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I am usually happy to give founders brief feedback on a pitch deck. Send email to pitch@probell.com.

Who does not get funded?

These are some things that, if they are true of your company, might make it difficult (but not impossible) to get early stage funding from investors.

What should go in a pitch deck?

Investors will decide to pass or take a meeting based on what they see in your pitch deck. Make yours a good one. Graphics that illustrate information about your company can be helpful. Photos and clip art from the internet are not. The care and effort of a nice style speaks well. Proofread your text careful.

Most pitch decks include approximately 1 slide explaining each of the following topics and perhaps a few more, in roughly this order.


Your customer is the person or company who pays you money.

What disadvantage will your customers have if they don't buy your product?

If your product benefits the world, that's nice, but be clear about who your customer is.

Quantify the problem with numbers.


What are the key novel features of how your product works?

Don't just say what it does, say how it works in a new way that hasn't been done before.

Use 2 or 3 slides if needed.

The better you explain your invention, the more likely it is that investors will recognize the value.

Why now

Great idea. Why hasn’t anybody done it before?

Something must have changed in the world to create an opportunity. Otherwise, if it's a good idea, somebody would already be doing it.


What are several competitors or second-best alternatives, and what do you have that they don't?

Compare to what the customer truly considers to be the second best alternative. For example: If you sell electric motor bikes in a place with a lot of bicycles, do not compare electric motor bikes to bicycles. Your customers will be people who can afford a motor bike and will be comparing electric motor bikes to gasoline-powered motor bikes. Gasoline-powered motor bikes are the second-best alternative for your customers.

A grid with columns for competitors and rows for the attributes that are most important to customers is very helpful.

The 2-axis quadrant style chart with competitor logos conveys less useful information.

Barrier to competition

What will stop somebody from copying you?

Network effect? Patents? Strong partnerships? Celebrity endorsement? First mover advantage? Brand loyalty? Geographical advantage?

Market size

This is often shown as 3 overlaid circles for annual TAM, SAM, and SOM, progressively from larger to smaller. The numbers are never trustworthy, but it is important to have words that explain what the numbers represent. That helps the investors understand who you customers are.

The smallest number should be at least $100 million.

I like to think from smaller to larger. How many customers are there and what is the average price they will pay?

Pricing/business model

A price per unit? A recurring subscription fee? A royalty?

Go-to-Market strategy

How will the customers who can realize the greatest value from your product find out that you exist?

Direct sales is common for high-priced B2B products. Social media ads is common for B2C products.

Traction and revenue projection

How many customers, unit sales, active users, and how much revenue do you have so far (if any)?

A chart showing numbers per year or per quarter since sales started is helpful.

Also show projected future revenue per year.

It can help investors if you name lead customers.

Regulatory approvals

What steps will you need for regulatory approval? And, when will you complete them? 

A timeline diagram might help.

Not every business needs this section.

Milestones and use of funds

What objectives will you accomplish to increase company value before future funding?

What departments or major purchases will you spend the newly raised capital on?

The team

Who are the CEO, CTO/CSO, and 1 to 3 other key people that will make the company succeed? What about them gives them an advantage over the second best person in the world for their job?

It is common to also name some advisors with impressive credentials. Advisors are easy to find. They have very little skin in the game. Many investors care about your advisors. I don't. I'm betting on you.

The ask

How much money are you raising in the current round?

Do a calculation based on use of funds needed to achieve an objective to arrive at a single number, not a range.

Are you selling newly issued preferred stock with a specific price (a priced equity round) or are you selling convertible debt such as a SAFE note?

If stock, what is the company valuation? Be clear about whether the number is pre-money or post-money.

If debt, what is the valuation cap, and what discount rate, if any, are you offering?

Don't exaggerate

Even if the pitch deck gets you a first meeting, an investment won't occur without due diligence. If you exaggerate your business opportunity to get a meeting, you are wasting everybody's time and hurting your credibility.