How To Design a Crazy-Good Tech Startup Pitch That Wows VC’s

We get it.

You’re a brand new tech startup, ready to take the world by storm; you’re convinced that your new and innovative product or service is going to change the world and inspire humanity. There’s just one little problem: funding.

  1. More Than Just a Presentation
  2. Define Venture Capital
  3. A Tech Startup Funding Deck
  4. How to Create a VC Pitch Deck
  5. What Should Your Pitch Deck Include
  6. Getting Your Tech Startup Funded
  7. The Basic Design Do’s and Don’ts
  8. Present a Brand as Well as an Idea
    1. Tell a Story
  9. Battle of the Brands
  10. What Does a “Good Design” Actually Mean?
  11. Summary

Whilst it seems counter-intuitive, there’s one thing that’s true to any business or startup. That is you need money in order to make money. Without the necessary funding it will be extremely difficult to market yourself, create mock-ups or test products, or even get your first sale through the door. This is why it’s endlessly important to obtain some kind of financial assistance to help your brand.

If there’s one way to really pitch your tech startup successfully to larger businesses or investors, it’s via a well-designed VC funding deck.

More Than Just a Presentation

Stars, space and nebula

A clever design is absolutely crucial when it comes to marketing and selling your product or service; this applies to both your funding pitch as well as whatever it is that you sell. In fact, a smartly-designed funding deck might even be more important than the product itself!

Potential investors will not only be considering your business. There will be countless other brands asking for financial support and fighting to be seen, and investors will only ever see you as a product – something to make them more money.

So, how do you make sure that your startup gets seen amongst an ocean of similar tech services? Easy – a killer design.

We’ve all been there: choosing one product over another simply because it has a better design. or a more interesting “story to tell”. Half of our brain is devoted to processing visual information, and this simple implication can be something that YOU can utilize for your own personal advantage. Especially  if you have a clear goal that you’d like to achieve.

Let’s have a look at some sure-fire ways that you can design a great VC funding deck for your tech startup:

Venture Capital

Venture Capitalist Funding for Tech Startups

Before we can consider how to design a standout VC funding deck, it’s important to properly understand the terminology used. For example – what even is a funding deck? And what does VC even mean?

Let’s start with the latter question: VC stands for ‘venture capital’. A term that I’m sure you’re all at least somewhat familiar with. If not, you certainly will be by the end of this article!

Venture capital simply refers to financing provided to startup companies from investors that believe them to have long-term growth potential. You might have even heard certain investors referred to as ‘venture capitalists’.

It’s important to remember that VC is NOT just free money, and investors will need to believe that your company is likely to succeed as, at the end of the day, your brand or product is only an investment for them to earn more money in the long run. This is why it’s important to make sure that your pitch is well designed, as it can instil an additional layer of security or trust with a potential investor!

The term ‘capital’ implies that these investments must be in monetary form, but this is not always the case; VC can also be provided in the form of professional expertise.

Investopedia has a very eye-opening and in-depth article on the concept of venture capitalism.

Tech Startup Funding Deck

Now that we’ve got VC out of the way, we can move on to the more interesting stuff: funding decks.

A funding deck, often referred to as a pitch deck, is essentially just a presentation shown to potential investors that shows off what your business does, and why someone should provide the VC that you need to get your startup off the ground.

It’s important for your funding deck to not only showcase an outline of your product or service, but to convince investors that they NEED to buy into whatever you’re offering. You need to make sure that your funding deck definitively shows off how and why your startup is going to make the investor more money, and why it will become a sustainable long term growth project.

The smarter you are with the design of your pitch deck, the more successful you are likely to be, and it could be the deciding factor in the success of your startup!

How to Create a VC Pitch Deck

Creating a tech startup pitch deck

On to the most important part: how to actually create a VC pitch deck. Whilst the design is integral to your success, you need to learn to walk before you can run!

At its core, a pitch deck is just a presentation that outlines what your product is, and how it will help your target demographic. You should put it together with the intention of selling your idea, with a major focus on how you intend to grow.

There are plenty of services that will help you put your pitch presentation together; from PowerPoint to Prezi. There is no industry standard software, though you do need to make sure that your presentation is compatible with the systems used by your potential venture capitalist.

