© 2022 Afford.capital
Startup guide
THE PERFECT PITCH DECK RECIPE
Discover What Makes a Great Pitch Deck
What is a Pitch and what is Pitch Deck
Key Elements Breakdown
Pitch Deck Examples
What a startup needs besides Pitch Deck
Creation rules
Pitch Deck Structure
to reveal your idea, sell it to investors or a fund, and get them to say yes
Discover What Makes a Great Pitch Deck
to reveal your idea, sell it to investors or a fund, and get them to say yes
Imagine you meet a potential investor over a cup of coffee or on a plane, and you provide them with an overview of your project using what is at hand - a napkin and a pen.
The idea of it is a short effective speech that does not require visual demonstration. You present the project within a short timeframe – from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Deliver the speech as if you are riding an elevator with Donald Trump or Elon Musk.
Deck once stood for cards. Today, presenters use slides they comment on to display the project info.

A pitch deck is a startup presentation that helps investors learn more about your business and decide whether they should invest in the project. The perfect pitch deck reveals your idea, sells it to investors or a fund, and gets them to say yes.

This is the kind of presentation we are going to discuss.
An easy way to condense the whole thing into key points and get quick feedback.
Napkin Pitch
Elevator Pitch
Key Format: Pitch Deck
Choose one of these pitch types to match the social situation and the investor-startup relationship stage
Pitch Deck Figures
3 to 10 min
the average presentation time frame
10 to 19 slides
statistically, the best pitch deck presentation size
What Is a Pitch, and What Is Pitch Deck?
A pitch is a brief but well-structured project presentation that provides an overview of your business to potential investors.
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Before we get into the structure and details of designing the perfect pitch deck, there are a few rules of thumb to learn.
Pitch Deck Rules
Creation rules
scroll to the right
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Not everything that matters to you will make sense to investors. Your project may have a long inspirational story behind it, but most investors' time is precious so they won't be able to spend it on your storytelling. It may seem that investors want as much information as possible, but statistically, the most successful pitch decks comprised no more than 19 slides.

Stick to key semantic pitch deck blocks (our guide covers them) and do not abuse the attention of your audience.
Rule 3: Respect Investors’ Time
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There are different approaches to creating a pitch deck presentation. The most radical ones recommend making 20-word-long slides: 1 slide = 1 phrase = 1 thought. This works for pitch decks that you present to investors live. In this case, you can talk the main content through.

If your pitch deck will be reviewed and read by investors before the actual presentation, more words are required. However, try not to overload your slides. A pitch deck is NOT a book about your project
Rule 2: Don’t Overload Your Pitch Deck Slides
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  • own the project contents, facts, and figures to make a clear presentation and beat your competition.
  • specify your pitch deck goals and design the customer journey, i.e. the steps investors take after viewing your presentation
  • consider what your audience, such as investors or funds, already know about you
  • define your target audience
A pitch deck is a marketing tool. This implies you must think like a marketer when creating one:
Rule 1: Think Like a Marketer
At least 10% of these businesses presented us with their pitch decks. As presentations go, there is no one-size-fits-all pitch deck structure. Otherwise, all projects would look the same in the eyes of investors.

Nevertheless, there are typical must-have semantic blocks. We will drill down into each of them, point out the soft spots, and contemplate the best pitch deck cases.
For example, Traction and Milestones can be presented using one slide and a single set of ideas. However, in this guide we break these points down one by one to give you the deepest possible dive into the narratives that any investor wants to see in a pitch deck.
The Afford.Capital team has assessed 6,000+ projects
Introduction
Some elements can be combined into one slide or one semantic block
The Perfect Pitch Deck Structure
Structure
Many startup teams are looking for the perfect pitch deck structure, the very formula that will who investors and talk them into saying yes.

