Everyone knows those famous startup pitch decks from AirBNB, Facebook, Twitter and Buffer. But what improvements have been made to decks in the past few years? That’s what we’re going to be looking at in today’s post.
(If you still want to start with the big names, here are 11 Startup Pitch Decks That Changed The Game).
We’re going to round up startup pitch deck examples from less known founders with great ideas, whose companies might be the next AirBnBs and Facebooks in just a few years.
In all fairness, we'll go through what we think are some key takeaways from these pitch decks, but we'll also list the things we think could have been improved. If you're interested in a step-by-step structure for creating a pitch deck, make sure you also check out our article on what you should put in a pitch deck.
1. Brighter Investment
These guys did a great job at capturing key information such as market size, key performance indicators and unit economics for their business model. The design is also well-thought, minimalist, conveying data in a visually appealing way.
A big plus for having a branded theme that helps keep the design consistent.
It covers all the essential information, which is great, especially if it's meant to be emailed to investors. If, however, it's intended for a live presentation, it could use less text on the slides.
From a storytelling perspective, the title currently uses the classical Problem/Solution approach; an improvement suggestion would be to use the subtitle as the main title. For instance, on the Market slide, they can just keep the headline as a “A $600 billion blue ocean market” and people will know they’re talking about and perhaps be more immersed in the presentation. A stronger call to action would also be a good idea.
Details wise, I think some design improvements could make it even better:
- Slide 4 can be improved to have more visual appeal;
- The last sentence on Slide 2 could be highlighted as a key takeaway from that slide;
- On Slide 8, it would be a good idea to highlight key figures from unit economics like 24x return or EBITDA value (20 cents per dollar);
- Slide 10 could be better visualized and re-organized, since it’s a comparative solution between 3 scenarios (a bar chart would be a great idea to show progression of the same metric over a period of time).
Having all these screens helps create a sensation of using the platform. This makes it easier for investors to understand how your future customers will interact with your product.
However, as a transition into the don'ts, the deck focuses on the platform, not on who will be using it. This gives the impression of a platform presentation rather than an investment pitch.
We talked about this in our post about the 10 slides you need to have in your startup pitch deck; while it's referencing what has now become a well-known business model, defining your startup as the 'AirBnB for...' usually leaves investors unimpressed. Try to define your new business as simple and as original as possible and it will win you more points.
Another don't we started referencing earlier is targeting three markets from the get-go and presenting a broad user profile. You should have a much more clearly defined market segment to launch your product. If you're successful in your initial market, you can consider expanding to other markets.
If we were to redo this pitch deck from scratch, we'd start with the structure and the flow, to make sure it includes more key elements that are currently missing, such as business model, traction, investment ask, future projections etc. Design wise, we'd also look for more visual elements that can illustrate each idea, reducing the number of bullet points and making sure to highlight key information on each slide.
Lovely design. Great color combination, well thought organization of information and safe choice of font. It's a nice looking deck, although it doesn't completely match their website branding and design so perhaps that's an improvement to be considered.
The structure of the presentation is also well thought.
Again, we have a 'Google for...' to define the product which is not always the best idea. The overall information in the deck could have used much more research.
If I were the investor reading this deck, I would not be convinced by the numbers. It's very important to know your audience. If you're presenting to people who have extensive knowledge on the domain and the market you're addressing, you better have your homework done properly.
Here are some quick improvements I'd recommend for this pitch:
- The cover slide can be merged with the following slide, to keep it simple and concise;
- On the Problem Slide, I'd use the first sentence as a headline and add more stats to support it; more research definitely;
- I'd merge Slides 5 and 6, and ensure a better quality for those screenshots;
- The Traction slide can be designed to be more visual, and make sure the features are more clearly defined; maybe have 2 rows of 3 items, each with a visual icon;
- I'd color each column differently on Slide 10;
- For the Competitive Landscape Slide, I'd put a visual emphasis on the product and make the logo more visible;
- For the Team slide, some more information could build more trust with investors; perhaps more details on each team member's background.
They've done a great job presenting the problem that this product solves. Clear statements, supporting numbers and facts, and a smooth transition into the benefits of the product.
The deck has a good design, with the use of colored overlay and beautiful imagery. I like the way it starts, the first 3 slides, I feel like it conveys a "Thinking Big" feeling.
I would have loved to see more information about their target market and ideal customer.
I would recommend making it a bit more concise by condensing some slides. I'd also include a call to action at the end.
I like that this has an easy-to-follow structure and a good flow to it. Another plus is that the branding is consistent throughout the presentation.
A simple design (or absent) is something that only groundbreaking companies and ideas can get away with. For the rest of us, a good design is a must. I'd recommend investing a bit more time in the visual aspect of the presentation. A common suggestion for all presentation creators is to use the company website more, both in terms of design and content. In this case, using the same design as the website would make it look much more professional.
On the Problem slide, we see 3 problems listed, in a rather vague manner. I'd recommend spending more time framing the problem and researching the target market.
