How to Build a Startup Pitch Deck That Gets Your Business Funded (With Pitch Deck Examples)


Raising venture capital funding gives your company the financial backbone to develop your product and grow your team. But with angel investors and venture capitalists meeting with eager entrepreneurs each week, distinguishing your startup from the crowd is challenging.

This is particularly the case with a current VC pullback that began in 2022—venture capital deals are less frequent at the seed and series A/B stage, and only the best companies will receive funding. Firms are also likely to reserve their capital to support existing portfolio companies.

A great startup pitch deck could catapult you toward realizing your product roadmap and fulfilling your company mission. A mediocre one could shut your startup’s doors before they open. This article will explore the defining aspects of successful startup pitch decks, highlighting examples from actual companies that can serve as your pitch deck template.

What is a startup pitch deck?

A startup pitch deck is a presentation that founders use to communicate their business plan and vision to potential investors. Typically delivered as a brief presentation, it outlines your company’s value proposition, market opportunities, business model, technology, team, financial projections, and more.

The primary goal of the startup pitch deck is to convince investors that your startup has the potential for high returns, persuading them to provide funding. Crafting a pitch deck can also help founders crystalize the direction of their business by encouraging a deep, critical exploration of key factors like market dynamics, competitive landscape, and revenue strategies.

Prominent venture capitalist, Benedict Evans describes investor pitch decks like this: “A pitch deck is not a silly hoop that VCs make you jump through. It’s a tool that lets an entrepreneur control how they tell the story. It guarantees you say everything that you want in the way you want to say it.”

12 must-have presentation slides for your startup pitch deck

While each startup offers a unique proposition, investors’ expectations for your pitch deck are grounded in a well-established format. It’s crucial to balance your company’s distinct identity with the necessity to include specific slides, demonstrating creativity within the confines of this established template in startup fundraising.

1. Cover slide

The cover slide is the opening act of your startup pitch deck. It’s meant to captivate your audience—potential investors—in the first few seconds, providing a snapshot of your business idea and generating curiosity for the following slides.

To make your cover slide successful, consider these key points:

  • Make it memorable. Use a simple, straightforward, compelling tagline that embodies your value proposition and quickly communicates who you are and what you do.
  • Design is key. Aesthetics matter. Your cover slide should look professional and well-crafted. Use your brand colors, logo, and a clean layout.
  • Keep it simple. This is not the time to detail every aspect of your business plan. Stick to the basics—your startup’s name, logo, and a concise slogan or summary.

2. Summary slide

This slide serves as an executive summary of your entire presentation. It outlines your company’s primary components—what your startup does, why it’s unique, and how it plans to succeed in its target market.

Justin Kan, the co-founder of Twitch and a prolific investor, suggests that founders pitch a big vision: “Investors want to invest in the next Facebook. They want to invest in the next 100x. They want to invest in a company that will take over the world. So pitch the biggest vision that you actually believe in.” Your summary slide is the place to introduce this vision.

Here are three essential tips to make your summary slide stand out:

  • Focus on clarity. Use concise and clear language to communicate your startup’s mission and vision. Avoid overly technical jargon that could confuse your audience.
  • Highlight key differentiators. This is the slide to communicate what sets your startup apart. Touch on your unique value proposition, target audience, and competitive advantage.
  • Make it engaging. While the summary slide is informational, it should still be compelling. Before pitching investors, test your messaging on friends, family, and fellow entrepreneurs.

3. Problem

In your startup pitch deck, the problem slide is where you identify and describe the critical issue or pain point your product or service intends to address. By pinpointing a problem that needs solving, you highlight the market need for your startup and set the stage for the solution your business offers.

Here are three tips to make your problem slide impactful:

  • Be specific. Clearly define the problem in a way that resonates with your audience. Use concrete data or examples where possible to demonstrate its significance.
  • Illustrate the problem’s magnitude. Most investors aren’t interested in funding solutions to small problems. Showcase statistics or real-life examples that demonstrate the large scale of the problem.
  • Show understanding. Illustrate your deep understanding of the issue, showing investors you’ve thoroughly researched and engaged with your target market’s needs.

4. Solution

Following the problem slide, the solution slide is where you present your startup’s unique answer to the previously identified problem. It’s here where you explain your product or service in detail, demonstrating how it effectively addresses the identified pain points and meets the needs of your target market.

