Skip to the main content.

Manage your portfolio with ease and evaluate potential investments.

The platform is fully synced with Companies House, to provide you with accurate, real-time insight.

Request a demo

manage iconManage

Add your investments for complete visibility of your shareholdings. View cap tables and detailed share movements.

organise iconOrganise

Organise investments by fund, geography or sector, and view your portfolio as a whole or by individual company.

scenario iconModel

Explore future value scenarios based on various growth trajectories, to figure out potential payouts.

streamline iconStreamline

Remove friction and save time. Action shareholder resolutions via DocuSign, access data rooms, and get updates from founders.

SPVs iconSPVs

Set up and manage new SPVs without leaving the platform, then invite co-investors to fund and participate.

capterra rating
The Joy of Enterprise Management Incentives
Read our free guide to the UK's most tax-efficient share scheme.
Get the guide

5 min read

Pitch perfect: cracking the code to a winning pitch deck

Pitch perfect: cracking the code to a winning pitch deck

Table of Contents

The world of venture capital has more cash available than ever before, and, contrary to belief, they still want to invest it. But, it’s no secret that investment volumes have decreased.

Half of the industry experienced a slowdown with many emerging managers grabbing their jackets and running for cover. However, the other half have weathered past challenges and recognise that periods of hardship can yield the best companies.

Moving away from years of jumping on every unicorn hype train, investors are demanding more evidence of a viable business model and team. So how you present yourself and your business is vital.

The importance of a pitch deck

If you want to raise investment, you'll need to have a stellar pitch deck to get the attention of the investors you need. 

Investors are like the popular kid in school, they get all the attention. During 2021-22, VCs received hundreds of pitch decks a week. Of those, only a few make it through to a deals pipeline and even fewer to investment (1:100 on average).

This is why Nick Donnelly, second-time founder and CEO of Cruton, says creating a compelling pitch deck can be one of the hardest parts of being a founder.

"The aim of your pitch deck is to stand out and persuade a potential investor you're worth giving a follow-up meeting."

"Fail that, you’re getting off at Bootstrapville instead."

To increase your odds, ensure your story is “clear, simple, compelling and easy to act on”.

How to create an impressive pitch deck

Based on personal experience, the challenge isn’t generating content but rather filtering the most valuable snippets to include. As Mies Van der Rohe famously said, “Less is more”.  

As a tip on what to include in your pitch deck, consider the 10/20/30 rule, a guideline offered by seasoned presenters.

The format is:

  • 10 slides: A short, concise presentation containing the most critical information.
  • 20 minutes: Limit yourself to 20 minutes to keep your audience's attention.
  • 30-point font: Keep it readable by having a font size of at least 30 points for text.

This rule can help you create a pitch deck that is both engaging and effective


What should be in a pitch deck?

Here's what to cover in your 10 slides:

1. The problem

Here you can personalise the problem story to capture the imagination of your investors. Using an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or a personal story that has them drooling for more.

2. The solution

Share how you’re solving the problem and ensure you have a problem fit not just a market fit. Nobody wants a hammer looking for a nail.

3. Product and features

Share the details that make your product viable in the simplest way, images and diagrams say a thousand words.

4. Market

This is where a lot of founders fall down. Research the market sizing and ensure you display clear workings. You can find examples of market sizing here.

5. Competitive landscape and potential risks

Ensure you include research, competitors are fine; just include how you differentiate and potential risks.

6. Revenue and operating model

Show the focus that will get you to your revenue goal. You can share product pricing, 12 months of targets and a high-level go-to-market (including ICP).

7. Traction

Show the early traction you have, it’s super important and demonstrates you get things done.

8. Projections

Nobody will believe 1m in ARR for month one. Demonstrate great projections to reassure investors you are growth-orientated. Lifestyle businesses are a turn-off.

9. Team 

A great opportunity to introduce yourself and fellow voyagers. Shout out wins and relevance and don’t be afraid to link a cheeky Loom video for an intro.

10. Fundraise

Show how the funds will be used to 10X your business, if you have an ask then put it in. Need an industry expert to support distribution? Tell them. (Don’t forget to include contact details).

The blank page block is real. Ever heard of Uber? Well, they were uber successful at raising. Check out their pitch deck and other great examples to kick-start your story.

