so it is important to be realistic in your estimates. Investors want to see that you have a solid understanding of the financial aspects of your business and that you have thought about how you will generate revenue and manage costs.

It is important to include operational costs, such as salaries, rent, and marketing expenses, in your financial projections. This will give investors a sense of how much money you will need to raise to get the business off the ground and keep it running.

14. Financial Ask
In addition to financial projections, a pitch deck should include a slide that outlines how much money you are looking to raise and what you plan to use the funds for. Be specific about how you plan to spend the money and how it will help your business grow. This is a key slide that investors will be interested in, as it gives them an idea of how much money they will need to invest and what they can expect in return.

15. Contact Details
Finally, a pitch deck should include contact details for the founders and the company. This should include email addresses and phone numbers where investors can reach out to you with questions or to schedule a follow-up meeting. Make sure the contact details are easy to find and read, and that they are accurate and up-to-date.

In conclusion, a pitch deck for startups should contain all the necessary information about the business, its mission, problem, solution, team, traction, market opportunity, competition, product demo, product roadmap, business model, go-to-market strategy, financials, financial ask, and contact details. A well-crafted pitch deck can help you attract investors and secure funding for your startup, so make sure you spend the time and effort to create a compelling and effective presentation.

Remember, first impressions count, so make sure your pitch deck is professionally designed and free of typos and errors. Tailor the order of slides to your start-up stage and ensure that your deck is professionally designed with no typos, as first impressions count. And if you can keep your deck to under 15 slides, you'll earn bonus points for concision and clarity. Good luck!

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