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Kayla Darling

Written by: Kayla Darling

November 25, 2016

8 Startup Pitch Decks That Sealed the Deal and What You Can Learn From Them

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Pitch decks are all over the business world. You’ve likely seen a few amazing examples already. Perhaps their creativity has inspired you—or perhaps you simply want to find the most effective way to communicate your ideas visually. Either way, you’ve decided to go ahead and create your own.

So where do you start? There are many different ways to go about this, but you have to make sure you’re presenting something investors will be interested in.

You can always look for some helpful tips on pitch deck creation, such as this post, where you can find tips on design elements to make your deck more appealing. This deck lists some common pitfalls, such as not listing the benefits of a product.

As for us? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best pitch decks from the startup world and distilled some lessons you can learn from each example.

RELATED: 10 Presentation Trends to Watch Out for in 2016

 

1 Keep It Simple

Some of the best pitch decks present information in a quickly-digestible, easily-understandable way. You don’t want to bore your audience, but you also want them to know exactly what your product or service is trying to do. This is where an early deck by AirBnB shines.

AirBnB’s deck is commonly cited as one of the best, and has helped to raise over over $112 million. It’s easy to see why, as the deck exemplifies simplicity at its finest.

Each slide is relatively basic, presenting the information desired quickly and efficiently. They also avoid the pitfalls of sticking simply to text, adding images and charts throughout that illustrate their points for them in a similar manner.  If there is a deck that shows how brilliantly the short solution works, it’s this one.

 

2 Show Your Process

Transparency is something many customers—not to mention investors—appreciate. It helps reinforce your honesty and trustworthiness, as well as helping them better understand how your product works. Even better, it displays complete confidence in your product or service. Sometimes, this is as simple as explaining how your product works.

Facebook’s Paid Ads pitch deck is a great example of this.  Slides 5—9 take the audience step-by step through how the program works, showing exactly how this could be applied to the site.  In essence, it’s a guide to usage before the software’s been released.

The process helps to make the product easier to understand, as well as specifically highlighting benefits.

When talking of transparency, however, one would be remiss not to mention Buffer. The company is one of the first to release their pitch deck publicly, not only helping others with their decks, but illustrating goodwill.

 

3 Show Your Investors

One of the common—and expected—things you see in a pitch deck is how much growth a company has seen so far with their product. What’s less commonly seen are the people who have already taken an interest in your work. This is unsurprising, as many pitch decks are created for projects still looking for funding. However, for those lucky enough to already have some investors, this is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of.

One great example of this is Crew. Their deck is incredibly sparse, using only the bare-minimum text and pictures, and lists other companies that have invested in theirs on slide twenty-nine, along with the amount they’ve already earned. This is an excellent way to earn more investors, as it proves that your product has earned enough respect from other groups that they believe it’s worth investing in.

If you don’t have any interested parties yet, no problem; simply add quotes from satisfied customers or workers. This deck does that, as well, with Milan C., a worker at Crew, claiming on their last slide, “Crew changed the way I work and with that how I live.”

 

4 Make It Fun

It’s no secret; describing statistics and information can be, well, boring. Many potential investors have already heard such things countless times, even through the course of the day. What’s a great way to make yours stand out? Simple: do something different and entertaining, while still offering the information you need to get your point across.

SEOmoz does this admirably. Their deck features an adorable mascot that appears on all of their slides and colorful blocks and charts that illustrate their points. Their later slides are filled with fun images, such as cartoon character Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) rampaging through a city.

The deck never sacrifices the facts for fun either. Throughout they describe their goals and statistics, showing how useful they could be for investors and the business world in general.

SEOmoz has a rather appealing tagline: “How a tiny Mom & Son consultancy became a leader in SEO Software, and our roadmap to being Seattle’s next $1 billion company.” The tagline opens with the promise of an appealing story (their journey to the big time), and ends with an ambitious goal, piquing curiosity and convincing potential investors to follow along.

 

5 Be Artistic

Not everyone’s an artist, but you don’t need to be to create a great deck. Sometimes just looking at design ideas and learning the in’s-and-out’s of your product can be enough.