To create a compelling solution slide, consider the following tips:

  • Stay focused. Avoid going into the weeds with too many details about your product or service—that’s what the “Product” slide is for. Keep the focus on how your solution addresses the problem at hand.
  • Call out a competitor. This slide is a good place to briefly position yourself against a competitor, pointing to the deficiencies of existing competitors compared to your solution.
  • Use visuals. Use diagrams, images, or prototypes to help investors better understand your solution.

5. Why now

The “why now” slide illustrates why the current moment is the perfect time for your startup to enter the market. It’s your opportunity to argue that emerging trends, shifts, or events create a unique window for your startup’s success, giving potential investors a sense of urgency and opportunity. This slide helps convince investors that your business is not just a great idea but a great idea whose time has come.

Consider the following tips for a successful why now slide:

  • Discuss your company’s “iPhone moment.” The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 was market-disrupting and led to innovation in the smartphone and mobile app space. Think of and describe what your company’s version of this is.
  • Use data and supporting facts. Back your claims with hard data or current market trends. This could include technological, policy, consumer behavior, or market dynamics changes.
  • Be persuasive. Use compelling language to paint a vivid picture of the opportunity at hand. Potential investors need to feel the same urgency and excitement that you do.

6. Market potential and size

The market potential and size slide demonstrate the economic opportunity your startup is poised to capture. This slide helps potential investors understand the size and growth potential of your target market, giving them a clear sense of the scalability of your business idea. It reassures investors that there’s a significant opportunity for a return on their investment, making your startup a more attractive proposition.

Here are three tips for creating an effective market potential and size slide:

  • Provide solid data. Use reliable sources to quantify the market size. Present both the Total Available Market (TAM) and the Serviceable Available Market (SAM) to give a realistic estimate of your market potential.
  • Visualize the data. Large numbers can be abstract and hard to grasp. Use clear, visually engaging graphs or charts to make the data more understandable and impactful.
  • Show growth trends. If your market is growing, highlight this. Investors are interested in more than just the market’s current size but also its potential for growth in the future.

7. Product

The product slide within your startup pitch deck showcases your product or service. It’s where you give potential investors a deeper understanding of what you’re offering, its features, its operation, and its unique selling points. The goal is to convincingly demonstrate how your product or service solves the identified problem.

Here are three tips for creating a compelling product slide:

  • Show, don’t just tell. Include visuals of your product or service in action. Screenshots, diagrams, or short videos can make your product more tangible and relatable.
  • Focus on benefits, not just features. While it’s essential to list key features, it’s even more crucial to highlight how these features translate into benefits for your customers.
  • Demonstrate uniqueness. Make what sets your product apart from existing solutions clear, effectively communicating your unique selling proposition.

8. Competition

The competition slide serves a dual purpose in your startup pitch deck, demonstrating your knowledge of the current market landscape and highlighting your startup’s competitive advantage. This slide showcases your understanding of how your startup fits within the broader industry and how it distinguishes itself from others.

To make your competition slide successful, follow these tips:

  • Use a competitive matrix. Leo Polovets, a General Partner at SusaVentures, suggests that founders “use a four-quadrant matrix where each of the two axes are dimensions that are key to winning in your market.”
  • Be honest and thorough. Investors will likely do their own market research, so be upfront about who your competitors are. “We have no competitors” is generally not an acceptable agreement, and omitting key players can harm your credibility.
  • Highlight your unique value proposition. Clearly outline how your product or service differs from and outperforms the competition. This could be regarding technology, business model, target audience, or other differentiating factors.

9. Business model

In your startup pitch deck, the business model slide details how your startup intends to make money. You describe your revenue streams, cost structure, pricing strategy, and critical partnerships here. Essentially, it’s the section where you prove to potential investors that your startup is a great financial investment and a sustainable business.

To make your Business Model slide compelling, consider these tips:

  • Be clear and concise. Your startup business model should be easy to understand. A simple, straightforward explanation is most effective.
  • Use realistic projections. While you want to show potential for growth, make sure your projections are realistic and grounded in solid assumptions.
  • Explain your choices. Don’t just list your revenue streams and cost structure; explain why you chose them (e.g., one-time fee vs subscription model).

