Taking a look at 320 pitch decks, here is what science tells us works greatest • TechCrunch


Buyers are spending 24% much less time pitch decks in 2022, in comparison with 2021. On common, you might have slightly below three minutes to persuade them to take a gathering with you. The truth is, for decks that fail to boost funding, buyers hand over in simply 2 minutes and 13 seconds. That’s not a variety of time to make a primary impression, so that you’ve acquired to make it depend.

It’s fairly uncommon that I get to speak to somebody who’s as large of a pitch deck nerd as I’m, however after I was lastly capable of nerd out with the analysis lead at DocSend, how may I not? We go deep into what the information tells us about what makes a pitch deck profitable, and indicators for what works much less properly.

The most important development change in how buyers are pitch decks is that buyers are spending rather a lot much less time on slides general, however the place that point is spent is shifting.

“This 12 months, we all know that buyers are spending much less and fewer time on pitch decks. That’s not essentially shocking: The variety of hyperlinks to pitch decks despatched out has gone up, and the time spent on decks is staying very low,” explains Justin Izzo, analysis lead for DocSend. “What’s shocking to me is that we all know that the product and enterprise mannequin sections of decks are actually the place buyers preferred to lean in, particularly for corporations on the early phases. However buyers have nearly halved their time spent on these sections on the pre-seed stage. Buyers are nonetheless giving scrutiny to those sections, however they’re doing it a lot extra shortly than ever earlier than. So founders have to essentially assume deeply about their enterprise, however talk briefly.”

One of many greatest shifts is that buyers spend much more time on what DocSend describes as the aim of a startup slide — the “why are you doing this” a part of the story.

“Founders have to essentially assume deeply about their enterprise, however talk briefly,” laughs Izzo, “I wish to name it ‘compelling brevity.’ It isn’t straightforward to do, thoughts you, however it’s what founders needs to be striving for.”

The timeline to fundraising varies. This 12 months, 25% of startups raised in lower than six weeks; 58% raised in lower than 12 weeks; 70% raised in lower than 18 weeks; 90% raised in lower than 24 weeks. Final 12 months, the tempo was slightly bit slower. Graph Credit score: DocSend.

The third-longest-viewed part is the Firm Objective part (after the product and enterprise mannequin sections), however Izzo factors out that this part is often solely a really small a part of the slide deck, usually only a line or two of textual content on slides one or two of the deck.

“Normally it’s one sentence, a pointed and well-balanced assertion of what the corporate is. We often see that on the very entrance of the deck, usually on the intro slide. What was stunning to me after I first began our newest dataset, was that over the previous couple of years, it’s been sort of middling when it comes to viewing occasions,” says Izzo. “This 12 months, it actually shot up, and buyers are usually utilizing this part as a sort of gatekeeper. They wish to know at a look whether or not this firm has a motive to exist earlier than even going by means of the remainder of the deck.”

That makes a variety of sense; a enterprise objective assertion is usually formulated as “Venmo for Fundraising” or “Remodel buyer experiences with human-centered AI” or “Subject-tracking SaaS for Bodily Product Builders.” By the way, these are all actual examples from our Pitch Deck Teardown sequence. The good factor is that buyers can use these statements to see if the funding would possibly probably be a very good match with their funding thesis. For those who don’t put money into SaaS, or for those who don’t care about fintech, or for those who couldn’t give a crap about buyer assist — that turns into a really fast filter to offer a startup workforce a “no,” with no need to go deep on product, workforce or market dimension.

“It’s whether or not founders can talk a imaginative and prescient and specificity however what their firm does, in in a compelling means. As a result of if you are able to do that, you already know, you’re hooking buyers, you’re displaying that there’s this thesis match, after which that will get buyers prepared, you already know, primed to learn the remainder of their story,” says Izzo. “And you already know, doing this in a sentence, sentence and a half or one thing like that, is hard to do. However we’re seeing it turns into a lot extra vital for early-stage founders.”

Slides in profitable versus unsuccessful decks

The DocSend workforce analyzed 320 decks and checked out which slides have been current in every. The one slide that was accessible in 100% of decks, each profitable and unsuccessful, was Group, however from there, issues begin various a bit.

Profitable Decks. Graph Credit score: DocSend.

Essentially the most attention-grabbing distinction between profitable and unsuccessful decks is the slides which are lacking; I used to be shocked that solely a few quarter of startup decks had financials (belief me on this one, you really want an working plan), however I used to be unsurprised that not one of the failed decks had financials.

Slides in unsuccessful decks. Graph Credit score: DocSend.

The opposite large distinction is competitors slides; all decks ought to have an summary overlaying the aggressive panorama.

“The very first thing that’s lacking is usually a contest slide. Founders usually don’t assume to incorporate it, or after they do, they’re utilizing it as a not-so-subtle indicator that there is no such thing as a competitors,” laughs Izzo. “I at all times inform them to incorporate some sort of evaluation of different gamers within the area, nevertheless you outline that area.”

DocSend’s workforce created a fundraising playbook of kinds, and a “state of the union” report for fundraising, evaluating the shifts from 2021 to 2022, which makes for a captivating in-depth learn to tell the way you’re your fundraising course of.