The Ultimate Startup Pitch Deck Design Checklist

When Walt Disney said, “It is kind of fun to do the impossible”, he probably wasn’t thinking about startup culture in particular. But that is exactly what building a startup is all about.

People sacrifice well-paying jobs, a stable work environment, and a good chunk of their life to show they can do the impossible.

Well, all this sounds quite inspirational. But, the reality is honestly very scary. Billions of startups come into play every year, and the success rate is a measly 10%.

This 10% then eventually enter the prestigious 1% unicorn club. So, what is it that separates this elite group from the crowd?

Well, the first is the idea behind your startup – you need the right product-market fit. Next, comes the all-important funding. Most businesses cannot raise the funding they need to turn their idea into an actual product.

While there are many factors involved in the process of securing funding, a pitch deck is something that sort of cinches the deal. 

That’s why designing the best startup pitch deck can give your business an unprecedented advantage and get you one foot in the door. 

So Kimp is bringing you the ultimate design checklist so that your pitch deck loudly proclaims you deserve a seat at the table.

A pitch deck design by Kimp.

The Ideal Startup Pitch Deck Design 

“Design is the Silent Ambassador of your brand” – Paul Rand 

The right pitch deck design can be an ambassador and so much more for your brand. When you design a pitch deck for your startup, you end up filling it with a lot of content, facts, figures, and technical specifications. So much so that design takes a back seat.

However, even if you have a content-heavy deck as most startups do, design and visual aids can help you enhance the value of what you have on your slides. 

Before we explore the design aspects of your startup pitch deck, let’s consider what you can achieve from one. 

In typical circumstances, your startup’s pitch deck:

  • Provides a succinct and accurate snapshot of your company’s journey, ideas, products, and financial status
  • Intrigues the customer, investor, and other stakeholders and makes them want to learn more about your brand
  • Makes a good first impression

Having said that, we all know that pitch deck designs don’t raise money just on their own. But they can get you in front of your investors when they are well-designed and filled with thoughtfully organized information that sells a great product.

In fact, Pitch deck designs play a vital role in an investor’s perception of your brand, according to Forbes.

Creating the best Startup Pitch Deck: The ultimate Design Checklist 

Designing a pitch deck that aptly summarizes all the hard work you have put in is a big ask. How do you know what to include or leave out? What is the unique advantage that makes for a killer first impression and gets answers for your cold emails?

Raising funds, pitching your startup, developing a company and a product are all extremely grueling. While most startups fly blind in these areas as they cover unchartered territory, thankfully, pitch deck design need not be one of them.

Kimp’s Ultimate Startup Pitch Deck Design Checklist is there to give you a framework on which to base your designs. 

We know startups, and we know design, so here is all you need to know for your pitch deck design to be just perfect.

Define the Pitch Deck Type 

Startups create decks detailing the what, why, and how of their business for different audiences all the time. But there is no one size fits all solution for every pitch deck. The medium of communication and platform dictates how the pitch deck eventually looks.

Popular pitch deck types include: 

  • Demo Day Pitch Decks: It is your deck version of an elevator pitch. Startups attend many events, programs, and accelerators, and a Demo Day Presentation is a staple in their lives. You have to squeeze maximum information in, in minimum time, and still make sure it creates an unforgettable impact. Tough, but doable with design.
  • Main Deck: A demo day deck can double as a summary of your business’ most important highlights. But investors may want to know more about you before they commit to a meeting. The main deck includes all the information about your company, product, service, and market situation with a brief report on financials. 
  • Presentation Deck: This is the full-blown pitch deck that has everything an investor needs to know to make a call on funding your business. It has detailed financials, go-to-market strategies, and confidential information that you may otherwise not share. 

Door Dash’s Y Combinator Demo deck is simple, minimalistic, and image-heavy. It is under 3 minutes which makes it effective to use in many different scenarios:

Your Company Information 

Once you decide on the type of pitch deck you want to create, the first item to tick off the checklist is company information. The depth of this section will vary based on the type of startup pitch deck you choose, but this is a definite requirement.