10. Traction

The traction slide demonstrates your startup’s progress. It provides proof of concept and market acceptance and shows that the business is gaining momentum. Traction can be reflected in various ways, such as sales, user engagement, partnerships, or press coverage.

To make the most of your traction slide, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use concrete metrics. Back your claims with hard numbers. Whether it’s revenue, user count, or growth rate, concrete metrics are more convincing than vague assertions.
  • Highlight significant achievements. Include these on the slide if you’ve hit major milestones, secured key partnerships, or received significant press coverage.
  • Show a positive trend. Investors want to see growth. Graphs or charts that show a positive trend over time can be very impactful.

11. Ask

The ask slide of your startup pitch deck is where you directly express what you’re seeking from potential investors. This is where you state how much funding you want to raise and what you plan to do with it. It’s a clear call to action that invites potential investors to become part of your venture.

To make a successful ask slide, consider these tips:

  • Be specific. Clearly state how much funding you seek and provide a high-level breakdown of its use. This transparency can give investors confidence in your planning and financial management.
  • Justify your valuation. Your ask should align with the value you’re providing. Ensure you have sound reasoning behind your valuation, whether based on market comparables, projected revenues, or other metrics. However, including a valuation is generally not necessary at the seed stage.
  • Indicate potential returns. While it’s not a guarantee, showing potential investors what they could gain from their investment can make your proposition more attractive. Be cautious, however, to not overpromise or speculate too aggressively.

12. Team

Investors bet on teams, not just ideas. A strong team slide can help assure them that your startup is in capable hands. This slide is an opportunity to highlight the skills, experience, and dedication of your founding team and key employees.

Hunter Walker, a Partner at Homebrew, suggests that founders avoid team bios that feel deceptive: “At best, you’re going to get the investors you deserve (bad ones who care mostly about status), and at worst, you’re going signal lack of self-confidence, when we should be building mutual understanding and trust.”

Here are three tips for crafting an effective Team slide:

  • Highlight relevant experience and skills. Showcase the experience, skills, or accomplishments directly related to your startup and its industry. This can include past successful startups, industry expertise, or specialized technical skills.
  • Showcase your core team. Focus on the individuals who play a pivotal role in your startup. This often includes co-founders, C-level executives, and other key personnel.
  • Demonstrate team cohesion. If possible, illustrate how your team works together effectively. Long-standing professional relationships or past collaborations can show potential investors that your team is cohesive and efficient.

Seed pitch deck examples

The seed stage pitch deck is the bedrock of your funding journey, focused on vision and potential. It should compellingly articulate your business idea, the problem you’re solving, and why your team is the one to do it. This section explores successful seed pitch deck examples, where early proof of concept and market validation still form the narrative’s crux.

1. Airbnb

Airbnb, founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk in 2008, was conceived as a platform to connect hosts and travelers worldwide. The Airbnb pitch deck originally pitched the company as AirBed&Breakfast. The company’s model resulted in a seed round of $600K, paving the path to them becoming a household name.

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See Airbnb’s pitch deck

2. DocSend

DocSend, a document management and tracking solution, was conceived by Russ Heddleston, Tony Cassanego, and Dave Koslow in 2013. Their vision was to simplify and secure the process of sharing business-critical documents—their great pitch deck describes the product as “Snapchat for documents!” The potential of their idea led to a seed round of $1.7M. They went on to be acquired by Dropbox for $165 million.

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See Docsend’s pitch deck

3. Intercom

Intercom, co-founded by Eoghan McCabe, Des Traynor, Ciaran Lee, and David Barrett in 2011, was initially pitched to investors as a CRM tool and messaging platform for web businesses. Their pitch attracted a $1M seed investment. Their pitch deck emphasizes how their platform supports customer growth and engagement, describing it as a “simple install like Google Analytics”

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See Intercom’s pitch deck

4. Coinbase

In 2012, Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase to create a secure and accessible platform for trading cryptocurrencies. As one of the early entrants in the crypto market, Coinbase raised $600K, initially presenting its pitch deck at YCombinaotor Demo Day.

