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A pitch presentation can be categorized by several attributes like focus (business model pitch, team pitch, product-solution pitch, vision-opportunity pitch, and other), length (one-liner pitch, elevator pitch, competition pitch, and investor pitch), timing (presentation deck and email deck).

There are many more categorizations out there that were born out of the fact that founders often present their idea in front of different audiences and for a different amount of time. Sometimes they do that in front of non-technical people which means less technobabble, terminology and jargon included, another time they may have to prove a technical advantage in front of a commission of highly knowledgeable engineers and scientists.

To put it shortly – the info included in the pitch deck varies on a case-by-case basis so let’s delve a little bit deeper into the explanations of the various pitch decks by their types.

  1. Focus 
    As it was already said, pitch decks can be constructed differently and can include a different amount of information depending on whether they focus on explaining their business model, team experience, product overview, total addressable market and so on. Although the differences between those presentations may sound obvious, often founders mix them and lose the needed focus – they put too much business info in the technical deck or they overly explain their product to non-technical investors.
    • Business model pitch deck – This one focuses almost entirely on how you are going to make money. It should also include things like customer profile, go-to-market strategy and customer acquisition and retention strategy. As you have probably already noticed this goes deeper into shedding light on how the business is planning to become sustainable and grow
    • Team pitch – This presentation goes over the team ensemble, their skills and experience. It shows how each one of the individuals is adding value to the whole endeavour and why he/she is the right one for the startup in that stage and sector. In this pitch you can dedicate a separate slide for each one of the people on your team. Since the CEO is not the only member of the team you will need to prove that the people that you have chosen are worth investing in
    • Vision-opportunity pitch – Having a vision for your dream is one of the first steps towards achieving your business goals and objectives. The next ones are related to having them implemented via the Vision-Opportunity Pitch. This will help first-time (or just new to the market) entrepreneurs to follow their designated path without getting distracted from temporary failure
    • Problem-solution pitch – As you have probably guessed the problem-solution pitch has to show what is the product or service that will solve a specific existing problem in the world. It can become a bit technical as you go into the details of your solution (especially if it is a market disrupting technology). In general, this pitch should answer what makes your business unique and what kinds of challenges it aims to resolve
    • Traction pitch – The focus of this pitch deck will be your startup results. This does not necessarily mean profit. It could be people following your social media pages, people who agreed to subscribe to your newsletter, viewers of your YouTube channel, users of your free offers and so on. This traction shows that there is an interest in what you are offering and that interest can be developed into revenue. The viewers and users have the potential to become your future customers once they are sure that your product/service will solve their problem
    • Startup pitch – This one is providing a broad overview of your company and is not as focused as the previous ones. It actually represents a combination of all the upper-mentioned bullet points and shows the bigger picture. It’s pitch deck is usually made out of 10 to 11 slides with each page focusing on one of the already described chapters like
      • Vision and value proposition
      • Problem
      • Target market and opportunity
      • Solution
      • Product
      • Competition
      • Competitive advantages
      • Team
      • Traction
      • Revenue/Business model
      • Investment needed
      • Exit strategy

Generally speaking, those are the different pitch decks types according to their focus. As previously mentioned, most of them are just expanded versions of the general startup pitch (which includes a broad overview of the company’s plans, strategy, advantages, team, traction, and others). First-time pitching in front of investors will require only a general startup pitch, but some investors may require you as a founder to further present your company’s structure. That is why you need to be ready with a separate pitch for each one of the chapters above

2. Length Of The Pitch

  • One-liner (Twitter) pitch – If you can’t describe your business in one-sentence, then you don’t understand it well enough. Those wise words can be used for any type of knowledge sphere and any system in existence. This pitch should contain several parts: startup name, well-defined offer, target audience, problem and solution. The startup founder should avoid using strong adjectives in their one-line pitch, especially words like “first”, “only”, “greatest” or “enormous” as these words expose their inexperience.  It is of an extreme importance to define the target market and eliminate any buzzwords, acronyms or industry terminology from the presentation. Remember to keep it short and sweet. It’s easy to write a long sentence, but the right approach with that is to be clear and concise
  • Elevator pitch – Simply put, this is a short description of your company. It is a slightly expanded version of the one-liner pitch and as you probably have guessed the name stems from the idea that the pitch should last no longer than an elevator ride – from 15 seconds (which is more like the Twitter pitch) up to several minutes. 
    The most common elevator pitches are no longer than 30 seconds and should be constructed on the basis of your goals (whether it would be a meeting or a feedback), the core idea and the unique selling proposition of the company. It is a good practice to finish the pitch with a question in order to engage your listener and provide yourself with a larger time frame to explain your startup in detail. 
    It is a smart idea to use the elevator pitch just after the Twitter one. Of course only if the investors are interested in continuing with the presentation.
  • Competition pitch – This one in contrast with the others will have to be presented with a pitch deck (pretty similar in fact to the one that you will use to pitch in front of investors). There are not many differences between the ordinary competition presentation and the investor pitch which means that you should remember two rules for the deck creation: more images and less text. Focusing on the visual expressiveness will help you grab the attention of your audience. You do not want them to be distracted by the overflowing text on the presentation. Do not get too much into details. You have a limited time, make the most of it
  • Investor pitch – Like we mentioned, the competition pitch and the investor pitch will require almost the same presentation format. However, the dynamic of the two events is completely different. Although the competition pitch is having a hard stop after the time passes, during the investor pitch you will have to be prepared to continue by answering questions from interested investors. This means that you have to grab their attention just enough to get them curious to know more about your endeavour. When pitching to investors, make sure that you talk long enough about the problem, solution (unique product or service) and, obviously, your traction

3. Timing Of The Pitch Deck

  • Presentation deck – The one that you are going to use as a visual stimulation to your audience. Remember to focus on its visual qualities rather than trying to put as much data as possible
  • Email (Sending) deck – While this presentation should include more info about your idea, it is not advisable to overload it with every possible detail about the company. Keep it simple and with just enough information in order to secure a second meeting with the interested investors. The detailed documents (business plan and due diligence papers) will only come into play after they have decided that your company is worth a deeper dive and thorough analysis

Those pitch deck categorizations are not absolute and can be modified on a case-by-case basis (depending on your audience).

They can overlap with each other and can have a different number of slides (for example when an investor has a specific requirement about that number). Also, the number of details can be changed according to the taste of your audience. However, the points above are meant to give a crude frame of reference and a basis for you to build your dream presentation.


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