How to create a compelling pitchdeck?

The Lakeside Pitchdeck Primer -
How to create a compelling startup pitchdeck?

A successful startup pitch deck is a powerful tool that can help entrepreneurs secure funding and attract strategic partners. Whether you're seeking investment from venture capitalists, angel investors, or crowdfunding platforms, a well-crafted pitch deck can make all the difference. In this article, we'll explore the key elements of a successful startup pitch deck, and provide tips on how to create one that will help you to achieve your business goals.

At the end of this article you can find the Lakeside Pitchdeck Primer - to serve as a guide to creating an effective pitchdeck. Next to the Pitchdeck Primer included for download at the end of this article we have also compiled a version which contains sample pages from actual pitchdecks. Please send us a note or mail if you want to receive the extended version of the pitchdeck primer.

Guiding thoughts in creating a great pitchdeck

Your pitchdeck should convey the story of your venture as clear and punchy as you can

  • Start strong & keep building – capture your audience at page 1 and then keep building their conviction to invest on every page
  • Don‘t hide – the more of the relevant investor‘s questions you answer in the deck, the more likely you are to secure an invest
  • Start at square 1 – Don‘t assume an investor has the same context as you do. Provide visuals, use cases and practical examples …
  • KISS – Keep it simple – tell a clear, punchy and easy-to-recall story
  • Traction, traction, traction – what evidence can you provide that you have a product or service that sells, that your business will scale and that you will return the invested money 10x?

Which core topics should a pitchdeck address?

A compelling pitchdeck should answer the main questions an investor may have to understand whether he wants to invest or not. To this end we have identified 10-points that we consider to be fundamental in the assessment of a startup to cover all major aspects of a startup: 

  • Idea: How convincing is your business idea, product and/or service offered? Does is address a real customer need?
  • Market, Customers, Competition: How well is your venture positioned in the market, towards customers and versus competition?
  • USP: Does your venture offer a substantial, differentiated & defendable value proposition?
  • Team: How strong is the founding and leadership team?
  • Ops Model: How effective are the operating model, processes & technology? How fast is the learning curve?
  • Growth plan: How clear, ambitious & realistic is your growth plan? What are core milestones? How big is the scaling opportunity?
  • Legal setup: Is the legal setup sound & appropriate? How big are the legal or regulatory risks? Any sleeping dogs?
  • Financials: How attractive and realistic is the financial structure and outlook? Are the unit economics healthy and scalable?
  • Risks & opportunities: What are core business risks & opportunities?
  • Investment terms: Are the investments terms clear and fair?

While you want to have all bases covered you want to tell a good story that is unique to your startup and compelling to investors. Therefore, use the points above and the elements below as an indication about elements that have proven to work but do not let them get in the way of your story. 

Starting strong - your first page

The introduction or executive summary is the first section of your pitch deck, and is your chance to leave a good impression and capture your audience at page 1. In the intro section you can provide a brief overview of your business, including your mission, vision, and key value proposition. It's important to keep this section concise and to the point (1-2 pages), as investors will use it to quickly evaluate whether or not your business is worth their time and money.

What is the problem you are solving?

The next section of your pitch deck should focus on the problem that your business is solving and how it's addressing it. This is where you set the context for your business, explain which problem you are addressing and adressing 'll delve into the details of your market, including size, growth potential, and key trends. Be sure to provide data and statistics to back up your claims, and explain how your solution is different from what's currently available.

Which products or services are your offering?

Once you've outlined the problem and solution, it's important to explain what it is you are offering and how your business works. how your business will make money.

Make your product (or service or offering …) as tangible as possible:

  • If you have a physical sample – bring it along
  • If you have a visual or video – show it
  • If there is a link to a product test or demo – include it

How does your product work? Can you show it in action or provide a link to test it? Why does the customer want or need it? How does it add value from a customer perspective?

Which market are you in? Who are your customers and competitors?

In this section, you'll need to provide an in-depth analysis of your market, including size, growth potential, and key trends.

Second, you want to describe your customers: Who are they? What are their pain points and how does your solution address those pain points and add value (customer pains & gains)?. Explain how your business is making money (monetization & revenue streams) and how its unit economics work.

You should also describe your main competitors and explain how your business is differentiated from them. Be sure to include data and statistics to back up your claims, and provide examples of any patents or proprietary technology that you have.

Demonstrate a good (initial) product-market-fit by showing customer examples, references or talking about your pipeline. And show traction: However convincing your business model & team, one factor that investors are likely to pay special attention to is your traction. It is living proof that you have a viable business model that can scale and that your team is executing well.

What is your traction in the market?