Ideally, this will be the first slide of your presentation in the form of a cover slide with the basics of your company’s information on it. This includes the logo, company name, tagline, team member names, and contact information.

You can also use the cover slide to emphasize your brand personality by using colors, imagery, and other visual elements that matter to your business. 

Based on the startup pitch deck type, you can include more details like vision, mission, and brand values. 

Kimp Tip: The slide design and composition for this section must be minimalistic so that focus is on the content. Including a few elements that denote your brand personality will just be a cherry on top. 

The Problem You’re Solving

Now, the essence of every startup is that they are solving a burning problem. Your ability to detail this problem decides whether an investor or a client works with you.

Most times, this slide sets the tone for the entire pitch deck. Most people will judge you on how well you understand the problem and also how well you can explain it. 

Now you have two options – you can either cram in as many words and numbers as possible, or you can be smart about this. Like we have covered multiple times when we speak of visual marketing, people retain images longer than text. In fact, they remember pictures 60 000 times more than any written text.

Your problem is something you want your audience to remember. That’s what makes the solution more impactful.

The slides with the problem statement must be image-heavy with text playing a very minimal role. Use icons and custom illustrations wherever possible so that it is easier to paint a picture. 

You can use colors to evoke the emotions you want in this section so that people connect with the problem statement on a deeper level.

Best practices for your Problem Slide:

  • Keep your content clear and simple
  • Use icons wherever possible so that the slide composition is clean and uncluttered 
  • Use contrast to draw emphasis to the most important points
Source: Medium

Kimp Tip: Break down the problem statement into bite-sized information for better recall. Use font, color, and visual styling to build a hierarchy that guides people through the flow of ideas. 

The Solution You’re Proposing 

Solution slides are one of the most significant parts of your pitch deck. Technically, this is the place where you advocate for your business. As interesting as the problem was, the solution has to be that much more engaging.

Startups must include some key visuals and data to get their points across as they hope. It is also important to remember that this section is only to detail the solution of the problem statement briefly without getting into specifics.

You can work with design aids such as illustrations, app screenshots, and other visuals so that the audience can better understand the solution.

While using design aids, it is crucial that you use real-life examples or at least the ones that mimic the actual results. Talk to your design team about how you expect your app or prototype to look so they can duplicate the results. This builds credibility in the market for your startup.

Source: Medium

Kimp Tip: Adopt a storytelling approach to the solution slides and aim to connect with people’s emotional side. You can use simple animations and pictographic representations of the solution for the best results. 

Your Business Model 

Here is where things literally get down to business. Investors love numbers. And while some say that you can’t give spreadsheets a makeover, we like to try. We traditionally fill the business model section with facts, figures, sales and marketing numbers, customer acquisition process, technical data, and so on. 

An average investor probably sees hundreds of these every day. You cannot expect them to go through yours. Reducing friction between an investor and your juicy numbers is your number one priority.

Employing the techniques of data visualization, you can use charts, graphs, and infographics to denote the details of your business model. While the numbers are still the primary focus, the slide design and elements can make them pop so that there is no chance anyone misses them. 

Some data visualization and graphic design techniques that help you represent your business model in an effective manner include: 

  • Using color-coded charts to bring out the significant numbers with clarity. 
  • Creating a word cloud to highlight the critical concept, significant milestones, or industry trends that support your business model.
  • Employing infographics to show your current brand journey along with future predictions. 
  • Using a flow chart made of icons and images to describe key growth strategies.

The idea behind batting so heavy for the usage of graphic design and visual elements in this slide is to break down complex ideas so that they are easier to process. Using color, font, images, and other design elements also helps build a better recallability of your data sets. 

