3 things to remember when writing your first pitch deck

woman writing her pitch deck at the table of a coffee outside in the sun

Getting on with writing your first pitch deck can be a daunting task, right?

Whether you are overwhelmed with the amount of information you want to communicate or experiencing blank page syndrome, these 3 tips should help you get started!

A pitch deck is not about sharing all your company’s information in one go so an investor can decide whether to invest there and then.

SO, what is its purpose?

  • to introduce potential investors to your startup,
  • to get them (very) excited about your story,
  • to make sure they want to find out more about you.

You need to keep it short, 10 to 15 slides max, and remember that less is more.

Focus on your key message as a business: what problem you are solving, how you are going to do it, but most importantly why should they care and why should they care RIGHT NOW!

In terms of structure, we recommend you follow the one set out in the Five Years Time pitch deck template. This template contains all the sections investors want and expect to find in a good pitch deck.

–> Download the template.

As you go through the various sections, keep reminding yourself of the following facts and test each slide against them:

Investing in startups is a risky business

In fact investment in early-stage companies is just about the riskiest investment one could make. 9 out of 10 startups fail and some investors may have seen a large chunk of their portfolio fail already.

So show that everything you have been up to so far has been about proving that your idea works, therefore de-risking the investment opportunity.

What have you achieved so far?

What proof points do you have?

Otherwise, you are another entrepreneur with a great idea, who hasn’t acted on it yet.

Everyone can have a great idea, it is the execution that counts.

It’s all about establishing your credibility

Following on from the above, you need to show that you are a credible business. Investors look for teams that, even in a short time and with little cash, have managed to come a long way. A huge part of that is establishing the credibility of your people. What are the credentials that make you the best people to turn this amazing idea into a successful business? Make sure to include a slide on your team, and focus on their key skills, experiences and achievements that are directly relevant to your vision.

Make sure you also talk about any deals you have secured, include user testimonials, any big names that are interested in what you do etc.

Endorsements of this kind make you “real”, credible and seriously investable.

You’re not the only one pitching!

Investors look at pitch decks or attend pitching events on a regular basis.

On average, an angel invests in 1 in 10 deals they look at, and VCs in 1 in a 100.

That’s a lot of pitch decks!

So make sure the deck looks clean, professional and is pleasing to the eye. This, rightly or wrongly, plays a big part in whether an investor moves you through their pipeline or not.

After all, if you can’t put a simple document together, then what can you do?  

Your reader needs to enjoy going through your deck rather than feel like they want to give up because there is too much text, the graphics don’t make sense, and the colours make it difficult to read. A well-designed deck means your potential investors are enjoying themselves while in contact with your brand, and it makes you really stand out.

Once you have your pitch deck ready, make sure you practise it out loud and to a friendly (but honest!) audience.

And why don’t you film yourself so you can see how you come across and rectify any flaws? You can even share it with us and we’ll give you an honest feedback!


Discover more about 5 Years Time and their online courses to be Investment Ready!

As part of the FFA alumni and current members, you have access to the course at a discounted price.


credits: Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash


Co-founder 5 Years Time Jess is our in-house investment expert. Having managed a portfolio of over 30 tech startups she knows what investors look for, and most importantly, why. Jess has mentored 100s of founders in investment readiness, sharing her insight into how investors make decisions about the companies they choose to support. She's passionate about demystifying the fundraising process.