6 Pitch Deck Frameworks To Next-Level Your Investor Deck
Pitching to investors can be intimidating.
These are the people who can determine the future of your business, and you’ve got plenty of competition.
So how do you set yourself apart? Make your presentation memorable. You need a pitch deck that’s going to grab their attention and convince them that your business is worth the investment.
I’ve seen about 5,000 pitch decks, and I’ve probably created a few hundred myself.
Here are my favorite frameworks for putting together a pitch deck that will jump out to investors.
1. Problem / Solution
Undeniably the most common type of story told in pitch decks, the problem/solution model is tried-and-true at getting results. With this story, you’ve found a solution to a pain point in the market.
Because of the problem/solution model’s universal nature, putting together a pitch deck with this story is easy enough: one slide describing the problem, and the next outlining your solution.
This story is all about the numbers. If you’ve got metrics showing potential for growth, then the traction story has big potential. Lead with those metrics: Is your customer base growing? How much does it cost to acquire a customer, and how much revenue can you get per customer?
If you use the traction story, lead with it in the first two slides of your presentation. Promising numbers can have a major impact on investors.
3. "X for Y”
How many times have you heard some variation of the phrase, “eBay for nonprofits,” “Uber for boats,” or “Airbnb for campsites”?
In this framework, X is an established company — eBay, Uber, Airbnb — and Y is your business. You can take an established company to show the effectiveness of your business model, and then apply that model to a new company.
4. Scratched your itch
This is a common story for founders. You might be working as a programmer or sales rep and realize that you can improve your workflow with a simple solution. So, you scratch that itch — you create it yourself.
Dropbox began this way, with founder Drew Houston growing increasingly annoyed with forgetting his thumb drive and wishing he had a better way to share files.
If you follow this model, though, make sure you’re solving a relatively universal problem; the “scratch your itch” story doesn’t always work with niche ideas.
5. Crystal ball
This storyline involves forecasting what will come next within a certain industry. Think about how certain trends coincide, and how your business will move along this continuum. Investors love to hear these predictions for the future, so crystal ball pitch decks are likely to land you meetings.
6. Wouldn’t it be cool?
This archetype doesn’t necessarily solve a massive, societal problem. Instead, it turns those “wouldn’t it be cool if?” ideas into a reality.
Think about Doordash — wouldn’t it be cool if you could get your favorite food delivered straight to you with quick swipe on your phone? If you’ve founded a consumer startup, this storyline could be a good fit.
More Pitch Narrative Structures
You don’t necessarily need to force your pitch deck to fit into these archetypes. You can also consider lesser-known narrative structures too too.
Are you coming up with a new business model, or a breakthrough piece of technology? Or perhaps you’ve developed a startup in the consumer application enterprise world, like Slack did? You can turn any of those into a story.
If you’ve gathered a great group of people who previously smashed it at another company — that’s the “dream team” story. Now they’re coming back for round two, to create a new startup and find themselves the same success.
Finally, there’s the pivot. A company follows the pivot model when it completely changes its services, products, or business model because they discover a better way. PayPal followed the pivot storyline; although they began as a way to transfer money between PalmPilots, the company now allows people to pay for just about anything online.
The bottom line: Tell your story in a way that connects with potential investors and convinces them of your business’ future success.
Nathan Beckord is the CEO of Foundersuite.com which makes software for raising capital. Foundersuite has helped entrepreneurs raise over $2 billion in seed and venture capital since 2016. This article is based on an episode of Foundersuite’s How I Raised It podcast, a behind-the-scenes look at how startup founders raise money.