Biogrify’s deck is a great example, as it’s filled with images and screenshots, most of which aren’t drawings. Their deck looks a little different than the examples above due to the focus on creativity, such as using photos with speech bubbles to explain their message and several shots of their product in action to advertise.

The charts on slide seven are of special note, as they are organized not to clutter the page, but to still maximize the amount of images that can fit.

Much like with SEOmoz, the creativity is never used just for the sake of it; each image helps support their words, making the overall experience appealing and interesting, rather than either frustrating or confusing.  Moreover, the message is reinforced through the use of visual aids.

 

6 Choose an Attractive Color Scheme

Using a specific color scheme can work wonders for a deck. The colors, spread across the slides, can help unify a presentation and make it pop. Moreover, using specific colors that represent your company will help the pitch deck be more recognizable.

Front’s pitch deck has this in spades. White, blue, and pink are the primary colors used, and fill the slides. For example, slide 9 has a white background and pink header, with a line graph that uses blue and pink to represent that specific values mentioned.

Front establishes some of this color scheme early on, with the title page being deep blue with white font. Colorful confetti features litter the background, perfectly illustrating the more “fun” feel the pink would later give.

Colors shouldn’t be chosen at random, however, as different colors can evoke different feelings. We have other articles here at Visme you can check out on the topic to help you decide what color scheme might work best for you.

 

7 Use Smooth Transitions

I’m not referring here to the slide transitions you typically see on PowerPoint presentations; having smooth transitions between content types is important to maintain flow and keep interest. You can do this in many ways, such as having transitioning images and text, or directly connecting the topic on one slide to another. The color scheme suggestion above can actually help your work flow better.

Piccsy’s deck gives a bit more literal example of smooth transitions. The photo site has an online infographic format, rather than the traditional slide deck format. Each individual part to the piece flows smoothly into one another as you scroll down the page, with similar themes (such as the circles to hold information and the color scheme) tying the work together.

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The deck also provides an interesting and innovative example of a pitch deck done differently, and encourages contact by providing information at the end.

This pitch deck was clearly made with artists and other creative individuals in mind, which leads us to our next point:

 

8 Know Your Audience

The way you set up your pitch deck is going to depend on several different things, including the target market for your audience and the people you hope will invest in your product. If your product or service is aimed at the younger generation, you’ll probably want to have more references to pop culture and familiar terms in your deck; if you’re pitching to a more mathematically-inclined group, your deck should be more organized and filled with data.

Piccsy, above, is a great example, as it’s aimed specifically towards the artistic crowd, but it’s not the only one.

LinkedIn’s Series B pitch deck is specifically aimed towards more serious business-minded individuals, considering that is the intended audience to use the product.  Their slide deck is filled with straightforward facts and data that logically define the site’s worth, rather than using more artistic and stylized methods.

LinkedIn goes a step further and shows the relations between the current most-used mediums for certain services and their older counterparts (for example, using a bank in the past versus using PayPal in the present).  This allows them to prove their point—that the internet has become the most-used base for services previously offered offline—and show their particular niche, again endearing themselves to their audience.

 

Your Turn

There are many other amazing pitch decks out there, with valuable lessons they can teach, but these should give you a head start on figuring out what methods of creation work for you.

Also, if you would like to get started on your own pitch deck, you can try this free online presentation tool, which also allows you to create other interactive content such as infographics and social media images.

What are some of your favorite pitch decks? Leave a comment down below!

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About the Author

Kayla Darling is a writer from Rome, Pennsylvania who has been writing and posting stories online for years. She graduated from Lycoming College with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Psychology. She has a passion for community service and storytelling, and probably spends an inordinate amount of time doing both.

One response to “8 Startup Pitch Decks That Sealed the Deal and What You Can Learn From Them”

  1. […] at something that could be amazing, but that is incomplete as it stands. If you’re able to master the art of the startup pitch deck, which applications like Visme will play a key role in, you’ll find that a large part of the […]

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