The most effective pitch presentations are clear, concise and simple. It is essential that they are easy to read, follow and understand whilst gripping the audience’s attention and encouraging their interest. As covered by Forbes, the three keys to powerful pitch decks are:

  • It must be clear and Simple
  • Easy to Act on
  • Compelling

Research has shown that most funding decks are 19 slides or less, so you should always aim to work within this limit.

What Should Your Pitch Deck Include?

Tech startup writing funding deck checklist

In order to win over the support from your investor, your pitch deck must outline a specific problem, and how your startup is going to solve it.

Ask yourself (and answer!):

  • Who is this startup for?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • How does it solve the problem?
  • Why is it better than the other startups?
  • Why is it going to be successful?

It is extremely important to make sure the ’problem’ is relatable enough to generate a large need in an unsaturated market, and that it isn’t too niche that you’re unlikely to sell many units. To put it simply: find a gap in your chosen market and fill it!

An investor is much more likely to show an interest in what you have to offer if they can relate to the problem it solves, or if it shows a promising potential for growth. As for the solution, you need to demonstrate why funding is going to benefit you and how it will impact your growth. For example, you know that your product is going to work anyway – why does your tech startup need funding? How will funding increase your output? This is called scalability, and a successful pitch will perfectly represent the scalability of your startup. More money = more output = more money.

Let’s have a look at some essential do’s and don’ts of creating a massively successful funding deck:

Do:

  • Be clear and concise
  • Directly define the problem and how you will solve it
  • Know your audience and target market
  • Have a clear business plan and direction
  • Demonstrate scalability
  • Show metrics to show the success of your product
  • Share testimonials
  • Show the current growth rate of your startup
  • Be original in both execution and direction
  • Recognise your competition and determine why you’re a better solution
  • Use visuals, such as diagrams
  • Showcase your financial and personal business goals

Don’t:

  • Be cocky
  • Assume your success
  • Count your chickens before they’ve hatched
  • Make blanket statements
  • Assume that you’re the ‘first’
  • Ask for a specific amount (instead, provide a range – it will give you more opportunity!)

Finally, let’s have a look at some slide ideas to get this ball rolling:

  • The Problem
  • The Solution
  • Your Product
  • The Market
  • Growth So Far
  • Growth Plans
  • Your Team – (who’s who and why have you chosen them?)
  • The Competition
  • What Resources Do You Need?

Obviously, these are only suggestions and it’s important to make sure that you are as original as possible!

Getting Your Tech Startup Funded

Rocket ship launching

Now that we’ve touched on how your brain can use visual cues to impact purchases, we want to point out the importance of this “visual aid” on a bigger scale: in particular, when talking about tech startups.

Succeeding in the tech world is anything but an easy task. Instead, it is more like a road paved with challenges and the most important one is winning a startup pitch deck and getting that all-important funding.

Pitching your idea in a visually appealing and organized manner to potential venture capitalists opens more opportunities for you to earn the essential funds needed in order to accelerate your tech startup’s growth. If you think pitch deck is a simple PowerPoint/Keynote/Prezi presentation with twenty slides and a plain theme you are wrong in so many ways.

A well-designed pitch deck will allow you to get the attention of investors and tempt them to take action. The problem is understanding what makes a good design, and what will catch the attention of those all-important investors that you’re so eager to impress?

Well – we’ve provided the tools you need to understand how to not only build the perfect pitch deck, but how to make sure the design is impeccable too.

The Basic Design Do’s and Don’ts

As we’ve mentioned above, the content placed throughout your tech startups funding deck should be easy to understand, create trust, and show growth traction, or the potential to be profitable in the long run.

In terms of design, the pitch deck should get your message across in a creative, conceptual, and most importantly, memorable way. In translation, this means that one glance at a single slide should be enough to grasp the idea behind it.

Another important feature of any successful pitch is to showcase no more than one idea per slide. One headline, one additional sentence to complement your headline, and one image or diagram per slide – otherwise, you could run the risk of your pitch becoming muddled and difficult to follow.

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t rely on words to get your point across and should aim for an average of around 20 words per slide. You don’t want your audience reading: instead, you want them to listen to you, distractionfree. The design of each slide should be just a visual aid to what you say, providing helpful diagrams or product research.

