April 8, 2022 by Kyle Fawcett
If you’re attempting to raise investment, having a pitch deck is important but having a GREAT pitch deck is essential. There are two big challenges that often trip up founders when they are preparing their deck. First, they struggle to condense information down to the point where their pitch is concise but still gets the right information through. Second, they either have a really boring pitch deck or WAY over-design it to the point where it’s distracting. So how do we find the right balance to come out with the best pitch deck possible? One important piece to that puzzle is using effective data visualization, and in this article, we’re going to help you figure out which slides can be enhanced using charts, graphs, and tables.
Before we dive in there maybe three questions you need to answer first.
- Do you know what data you’d like to visualize yet? You should have key metrics from your business plan, traction data, actual financials, or financial projections. If you haven’t created financial projections yet they will be hugely important in the pitch deck creation and fundraising process. The good news is we can help you get investor ready projections in no time with one of our CPA industry-specific templates or by building a custom model for you.
- Do you know what types of charts and graphs are the most effective in a pitch deck? If not, we analyzed 50 of the top startups’ pitch decks to find what common data visualizations they used and then provided examples so you can make the right ones.
- Do you know how to make the charts and graphs you are envisioning? There are many great options out there but we consolidated a list of 5 great tools for creating financial and non-financial charts and graphs for your pitch deck.
Without further delay, let’s get into it!
What Slides Should be Included in a Pitch Deck?
There are a lot of pitch decks out there as well as pitch deck experts who swear by different deck methodologies. We have found that being concise and compelling is the way to go. Guy Kawasaki is a well known VC, author, executive, and speaker and he recommends a 10 slide, 20 minutes, 30 point font rule that is widely used. So, using his 10 slide pitch deck outline as our base, we’re going to help you figure out what types of charts and graphs should be used on which slides. You’ll notice in the list below that 6 of the slides are highlighted, and those are the slides we are going to be focusing on as the others will be great with just your information and nicely designed layout.
List of Slides to Include:
- Title Slide - The first impression of your business. Should be attractive in design and to the point and note contact information
- Problem/Opportunity Slide - The slide where you will outline what need there is in the market do you plan to provide a viable solution for. Building awareness especially if this is an issue your investors may not be familiar with
- Value Proposition - As simple as you can state why your company is valuable. Is there something that makes you unique or disruptive that tells investors why they should be interested without even really knowing what you do?
- The Solution/Product - Where you will tell investors exactly how you will help solve the problem already identified. This should complement and elevate the value proposition you’ve already stated.
- Business & Revenue Model - Now that you’ve outlined how your product/service will solve a problem, you need to tell investors how it will make money. Pricing, payment methods, payment cycles, etc.
- Traction / Momentum (We added this one in!) - You’ve laid the groundwork for investors to understand why your product/service is necessary, and in theory how the economics will work. Now is the time to impress them by showing them how far along you already are. Sales, pre-sales, sign-ups, etc.
- Go-to-Market / Marketing Strategy - Even if you already have some sales or sign-up traction, you need to demonstrate briefly to investors how you plan to scale so they can envision the return on their potential investment. They need to believe you can grow.
- Competition - Regardless of how disruptive or innovative your business may be, you will be competing against someone. Demonstrate how competitive the market is and who the major players are
- Management Team - It is important to make sure that potential investors are confident that you have the team in place necessary to reach the goals you are outlining in your pitch deck
- Financial Projections and Key Metrics - Ultimately you will provide complete financials and projections if an investor is interested, but here you will give enough of a snapshot to show some major financial metrics to give enough confidence to continue the conversation
- Timeline, future milestones, use of funds - Here you will wrap up by telling investors where you are at today in the business, where you are trying to get to, and what you need in order to make it there
Charts to Use on your Problem & Opportunity Slide
Your problem slide is clearly the place where you are communicating the problem you are trying to solve, but it’s also the place to demonstrate how great the opportunity actually is. An effective visualization that can drive this point home is a Proportional Area or Comparison chart. Of course, you could just put down a large number to show the size of the market you hope to capture, but that number will be so large it is really hard to comprehend. You don’t want a prospective investor to 1) not grasp the magnitude of the opportunity or 2) think it’s not realistic. A proportional area or comparison chart anchors the size of the target opportunity against market segments to help overcome both of those mental pitfalls.
Charts to Use on your Business & Revenue Model Slide
Seeing as the business and revenue model slide’s purpose is to show investors how the business will actually generate money, some helpful visuals could further drive home the point of how many signups. This isn’t the traction slide so we don’t want to necessarily reveal how many sales, signups, or preorders that we have and this also isn’t your projections or financials slide so we don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of actual financial estimates. However, providing a quarterly estimate or monthly goal of total signups, subscribers, customers, etc., and then showing an estimated segmentation between subscription tiers or product categories can start to hone in on the earning potential. Some effective charts in demonstrating this revenue segmentation are Pie Charts, Stacked Bar Graphs, and Stacked Area Line Charts.
Charts to Use on your Traction & Momentum Slide
Traction slides aren’t explicitly listed as one of the slides in the Guy Kawasaki method but many many successful pitch decks include one. Hypotheticals, opportunities, and projections are all great, but if you have some sort of promising actuals to share - that is a big win for your pitch deck and proving viability. Bar charts and Line graphs are a classic but great way to plainly display the promising growth you have experienced in sales, signups, subscribers, or preorders.
Visuals to Use on your Competition Slide
When you are outlining your competitors in your pitch deck, a visual aide can be very effective to help potential investors better understand how similar you are to other companies as well as how you differentiate yourself so they avoid the tendency to put you in the same bucket with a company that may be very unlike you. You want to ensure that investors see that you have a lane to run in or understand who you are about to go up against. Two effective charts to help accomplish this are a competitor matrix where you note the similarities and differences of your product or service features and a competitor spectrum where you chart out competitors along 4 quadrants depending on where they fall on the 2 axis spectrum.
Charts to Use on your Financials Projections & Key Metrics Slide
Our favorite slide(s) in a pitch deck here at ProejctionHub are the financial projections and key metric slide(s). So at this point, we have a slide that has shown the revenue model based upon some estimated KPI’s, some actual traction, and now we need to show that we’ve done our homework to show there is a long-term fiscal opportunity. This slide is not the place to show all of your projections, because they wouldn’t fit anyways, but rather to show a condensed-high level-preview of the important numbers. Revenue, profitability, and break-even are good financial metrics to include. Based upon our analysis of top pitch decks and our personal experience, we find a nice projected financial table to be effective and then supported by line graphs or bar charts showing some key metrics like break even.
Visual to Use on Timeline, Milestones, & Use of Funds Slide
Lastly, you need to bring things home by getting investors on the same page with your plan to reach your goals. You’ve got to be real with where the company is at today but also chart out a realistic path to reach the next milestones. This can include a lot of information especially if you are developing or manufacturing a software or physical product. Those processes have research and development timelines that may require a lot of capital so they should be clearly outlined next to sales goals, content creation, and other fiscal drivers.
So there you have it. We hope as you are polishing up your pitch deck this guide will help you hone in on what visuals are the right fight to take each slide to the next level. If you have any questions about tightening up your financial projections in order to complete your pitch, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for some help.