Pitch perfect: how to write an effective pitch deck for investors

A stellar pitch can be the make or break of your business. Benjamin Salisbury unveils how you can wow investors.

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.
Written and reviewed by:

For a startup looking for venture capital or other investment, a pitch deck can showcase your business to potential investors.

A pitch deck should present your business in a concise but impactful way and capture why it is investable. It should highlight how investment can help a business develop and become profitable.

There are many different opinions on the best strategy to present your funding proposal but the consensus is for brevity, clarity and impact. Against a choice of a long-winded outline or a snappy example or demo that inspires an investor, guess what works better?

Alongside a prototype or demonstration, a pitch deck to support your pitch is an effective tool. This should include 10 slides, using a large font, utilising infographics and other page architecture to convey complex information clearly. It should be inspirational, allowing investors to visualise how they can be part of a successful journey.

There are separate strategies for pitching for seed investment, Series A or Series B. This article will focus on pitching a startup business for early-stage investment.

The fundamentals

When do you need a pitch deck?

When you want to present your business plan to potential investors for funding to develop the business. You don’t need one if you are growing and funding business development organically.

What is the aim of a pitch deck?

To persuade investors to invest in your business, to move it towards its next stage of growth and development. Pitch decks can help achieve this. The optimum time to showcase your business using 10 slides is around 20 minutes, allowing time for questions.

Who is your audience?

Typically, angel investors and venture capitalists (VCs). Competition is strong. They will see hundreds of pitches each year and will quickly identify errors but also strong pitches.

Most VC investments fail, so investors want businesses that provide returns of 10x their initial investment, to compensate for losses. VCs and angel investors often specialise so target investors in your sector. Research investors to tailor your pitch to business ideas that resonate with them.

What do they want to know?

Identify in advance what questions your investor audience will ask and will want credible answers for. The fundamental question will be, ‘why is this startup worth me investing in?’

If you are aware of either current or anticipated issues, tackle them head on in your pitch. Investors will anticipate these problems and interrogate you about them anyway. Always identify the market opportunity.

A pitch to investors works best as a conversation, so don’t just talk, listen to and respond to investor comments and questions. Plan the pitch as a cohesive story that explains why your business is needed and how it will capitalise on a trend. The pitch deck should form an embryonic business plan, including a financial strategy, product details and customer analysis.

What are the specific requirements of a Seed Round pitch deck?

A seed pitch involves attracting initial investment from startup investors. Seed and angel investors typically invest between £250,000 and £1 million. Seed investors are usually small VC funds. Angel investors are often wealthy individuals, sometimes with experience in the market sector looking for investment.

Angel investors usually invest less than VCs, even for seed funding rounds, and there will often be a larger number of angel investors in one funding round. They are more likely to take a hands-on role in the early stages and a personal interest in business owners.

What slides should be included in a pitch deck?

