Pitch Deck Essentials: Attract Investors' Attention in 2024

Get expert advice from Grantify associate Jorian Hoover on how to make your pitch deck stand out from the crowd in 2024 .

April 26, 2024
Pitch Deck Essentials: Attract Investors' Attention in 2024

Your pitch deck is one of the most important storytelling tools in your founder’s toolkit, to help you captivate investors and scale your business.

But writing a pitch deck that cuts through the noise can be harder than it sounds. Investors review thousands of decks a year, so you need to make yours stand out to win the funding you need.

Grantify has partnered with startup fundraising strategist Jorian Hoover to discover how successful startups create decks that demand attention.

Learn from his expertise in helping startups get investment ready, and go from pitch deck to term sheet with our essential advice.

Why Do I Need a Pitch Deck?

First things first, a pitch deck is a presentation that outlines your value proposition, vision, market opportunity, business model, and financial projections. It’s often your first point of contact with an investor. According to Jorian:

The pitch deck is often what gets investors excited - it’s their first understanding of the startup.

Investors expect to see a pitch deck that tells them what they need to know, and quickly. In many cases, a strong deck is the difference between getting that all-important meeting - or not.

Jorian Hoover pictured against white background

What Should a Pitch Deck Include?

Jorian advises that there are at least seven essential elements to any pitch deck, each one making a direct appeal to the investor.

- Problem

Define: What problem are you trying to solve? A short but clear statement of why you exist and what pain points you are addressing.

Impact for Investor: Investors need to be on board with understanding why this is a problem that even needs to be solved. It's crucial context setting for your pitch.

- Solution

Define: How your product or company can resolve that problem and why it differentiates from anything else available.

Impact for Investor: Outline your unique way of thinking about the problem. Investors need to feel confident that you know how to solve the problem you’ve outlined.

- Market

Define: Demonstrate the market size and growth potential. Offer relevant statistics from credible sources.

Impact for Investor: Investors want to be excited about the size of the opportunity and the timeliness, but also its the size of the opportunity - is this a small market or is there potential to tap into something much larger?

- GTM Plan

Define: How will you bring together your product and the market opportunity? How will you make sales and reach customers? What is your growth plan?

Impact for Investor: Investors are looking for confidence that you have a plan and could execute on that plan. They also want to know that you'd be able to spend the capital effectively to drive sales, which is increasingly important in today's market.

- Forecast

Define: Outline your plan for financial growth, including revenue forecasts and expense projections. Consider your costs carefully and show that you know how to make your venture a commercial success.

Impact for Investor: Investors are looking to understand whether this is an exciting play for them over the next three to seven years. They want to know: is the dream big, and is it achievable? They’re also seeking to understand how profitable your venture could be.

- Use of Funds

Define: It’s crucial to show that you have a solid plan of how to use the investment you are seeking, from salaries to R&D and capital costs. Be as detailed as you can.

Impact for Investor: Investors need to know that you have a plan to spend your money efficiently, and to know why you're asking what you're asking for in terms of funds.

- Team

Define: Include bios of your senior people, their roles in the company and their credentials, highlighting any experience of growing other startups, particularly if they have a high profile in their field.

Impact for Investor: Investors want to answer a key question: why should we give this money to you? Having a capable team in place that can properly manage the investment will help answer that.

How to Present Your Deck

A deck should average around 10-12 slides. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s enough if you stay focused on only the key insights. You can include more details in appendix slides if you need to.

Think about how and where investors are likely to review your deck. They will typically open your deck on a smartphone or other device, travelling between meetings - they need to get a sense of what you’re about quickly, so don’t waste time and space.

Good design goes a long way, too. Lay out each slide clearly and balance copy and images. Remember - focus on key insights to convey your professionalism and trustworthiness. No typos, mismatched fonts or corny graphics. Keep it simple and powerful.

Where Do Pitch Decks Go Wrong?

Avoid these common mistakes that Jorian sees time and again:

  • Failing to demonstrate your growing market: You need to get investors excited about your market, particularly if there are challenging headwinds in your space. Highlight the growth potential of your market and build your story around it - this will get investors enthused.
  • Not being clear on differentiation: You must be able to show why your offering isn’t just better than others in the market, but truly innovative and novel. Investors want to find the next big thing - show why that’s you.
  • Being formulaic: Although there are key elements you need to include in your deck, don’t be tempted to shoehorn your story into someone else’s template. Cover off each element but don’t hide your strengths - put everything up front and lead with your unique story.

What are Investors Looking for in 2024?

Global investment levels have dropped in almost every market since 2021, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic; factoring in rising interest rates, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, and geopolitical instability, you can understand why investors are more cautious now.

Jorian says:

Investors really want to know that you're going to use your funds effectively, especially in today's tougher financial market. They want to feel confident that you have a plan to achieve your goals and that you'll spend the money efficiently.

TL; DR: Key Takeaways for Pitch Deck Success

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If nothing else, take away these three tips for success:

  • GTM Strategy: Investors need reassurance that you know how to make your product a success.
  • Real Differentiation: Don’t just tell investors how you are different - prove that you are doing something no one else is. Don’t be coy.
  • An Exciting Market: Get investors excited about your market opportunity and why now is the time to get involved.

Jorian’s final words? “Demonstrating clear differentiation and an exciting market are key to getting investors interested in funding your startup."

Perfecting Your Pitch Deck

It’s certainly possible to create a polished and powerful pitch deck on your own. There are lots of great free resources available online that can help you get started, but there's no denying that the best pitch decks are bespoke and ordered in a context-specific way.

Even if you’ve successfully secured funding from a government grant funder, the world of VC investment is markedly different, and the approach and requirements are too. You may benefit from some impartial advice on perfecting your pitch.

If you want to discuss your pitch deck and how to approach investors, connect with Jorian today.

Perfect Your Pitch Deck

If you want to discuss your pitch deck and how to approach investors, connect with Jorian today.

Connect with Jorian
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