We have to disappoint you here: the perfect structure does not exist. What does exist is visual erudition.
Milestones
Problem
Team
Solution
Competition
Product Description
Financial Indicators
Market Size and Opportunities, Target Audience
Investments and Using Funds
Business Model and Growth (Traction)
Contacts
NB!
Also, keep in mind that some of the structural blocks of the pitch deck can shuffle and complement each other.
Most importantly, make sure your pitch deck develops a single storyline, where each new slide complements the previous one. For example, here is one of the options for the semantic line opening
The example of Pitch Deck structure by Visme creators
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An introduction is the first slide of your pitch deck. This block might seem simple, but many investors note that it is the most important one. You won't get a second chance to make a good first impression. So work through your first slide thoroughly. Try testing it out with someone you think is your target audience.
The first slide should be concise and visually appealing.
Key Elements Breakdown
What should be included in the slide?
Project name
Value Proposition or Brand Promise
Value proposition examples:
Other examples of value propositions for websites and project presentations:
This one is clear
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
This point captures the essence of your project in one sentence
"We make Happy Meals for adults"
"We are Sephora for pets"
Bitly
This is what a strong intro pitch deck block looks like
Key Elements Breakdown
Almost any pitch deck starts with a description of the problem the product solves. An investor gives a go-ahead for a startup if it solves a market or target audience problem which has no solution yet. This is this gap that the startup will fill in the future.
In this block, you name two or three problems that your product solves without going into detail yet.
The text should be as concise and clear as possible so that the investor understands your goals in a couple of seconds.
A detailed description of the problem. It is worth noting that this pitch deck is more likely to target previously interested investors: small text will not be visible on the slide when presented online or at an offline meeting.
Problem
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
A good problem description from the first Airbnb pitch deck
More examples from the pitch decks of our startups
In this case, the problem layout is divided into three slides for a more progressive and deep immersion into the topic. We have to take into account that not all investors may be familiar with WEB3 and immediately understand the problems of the crypto market.
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Another example of problem analysis from an Afford.Capital portfolio startup
Листать вправо
The semantics of the solution block follow logically from the problems mentioned above. What you need to do here is explain briefly and clearly how your startup will solve the problem of the market or target audience.
the solution should clearly and logically correlate with the problem stated. This must as well work for the investors who do not have expertise in your niche.
Обратите внимание на логику изложения: Решение (Solution) достигается двумя ключевыми инструментами, которые детально описаны в следующих слайдах
Solution
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
A slide from the same Airbnb pitch deck shows in large type the solution to each of the three problems that were highlighted on the previous slide.
Точно так же в питч-деке нашего стартапа после проблемы идет ясное решение
Note
и временных границах, раскрывать проблему 
на 4 слайда может позволить себе тот проект, который располагает бОльшим запасом времени на презентацию.
Всегда помните о целях вашего питч-дека
Смысловой блок решения логично вытекает из описанных выше проблем. Кратко и ясно опишите, как ваш стартап решит проблему рынка или целевой аудитории.
решение должно ясно и понятно коррелироваться с описанной проблемой. Даже для тех инвесторов, кто не имеет экспертности в вашей нише.
Pay attention to the logic of the presentation: the Solution is achieved by using two key tools, which are described in detail in the following slides
Блок «Решение»
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
На слайде из того же питч-дека Airbnb крупным шрифтом показано решение для каждой из трех проблем, которые были подсвечены слайдом ранее
Similarly, in our startup’s pitch deck, a clear solution follows the problems listed
Обратите внимание
One problem can take four slides only if your project has a large time allowance for the presentation.
Always keep in mind the goals of your pitch deck and the time limits given
Листать вправо
This slide responds to simple questions:
  • What does a potential investor need to know about the product and the company?

  • What are the main features and benefits of the product?
If you present an online service or an app, include screenshots to demonstrate their features.

Depending on the type of pitch and the time limit, even a demo video may be appropriate here.

By conducting a pitch deck presentation in person, you can showcase your product.
Product Description
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Here’s a product presentation made by Trym startup
If the product is tangible, make sure to use professional photos featuring different angles and use cases
Whether a startup receives funding is often determined by the market. For instance, Afford.Capital hardly ever considers startups pursuing a small market limited to one country or a too narrow target group.
If you are going to operate in a market that is too small, investors may decide that the potential for return on investment is too low, hence it is too risky to fund you.
What matters is the total volume and target indicators, TAM, SAM, and SOM.

It is most convenient and informative to illustrate this data with user-friendly infographics, as done in the examples below.
Market Size & Target Audience
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
This great example of a market demo is taken from the original Mint pitch deck
This is the slide to share the results of your research and analyze the market the company operates in
Whether a startup receives funding is often determined by the market. For instance, Afford.Capital hardly ever considers startups pursuing a small market limited to one country or a too narrow target group.
If you are going to operate in a market that is too small, investors may decide that the potential for return on investment is too low, hence it is too risky to fund you.
What matters is the total volume and target indicators, TAM, SAM, and SOM

It is most convenient and informative to illustrate this data with user-friendly infographics, as done in the examples below.
Market Size & Target Audience
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Example of market volume disclosure from the pitch deck of our portfolio project
This is the slide to share the results of your research and analyze the market the company operates in
Whether a startup receives funding is often determined by the market. For instance, Afford.Capital hardly ever considers startups pursuing a small market limited to one country or a too narrow target group.
If you are going to operate in a market that is too small, investors may decide that the potential for return on investment is too low, hence it is too risky to fund you.
What matters is the total volume and target indicators, TAM, SAM, and SOM.

