The Ultimate Start-up Pitch Deck (1/3)

(AKA It’s Not About the Deck)


The goal of this series of posts and the accompanying resource-lists and wireframe deck template, is pretty simple — whether we like it or not, in the world of Silicon Valley and tech start-ups… we have, over the years developed a certain and specific language, terminology and nuanced way of communicating concepts that is table stakes in order to successfully raise funding from the community of angels, seed funds and VC’s. The accumulated insights contained herein come from 28-years of building tech companies, 6 tech start-ups (as co-founder) over 40 financing rounds in those companies, and nearly 60 angel investment rounds into various early-stage startups.

I have found in the last few years that across ALL start-ups I encounter, the same challenges, questions and roadblocks tend to pop-up and keep the founders from being able to successfully raise funding and execute on their vision.

Here is what I am going to include in this series of posts:

  • A specific format for the ultimate start-up pitch deck, discussion on what must go into each slide
  • The specific questions behind each slide that you, the founder… must be able to answer
  • A PPT/Keynote template that is freely downloadable and available that has the basic slides included

My larger objective is to open up access to these concepts and enable a broader set of entrepreneurs to successfully raise funding for their start-ups. The format is foundationally centered around the KEY CONCEPTS that need to be communicated in your DECK as a start-up, and the KEY QUESTIONS that require solid answers in order to articulate an effective vision and pitch.

This also means that part of the challenge is the process you have to go through to actually answer these questions and create your initial pitch deck.

Why the Deck? The Deck is your essential communications tool at the start-up creation stage, enabling you to tell your story….whether it be to potential team members you are attempting to recruit, advisory board members or investors. With each slide (concept), there are a list of distinct questions that you must be able to answer, not just for the sake of the slide itself… but to answer as the founder/entrepreneur and ultimately the person responsible for building something of value.

I have also included a linked “Resources” list which contains what I believe the most profoundly useful books, articles etc for this process — and I quote and borrow distilled elements from this list throughout the document.

The idea and revelation that will hopefully take hold as you get into this process of developing your Pitch Deck is….IT’S NOT ABOUT THE DECK.