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The Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice in A Start-Up’s Pitch Deck

Aug 23, 2021

The Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice in A Start-Up’s Pitch Deck

0 Comments icon Aug 23, 2021

If you’re a start-up seeking funding, the way you pitch yourself to the people with the money determines everything. This is a situation where ‘what’s inside’ definitely matters. 

Here’s a list of what I take to be some of the must-have ingredients you need to cook up the perfect pitch deck. 

Company overview 

Starting off the deck by telling investors who you are is as basic as introducing yourself to a stranger when you first meet them. Some companies believe in throwing in a hook before introductions, and that’s fine as long as it resonates with the message going to be delivered moving forward. 

Around four short but informative points on who you are, what your company stands for, your history, and any achievements till date would be very helpful in giving your investors the initial insight they need. 

Making these few facts fun would go a long way in creating an impact on your audience. 

The problem

Any start-up CEO or founder knows that if the idea behind the company or product does not solve a relevant, existing problem in society, it won’t be easy to justify the value of the start-up. 

Talk about the problem you’ve zeroed in on, the reason behind choosing it, and whom it affects. A relatable story to illustrate the problem’s seriousness and realness will give your investors greater clarity as to who you are as a business. 

Target market and opportunity

You would think the next slide would naturally be the solution. Effective storytelling, however, builds up suspense before the big reveal. In this case, a great suspense-builder would be the magnitude of the people affected by the identified problem. 

Who is your ideal customer? How many of them are there? What is the size of the market you are projecting to capture ideally? The more detailed figures you have for this juncture, the better. 

Here is where your TAM, SAM and SOM come in. You may be tempted to show the biggest, flashiest numbers to make it seem as though you’re reaching out to a larger audience, but if that’s not what your product can promise to deliver, the showiness will backfire. 

Investors want to invest in numbers which are backed by reasoning and research. Focus on a specific target market to not stray yourself while giving investors a more realistic idea of whom your product is for. 

The solution

Now it’s time for the big reveal. Show them how your product is a well-formulated solution backed by a great deal of thought and insight. 

More importantly, depict how it’s the ideal solution that will help your chosen target audience. By portraying how your product can solve the very real problem you talked about, you establish the importance of your start-up in the market as well. 

Placing your solution slide here is the perfect opportunity to portray it as the hero that’s here to save the day of the people. 

Use stories and graphics to make your slides more engaging and impactful. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words. 

Vision and value proposition

This is how you would describe your start-up if you had only one sentence to do it. Short, simple and sweet is the way to keep this. 

Tech start-ups tend to use big companies in these sentences to give a better understanding of their own identities. For instance, “We are LinkedIn and Carousell come together,” or “We are like Grab, but just for children.” 

Be careful to make sure that your characteristics actually somewhat model the company you refer to, and that you’re not misleading your investors by simply throwing around big names. 

Revenue model or business model

Your investors cannot invest in you if they don’t know how your product is going to make money. How much and who pays are vital questions to be answered here. Be it the users or advertisers, be clear about who the revenue is going to be generated from and how. 

Traction and validation

If the sales numbers are already looking hopeful for you, great. You should definitely talk about them at this stage. That way, you build your investors’ trust in your ability to attract and capture your target market.

If you don’t, talk about what you plan to achieve in the near future. A simple yet comprehensive two-year-plan roadmapping your key milestones would do just the trick for you. 

Marketing and sales strategy

This slide is all about how you plan to go to the market. From posting on social media to giving out flyers on the street, give a solid outline of what your marketing and sales efforts are going to look like. 

Depicting how you are going to reach your target market includes finding them in the first place. Assure your investors that you have a firm understanding of where to channel your efforts and what platforms you are going to use.

Uniqueness is key in this stage, so differentiating your plans from your competitors’ could give you a one-up with the investors. 


A start-up’s small team needs to contain the best people for the job. Each member must have the ‘X-factor’ that makes them better for the role than anyone else. A power-packed team is a necessity for a start-up’s power-packed progress. 


As a start-up CEO or founder, you most certainly have unending pages of figures to show investors. Advertising budget, projected revenue, and many more factors come into play here.

However, keep it simple for your pitch deck. Basic details highlighting expenses, profits, and customer projections will do you well. 

Be prepared to explain the rationale behind the statistics you’re presenting. 

It’s your start-up, so it might be slightly difficult to be realistic. You need to try. If you can project your figures based on existing data from your traction or similar companies, it would give more legitimacy to your numbers. 


In today’s business world, it is highly unlikely that you won’t have competitors. Even if your solution is brand-new, your future customers are already using their own way to solve the problem you are addressing.  

Not only do you have to show what your place is in the industry, you also have to communicate what sets you apart from everyone else. Basically, your Unique Selling Point (USP) has to be solidly distinctive. 

From there, go on to explain why you are confident that this difference will result in you being the people’s choice. 

Use of investment funds

Alas, the time to actually do what you created this pitch deck for: ask for the money. You’ve set up your stage; painted a beautiful portrait named ‘Why Me.’ Now it’s time to quote the price for that portrait. 

And this quote can’t just be a number plucked out of thin air. Justify why you need it and where it’s going to be utilised. Knowing how you’re going to use their money to achieve the goals you mapped out to them is the information that can tip investors towards either a yes or no. 

There are certainly several more slides you could choose to include – such as exit strategy – but remember that the best pitch decks are the shortest yet clearest. AirBnb did that, and look where they are today. 

Source Credit: Bplans

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