Neil Patel

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How to have an original pitch deck? Being original can be one of the best things you can do when it comes to startup fundraising.

So, how do you both leverage proven formulas for success, and stand out with your pitch deck to successfully raise the funds your venture needs?

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

The Importance Of Standing Out With Your Pitch Deck

Having a winning pitch deck greatly relies on standing out. In fact, it may be 90% of your success.

Even before you get to have a serious conversation with an investor, land a meeting, or win the chance to pitch them live in person or online, you’ll have to stand out with your initial pitch deck. If you can’t do that, then nothing else matters. You won’t even stick on their radar.

Consider that there can be 1,000 new pitch decks created and sent to investors each day in San Francisco alone. There are many more pitch decks made and blasted out every day than there are angel investors, angel groups, or venture capital firms.

In the most bullish markets when capital is overly abundant and starving for deals, investors may still only fund 1% of the pitches they receive.

In leaner and more bearish times of uncertainty, startup investors may fund even far fewer of the pitch decks put on their screens.

Even if you get through to their inbox, you are there wedged in between hundreds, and probably thousands of others. Even if they get to your pitch deck, you’ll only have milliseconds to stand out, be memorable, and be worth exploring further.

It’s all about being original with the first deck you get in front of their eyes.

One the next steps when you have a great business idea is to develop an original pitch deck to gain the right exposure and get the necessary funding. Check out this video where I have explained the process in further detail.

A Word Of Warning About Being Too Original

While standing out is absolutely vital to being able to get funded, you can be too original.

Successfully getting the funding requires the wisdom in judgment to know when and where to disrupt and be innovative, and when and where not to.

If you are completely out there, no one will get it. If you are too alike you won’t get noticed. Tesla is a great example of this. A Tesla probably doesn’t need anything that resembles a traditional steering wheel at all.

Tesla vehicles could virtually be any shape at all. They may not even need the status quo round wheels or windscreens. They are certainly innovative. However, for Elon Musk to get this far, he had to make his vehicles normal enough to catch on, qualify for insurance, be able to be used on the road, be financed, and get funded.

Of course, if he just tried to create another GM, Ford, or Toyota car manufacturer, it is unlikely he would have come this far. He clearly figured out how to have an original pitch deck.

99% of the time startup fundraising relies on following the formula. The right steps in the right order, in the right format. This is especially true of pitch decks. Just save your innovation and disruption for your business model and product.

The easiest way to do this is to use a proven pitch deck template. One that investors have been actively funding. Then customize it to be unique to your startup.

How To Make Your Pitch Deck Original

So, what is the right way to be unique and original in your pitch deck, without sabotaging your chances of getting funding?

The Text In Your Pitch Deck

Aesthetics can help you stand out, but you have to be original in tangible ways too, not just fundraising sales gimmicks. The data you include and the figures you project can make a difference, but you have to stand out on more than numbers alone. Anyone can fluff the numbers to get attention.

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So, the text you use is much more important. This begins right from your pitch deck’s cover slide. Your company name and tagline or slogan begin to set the tone. Ask yourself whether anyone else is likely to use a similar slogan. If so, scratch it and brainstorm something else.

When it comes to your company name, there can be benefits of being on trend if you are early, though if you are the 1,000th dot io pitch deck they have seen this week, you immediately blend into the crowd and lose interest.

Be original and make sure investors are noticing what is unique and original about your venture and pitch by stripping away all the fluff words. Unless you do this, your deck will already appear almost identical to every other one.

Do you really need to name your slides with conventional titles? The market size slide should clearly be a slide about market size. You shouldn’t need to take away from your deck by making the highlight of the slide the big title ‘Market Size’.

Strip away every word that isn’t absolutely necessary. Get rid of all the fluff, and any lines your competitors may be using in their decks. You might be surprised at how much simpler and powerful your deck is at getting your points across when you are really disciplined about this. Basic factors like these are critical when figuring out how to have an original pitch deck.

Perhaps most importantly, what will make your deck original is the story you tell with your text as you walk investors through the problem you are solving to what the future looks like.

Pitch Deck Design

The visuals in your pitch deck are clearly important. This is obviously one of the easiest and most impactful ways to instantly differentiate your deck from others.

Use this opportunity to grab attention and create interest. Just don’t overdo it and take away from what’s most important in your deck. Too much design and visual elements can present a variety of problems.

