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Here's the Problem with Your DIY Investor Pitch Deck.

Updated: Aug 19, 2023


A set of DIY tools

At IGNITION, we’re often engaged to redesign pitch decks created by founders who have bravely attempted the DIY route. The DIY approach certainly makes sense on paper - after all, who knows the business better than the founders? - but the challenges of creating a deck that can convey the value of the business in a concise and compelling way quickly become apparent.

In our experience redesigning decks, we’ve come to recognize a pattern of common mistakes that can hinder founders’ chances of winning investor buy-in and raising the required funding for their businesses.

In this article, we’ll discuss the problems and pitfalls of DIY pitch decks and why founders should invest in a professionally-produced pitch deck. As specialists in the field, we understand what should go into a pitch deck and how to make the content immediately comprehensible and compelling to investors. Our goal at IGNITION is to use this experience and expertise to help you, the founder, grab the attention of investors and increase your chances of a successful raise.

The Problem with DIY Investor Pitch Decks

Creating a pitch deck without a good amount of experience or understanding of how and what approach to use can be extremely challenging. Most founders are unaware of the best practices for pitch deck design and content, many of which go beyond the scope of the ‘How to Write a Pitch Deck’ articles scattered around the internet. Founders may struggle with determining which information to include, how to present data points convincingly, and how to strike the right balance between detail and brevity. As a result, DIY pitch decks often suffer from information overload, lack of structure, and an overemphasis on the product or solution rather than the market opportunity.

The consequences of a poorly designed pitch deck are obvious. Investors are inundated with pitch decks and have limited time to review them. A subpar pitch deck will most likely fail to capture investor interest, lose investment opportunities, and waste time and resources. In the current fundraising environment, there's little room for error, and a weak pitch deck can be a significant setback for a founder's dreams and business’s outlook.

Common DIY Pitch Deck Mistakes

Our experience has revealed several common mistakes that founders make when creating their DIY pitch decks. These are:

Vague or incorrect conception of the product or solution's value proposition: While most founders have an intimate understanding of their product itself, most pitch decks that we redesign start off with unclear or weak value propositions that fail to fully capture the business concept.

Lack of structure: Most DIY pitch decks we encounter loosely follow the Sequoia Capital format or are written on the fly, and so lack a clear structure, making it difficult for investors to follow the narrative and understand the investment opportunity and potential.

Confusing or lack of narrative: A compelling story is crucial for engaging investors, yet many pitch decks we review do not present a cohesive and compelling narrative that showcases the value of the business and the investor opportunities.

Too much focus on the product or solution: We frequently come across pitch decks that overly emphasize the product or solution, neglecting to convey what problem or opportunity they address, the market opportunity, and how the business captures that opportunity.

Inadequate or no data points provided to back up assertions: Many founders fail to back up their claims with credible, sourced data points, such as market research or financial projections.

Information overload: A common issue we see in DIY pitch decks is an overwhelming amount of information on each slide, making it difficult for investors to grasp the key points and understand the startup's value proposition.

Excessive length: We often review pitch decks that are far too lengthy, making it challenging for investors to digest the information and maintain interest in the presentation.

Overuse of jargon or technical terms: Many DIY pitch decks end up filled with industry-specific jargon or technical terms, which can alienate investors and obscure the startup's core message.

Missing essential slides or information: Pitch decks omit crucial information, such as market sizing or go-to-market strategy, leaving investors with unanswered questions and doubts about the business’s potential and the founders’ credibility.

Poor design: A visually-appealing pitch deck is essential for engaging investors, yet many of the DIY pitch decks we see lack a polished and professional design, making them less memorable and less likely to capture investor interest.

The Importance of a Professional Pitch Deck Design

In the high-stakes world of startup fundraising, a well-crafted pitch deck is more than just a collection of slides – it's an asset that can unlock the doors of opportunity, the bridge that connects your vision with the resources needed to bring it to life. This is where the expertise of a professional pitch deck design team becomes invaluable.

By working with IGNITION’s team of seasoned professionals, you're not only investing in high quality visual presentation, but also in storytelling, strategic information block building and structuring, and best practices and adjustments that make your presentation truly resonate with investors. You're investing in a carefully-crafted narrative that captures the essence of your startup and presents it in a way that ignites the imagination and enthusiasm of potential investors.

We will work closely with you to refine your value proposition, develop a compelling narrative, and create a visual identity that reflects the unique personality of your startup. The result is a pitch deck that not only looks great but also communicates the value of your business and investor opportunity with clarity and purpose.

Yes, seeking expert outside support is more expensive than the DIY approach, but the benefits of professional pitch deck design far outweigh the costs. The increased chances of funding success, the time and resources saved, and the high return on investment for successful decks make it a wise decision for any founder seeking to raise funds for their business.

So, as you embark on your journey to secure funding for your business, remember that a well-designed pitch deck is more than a mere accessory – it's an essential asset that can make all the difference between success and failure. Give your startup the best possible chance by investing in a professionally designed pitch deck that will captivate your audience and help turn your dreams into reality.

Case Study: Pitch Deck Redesign for Founder R

Founder R, a passionate entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea and early traction, was ready to raise seed funding and decided to take the DIY approach to the pitch deck. After all, he knew his business better than anyone and there is a wealth of resources around the internet that offer to guide how to make pitch decks. Despite these resources and his best efforts, Founder R struggled to craft a clear narrative and was uncertain about which data points to include. Time was running out, and investors were awaiting his presentation.

It’s at that point that Founder R contacted IGNITION for help. Our team immediately set to work, stripping down the existing content and rebuilding the pitch from the ground up. We started by redefining the startup's value proposition, preparing two options for elevator pitches, and crafted a structured narrative designed to draw in and maintain investor interest. Concurrently, we prepared two design concepts based on onboarding documentation that Founder R had provided. Following approval of the narrative proposal by Founder R, we gap filled for key slides including market sizing and competitive analysis, and built out the slide contents with concise and engaging copy that would resonate with investors. Finally, we combined the copy with the approved design concept to create a visually appealing pitch that captured the essence of the business and investor opportunity.

The entire redesign process took just 10 days, and the results speak for themselves: using the IGNITION-designed deck, Founder R and team were able to successfully raise the $5M they sought within three weeks.

IGNITION Pitch Works: Partner for Funding Success

At IGNITION Pitch Works, we are able to understand the value within your specific vision and effectively communicate this to investors. Our team of experienced strategists, storytellers, and designers, is committed to helping you achieve your funding goals by working closely with you to create a pitch deck that not only looks stunning but also delivers your message with precision and impact.

You will benefit from our extensive knowledge of investor preferences, strategic insight, and best practices in pitch deck development and design. We'll guide you efficiently through the process of refining your narrative, and presenting your business in the most compelling and engaging way possible. So, if you're ready to secure the funding you need to take your business to the next level, look no further than IGNITION Pitch Works.

Take advantage of our free pitch deck evaluation offer or contact us to discuss your funding goals and pitch deck requirements.


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