Kimp Tip: Charts, word clouds, iconography, and imagery can be really helpful in conveying your ideas, but it is important to not get carried away. The design aids are there to supplement the data and not the other way around. Slide composition in startup pitch decks has to be simple yet profound.

Need some help testing out different visual aids in your deck designs? Get a Kimp Graphics subscription and you’ll get the help of a dedicated design and unlimited revisions for a flat monthly fee.  

A pitch deck design by Kimp.

Above is an example of Pitch Deck design by Kimp in which there are visual representations for the product features, financial breakdown, and company growth plans. 

The Competition 

Many startup founders agree that handling the competition is one of the biggest challenges in surviving in the market. So, naturally, it is a concept that an investor wants to see you tackle in your pitch deck.

Analyzing your competition and understanding their strengths and weaknesses also shows you have spent time and effort understanding the market.

In this section, you must address questions like: 

  • Who are the major players in the market? 
  • What are the companies you consider to be your direct competitors?
  • How do you differ from them?
  • What are your plans to battle the challenges they pose to you?

This section needs a concise and clear-cut answering approach. You can use a comparative ad format to bring out the differences between you and your competitors. Everyone loves ads like the “Samsung vs. Apple” campaigns. So give a simpler version of that a try.

AirBnB followed a very visual representative method of showing the existing competition in the market and where the brand lies in their competitive analysis. 

With experienced design teams like Kimp Graphics design teams, you do not have to worry about sourcing out the best visuals for your pitch deck. We provide a wide range of services under flat-fee subscription plans to make this process hassle-free for you. Check out more details on our plans today!

Your Product or Service’s details 

You have described your solution already to the audience. While they have an overview, a detailed slide regarding the products and services is necessary for main decks and presentation pitch decks. 

Ultimately, it boils down to this. No matter how impressive the business model or solution is on paper, people will rate you based on the actual product or service model. This section is your cue to go all out and bring out the big guns.

Include as many details as you can. This includes specifications, cost details, benefits of the product, with a comparative analysis with the competition, and demos if you have any. 

Again, you want the product and its features to do all the talking. And by talking, we mean visually and not via text. Given what we know about humans remembering images more so, be sure to include high-quality graphics, 3D models, demo videos, and any other possible media you have on the product. 

For service-based startups, you can show Before/After scenarios, screen recordings, and simulation videos to display the effectiveness of the solution.

Kimp Tip: When you display product or service details, it is important to include watermarks and other branding elements to avoid plagiarism and also imprint your brand on the final product. Branding starts from day one, and it is not too early to use it in your startup pitch deck.

Your Team and Stakeholders 

When you are a company at a nascent stage without a lot of experience to show, the team and the stakeholders play a vital role in winning over both investors and potential customers.

The team at a startup is as important as its idea and deserves detailed coverage on its pitch deck. You want people to relate to them so that it humanizes your brand and adds value to it. 

But there is no reason that the team and stakeholders page has to be dry. Liven it up by using professional photographs, high-quality imagery, or brand illustrations to lend a personal touch to this section.

Including their previous works such as prestigious projects, alumni companies, and their educational qualifications is also a great idea for this section. Be sure to include logos of all these institutions for instant connection and recall value.

Create Standout Pitch Deck Designs with Kimp Graphics 

Before we tell you how the team of Kimp Graphics is an excellent partner to create outstanding pitch deck designs for your business, we have an important point to make:

Custom Pitch Deck >>>>> Standard Templates 

You are a startup with an innovative idea that no one till now has explored. Why choose a standardized template with a generic theme when you can have a pitch deck that represents your ideas and brand to the fullest? 

Creating a pitch deck that does not just communicate your ideas but also builds a core image for your company needs expertise. In design, branding, and marketing.

Kimp has it all in spades. Our graphics and video teams work seamlessly to bring you the best design experience possible. 

All of this, for a flat monthly subscription that offers you the flexibility to pause, renew, and stop anytime.

Sign up for the free trial today. And get ready to be amazed by the quality of designs that come your way.