The perfect investor deck for raising a seed round

There are several ways to build an investor deck for your seed round, but there is no perfect way, of course. The common thing between all successful decks is that they are short and clear. Be sure to read 9 seed funding gotchas and 8 things you need to know a about raising venture capital before you start working on your deck.

In this post we will talk about what goes into a typical seed round deck.

The outline

Here are 3 different outlines. One from Nicole Glaros, my mentor and Chief Product Officer at Techstars, one from Steve Schlafman from RRE Ventures, and the last one is my own.

Nicole’s outline:

1. Logo with 1 liner
2. The Problem
3. The Solution
4. The Demo
5. Business Model
6. Marketing / Sales Effort
7. Market Size
8. Differentiation
9. The Team
10. Timeline / Milestones / Traction
11. Financials
12. The Ask / Close
13. Contact Info

Steve’s outline:

1. Title & Contact Info
2. Problem
3. Vision / Mission
4. Product / Solution
5. Market Size / Trends
6. Distribution / Acquisition
7. Monetization
8. Roadmap / Timeline
9. Traction / Milestones
10. Projection / Metrics
11. Team / Advisors
12. Funding

My outline:

1. Team
2. Vision
3. Problem
4. Solution
5. Demo
6. Traction
7. Business Model
8. Differentiation
9. Market Opportunity
10. Financing + Milestones

As you can see they are mostly similar with some minor differences in amount of information and the order. Most items should be 1 slide. It is fine, of course, to add 2 or more per item, but don’t have too many slides. The perfect deck is short.

General pointers


  • Clearly label each slide – Problem, Solution, Team, etc. to make the deck easily scannable
  • Make slides simple. Don’t put a ton of text.
  • Use larger fonts, and bigger graphics
  • Make charts and stats clear and awesome


  • Include unrealistic growth forecast charts that are hockey sticks in the future
  • Describe how many engineers you will hire
  • Make stuff up or lie

Slide details

Team: List the team, and your background. Highlight specifically what, if anything, qualifies you to start this business. List relevant experience. Also list key advisors and investors, if you have them, and if they are well known.

Vision: What is your vision? Why did you start this? What is your true North? This should be a clear and simple 1 liner.

Problem: What problem are you solving? Again, be brief. Add data and market research to support your statement. Explain why this is actually a problem, and a big problem worth going after.

Solution: What is your insight? What is unique about it? Be very specific. If your solution involves a platform / defensible technology, be sure to illustrate it. Add another slide, if it makes sense.

Demo: Show, don’t tell. Embed a demo video of your solution, about 1 minute. Make it awesome. Be product obsessed.

Traction: State key metrics that drive your business. Show charts, make them awesome. Speak to your metrics and growth – it is important. Even if your traction isn’t huge, speaking to it illustrates you are metrics driven. Investors want to back metrics-driven founders.

Business model: Describe clearly how you are making money or planning to make money in the future. If you don’t know yet, be ready to explain which key metric is important for your business and why.

Competition: Avoid magic quadrants, they are tired. Instead, list all your major competitors and highlight their strengths. Then below, explain in one line what makes you different.

Opportunity: Describe your addressable market, and size it. Give clear backing to how you arrived at the numbers. Avoid top-down analysis like, “we are in $X billion market.” Instead, show clearly what the actual addressable market is. Attach bottom up / unit-economics analysis to back the number.

Financing: Describe how much you are raising, and what milestones you will achieve with the money. Good milestones are growth milestones like revenue, customers, and users. Each financing is done to get you to either profitability or, more likely, another financing. This is why it is important to get the milestones right. Read this post for more details.

For another excellent overview post on how to build a pitch deck see this post by David Teten from FFVC.

Once you build the deck, get feedback from your advisors and other founders. Then go and field-test it. Be self-critical and listen carefully to feedback from potential investors. Don’t get happy ears. Iterate and change the deck based on the feedback you get. Make it better.

Like with everything, there is no such thing as a perfect deck. The more you work on it, the more you iterate, and the better clarity you get on your business, the faster investors will write you a check.

Fundraising Startup Advice Venture Capital

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Everything here sounds legit & mirrors my own pitch deck except for 1 thing. Why is it a “Don’t” to state how many engineers you are going to hire? If you are asking for $X funding, I would assume investors would want a break-down of how that money will be spent, e.g. ad spend, # of engineering hires, etc. I have those numbers listed in my pitch deck (I even list the # of Seniors vs. Mids vs. Jrs). Why is that a “Don’t?” I’d be curious to hear your reasoning here. Thanks!


    • Hey David, sorry about the delay in replying.

      It is fine to mention it in principle, but not to lead with it or make it the reason you are raising. You are raising money to hit milestones. Engineers help you achieve milestones. So yes, of course, you need a hiring plan but it is not critical to include it in the deck.


    • Okay, thanks for the reply. I agree it’s about hitting milestones. Engineers are a means to an end. We do a lot of API integrations to advance our revenue, so more engineers = more APIs completed in a shorter time = faster revenue ramp growth.

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