However convincing your business model & team, one factor that investors are likely to pay special attention to is your traction. It is living proof that you have a viable business model that can scale and that your team is executing well. Some core aspects to cover are:

  • Product-Market-Fit: Product-Market-Fit is achieved if customers are using your product and PAYING for it. Ideally new customers with no prior connection to you or your venture.
  • Revenue growth – the gamma factor*: Revenue growth is the first quantifiable measure of company success. The Gamma-factor measures your (month-on-month) growth. Your venture‘s revenue should grow at >100% year and 10-20% per month.
  • Traction KPI‘s: Say what you have to say using facts & figures (to build trust). There are other quantitative traction KPIs besides revenues that you can use:
    • Website traffic, conversion & retention rates
    • Net Promoter Score (NPS) or other customer satisfaction metrics
    • Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) vs. Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • And if you cannot demonstrate revenue growth yet?
    • Show your sales pipeline (with realization likelihood)
    • Obtain Letters of Intent (LOI) where no contracts can be signed yet)
    • Get pilot customers to test-use your product & provide testimonials
    • Show results of customer surveys & interviews 

How to win? - Your USP

To bring your market, customer & competition story to a conclusion you hone your arguments to a sharp point – your USP (= Unique Selling Proposition). A USP is a set of specific benefits that makes your business stand out when compared to other businesses in your market. And remember: It only matters if it makes the customer buy (or not). Also, you may want to explain how will you defend and expand your USP over time and vs. competition.

Who is on your leadership team?

Investors are investing in you and your team as much as they are investing in your business. This section of your pitch deck should provide a brief overview of your team's background and experience, including their key skills and accomplishments. You should also provide information on your team's size and structure, as well as any advisors or strategic partners you've brought on board.

How do you operate?

In this section you demonstrate your competence in your area of business: How do you operate? How does that contribute to your success? What are your core assets?

Potentially relevant operational areas to cover:

  • Your footprint: Where are you located? Are there multiple sites & office locations? What is your geographic reach & coverage?
  • Sales & Marketing: Do you have an established sales & marketing? Which channels do you cover? What are your costs to acquire & retain customers? What is their Lifetime Value?
  • Digital / Technology: Do you produce technology in house or externally? How big is your tech team & where is it located? How does your tech stack look like?
  • Operations: Do you have relevant physical operations? What do they do & how competitive are they? Can you share operational KPIs?
  • SC & Procurement: Where do you procure? Do you have a supply chain cost advantage or disadvantage? How secure is your supply chain?
  • Admin & Management: Which corporate functions do you have? Is there a dedicated Finance, HR, Legal, … function?

How will you scale your business?

Now that you have - hopefully - convinced your to-be-investors it is time to explain how you will go beyond and scale your business:

How are you going to build your business over the course of the next 3-5 years? Show that you have thought ahead and have a solid plan & roadmap to reach your goals. Be ambitious but realistic. Any early evidence that you can pull it off? Be specific & use numbers if you can:

  • How will you scale your business? Why should an investor believe you? Most startups fail to scale and therefore only deliver a minimal return to the investors. Therefore investors are interested in the 1 successful scaling business model out of 10 to realize their targeted return. Be the 1!
  • Scaling – ok, but by how much? Newly founded companies grow 13% on average, good startups scale by >100%, the best startups scale by >600% per year. Our rule: 100/10/100 – 100% per year, 10x in 5 years, >100 M€ revenue potential.
  • Just showing high revenue figures in your business case is not going to convince an investor - that gets to see high hopes many a time per week. You need to provide a solid roadmap and rationale on why your business can successfully scale

How do your financials look like?

After all is said and done it boils down to the numbers: What is your financial plan & what are the core assumptions that drive it?


A few things to consider when showing your numbers:

  • All investor are interested in your financial projection – so do not hide your financials but show them. It’s part of being professional.
  • Have a business plan at hand to back up your numbers (and be ready to explain).
  • Avoid excessive detail but show some specifics. Be as realistic as you can. Show min 1 yr back and ~5 yrs forward.
  • Ideally show your numbers as a graph & a table.

What are you looking for? - Your ask

The (almost) final section of your pitch deck should clearly state how much money you're looking to raise and what you plan to use it for. Be sure to include a detailed breakdown of your fundraising needs, including how much you're looking to raise, the terms of the investment, and the equity you're offering. It's also important to include a clear and compelling use of proceeds section which outlines the specific milestones and objectives the funding will be used for.

How to close your pitch? -
The call to action

You close should be as strong or stronger than your beginning. Leave on a high note and give your potential investor a good reason to get in touch. Use visuals and deliver the final punch: Why should an investor fund you? Is there a give-away, a thought or a offer that may drive the investor from desire to action?

And do not forget to provide your contact details. Who can a potenital investor reach out to to learn more.

In conclusion, a successful startup pitch deck is the key to securing funding and attracting strategic partners. By following the tips outlined in this article, you'll be well on your way to creating a deck that will help you to achieve your business goals. Remember to keep your deck concise, clear and visually appealing, and you'll be sure to make a lasting impression on investors.

To get you started: The Lakeside Startup Primer as as download

To help you get started as quickly and practically as we can please find attached our startup primer as a ppt download. Be aware that the primer is a toolset only and you will still have to write your story yourself.


Download Pitchdeck Primer