Let’s face it: presenting your business to a group full of strangers is hard.
A few of them know your company, but most of them have never heard of your brand. So you’re already fighting an uphill battle from the start.
That’s why you need to make sure you have the best pitch deck possible to help you out.
But first, what is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a presentation you create to raise venture capital from potential investors for your business. It outlines everything from why your business exists, your business model, progress or milestones, the team behind your business as well as a conclusion in the form of a call to action.
A pitch deck can help you:
- Prove the value of your business in difficult economic times
- Simplify complex ideas so your audience can understand them (and get onboard)
- Differentiate your business from its competitors
- Tell the story behind your company (and make the story exciting)
But in order for your pitch deck to work effectively, you need a professional pitch deck design. Think of it as the eye-catching packaging for your business idea.
If you’re not sure where to start, you really couldn’t be in a better place. Below you will find a plethora of the best pitch deck examples, tips, and pitch deck templates!
So let’s get into it.
1. The best pitch decks stick to the rule of threes on each slide
I thought it would be fitting to start this article with a company that everyone has probably used, or at least heard about. This Airbnb software pitch deck also happens to be one of our most popular presentation templates!
There are a lot of great things about this innovative investor pitch deck, but I want to focus on only one in this example. If you take a look at all of the slide below, there’s not one that has more than three sections of information:
One of the most popular presentation layouts, the rule of three has been drilled into my head since middle school art class, and that’s because it works. In my opinion, only the best pitch decks follow this simple rule on their slides.
Learn how to customize this pitch deck template:
2. Use a timeline to show how your company has grown
The best pitch decks tell the real story about your company or brand. You want to not only sell the audience on your product but also how you built that product from the ground up.
An extremely simple way to do that is by creating a company or product timeline like in the above investor pitch deck example. We have found that people are already very familiar with timelines and know how to read them quickly.
Plus you can summarize a ton of information about your brand on a single slide. Check out how well the timeline fits into this pitch deck template below:
If the designer wouldn’t have used a timeline, this information would have probably been spread over five or six extra slides! But you don’t need a designer either way since Venngage also has a timeline maker to help you visualize your progress across a period of time.
3. Introduce your core team on a single slide
Another important part of your story is the people who helped you build the company. These people are the lifeblood of your brand and what helps it stand out from the competitors.
Now I’m guessing you have already planned on adding them to the pitch deck. However, I would recommend using only a single slide like they did in this example.
You can use a team photo if you want to talk about the whole team. Or highlight the most important individuals, like below:
Explaining how your startup is going to solve a specific problem is a vital part of any slide deck. Without that information, investors and the audience are going to be left with more questions than answers.
Make sure that your problem and solutions slides are easy to understand by using a similar layout on both. This will ensure that the audience will be able to quickly recall the main problem you want to solve.
This visual symmetry will help the audience connect your solution to the problem almost instantly. Even if the slides are separated by a few other points or ideas.
5. Visualize the problem you’re solving in the pitch deck
Not everyone is going to be able to explain their problem and solution as succinctly as the previous examples. Some are going have to take a unique approach to get their point across.
That’s why I want to highlight how Front masterfully visualized the problem they are solving. I think they realized it would be a lot easier to create a killer flow chart that visualizes the problem. (Did I mention you can make your own flowcharts with Venngage?)
As you can see, all they needed was a single visual to explain the core problems that they identified. Also, I really like how they distilled each of the problems down to a single phrase. That approach, combined with the visuals, will help it stick in investors minds as the best pitch deck.
6. Include a slide with information on how to contact your brand
Sometimes you’re going to give your pitch to a small room of investors. Other times it will be to an auditorium full of random people in your industry.
And I can guarantee, not everyone is going to know your brand off the top of their head.
Your job should be to make it extremely easy for people to find out more info or to contact the team with any questions. I would recommend adding this to the last slide, like in this pitch deck example.
Or on a slide that will be seen the longest, like the title slide. This will help anyone that is interested write it down as the event organizers get things ready.
7. Split up text on slides with visuals
Helping the audience make the right conclusions about your company should be an important part of your pitch deck strategy. Without saying a word, the visual choices you make can greatly impact your message.
For example, take a look at the slide from an organic food company above. It splits the competition slide right down the middle to illustrate the differences. It also shows exactly how the processes differ between the two entities.
I like this tactic because it shows how your company is better at a glance. It will also help them recall this information late because they can tie each brand to a certain color.
8. Pick a consistent theme for your presentation background images
The best pitch decks keep things consistent, mainly because there are so many moving parts in any presentation. You want each of your slides to feel like they are connected by a singular feeling or theme. An out of place presentation background image can throw that off.
Keeping things consistent when you use a solid background color or pattern isn’t hard. But things can get a little tricky if you want to use different photos for your backgrounds.
But if you pick presentation background images that have a similar color palette, you will be fine. Check out the images in the pitch deck from Crema below:
Also if you’re struggling to find exactly the same colored photos, you can use a color filter to make things a little more uniform.