Especially, when it comes to sending your deck and getting it through to investors, and making it easy for them to view and share.

Make sure that your visuals match your overall brand and color scheme. Don’t let it become a distraction.

In addition to visual design for the template and background, other visuals should be used on your slides to convey your points quickly without cluttering them with text.

This can include a modest amount of images. For example, your team profile photos and product pictures. Blockquotes can also be useful.

Charts, diagrams, and graphs can be very impactful, conveying a lot of information without all the words. Specifically, use these for market size, competitor analysis, and financials. You would want to incorporate them when figuring out how to have an original pitch deck.

Your Team

Perhaps the most original thing that you have as a startup is your team. No matter how original you think your idea is, it probably isn’t. Not your business model or product. You are talking about pitching investors who see ideas all day, every day. They can view thousands of them each week.

What no other startup has is your team. Make the most of that.

It’s okay to show a little personality. Most of all, show how you are the best team to take care of their money and execute on this venture.

Differentiating Your Startup Where Most Pitches Fumble The Ball

One of the best and easiest ways to get your pitch deck to stand out is to simply follow the recipe. Most founders can’t do it. They just aren’t disciplined enough to just follow the steps and formula for a winning pitch deck. They may be geniuses in many respects, but won’t get the chance to show it with their startup unless they get this right.

Keep Your Pitch Deck Short

The vast majority of entrepreneurs blow their chances of getting funded simply because they cannot keep their slide count down.

They may be able to weave the most fantastic code, design space rockets, and have skill sets that are effectively magic compared to the masses. Yet, all that potential can be completely wasted if they can’t stick to a short pitch deck.

Don’t let this be you. Especially, when it comes to an early-stage pitch deck, and the intro deck you are sending out, aim for no more than 10 slides. If you are over 20 slides you’ve already drastically cut your chances of funding. Understand these factors when learning how to have an original pitch deck.

Pitch Deck Flow

Getting the flow of your slides and information in the right order is also essential. It isn’t rocket science. There are templates that already have it laid out for you. It seems simple, but it is vital. Otherwise, it is like trying to punch in the combination to a safe in the wrong order. It just doesn’t work, right?

No matter how many times you try it, punching in the pin for your debit card or passcode for your phone in the wrong order isn’t going to work. Why waste the time being frustrated when you don’t need to?


Not only is getting the slide count and balance of text and visual design right important so is keeping it simple. It doesn’t mean cramming 25 slides worth of information onto 10 slides. That isn’t going to help you either. It is all about getting your message and original points across crisply and clearly in a matter of seconds.


Ideas are essentially worthless. So, is talent unless it is focused right. You could have the hulk in the boxing ring, with the idea of knocking out his opponent. That isn’t going to happen unless he actually swings his arms and hits his target, right?

The same goes for businesses. You have to have laser-sharp focus, and be capable of putting that into action on the right things. This shows up in the simplicity of your pitch deck, product description, and in your action plan and milestones that you will use this money to achieve.

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.

More Good Ways To Be Original

Your Cover Message & Delivery

Keep in mind that you can have the perfect pitch deck, which could really stand out, yet completely fail at fundraising if no investors see that deck. That’s why you need to learn how to have an original pitch deck.

The first half of the battle is getting it delivered, opened, and viewed.

Invest in great copy for your subject lines and cover letter to maximize your open and click-through rates.

Have A Strong Board Of Advisors

Do whatever you can to enroll a strong group of advisors for your startup. They can make all the difference in your deck and help you stand out. They may also have great connections for ensuring your deck not only gets into the hands of great fitting investors but also gets viewed in a positive way.

Show What You’ve Actually Achieved

Talk is cheap. It isn’t that hard to make big promises and claims in a deck and throw out bold ideas. It’s all sales. What really stands out is when you can show that you’ve actually been achieving what you say you are going to do. It is so rare today in business in general.

Back-Up Your Deck With A Strong Data Room

Backup your original pitch deck with a strong online data room. Here you can include FAQs, a one-page business plan, investor updates, and more supporting materials. This is where you can get all of the other original meat into it that doesn’t belong in your introductory deck.

Be Able To Deliver Your Pitch Well

Don’t just have a fantastic deck of slides. Be able to deliver your pitch concisely and clearly in person too. This can take practice, but you can do it. Practice your timing, get it to flow off of your tongue naturally, and make it as crisp as your pitch deck is. Work out how to have an original 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 help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

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