Resources to help you build a killer pitch deck

It’s common knowledge that slides with excessive content are visually unprofessional and off-putting for investors. There are plenty of pitch deck templates out there, purpose-built software, and founders willing to share their winning pitch decks, so really, there's no excuse. 

BUT before you send the deck, it’s good practice to run quality control. You can do this by: 

  1. Sending slides to friends and fellow founders to get feedback. If your slides aren’t clear, how will investors understand them?
  2. Using technology like to score your slides and rank them in a league of other founders. It’s promoted by second-time founders like Alex Macdonald who sold  Velocity Black for a whopping $300m.
  3. Run testing, and utilise a curated investors list. You can send your deck to investors on the bottom, and, using a tool to track engagement, see where interest dips and the areas investors spend the most time.  

Learn from others

There are a million recommendations out there on common mistakes. But often, the quickest route to success is avoiding the pitfalls of others, so we thought we'd share some real-life learnings.

Chris Tottman, investor

Founder, investor and partner at Notion Capital, Chris put together a blueprint for success:

Greg Bock, CEO and founder of Fidesium

“The titles of your slides should tell the story themselves, so a quick read sells you without them even looking at the slides. One common mistake founders make is focusing on the solution without clearly defining the problem.”

Matt Milligan, CEO and founder of Uhubs

“The founding team slide is crucial, especially early on. Explaining "why" and your team's suitability are top priorities. Investors want to trust your skills and expertise to tackle the problem effectively."

One thing that took me a while to tackle was distinguishing the "reading" deck from the "presentation" deck.

"These two types require unique approaches, as I learned that detailed reading slides are unsuitable for presentations, and vice versa.”

Jonathon Ilett, founder of Revenue Syndicate

“For early-stage founders, we look for traction in small things, like a successful newsletter. There’s a correlation with traction in small things and success of the business for us. The second thing is the team, who’s there, can they build a good team.”

The main error we see is poorly articulated GTM (Go-to-Market) plans.

"Without 50-70% clear annual growth, it limits the desired raise and the business in future. As a GTM investor community, we expect to see a strong GTM strategy.”

So, if you’re struggling to build a pitch deck you can look at outsourcing it. You might be thinking, how much should I pay for a pitch deck? We’d like to emphasise this comes with a large cost, founders typically spend between $5 to 50,000 on this process.

Mustafa Rasheed, angel investor and advisor

Based on a review of over 40 pitch decks, Mustafa Rasheed identified ten common mistakes:

Think about how you can make yourself stand out

Lastly, nailing a great pitch deck doesn’t guarantee success, you may still end up buried in an inbox of VCs, so what can you do to stand out?

Referrals from another founder (especially one in their portfolio) are better than 100 'spray and pray' messages. Spend time identifying good introductions. And ensure you practise your storytelling skills.

There are also tools out there to help to stand out, a personal favourite is the Digital Sales Room tools like Trumpet. Here you can create microsites personalised to your investor, with curated videos and other key pitch details.

In summary, creating an outstanding pitch deck is a good way to land yourself an investment. Yet, even the best founders can find their slides lost in the never-ending mailboxes of an investor.

To improve the odds of your amazing pitch deck getting you in front of an investor, make great connections, fine-tune your storytelling and explore innovative tools to set you apart.

In a competitive market, a great pitch deck is important; but you also need to give it the best opportunity to succeed, so finding a unique approach and dedication will help mark success for your journey. 

Download our free pitch deck template

We reviewed the best pitch decks out there and real-life feedback from investors to create a killer template. In it, you'll find core slides - the absolute essential to include - and a few optional extras. Get your copy and make it your own.

Best of luck with your pitch!

What you're missing from your pitch deck

What you're missing from your pitch deck

You know that part on The Office where Dwight gets to plan the office birthday parties?

Read More
How to bounce back from a bad pitch

How to bounce back from a bad pitch

Not every pitch is perfect. We have all been there, honest! Ask any founder and, almost all, will share their worst pitch experience when they just...

Read More
The first steps to finding an investor for your startup

The first steps to finding an investor for your startup

Getting your startup off the ground and realising your vision can be expensive. Businesses take time and money to grow, and revenue is often limited...

Read More