How to create a memorable and impactful pitch deck for your startup

5 minutes

Saving time and money is always important, but even more so if you’re starting your own business. 

Need to create a pitch deck for your startup? If you’ve asked other startups or searched online, you’ll know that you’ll need 3 working days to put together the design and format if you’re going to do it yourself, or to reserve a quote if you want to hire design professionals to help you make it.

In this post, you’ll discover the keys to saving you these resources, which you’ll no doubt thank us for later. If there’s anything that you don’t need more of right now it’s expenses and work, right?

You need the best pitch deck

A deck, pitch deck, or investor deck is one of the key documents that a startup needs to have when they open a round of funding and start contacting investors and business angels.

It is key because it is effectively the company’s business card. It consists of an executive summary or dossier that describes the business opportunity, the current state of the same, the vision for the future, the team, and of course, the company’s current capital requirements.

This complex and often dense information must be presented in a visually appealing way and by summoning your best storytelling skills. The idea is to engage and capture the attention of the person it’s aimed at; usually the investment analyst.

You only get one chance to make a good impression

There’s a lot riding on a pitch deck for a startup. You only get one chance to make a good impression and generate interest. And, you have to stand out from the myriad of other investment opportunities that land on the investors’ desks every day.

A few years ago, the platform DocSend and Tom Eisenmann, a professor at Harvard Business School, carried out a study on over 200 decks from companies in their early stages (seed capital and series A rounds) that had been sent to investors via this platform.

The results of the study showed up a significant challenge: investors spend an average of 3 minutes and 44 seconds reviewing a deck for the first time.

Yep, 3 minutes and 44 seconds is the time you’ve got to attract an investor’s attention. The aim is that they’ll want to review the document again and know a lot more about the company, that they’ll arrange a meeting to delve into the details until, hopefully, they decide to invest in your project and become a partner.

So, how can you achieve this perfectly impressive and impactful deck? What form should it take?

How to construct a great pitch deck that’ll get the investors’ attention

As we mentioned earlier, a deck (or pitch deck or investor deck) is a summary of your business that tells people what it is that you do. It should be self-explanatory because you’re going to send it rather than present it so the person who receives it will read it without you in the room to explain.

This is an important detail and is what differentiates a deck from a pitch. In a pitch, the presentation is a visual support for the person speaking and so acts as a complement to reinforce the ideas. They’re usually created using very visual formats and with very little text, as the focus should be on the person who’s presenting.

With a deck, it’s the opposite. It’s a document designed to be read and therefore will contain more content and text. This is somewhat of a risk in reality because it can lead to a document that is too dense and packed full of information that doesn’t connect with the reader or capture their attention.

Given that your objective is to capture attention and get a meeting or a call, you need to make sure the storytelling is coherent, follows a logical order, and goes from the basics to the more in-depth information. This way, they’ll discover each of the layers that make up your business.

There are venture capital firms like Sequoia, for example, who defined their own index that went on to become an industry standard. But, in general terms, they all follow a similar approach:

  1. Problem – solution
  2. Competitive advantage
  3. Competitors and why your idea is better
  4. Market size
  5. How much capital you need and what for
  6. Who is behind this business and why they’re going to make it happen

It’s not just about data, it’s also about design and how you organize the information

As you can see, it’s a significant challenge and it’s not exactly easy. You need to demonstrate that your business is a good investment opportunity in a document which someone will spend all of 4 minutes 8if you’re lucky) flicking through before deciding to read it fully.

Overcoming this challenge means organizing the information very well. Among best practices are using diagrams and good visual resources, grouping the information in layers, and, most importantly, making sure the design is visually appealing and invites the reader to read 15-20 pages.

It’s not a document to be taken lightly, it’s a branding document for your company and essentially your business card: there’s a lot at stake!

That’s why it’s imperative to dedicate the time and resources to do it well, but it’s an investment that can open many doors and positively contribute to your company’s development.

So, if you don’t have an eye for design or a team who can help you with it, how can you create a memorable and impactful pitch deck?

Genially can help you make your startup’s pitch deck and make sure it stands out, captures attention, and has the desired effect on potential investors.

Create a deck for your startup with Genially

With these templates, part of the work is done for you. Choose the one you like best and add your content; they’re 100% customizable and super easy to edit.

Pitch deck templates


Genial deck


Pitch deck presentation


Startup deck

Starting a business? Check out all the resources in Genially for your startup!

As well as having templates for making a great deck that’s sure to get you financed, Genially also has other resources that’ll save you time and help you gain more momentum. Check them out!

Executive overview


One pager

Buyer persona profile


Customer profile

Customer journey


Customer journey map

Lean UX


Lean UX Canvas

Sales funnel


Bow-tie funnel


Sales pipeline

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