9. Introduce your company and important stats early in your pitch deck
The behemoths at WeWork still have one of the best software pitch decks, even though this is a handful of years old. In fact, this investor pitch deck actually helped them raise money at a $5 billion valuation.
My favorite thing from this example is that they outline their key metrics on the second slide. They waste no time getting down to business and let the audience know they are killing it from the beginning.
A lot of the time brands hide these metrics at the end of their presentation, but WeWork made sure to put it front and center. I think this illustrates that they are a company that values transparency and honesty.
This approach puts the audience in a positive state of mind, which can help them be more receptive to the pitch.
10. For long pitch decks, switch up the slide layouts
The best pitch decks are rather short, only covering a few main points across a handful of slides. But sometimes your deck needs to cover a little more information.
There’s nothing wrong with having a long investor pitch deck, as long as you switch up the slide layouts a few times. No one wants to see basically the same slide with different metrics or points across 25 slides.
For example, this slide deck template that we created based on the famous Uber deck has 20 or more slides! And as you can see in the slides below, the layout switches a few times:
Sometimes you have to set the mood of the room before you jump into your slide deck. A simple way to do this is by adding a powerful statement or famous quote at the beginning of your slides.
This may sound a little cliche but the creatives over at Crew use this approach extremely well in their pitch presentation.
In the slide above, they make a very simple statement that puts the rest of the presentation in the right context. By claiming that every business is an online business, they instantly change the way that people think about the business sector.
Additionally, the designers used this straightforward statement to set up the rest of the presentation perfectly. As you can see in the next few slides, the potential market is explained. Without the statement, I don’t think these numbers are as impactful.
12. Use similar charts and graphs for easy comparisons across your pitch deck
One of my favorite tips from my presentation ideas roundup article states you should never make the audience do the math.
You can also use this mantra when you’re adding data visualizations to your slides. Make each slide extra easy to consume, as well as, easy to compare to other visualizations.
Let’s take a look at the graphs and charts the Crew team used in their slide deck. Above you can see that the line charts use the same color palette, size, and typography.
And below the pie charts use the exact same elements as well:
If the designers would have used a different example, the audience would be distracted trying to decipher the information.
But consistent design across multiple visualizations will ensure your audience can make comparisons and the right conclusions.
Pro Tip: You can use a comparison infographic to summarize key points you’re comparing.
13. Pick a pitch deck background image that fits your messaging
A good background image is the foundation of a great presentation.
There are millions of stock photos out there for you to pick from, so finding a few great ones shouldn’t be hard.
However, when you’re picking your presentation background images it’s important to make sure it matches your message or brand.
This minimalist background image was a great choice for this presentation as well. Especially because eco-friendly living and minimalism share some of the same core tenants.
Another great example is this sponsorship pitch deck above. It elevates the key message by opting for a simplicitstic background choice coupled with a light color choice.
With a beautiful yet minimalistic slide deck like this, who wouldn’t want to donate?
14. Put viewers in a user’s shoes with simple screenshots
Highlighting digital problems is tough when you have limited space and time. Like when you’re pitching your new digital product to a room full of investors.
The best pitch decks include screenshots of the problem that your digital product is solving.
As you can see above, the people from Mattermark used screenshots to show how unorganized SAAS reporting was. At that time it was spread over a ton of different sites, with different reporting standards and values.
Their product solved this messy reporting by bringing all of the data and information under one roof.
It would be difficult to sell an investor or audience member on their product just by talking about the market. Mainly because not a lot of people have experience in that specific niche.
But with a handful of screenshots, they were able to highlight the product potential almost instantly.
15. Use different colors to break down key findings or stats
In the slide above, you can see the team at Mattermark stuck to the rule of three. This rule will help you keep your team from overwhelming the audience with a flood of stats or figures.
They also decided to make these figures a little easier to consume by highlighting them in different colors.
Not only will this make the slide almost effortless to skim, but the varied colors will also make the numbers stick out in an investors mind.
Compared to a boring list of figures, it’s a lot easier to remember three distinct colored numbers.
Plus because the background colors get darker as they go, it will naturally pull the reader’s eyes down the slide.
16. Tell an origin story that your audience can connect with
In a lot of our presentations, we talk about how Venngage started from humble beginnings and has grown to a 50+ person company in just a few years.
That’s because people really love origin stories. It helps the audience connect with your brand and see where it came from. Plus in this day and age, consumers love to see a brand build itself up from nothing.
For example, take a look at the pitch deck from Dwolla above. In a single sentence, they are able to outline why they were founded.
Just be sure to talk about your company founding in the first few slides of your pitch. Otherwise, it won’t have the same impact on the audience.
17. Don’t just list your ideal users, create visual personas
As a design company, we always love to see people create great visualizations in their pitch decks. Particularly when these visuals help illustrate a certain part of your presentation.
Like when it comes to talking about your ideal users!
