Neil Patel

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How to choose the right pitch deck variation?

Should you have multiple variations of your pitch deck for fundraising for your startup? If so, which versions are right for the different scenarios you will encounter in this round of funding?

Nailing a short and concise pitch deck that is suitable for most situations is the hardest part for most aspiring entrepreneurs and startup founders. It is important to really hone in on this and get it polished. However, there can be value in creating several variations of your pitch deck. In fact, it may make getting your primary deck right even easier.

Types Of Pitch Deck Variations To Prepare For Your Next Raise

There are three main variations of your pitch deck that may serve you well as you start a new fundraising campaign. Or to go back and save opportunities if you are not getting the funds you hoped for.

The Teaser Deck

This is the very shortest and most concise version of your pitch deck. It should answer the core questions investors will have in brief. Just enough to get them excited and decide they want to start a conversation, explore more about this opportunity, and get more detail if needed. It can be 10 slides or less.

Short Pitch Deck

This is your standard, regular length pitch deck which has the most applications. As part of understanding how to choose the right pitch deck variation, you may be okay if you just get this short version right. Though, if you have the bandwidth, other variations can really help fine-tune your pitch, process, and conversion ratios. This deck should be between 10 to 16 slides long.

Long Pitch Deck

Entrepreneurs have a notoriously hard time boiling down the data to just the basics most investors want. If you are feeling that pain as well, you can start by preparing this longer deck, then keep stripping it down to be an appropriate length for the two shorter versions.

This may be a lot easier to stomach as you know you already have this deck with all that you really want to say, and it is ready to go as needed. This deck can be up to 20 pages. It is unlikely you’ll be able to justify more.

At least unless you have been operating for a while and have lots of existing financials, and may have already acquired other businesses under your umbrella.

All of these length variations of your pitch deck should follow the same nine stages. You may just have slightly more or less detail and the number of slides for each stage. But, have your objectives clearly in sight when figuring out how to choose the right pitch deck variation?

The Nine Stages Of A Pitch Deck

1. Problem

What is the big problem your startup is going to solve?

2. Solution

How are you solving the problem? As part of understanding how to choose the right pitch deck variation, you need to be very good at making sure the problem and the solution blend well within the flow and structure of your story.

3. Market

What is this market, how big is it?

4. Product

What product are you selling?

5. Traction

How much progress have you made already?

6. Team

Who is on the team?

7. Competition

Who are the competitors, how do you compare?

8. Financials

How much money and profit is this business generating or going to make?

9. The Ask

How much are you raising in this funding round, and how will you use the money? Without a good ask you will not be able to tackle how to choose the right pitch deck variation.

So, in which cases do you use these different pitch deck variations?

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.

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Who Are You Presenting To

Who you are presenting to can make a notable difference when understanding how to choose the right pitch deck variation?.

Type of Investor

Friends and family or the average angel investor will probably need much less detail than a private equity fund or big late-stage VC.

Your relationship with them can also be a factor in the right deck length too.
When designing different variations of your pitch deck, keep the key objective in mind – this deck is one of the steps to pitch an idea to an investor. Take a look at this video where I explain how it’s done.


Is this investor more driven by the idea, the money, or the technology? Most investors don’t need to know how it works or all of the details. They just want it to work. Though if you know you are pitching to a very technical investor with domain experience who is really going to want to see you have thought and planned everything through, and have really created something with a technical edge, it may justify sending them a longer deck. Though this is more the exception.

Investment Focus

Different investors have different focuses and preferences when it comes to what they want to fund. With a few tweaks to your pitch deck, you can make sure you are highlighting the right factors for that investor.

For example, a health tech startup may appeal to some investors just because it is in healthcare. For others, the trigger may be that it is a software startup. Other investors may be focused on the fact that it is more environmentally friendly and is based on having an impact.

Stage Of Conversation

Many entrepreneurs worry about their IP and letting their ‘secrets’ out. So, instead of destroying your chances of funding by demanding an NDA to see your deck, lead with the teaser version. You can filter out the serious investors and those you want to work with and decide who to let see more detailed versions when they show interest.

Few investors are going to take the time to go through a long deck in a cold pitch. Put your longer versions up in a data room with other files for those who want to take it to the next stage.

The process of how to choose the right pitch deck variation will also depend on the setting. Will it is used for:

  • Cold pitching via email
  • Private investor meetings
  • Video presentations to individual investors
  • Demo days at startup accelerators
  • Public crowdfunding platforms
  • Live presentations to groups of investors

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.

Hopefully this post provided with some perspective as you are looking into how to choose the right pitch deck variation.

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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

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