How to craft a winning pitch deck

Learn the thought process that goes into crafting a winning pitch deck that would be memorable to investors and get you the funds you need for your startup.

How to craft a winning pitch deck

Raising capital from investors is an art. Crafting a great pitch deck is an essential way to get the capital you need. The importance of a clear and compelling design cannot be overstated but this article is not about that.

Rather we are going to examine the thought process that goes into crafting a winning pitch deck that would be memorable to investors and get you the funds you need for your startup.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a short presentation that explains your product and business model to investors. It communicates your idea to investors in a way that convinces them to invest.

Think of the pitch deck as the tool for inviting investors to consider funding your business idea. Like a great CV, it should pique the interest of the audience, answer all of their questions and ignite confidence in your ability as a competent entrepreneur.

A pitch deck obligates you as a founder to form a quick and concise explanation for your startup. It should make a good first impression and help investors find real and measurable information which allows them to detect the potentials of your startup. The pitch deck needs to be simple and easy to understand, professionally designed and include a distinct action for your potential investors to take.

Four things great pitch decks have

Winning pitch decks have some things in common that make them stand out. And if you are going to go home with the funds your startup needs, it is essential you have those things in mind.

When creating your pitch deck know that there are many other start-ups vying for the funds you want. So you want to be memorable, convincing and direct.

Here are four things great pitch decks have in common: storytelling, clear value proposition, brand personality and clear call to action.

1. Storytelling

Storytelling remains a powerful marketing tool that is helpful to crafting your pitch deck, because facts tell, but stories sell. Stories help you pull your audience into your startup journey, make them feel connected and more likely to invest in the startup’s success.

You don’t want to bore potential investors with cold facts alone thereby making them lose interest. At the end of the day people will forget the facts and data you share, but if your story resonates, it remains with them for a long time.

How do you infuse storytelling into your pitch deck?

  • Use a relatable character
    Create a relatable character that'll make potential investors get emotionally invested in your pitch. Investors are more likely to relate to Owusu, a self-employed businessman looking for the perfect accounting software than to a nameless business owner.
  • Take your audience on a journey
    Your pitch deck needs to have a beginning, middle, and end, as all great stories do. Start with how you found the problem. Introduce your character and paint a picture of how the characters’ life looks. The problems they are facing and their situation if they don’t take action.

    Use sensory words to help you describe why the problem needs to be addressed now. Then, transition into the solution by sharing the after picture and how the character will feel once the problem is solved.
  • Think like an investor
    After you’ve narrowed down your character and got clear on the story, now think like an investor. Answer all of the questions you’d want answers to as an advisor. A few questions to keep in mind are the problems you’re trying to solve? Your growth rate? How will your product scale with demand? Your business model and your expansion plans? How much are you trying to raise and how will you spend the investment?
  • Infuse visual elements to enhance your story and facts
    Apart from using storytelling techniques, use the right visual elements to enhance your story and pictorially present your facts. Elements such as charts and graphs, are a great way to showcase statistics.

2. Clear value proposition

You should be clear with your value proposition. State the problem you want to solve. Be specific on how the problem impacts people and businesses. The solution you offer. Vividly describe the solution blueprint you offer. What makes you and your startup special?

Also show the market you are targeting, how big it is, and how you will penetrate the market. Investors also want to know what’s in it for them. How much money you are going to make. Providing insights into these questions will convince investors to invest the funds you need.

3. Brand personality

Brand personality is the human traits a brand develops that informs how the brand talks and behaves. It is the human personality attached to a brand. If Apple Inc. brand was a person how would he act? Classy, creative, stylish, innovative right? That’s Apple Inc. brand personality.

So imagine your brand to be a person. How would you want that person to behave? What would you want that person to be known for? Now, infuse those personalities into the pitch deck. Let your brand personality be evident in your pitch deck without having to say it.

4. Clear call to action

What’s a pitch deck without a call to action? Getting your investors to take your desired action is the whole essence of pitching. So winning pitch decks end with a clear and punchy call to action.

Tell the investor how much you need and what it will get you. If possible, offer them something that would sustain the conversation or grow their interest. Invite them to speak with your first five customers to explain why they love your product and can never live without it.

Bottom line

The goal of your pitch deck is to engage your investors sufficiently that they want to know more about you and your startup. A research done by DocSend shows that investors spend on average 3 minutes and 44 seconds per pitch deck. So endeavour to make your pitch deck simple, interesting and easy to understand. Doing this would put you ahead of other startups.

Get weekly insights on tech startups and VC in Africa