As you can see above, the Dwolla designers created a few visual user personas for each of their main use cases.
These visual user personas can help the audience put a real-ish face to your user base. And if you have many ideal users, like Dwolla, it can help them keep each group organized.
18. Create graphs and charts that cover the whole slide
Be proud of your brand’s growth and metrics in your slide deck. You all worked hard to grow a company from nothing and that’s a big achievement!
So why would you want to make that growth hard to see? You wouldn’t!
However, I have seen a lot of people inadvertently hide their key metrics by using small graphs and charts.
The only solution to this problem is…bigger graphs! And I mean huge graphs, like Kickfolio used in their pitch deck above. Their graph is so large and imposing, every audience member could see it clearly. Our graph maker can help you make similar graphs for your own pitch decks.
19.Feature illustrative icons in your pitch deck
Icons have been making a comeback in the design world over the past few years. According to this year’s graphic design trends, they will continue to be extremely popular and can add a little bit of whimsy to any pitch deck.
Each icon that they used perfectly illustrates the point they are making on each slide and gives you a ton of instant context. They will definitely catch the eye of almost any audience member because they have been used so well.
Just remember to follow their lead and use consistently designed icons!
20. Add icon headers to your important content
I could write a whole article about using icons in your presentations correctly. There are so many ways you can use them to upgrade your slides.
One of my favorite ways to use icons is as visual anchors for your written information. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, just look at the slide deck template below:
Each of the main points has an icon that gives a little instant visual context to the audience. These icons also draw the eye almost immediately to these important facts and figures as well.
Just remember to use icons that have a similar style and color palette. Otherwise, you run the risk of them becoming a distraction.
21. Use contrasting colors to emphasize important points
Color isn’t just about making your designs looks good. It can also help you draw attention to important information.
For example, take a look at this simple pitch deck from Purple Go. They contrast deep purple with white to help certain sentences pop.
This is a simple way to give your slides a lot of impact; pick colors that contrast boldly with each other.
22. Highlight how your company stands out from competitors
I’m guessing your pitch deck is already going to touch on how you stand out from the competition. Bug just listing a few things that set you apart in the industry may not be enough on your slide deck. You may need to add some visual cues to help the audience out.
This simple addition to your slides will make your help your information jump off the slide. And provide a strong visual break from the other related companies.
23. Reduce your slides down to only the most important metrics
Generally, slide decks are full of important metrics that they want you to remember. But not all of those numbers are presented in a way that would make them easy to remember.
Some are hidden in long paragraphs, while others are smashed together with less important findings.
With this approach, the audience members place their full attention on that number. And they will be able to recall the related information a lot quicker.
It may look overly simple to some, but the best pitch decks use this tactic a lot.
24. Feature a minimalist title slide to build some suspense
You probably know that presentations don’t always run as smoothly as planned. With breaks and technical problems, the time between presentations often ends up being rather long.
A lot of the time you see the title slide longer than the whole presentation actually takes.
So if you really want to build some anticipation for your pitch, create a minimalist title slide. As you can see above, the designers at Hampton Creek did just this.
The only negative part of this tactic is that no one is going to know the name of your company.
25. Build the presentation around your background images, not on top
Most of the time your pitch deck background images are supposed to be used in a supporting role. These beautiful stock photos are meant to fade, well, into the background. Then all of your important information is added on top of them.
However, you can also design your presentation around the background images to create the best pitch deck.
I think this makes each of the slides feel more real, and like it was almost printed on the paper! Plus no one can really copy your pitch deck layout, so you will instantly stand out from other companies.
The only words of advice I have are to pick photos that share the same color palette and theme. Otherwise, the benefits of using these kinds of presentations backgrounds will be lost.
26. The best pitch decks do the math for your audience
People hate doing math. So you never want to make the audience or investors try to do quick math on any of your graphs or charts.
Out of all the tips in this article, this one might be the most important. Mainly because forgetting this idea could instantly doom your brand.
Especially when you’re dealing with millions of dollars, tiny percent changes or other complicated numbers.
That’s why I recommend you “do the math” on every slide you include a graph or chart. Kinda like how Sickweather did above!
By pulling out the main growth metrics from the graph, they made this slide a lot more consumable. And showed the audience exactly what they need to pay attention to on slide.
You made it to the end of this rather long article! But I think we covered a ton of great tips that can help you create the best pitch deck for your company.
Some of my favorite tips include:
- The best pitch decks add icon headers to your important content
- Use similar charts and graphs for easy comparisons across slides
- For long pitch decks, switch up the slide layouts
- Pick a consistent theme for your presentation background images
- Don’t just list your ideal users, create visual personas
- Use a timeline to show how your company has grown
- Do the math for your audience
Now that you know how to create the best pitch decks to communicate your ideas, present your business or raise venture capital, take action and start designing your own pitch deck today!
And if you want to learn more, there are a ton of other presentation design resources you can take a look at next: