Neil Patel

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How many slides do you need in a pitch deck?

The slide count can be one of the most important factors when it comes to the success of a pitch deck. So, how many slides do you need?

Potential investors can immediately tell how much homework you’ve done, and how savvy you are about fundraising and startups in general, just by how many slides are in your pitch deck. They’ll know whether you are coachable, or not. They’ll know if you bothered to invest time in research before expecting them to invest their time with you. They will know if you can focus and make progress or not.

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks


Check out these guiding principles and variables for nailing the right number of slides in your pitch deck.

Variables Impacting The Length Of Your Deck

While there are proven pitch deck templates which you can easily adapt for your own startup and winning fundraising rounds, there are some variables that can justify slightly shorter or longer deck counts.

These variables can include the following.

Startup Stage & Fundraising Round

Early-stage startups without a launched product or sales obviously have less to cover. You may not even include any financials at all. You probably don’t have an IP. There are no previous rounds to cover. You probably don’t need more than 10 slides.

When it comes down to how many slides do you need in a pitch deck, keep in mind the opposite is true for later-stage startups. If you are raising a Series C round of funding, then you probably have a track record of financials, you have patents or trademarks, you have a larger team, more data, and probably, the distribution and other channel partners. Perhaps even additional products and verticals.

Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Who You Are Pitching

The investors you are pitching also make a difference. If you are pitching non-technical friends and family then you may keep it even simpler. Whereas if you are pitching your professors or industry geeks with deep knowledge and more questions, you may be able to afford to go a little longer. Keep these factors in mind when figuring out how many slides do you need in a pitch deck?

Stage Of The Conversation

No matter what stage you are at, dumping a 20-page pitch deck on a cold contact can be overkill. Justified or not, you may also be too fearful of sharing your deck in this level of detail, or kill your chances of being seen or being taken seriously by asking for NDAs.

It may be better to provide a short deck, and then make a longer deck available to those who really want to dig into the detail. Many won’t. Just like an iPhone, they don’t need to know how it all works, just if it is a smart investment.

Overall the best practice is to make the deck as short, concise, and simple as possible. This is what keeps it interesting, edible, and actionable.

The 9 Stages Your Pitch Deck Needs To Work Through

The order of your pitch deck is important. It tells a story, and it needs to tell the story and flow through in the way investors are looking for. This isn’t the part of your business to disrupt and reinvent the wheel. This is where you need to serve up investors what they are looking for.

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These nine stages are:

1. Problem

What is the problem your startup is setting out to solve?

2. Solution

How will you solve the above problem?

3. Market

What is the market you are in, and how big is it?

4. Product

What is the product you will be selling to solve the problem?

5. Traction

How much progress have you made so far?

6. Team

Who is on your team and will be championing this venture?

7. Competition

Who are your competitors and how do you compare to them?

8. Financials

What type of money and profit is this business making and going to make?

9. The Ask

How much money are you raising in this round and what will you be using it for?

So, what does this look like in terms of slides in deck format? And, how many slides do you need in a pitch deck? Think about it.

If you need more detailed information on how to create a pitch deck, check out this video I have created to better explain how to design the precise number of slides.

The Slides In A Short Deck

  • Cover slide
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Market
  • Product
  • Traction
  • Team
  • Competition
  • Financial projections
  • The Amount being raised

Slides In A Long Deck

As part of understanding how many slides do you need in a pitch deck, here’s what you need to include in the pitch deck.

  • Cover slide
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Market Size
  • Competition
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Product
  • Traction
  • Customers and Engagement
  • Business Model
  • Existing & Historical Financials
  • Forward Facing Financial Projections
  • Amount Being Raised In This Round
  • Other Investors
  • Use Of Funds
  • Executive & Cofounding Team
  • Advisors
  • Back Cover & Closing Slide
  • Appendix

The 16 Slides You Really Need In Your Pitch Deck

If you have enough valuable and interesting data to fill this many slides, 16 is plenty. Always err on the side of shorter rather than longer. They can always ask questions or check out your data room for more details if they really need them.

  1. Cover
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Market Size
  5. Competition
  6. Competitive Advantage
  7. Product
  8. Traction
  9. Customers and Engagement
  10. Business Model
  11. Financials
  12. Amount Being Raised and Other Investors
  13. Use of Funds
  14. Team
  15. Advisors
  16. Back Cover

Be sure to check out my full breakdown of these core 16 slides and exactly what should be on each of them here. It’s one of the fundamental rules to keep in mind when evaluating how many slides do you need in a pitch deck?

Summary

Slide count is very important when it comes to crafting a startup pitch deck. The number of slides alone can determine whether investors take you seriously or not and whether they will bother to swipe through them and follow up with you. You may end up with several versions of your deck with different lengths. Use the above breakdowns to make sure you have the right data in your presentation, and avoid adding too much fluff.

Hopefully this post provided you with some perspective as you are looking into how many slides do you need in a pitch deck.

You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.

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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want me to help you with your fundraising, just book a call.

Book a Call