3 Biggest Mistakes Founders Make when Creating a Pitch Deck

At GrowthX Capital, we see 500+ pitch decks every year. While we see a huge variety of pitch decks, there are a handful of mistakes founders consistently make that will cause investors to lose interest.

This blog post explores three of the most common mistakes we see, so you know how to create a pitch deck that grabs – and holds – investors’ attention!

But, first, before you get busy building your pitch deck, keep this in mind: the purpose of your pitch deck is not to raise money. 

The purpose of your pitch deck is to get the relevant investor’s attention and get them to lean in and reply, “This is interesting. Let’s set up a meeting.” [QUOTE]

That’s it! It’s what we call your attraction framework. This more realistic outcome empowers you to reduce the overwhelming amount of information that most founders try to cram into a way-too-long pitch deck.

With that in mind, here are the three biggest mistakes to avoid with your pitch deck:

Pitch Deck Mistake #1: Burying The Team Slide

The vast majority of pitch decks that we see bury the team slide towards the bottom.

When creating your pitch deck, bring your team slide to the top. {Q}

After highlighting the problem you are solving, continue your investor narrative by properly introducing your team in the context of why you are the right people to be working on the specific problem, addressing the specific market and building your specific solution.

If you don’t, you run the risk of distracting your investor’s already-limited attention. If you begin to capture an investor’s attention with your problem, market and solution without first introducing your team, an investor lacks the context to believe.

Early stage investors know that execution risk is one of the largest challenges that your startup faces. It’s all about the team and their ability to do this very hard thing that’s not been successfully done before.

Start with “Why You” and it will then be easier for your investor to believe “Why,” “What” and “Why Now.”

Pitch Deck Mistake #2: Too Much “What You Do” and not enough “What You Do For Your Customers

The cost and complexity of technology has been drastically reduced, and the number of trained and experienced developers is at an all time high. We’re all now living in the Age of Applied Technology. 

In the Age of Applied Technology, differentiation comes from what you do for your customer, not what you do. [Q]

Yet, most pitch decks we receive are heavily focused on the technology stack, features, functions and product development roadmap. Without a single mention of the people being served and the problem being solved.

CBInsights has long-reported a leading cause of startup failure is a product that does not serve a market need. FastCompany just reported similarly, finding that the single-largest cause was failure to assess the market.

Savvy investors know that in the Age of Applied Technology the risk is not attributable to features and functions, it’s all about commercialization.

When creating your pitch deck, make sure your investors know that you are focused on go-to-market and not just go-to-product. Include a clear statement of the problem you are solving and the people who most acutely suffer from that problem.

Pitch Deck Mistake #3: Top-Down Views Without Bottom-Up Details

Founders love showing off ultra-large total addressable markets. It’s true that venture investors look for market sizes that have lots of trailing zeros. After all, venture capital is synonymous with “get big, fast” capital.

But savvy investors know that winning initial customers and revenue from a small, targeted segment of a total addressable market is a more reliable source of investment signal.

It’s okay to catch an investor’s attention with a large TAM or SAM, but make sure to back it up by also including a slide in your pitch deck with details about your current go-to-market strategy. This includes your Ideal Customer Profile and the market messaging, customer acquisition strategy and business and pricing models you are / intend to use to systematically acquire customers and revenue.

Conclusion: How to Create a Pitch Deck That Earns More Investor Meetings

A great pitch deck tells a narrative in such a way that an investor wants to meet with you. It’s crucial to avoid a handful of mistakes that can quickly lose prospective investors’ interest.

First, never bury the team slide; this should always be at the forefront of your deck. Second, don’t tell investors what you do – tell them what you do for your customers.

And third, be sure to supplement your TAM and SAM analysis with real details about your current customer acquisition and revenue growth strategies.

Want to easily create a pitch deck that earns investor attention? Click below to access my Pitch Deck Workshop Video, that tells you exactly what elements to include in your pitch deck – and in which order.

Plus, you’ll get my downloadable Storyboard Framework, an easy-to-replicate 10-slide framework that you can start working from today!

Free Download: Pitch Deck Toolkit for Founders

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