Why your pitch deck isn’t working yet, and how to make it perform

7 Aug 2023

As a startup founder, crafting a compelling pitch deck is critical in securing venture capital investments. You may be baffled when investors are unimpressed by your innovative ideas and breakthrough solutions and less than willing to support your initiative. The question is, why? Where did your pitch fall short? 

In this article, we’ll describe what makes a good pitch deck to optimize its probability of attracting investor attention to your initiative. 

Disclaimer: Venture capital firms are ultra-careful with where they put their money. They must be 100% sure of your product and its marketability; otherwise, they won’t take the chance. Failed VCs have no future; they’re not qualified to do anything else. If you don’t give them the confidence they need, they simply won’t invest. 

What Investors Are Looking For

Investors are ultimately looking for returns on their investments at magnitudes of 100-1000%. They need you to show them your project will get them those returns. They need to see a Team they can trust, a foolproof GoToMarket strategy, concrete progress, product vision, design, and UI/UX. 

The signs of success are in the details. 

Our Step-by-Step Process

Every founder should have a shot at getting funded, and starting with an organized work process is the first step to getting it right. We’ve included below the process we use at 42 Studio for creating pitch deck masterpieces. 

Step 1: Write

Write everything down about your project that might interest investors. Here are some important areas to focus on, but at this stage, include everything unique to your project and its value. Get it all down on paper!  

Brand Story

How did your project get started? What propels your vision forward? Showcase your commitment to your project and conviction to your cause.


Tell the story of your product and its potential to fill a major market gap. Expressing a need for your solution validates your project’s market viability. There will likely be more than one problem your project is addressing. Be sure to include them all at this stage.

Market Size and Potential

VCs need to see that your project is a scalable opportunity with significant market potential. Gather market research from reliable sources and provide data-backed insights to demonstrate the addressable market and your projected growth trajectory.

Team Expertise

The people behind your project may be just as important as the project itself – if not more important. After all, a great project with a poor team will fail. Showcase your team’s collective strength through each member’s proven experience. Depending on the size of your team and the nature of your project, you may wish to feature only the founders on the deck. 


Investors want a clear financial plan outlining funding requirements, projected revenues, and anticipated milestones. Be transparent and precise about your financials and clear about your startup’s financial needs.

Milestones & Traction

Whether you’re a pre-seed startup or have already generated some traction, showcasing key milestones is crucial. Traction could include user metrics, partnerships, pilot programs, or revenue generated. Highlighting traction reassures investors that your project is gaining momentum and that others already believe in its potential. 

Competitor Map

All projects worth investing in fall into a spectrum on a map of competitors.  VCs need to understand how your offering stands out from existing solutions or competitors in the market. Conduct a thorough analysis of your competitors and clearly articulate your competitive advantage, whether it’s technology, IP, or a first-mover advantage.

Step 2: Organize & Edit

Once you have everything written down, now’s the time to organize your deck to optimize for clarity and conciseness. An effective pitch deck is precise. Nothing more, nothing less. 

You may organize your ideas and include more or less written information based on whether the deck will be delivered by speech or sent to investors as a pdf. If you plan to deliver both, create two separate versions of your deck, one to be presented, the other to be sent. 

Gain Perspective

As the founder of your project, it’s nearly impossible to detach from your project and meet it anew through the perspective of your deck. You have labored day and night over this project; now is the time to look for another perspective. Get partners, friends, and family to take read your deck and provide feedback.

Step 3: Design 

Make your pitch deck visually stunning! A picture is worth a thousand words, and a properly designed deck is worth a thousand times more. Dr. Ralf Speth once said: “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” 

Proper design includes every aspect of your deck’s visual identity, from slide layout to fonts, colors, graphic elements, and design consistency. Much like the textual content designed to be as clear and concise as possible at this point, each element in your designed pitch deck should serve a particular purpose. Try to include images that showcase your product whenever possible. 

A live demo could be your secret weapon. If possible, incorporate a live demo of your products into your pitch. A well-executed demo makes your product tangible and memorable. It helps investors envision your product in action, fueling excitement and confidence.

Is A Good Pitch Deck Good Enough?

The short answer is no. To truly capture investor attention, you will need more. Ideally, your pitch deck should be accompanied by the things that will further cement your brand’s visual identity into the investor’s consciousness.  A stunning product design, for example, brings your project to life.

An interested investor will likely search your brand on Google to find your website. Is your website professional? Is your branding cohesive and sharp? Have you cultivated a presence on social media? These are the things VCs will notice either consciously or subconsciously. But each detail makes an impression and impacts the funding your project will ultimately receive.
Have questions about the optimized pitch deck creation process? Want a professional opinion on your funding strategy? Reach out to 42Studio. Let’s talk!

whatsapp white

Let's talk