Focus on a simple yet striking layout and sentences written with a large, easy to read font, a limited number of bullet-points, and picture-rich presentation delivered in approximately 10 to 19 slides.

Present a Brand as Well as an Idea

Hand holding a lightbulb

Above, you’ll find the ‘essentials’ of a quality pitch deck – now let’s have a look at some of the more profound design elements that reflect your tech startup’s brand, ideals and vision.

If you haven’t yet developed your brand then we suggest downloading our FREE ebook “How To Launch An Awesome Tech Brand”. Here we give you the tools to create your own future-thinking tech brand that stands out.

Instead of presenting a simple idea and a must-have revolutionizing tech product or service, you should also focus on presenting the personality of the business, the people involved, and your vision as a founder. This will demonstrate that you value not only design and creativity but integrity and pride too; this is a great way to prove to your audience that you care about your startup, business and user base and are fighting for a cause. Your cause is the clincher here and will be a sure-fire way to touch your audience (and subsequently your customers) on a deep and meaningful level.

Tell a Story

Enchanted brand story

Designing a pitch deck which will stand from the legions of other companies aiming to be just as successful includes creating an engaging story about how it all started, and where your passion comes from.

Tell an exciting origin story of your tech startup and play to both logic and emotion, because investors will take the two of them into equal consideration before making any decisions. Define why your product is the right answer as well as the only logical solution, and make sure that you provide concrete evidence to any statement you make whilst displaying well researched statistics that showcase exactly how your product will help.

Logic plays an important role in any funding deck, though you should aim to include emotional content that will play to the audience’s heart. For example, you can use your business’ story to ‘tug on the heartstrings’ of potential investors, and really make them want to see you succeed. You essentially want to replicate the positive effects of a good sob story on a certain talent show!

Demonstrate what the company means to you and why you feel that it’s important to succeed, alongside any hard evidence of potential growth and the impact your tech will have on the world to make the most from both a logical and emotional standpoint.

Battle of the Brands

Proper branding is not only having a name, logo and an advertising campaign; it’s all about having a personality, core values, and a style. Branding is also about creating a stable emotional connection and securing loyalty between your startup and your potential customers, and about narrowing down your audience to a specific target demographic.

It’s imperative that every business should know EXACTLY who their target audience is, as it allows them to refine both their product and servicep to maximise the potential growth of your startup. You should demonstrate research into this throughout your pitch: who is your demographic, how will you cater directly to them (including marketing) and why will they choose your brand over others.

In fact, that’s a question you can ask yourself right now! Why do you prefer one brand over another very similar one. Alternatively, what makes one more successful for the other?

Read our article on why branding is essential for your tech startup for more info.

What Does a “Good Design” Actually Mean?

Besides telling your story when talking about branding, you should also focus on maintaining a high quality and attractive design that highlights the appeal of your brand.

A good, high impact design is all about spreading your message and expressing the desired outcome through visual communication. Pin-point and articulate the problem you are dedicated to solving. Do it in a unique, creative way with related images and easy-to-understand metrics.

You should utilise a simple layout. Show only the most important information in a clear and easy to read manner. Don’t let your slides become messy or difficult to understand. Make sure the colour scheme you use complements both the content and theme of your presentation.

In order to truly reach out to and inspire potential investors to buy into your product, think about visualizing emotions. Photography and illustrations, when used correctly and appropriately, can be incredibly powerful.

Visual examples can provide an insight into your cause, or could trigger an emotional response that could lead to empathy.

So they say: a picture is worth a thousand words!

To Summarise

You might be feeling overwhelmed or anxious about designing your tech startup’s pitch deck. It can be a hugely imposing, stressful and challenging task.

The good news is that no matter how lost you feel, you’re not alone! Think about it: Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, even Google used to be a new tech startup looking to secure funding. They all had an incredible idea that they were able to effectively pitch as a world-changing idea.Now some of the most renowned companies in the entire world.

Focus on your business goals. Show investors that you have a clear and concise idea which will turn into an exceptional reliable brand and keep on earning money. Keep it short, simple, and honest; really try to persuade your future investors that your idea will shape the new digital landscape.

Whatever happens, as long as you have a great idea and you really believe in yourself, you’ll find success. It won’t be easy, but it will be immensely rewarding!

What are you waiting for? Get out there and secure some funding!