  1. Introductory slide – This should show the purpose of your business, the name of your company, contact details and a brief outline of the product. The first 60 seconds are crucial to hook your audience. Explain your vision, ideally in one succinct sentence, on your slide.
  2. The problem – Identifying the problem you are solving makes it easier to plan and sell the solution. The problem can also be defined as the opportunity, the reason why your business exists. Show investors your product can solve a problem more effectively than competitors and earn revenue.
  3. The solution – Explain how you will solve the problem. Use a demonstration or screenshot as this will show your solution more effectively than words or slides can. Investors want to see the solution, not hear about it. Highlight the unique nature of your solution and how it benefits your customers.
  4. The market – Identify your typical customer. Detail the size and scope of the identifiable market and explain how it may grow in the future. Explain why investment may enable you to increase the size of the market you can reach. Use business data and charts to illustrate.
  5. The competition – Identify your business rivals and provide a complete overview of the competitive landscape. Have any competitors already identified a solution and if so, how and why will you be able to compete with them. Explain what makes you distinct, how future technologies might disrupt the market and how you will capitalise on this.
  6. The product – This slide builds on the solution slide. Show more product details and how you will position the product and market it. Expand on the benefits it will provide. Show ‘the secret ingredient’ that makes your solution unique. Present more details on its functionality, features, intellectual property ownership and further development required to improve it.
  7. The business & revenue model – Show how to monetize the product and finance development. Provide a revenue forecast, product pricing, cost details, sales and distribution model, how to target customers and how and when the business will become profitable. This is a vital slide that investors will quiz you on.
  8. Your team – Investors invest in your team as well as you. Demonstrate how your team has the skills to build and manage the business. Presenting your team effectively is vital. Use them to explain pitch slides they are expert in. Investors will monitor how you delegate, manage and use your team. Don’t use more than three people during a 20-minute pitch.
  9. The financials – Accuracy is vital. Ensure you understand the numbers. Pitches can fail if an investor asks a financial question that is not answered clearly. Provide investors with any financial results, profit and loss details, a balance sheet, projections and potential earnings.
  10. Current status, use of funds and business exit strategy – Show the current status, what the startup has achieved and how investment has been used so far. Detail what funds you now need, why you need it now, how you will deploy this funding successfully and the key targets you expect to reach from this investment. Presenting a business exit strategy allows an investor to see how they may recoup their investment and profit.


A successful pitch needs to begin with an instant hook to get investors’ attention. It should articulate a vision that investors can buy into, explain the problem your business is solving and show why your solution is compelling, attractive to many customers and right for now. A live demo is vital wherever possible to show investors your solution.

The pitch needs to be supported by accurate financial projections and results. Provide clear explanations on why you need investment, how it will be used and why investors can expect a significant ROI.

A case study

Space DOTS, a London-based company that is building modular devices to test materials in orbit raised £1.2 million in pre-seed funding in July in a round led by US-based deeptech investor Boost VC. The funding will be used to commercialise the startup’s first product, the Barnacle DOT, a material testing module that works in orbit.

The successful funding round illustrates attributes a business leader needs to attract investment; deep knowledge and experience of the sector, the ability to authoritatively show investors they know their product and to inspire them by showing how to disrupt a sector with an innovative product.

Space DOTS CEO and co-founder is Bianca Cefalo. A background working for Airbus Defence and Space allowed her and fellow co-founder James Sheppard Alden to understand that testing products in space – the environment where the materials are expected to operate in – is a better use of resources than testing in an environment where the product will not be used.

Their background gave them experience and knowledge of the inefficiencies linked to testing advanced materials for space technologies. As Cefalo said in a statement announcing the funding, “You wouldn’t test a rain jacket in the sun.”

Investors obviously agreed.

Brayton Williams, Co-founder and Partner at Boost VC, said: “Building for space is HARD. It takes ambitious technical dreamers to shake up an industry.”

Do's and Don'ts of pitch deck delivery


✔️ Research which investors to target

✔️ Prepare answers to key questions

✔️ Fully understand all aspects of your business

✔️ Illustrate the problem and solution early in the pitch

✔️ Use a demo – Show, don’t just tell

✔️ Understand the numbers behind your financial slides

✔️ Listen to the answers/comments from investors 


Talk too much

Have colleagues at the pitch without using them

Create slides that have too much text

Avoid identifiable problems – Discuss them head on

Include the terms of a deal in the pitch – Discuss them in person

Have a pitch presentation that runs and runs – 20 minutes is about right, so time it.

❌ Let you enthusiasm for pitching your business idea lapse as the pitch develops

Benjamin Salisbury image
Benjamin Salisbury - business journalist

Benjamin Salisbury is an experienced writer, editor and journalist who has worked for national newspapers, leading consumer websites like This Is Money and MoneySavingExpert.com, business analysts including Environment Analyst, AIM Group and written articles for professional bodies and financial companies. He covers news, personal finance, business, startups and property.

Written by:

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

We value your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Please review our commenting policy.

Back to Top