I'd also include key elements such as traction, key metrics, future plans/roadmap and a call to action.
6. Recovery Massage Therapy
Here's a great example of a well-defined problem: it's specific, detailed and its impact is presented in quantifiable numbers. While the target audience is still a bit broad, it's a good start compared to others we've seen. Ideally, when presenting the deck, the founders should be able to address this with more details.
The deck is very well structured, with section slides and a minimalist, tech design, suitable for the product. It has all the key sections with clearly defined numbers supported by stats.
I'd start with a better choice of a font. Default fonts are ok but choosing a different one, better suited to your company brand, gives a more professional vibe. If you're not experienced with fonts, you can start with this quick guide on how to use typography in presentations.
The current color scheme is not too coherent, I'd recommend creating a better suited one that also goes with the background color for the slides. I'd also stick to a single type of graphics and icons to ensure design consistency (and fewer bullet points).
The Product section could use some app screenshots, even if they are just a prototype.
And, finally, contact details at the end are missing.
7. Spot Hype
Good choice of colors; they make it easy to visualize the information and absorb it faster. I like the clean design, graphics and phone mock-ups.
An overall good structure and flow that makes it easy to follow.
Again, we have 3 target markets, three audiences and a very broad user profile. The numbers are made to look good but they don't add up in terms of building trust (Slide 12, for example, seems a bit optimistic).
The pitch deck is missing some key elements such as a current status, future plans/roadmap and a call to action.
I love product pitch decks. They're much easier to design when you have great photos and mock-ups of the prototype. Combined with the good color combination and visual graphics, this deck looks really good.
Kudos on the structure and story (love the CSR angle).
'Nespresso for water'. I rest my case.
9. Steady Budget
Here's a great example of educating your audience. VCs and investors might not have extensive marketing knowledge. By creating this introduction into what PPC is and how it works, the team behind the deck made it easier to present the problem and the solution. I also love to see a good Traction slide (which I think should never be missing from a SaaS pitch deck).
This deck could use some design improvements such as:
- Following a more consistent color scheme;
- Ensuring that all graphics work (Slide 10 has some issues);
- Visualizing key information better (Slide 14 , for example);
- Perhaps using some icons instead of bullet points on the Traction Slide.
Structure wise, the Team Slide seems to be break the flow a bit, I'd recommend moving it closer to the end, perhaps before the Guiding Principles Slide.
On Slide 22 I'd recommend focusing the information on the pitching company instead of the competition.
Good design, lovely font and nice graphics.
Content wise, I think it would have been a good idea to detail the process on Slide 4 and also to include a slide with a roadmap or a go-to-market strategy.
A possible improvement on the Financial Projections Slide would be to cut the detailed table (that can be sent as a separate doc) and present the key numbers in a more easy-to-understand format, like a graphic.
I have to say, weed jokes aside, these people have a very well-thought plan. And an appropriate choice of font color. This is perhaps one of the best built pitch decks in terms of content and flow that I've seen in a long time.
This is what we'd call a more ‘traditional’ pitch deck, different in structure and content from most tech start-ups pitch decks we've been looking at. You'll notice it includes new sections such as the executive summary, detailed financials and even a SWOT analysis. Extra points for detailing the use of funds.
I think it would have been a good idea to mention the competitive landscape and some key differentiators.
Design wise, while the deck looks clean and has a clear structure, as well as suitable colors and graphics, I can’t help but get a conservator feeling from it. This is most likely due to the choice of fonts (seems like a default font), combined with the layout and text size.
Have you seen that display font on the cover? Just gorgeous. Top marks for design and colors. I like the design consistency throughout the entire deck and the overall minimalist approach.
I don't actually understand what they are selling and to whom from the pitch deck alone. The structure might need some work in terms of information presented.
Perhaps it would have been a good idea to add an Intro Slide in the beginning and maybe a Contact Slide in the end.
13. Kit Culture
I feel like the person behind this pitch deck is a good storyteller. The content is well thought but it could have used a better visual appearance.
It's a "no" on the design. It's not 1999.
I would have preffered to see the problem framed in a way that makes it clear what the customer's pain point is (real pain point, not a nice to have) and how the product solves it. Some facts or stats would have also been nice to support the statement. I also feel like this should have been presented before the company description on Slide 2.
A more detailed financial model and projections for the future should be included.
Based on its description, such a brand should have a much bolder design to convey its identity and plans.
14. Notation II
Great font and top notch design. This pitch is a great example of showcasing the people behind the company to get funds. Slide 3 is about the founders. The finance community is a small community so if the people behind a new startup are recognized within this community, it's much easier to build trust around their new venture.
If I really had to list a Don't it would have to be the font size on some of the slides, where it's hard to read the information if you're not extremely close. The layout and font size is more appropriate for a magazine than a presentation. If this is meant to be shared as a document via email, that's not a problem.
Hope you enjoyed this quick exercise in dissecting pitch decks. If you know other examples that could be used to gather some Dos and Don'ts, make sure to let us know in the comments.
Which one do you think was the best?
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