Getting the details right in your pitch deck

VCs read pitch decks extremely quickly, which means that every detail holds the potential to get them to double down on a startup or just pass altogether. While crafting the high-level narrative is critical, of course, founders can’t skimp on the details either.

That’s why every Disrupt, we host a session we call Pitch Deck Teardown. It’s a convivial workshop where founders in the audience send me their decks, and I walk through a curated set of them live in front of an exceptional VC panel, who critique the deck slide by slide. This year at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021, we were joined by Maren Bannon, co-founder and managing partner at January Ventures; Vanessa Larco, partner at NEA; and Ben Ling, founder and general partner of Bling Capital.

We went through two decks — one consumer and one enterprise — covering about 30 slides in total. It’s honestly hard to summarize all the discussions we had on the panel — there were just so many interesting viewpoints that I highly recommend reading the transcript or watching the video included below.

So for this summary, I decided to pick four slides, two from each deck, that provoked our panelists to show how VCs can have radically different views on the same material.

Product slide

Most consumer decks, like this one targeting dog owners, will have some form of product slide that shows exactly what a startup is building. It’s a critical slide, but one that can be easy to get wrong.

Larco liked the design, but suggested offering investors ways to dive deeper:

Screenshots are typically great, but if it piques your interest, it would be great if they had a link to a Loom video or something so that if I did want to go deeper and if I was really curious about what the product actually looks like, I could. That said, when it launches automatically into video, I find it typically hard to sift through it unless I am really interested already. So I think screenshots with an option to go deeper is great. But this looks great, the UI is great and clean. It explains the three core components of the app, which is basically what I asked for upfront. So this is pretty well executed. (Timestamp: 9:00)

The company had an additional slide just like this one with three more product screenshots. Larco felt that this maybe added a bit too much information about the UI.