Your deck should say more with less

A recent study shows that investors spend an average of 3:44 minutes viewing a pitch deck. As you can imagine they spend a bit more time on important slides such as your financials (23 seconds) and team slide (22 seconds). So, with about 10 seconds per slide you really need to do a good job communicating the key takeaways clearly on each slide. 

Below are some suggestions to say more with less:

figure 1. Must Have Slides & Suggested Order

  1. Keep it concise and don't reveal too much information. Decks are great tools to intrigue your audience enough so they set up a meeting to hear your story from you
  2. Keep it to less than 20 slides (see figure 1)
  3. Make sure that every slide has ONE clear message. (Example: Why Now Slide - "There's a big opportunity as 421 New York-based tech companies received funding last year, collectively raising more than $9.5 billion.")
  4. If you have technical information on "how it works", detailed financials or anything else that won't make or break the deal within the first 5 minutes, then have appendix slides or additional documents which you should send separately upon request. 
  5. The first slide after the cover should be a clear description of what your company offers, why you exist and what your vision is - preferably in one coherent sentence. (Example: Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world; and with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.)
  6. Try to shorten big chunks of text into a few keywords and use visuals and icons to make them easy to read and remember. (Free icon sites:,,
  7. Make sure the numbers are big and bold with clear captions. 
  8. Use high quality images with no watermarks (no cheesy stock photos).
  9. Light backgrounds with dark text are easier to read and better for printing. Pick two main colors and stick to those and their shades. (Go to for color pairings)
  10. Use at most two fonts. Check out GoogleFonts to find font pairings that work well, that are also free.
  11. Customize your decks based on your audience and setting. Investor decks have slightly more text because you usually SEND them. Whereas, decks for demo days are meant to be PRESENTED and should have less text with bigger fonts and more visuals. That way your audience can engage with you and listen to what you are saying instead of trying to read the slides. 
  12. Use 16:9 slide dimensions - unless you print your deck a lot. We view everything on screens and they are wider than print materials. 
  13. Always send PDF versions or use DocSend.
  14. "Steal like an artist" - Study other deck templates, learn from them and copy their style. 

Your investor deck is probably your first point of contact with a potential investor. And, a well-designed and organized investor deck that clearly hits the big points makes a great first impression. It shows that you care about your business, and believe in it that you want to do it justice by presenting and communicating properly. So, invest some time, money and energy in your investor deck to make a great impression and get investments!