What Should Be In Your Deck?

There are a million pitch deck templates out there. This framework is comprehensive without being too complicated and achieves a good balance between talking about you, talking about the product, and talking about the market.

This is a suggested order and you might be justified in making different choices. For example, you might bring up competition earlier if you want to talk about it in the context of the problem; maybe you own some unique advantage or have such great early success that it justifies leading with go to market or traction.

You also shouldn’t feel locked into a “one slide per bullet point” rule, but you also shouldn’t be spending more than three slides explaining any single bullet point (and there had better be a damn good reason for that third slide).

Without further ado:

  • Purpose: Before we even talk about the product, I want to know why you’re here. What gets you excited to work on this every day? What is your mission?
  • Team: I mostly agree with Rob Go. If you’re early, this should be early in your deck. Founders, key team, and advisors (within reason). Keep the bios short, but highlight the most relevant and most impressive things.
  • Problem: Who is the customer and what is their problem? What job are they doing and why does their current solution suck?
  • Solution/Product: Why should your customer work with you? What does your product do and how is it better than the status quo? What’s your ultimate vision? If you have a demo, this is where it would go, although many investors will prefer to start the meeting with that.
  • Market: Please be more specific than “X is a $100 billion industry!” This is about how much value you can add for your customers. And if you tell me your ideal customer is “everybody,” this pitch is over.
  • Business Model: How do you make money? What can you tell us about your unit economics?
  • Go To Market: How will you reach your target customers?
  • Traction: If you’re B2B, who are your current customers? Partners? Who is in your pipeline? If you’re consumer, what does growth, retention, and usage look like over time? Testimonials can go here (though they could also be adjacent to your solution/product slides).
  • Competition: Who are your competitors and what are your advantages over them? How do you plan to sustain those advantages?
  • The Ask: How much money do you need? What will that get you?
  • Appendices: Are investors asking questions that are best answered with data or data visualizations that don’t fit the narrative? Put them here until you figure out how to address them naturally in the course of a pitch (if you need to). Then again, if multiple investors are asking the same questions, you ought to address that in the pitch — or at least in conversation.