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See Coinbase’s pitch deck

5. Canva

Canva, founded in Australia by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams in 2012, set out to revolutionize graphic design by making it accessible to everyone. Their platform attracted significant attention, leading to a seed funding round of $1.6M.

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See Canva’s pitch deck

Series A pitch deck examples

By the Series A stage, the emphasis of your pitch deck shifts from potential to proof. This means showing traction, product-market fit, and a clear path to revenue. This section delves into successful pitch decks from companies raising their Series A.

6. Front

Front, co-founded by Mathilde Collin and Laurent Perrin in 2014, sought to streamline email management with a shared inbox for teams. Selling investors on their track record for improving workplace collaboration, Front’s Series A raised $10M.

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See Front’s pitch deck

7. Equals

Equals, co-founded by Bobby Pinero and Ben McRedmond in 2021, aims to modernize spreadsheets for better data analysis. In its pitch deck, the company notes its Series A will accelerate its go-to-market strategy and increase its research and development. The company raised $16M in a Series A round.

“Hone in on the ‘hero’ data points that drive the overall narrative of your startup,” says Pinero, advising fellow founders on pitching investors. “Make sure that every chart is digestible at a glance with a single takeaway that reinforces the story.”

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See Equals’ pitch deck

8. Carta (eShares)

Carta, co-founded by Henry Ward and Manu Kumar in 2012 as eShares, provides a platform for companies to manage equity and ownership. The company memorably described itself on its pitch deck as ”capturing the next generation of IPOS.” Their company attracted a Series A investment of $7M for further platform development.

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See Carta’s pitch deck

9. Crossbeam

Crossbeam, a collaborative data platform Robert Moore and Buck Ryan co-founded in 2018, streamlines partnerships and integrations. Their “Why now” slide outlines their timing is ideal due to the rise of APIs and the rise of enterprise SaaS adoption and more factors. They secured $12.5M in Series A funding from FirstMark Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and HubSpot Ventures.

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See Crossbeam’s pitch deck


MURAL, a digital workspace for visual collaboration, was co-founded by Mariano Suarez-Battan, Patricio Jutard, and Agustin Soler in 2011. The problem slide in their presentation slide deck outlines current problems with team collaboration, setting them up to explain the product’s benefits. They raised $23M in Series A funding to develop their solution for remote work.

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See MURAL’s pitch deck

Series B pitch deck examples

Series B pitch decks move beyond proving the concept to displaying a strategy for substantial expansion. In this pitch deck example, they emphasize robust revenue streams, expanding market share, and the route to profitability. This section analyzes Series B startup pitch deck examples, illustrating strategic growth and development plans to attract more significant investment.

11. LinkedIn

LinkedIn was co-founded by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly, and Jean-Luc Vaillant in 2003 as a professional networking platform. The company raised $20M in its Series B round and was eventually acquired by Microsoft for $26.2B.

“Take competition against your potential revenue streams seriously,” says Hoffman in a breakdown of their LinkedIn pitch deck to help founders. “Being detailed about your competition, especially listing the specific companies, helps increase investor confidence.”

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See LinkedIn’s pitch deck

12. Mixpanel

Mixpanel, co-founded by Suhail Doshi and Tim Trefren in 2009, is an advanced analytics platform to help businesses track user interactions with web and mobile applications. Their presentation can be a robust pitch deck template for founders—their business attracted a $10.25M Series B investment.

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See Mixpanel’s pitch deck

13. Brex

Brex, a fintech company offering business credit card solutions, was co-founded by Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi in 2017. Their pitch deck outlined their continued growth potential and how they planned to retain existing users—Brex’s Series B round with a $57M investment.

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See Brex’s pitch deck

14. Secureframe

Secureframe, co-founded by Shrav Mehta and Natasja Nielsen in 2020, aims to simplify business compliance. They used their own pitch deck presentation to demonstrate their progress since their inception, citing over 80 employees and over 100 integrations—their mission to make security and compliance accessible led to a $56M Series B round.

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See Secureframe’s pitch deck

15. Stytch

Stytch, an all-in-one platform for modern authentication, was co-founded by Reed McGinley-Stempel and Julianna Lamb in 2019. Their investor pitch deck outlined their vision for the future of authentication, outlining the current password problems. They raised a $90M Series B at a $1B valuation.

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See Stytch’s pitch deck

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