It is most convenient and informative to illustrate this data with user-friendly infographics, as done in the examples below.
Market Size & Target Audience

Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Example of market volume disclosure from the pitch deck of our portfolio project
This is the slide to share the results of your research and analyze the market the company operates in
This slide is all about growing your business. Investors tend to fund the projects that have already shown their first results. Therefore, it is important for them to trace the dynamics aka traction: where you started and what you have achieved so far.
In this slide, you want to include the numbers: income, ROI, MVP launch indicators, and unit economics. The more relevant business metrics you can provide, the higher the investor will appreciate the manageability of the startup and your entire project.
Also, in the slide, you need to disclose how you plan to earn an income, and what successful cases you have yet implemented. Justify the project monetization forecasts.
Business Model and Traction

Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Here’s how our projects present their current performance and success
For clarity, most startups include a graph that displays show the growth curve.
This slide is all about growing your business. Investors tend to fund the projects that have already shown their first results. Therefore, it is important for them to trace the dynamics aka traction: where you started and what you have achieved so far.
In this slide, you want to include the numbers: income, ROI, MVP launch indicators, and unit economics. The more relevant business metrics you can provide, the higher the investor will appreciate the manageability of the startup and your entire project.
Also, in the slide, you need to disclose how you plan to earn an income, and what successful cases you have yet implemented. Justify the project monetization forecasts.
Business Model and Traction
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Here’s how our projects present their current performance and success
For clarity, most startups include a graph that displays show the growth curve
Milestones are the key points in the development of the project. Often, this slide is combined with a Roadmap, showing both the past stages of startup development and the planned steps in one go.
Roadmap and Milestones help potential investors see the whole picture, and understand how the project will look like in the future and what exactly you offer them to invest in.
Milestones
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Roadmaps are often presented in map or diagram format, but sometimes more detailed options are appropriate
To put it simply, this slide shows where you started, where are you now, and what your plans for the future are.
Milestones are the key points in the development of the project. Often, this slide is combined with a Roadmap, showing both the past stages of startup development and the planned steps in one go.
Roadmap and Milestones help potential investors see the whole picture, and understand how the project will look like in the future and what exactly you offer them to invest in.
Milestones
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Roadmaps are often presented in map or diagram format, but sometimes more detailed options are appropriate
To put it simply, this slide shows where you started, where are you now, and what your plans for the future are
For some investors, their startup team is even more important than their idea, numbers, or Roadmap. The Airbnb launch story is well-known: investors were not inspired by the idea of the service, but the startup succeeded thanks to the strong close-knit team. Investors funded the project because they believed in people.

The strong team finalized the concept, and eventually, Airbnb became the massive business we know today.
First of all, the audience of your pitch deck is interested in the background of the key team players, their motivation, and the qualities which determine the success of the project.

Try to limit yourself to a small number of descriptions - at this stage of interaction, investors are unlikely to consider each player in detail, they rather care about the picture of the team as a whole. Do not forget about the "coaches" of the team – startup advisors. They are worth mentioning because recognizable advisers also add points to the rating of the project in the eyes of the investor.
Team
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Here’s a neat example of a team presentation
In this semantic block, you need to disclose the team in sufficient detail to inspire confidence in potential investors
For some investors, their startup team is even more important than their idea, numbers, or Roadmap. The Airbnb launch story is well-known: investors were not inspired by the idea of the service, but the startup succeeded thanks to the strong close-knit team. Investors funded the project because they believed in people.

The strong team finalized the concept, and eventually, Airbnb became the massive business we know today.
First of all, the audience of your pitch deck is interested in the background of the key team players, their motivation, and the qualities which determine the success of the project.

Try to limit yourself to a small number of descriptions - at this stage of interaction, investors are unlikely to consider each player in detail, they rather care about the picture of the team as a whole. Do not forget about the "coaches" of the team – startup advisors. They are worth mentioning because recognizable advisers also add points to the rating of the project in the eyes of the investor.
Team
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Roadmap is often presented in a map or chart format, but sometimes more detailed versions are appropriate
In this semantic block, you need to disclose the team in sufficient detail to inspire confidence in potential investors
You may be tempted to ignore this block. Think twice before doing this. To reveal competitors and your competitive strengths in the pitch deck presentation is to unveil your in-depth preparation and the ability of the project to compete effectively in the market.

To create an effective key message that the pitch deck audience needs, answer the following question: why is your product better than the competition?
Competition
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Airbnb reveals competition in their first pitch deck
You may be tempted to ignore this block. Think twice before doing this. To reveal competitors and your competitive strengths in the pitch deck presentation is to unveil your in-depth preparation and the ability of the project to compete effectively in the market.

To create an effective key message that the pitch deck audience needs, answer the following question: why is your product better than the competition?
Competition
Здесь вы кратко – желательно в одном предложении – формулируете суть вашего проекта
«Мы готовим Хэппи Мил для взрослых»
«Мы — Sephora для домашних животных»
Bitly
Clear infographics which clearly show the advantages BuzzFeed has over its competitors in their pitch deck