Posted on
March 14, 2023
min read

Top 10 Mistakes in your Startup Pitch Deck

Maximilian Fleitmann
Maximilian Fleitmann
Co-Founder @ BaseTemplates
Author Twitter

Pitch decks are an integral part of the start-up and investor scene. A pitch deck is a short presentation with which founders try to convince investors and capital providers of their idea. The pitch deck presents everything from the team, business idea to the competitive environment. The pitch deck follows a common used structure. With the help of this, investors can get an overview of the start-up in the shortest possible time. However, it is not that easy to create a convincing and appealing pitch deck and mistakes can easily occur. In this article, we present 10 pitch deck mistakes you should avoid.

Here are all mistakes from the video in detail:

1 - Claiming you have no competition

The first mistake is to claim that there is no competition. If the problem of your customers is really worth solving, someone else will already be working on a solution or there is already another product being used. If you state in your pitch deck that there are no competitors in your specific field, it sends a warning signal to investors. You give them the impression that you have not dealt with the problem 100% and that your research is not of good quality.

2 - Asking for a NDA 

An NDA is a good way for founders and start-ups to protect information and ideas that should not be made public for the time being. By signing the contract, investors commit to confidentiality. While it is important to protect your intellectual property, in the world of venture capital it is extremely unusual to ask for an NDA directly. Investors see countless ideas every year and don't have the time to sign an NDA for each of them. And at the end of the day, isn't it the execution of the idea that really counts and generates the profit and not the idea itself. A good idea is worth nothing if not executed properly.

3- Too much text

On average, investors only take three minutes to go through a deck. So try to keep the pitch deck as short as possible and only include the really important information. After all, a pitch deck is a presentation, not a complete document. Leave out all irrelevant information and data. It is best to keep your information simple, with no more than six lines of text per slide. If you want to learn more about what to include we have a full pitch deck slide guide.

4 - Including too many slides in your deck

The next mistake goes hand in hand with the previous one. Investors are busy people and do not have the time to look at long presentations. Therefore, not only should the text be kept as short as possible, but also the number of slides should not be too large. Keep your presentation short and compact, with no more than 10 to 12 slides. You pitch deck is here to get the first foot in the door - everything else can be explained in a personal meeting.

5 - Not assessing the competition correctly 

It often happens that founders show a competition diagram on a slide where their company is at the top right and the competition is at the bottom left. We would avoid this. You need to be aware of who your competition is, what they do and how you differ from them. A founder's job is to assess the market correctly and show whether someone is very good or better. You have to show investors that you are 100% in the subject and have done your research. This will allow you to build a solid plan to prove yourself to your competitors.

6 - Using several business models in one

Another mistake is to address several ways of making money out of your idea. This makes it seem, that the founder does not know which business model will work and does not have a concrete plan of how to make money. In the beginning, you should focus on one business model. Later on, there is always the possibility to add others.

7 - Unrealistic financials 

It is important to have big goals and to make them clear in order to convince investors to support you in your venture. However, there is a difference between goals and dreams. For example, saying you will grow to $1B ARR in five years will not win you investors, but on the contrary, you will not be taken seriously by them. So keep your goals realistic and achievable. To keep a clear view of your financials, you can use our financial model template.

8 - Just using buzzwords

You should not just use buzzwords in your deck. Investors want to see a clear and concise offer. So explain your company and its potential in simple language. Underline all your projects, especially the technologies you use, so that everyone reading the deck understands your company and the idea behind it.

9 - No use of funds in the deck

Many decks do not include a concrete plan on how the founders will spend the money they want to raise. However, as an investor, it is important to know where the money will go. Investors can then assess whether it is actually worth investing in the start-up and where the money will take them. This should be included in your 'Ask Slide'.

10 - Sloppy Design

Last but not least, avoid a sloppy presentation. Imagine you receive 20 pitch decks per day. Which decks will you look at? Most likely the ones that are attractively designed. Make sure you have a polished presentation with a clear and consistent design. First impressions count! Check out our custom pitch deck design service if you want to upgrade your pitch deck look.

If you avoid these 10 mistakes when creating your pitch deck and make your uniqueness and commitment clear, you will be able to attract potential investors.

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Maximilian Fleitmann
Maximilian Fleitmann
Co-Founder @ BaseTemplates
Author Twitter LinkAuthor LinkedIN

Maximilian Fleitmann is a passionate founder and entrepreneur. For the last 12+ years he has successfully launched several businesses in the areas of education and digitalization. Max purpose is to enable growth and therefore he shares his experience in building startups.

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