Investor deck vs pitch deck: why your success depends on knowing the difference.

Investor deck vs pitch deck? Aren’t they the same thing?

They appear to do the same job, reference the same information, and are targeted at the same people. It’s only when you pull back to understand the psychology of pitching (or indeed selling) that you see why a pitch deck is dramatically different from an investor deck.

The Pitch Deck

A pitch deck sells you and your vision. It should excite an audience, get them to lean forward in their chairs, and want to join the adventure you’re proposing.

A pitch deck is, at its core, a narrative. It’s storytelling.

Break it down, and you’ll find the following elements:

  • The problem. Don’t confuse this with an annoyance or slight discomfort. For the story to work,  the problem needs to be big, nasty, and urgent. And never forget, it needs to be a problem real people have. State it in simple, universal terms.
  • The solution. This doesn’t need to be your solution, but the solution everyone would hope for. Everyone in the audience should be nodding, thinking Yeah, that’s a smart way to fix this.
  • Your approach. This is your solution. And it needs to be immediately clear that your solution is even better than one the audience would’ve imagined.
  • Value proposition. When you move from the problem to your amazing solution, you should make it irrefutable that what you’re launching will bring incredible value to the world.
  • Next steps. Once your audience is excited, don’t waste the momentum. Give them a step to take, a number to call, a landing page form to fill in.

Do’s and don’ts for pitch decks

What to do:

  • Do include captivating graphics and images,
  • Do tell a compelling, memorable story that shows your passion for the business,
  • Do show an idea that could solve a dramatic, human problem,
  • Do demonstrate that you have more than an idea – it’s real, it’s working, and it’s making people happy,
  • Do pay attention to design – your deck should paint a beautiful picture behind you as you tell your story on stage.

What not to do:

  • Do not go into financial details or point by point plans,
  • Do not have wordy slides,
  • Do not try to add sub-stories – one simple story is all people can focus on,
  • Do not use jargon or acronyms – you’re telling a story that should be universal and loved by all,
  • Do not succumb to the temptation to make this an investor deck with all the information investors need to make their decision.

A pitch deck should not stand alone

Next time you watch a movie, close your eyes. Or turn off the sound. Not great, is it?

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A pitch deck is part of a story you’re telling. The visuals and words in the deck should complement what you’re saying. One should complete the other.

If you absolutely need to send a pitch deck, turn it into a picture book that tells your story in complete sentences and paragraphs accompanied by glorious, full page visuals.

Ready to optimize your pitch deck and presentation? Click here

The investor deck

If a pitch deck tells a story that captures investors’ attention, an investor deck convinces them that they weren’t just listening to a tall tale. It provides reassurance that you’re legitimate, competent, and will be successful.

You want your investor deck to cover the following topics, roughly in this order:

  • Company overview. What’s your company name? What do you do? How many of you do it? How long have you been doing it? Key facts about your company
  • Mission / Vision. What change are you trying to effect in the world? And what will your company look like when you’ve achieved that mission?
  • Team. With the right people in the right roles, your chances of success are far greater. Write this so the investor understands why each individual is on your team. Include photos, titles, and a short summary of each team member. Advisors and board members can be added to bolster credibility.
  • The problem. As per the pitch deck.
  • The solution. As per the pitch deck. Remember to break this into two parts: The solution your audience would imagine, and the solution you created.
  • The market opportunity. Investors want to invest in big opportunities with large addressable markets. Define the market you’re in, the dollar amount of the market size, and demonstrate how you’ll address a large part of that market.
  • The customers. If you have customers, it adds credibility. Show their logos.
  • The technology. Even better, technology that is your intellectual property.
  • The competition. Describe the basic technology, list any protected IP (patents, etc), and make a case for why your technology is superior and difficult to replicate.
  • Traction. You can cover early sales, traffic to the website, app downloads, growth metrics, strategic partnerships, press, testimonials – anything that demonstrates your idea is working. If possible, describe how traction will be accelerated.
  • Business model. Investors will want to understand how your business will make money, what your pricing model is, what the long-term value of a customer is, and what your customer acquisition channels / cost per customer is.
  • Marketing plan. The complement to your business plan. What marketing channels will you use, what your marketing looks like, and what success you’ve had with your marketing.
  • Financials. Investors will want to understand the company’s current financial situation and proposed future burn rate. Include three-to-five year projections, unit economics, burn rate, key metrics (like annual recurring revenue), total revenue and expenses, EBITDA, and key assumptions. Make sure your numbers are realistic. Sharp investors will be paying very close attention.
  • The ask. How much money are you seeking, how long will you need financing, how will you allocate financing, what milestones will you hit with the financing, and who your existing investors are.

Do’s and don’ts for investor decks

What to do:

  • Do include captivating graphics and images, and pay attention to overall design,
  • Do be brief, succinct and to the point. A pitch deck is for storytelling, but an investor deck is for convincing and reassuring,
  • Do make the information flow effortless. There needs to be a lot of information to make your case – ensure its easy to access and retain,
  • Do create a version that potential investors can read at their leisure. That may mean stepping away from the conventional one theme / one page format, and making it more of a manuscript with short chapters,
  • Do go into details if those details will convince investors. Have friends in the investment business edit for relevance.

What not to do:

  • Do not bury key information in reams of data. Highlight points, boost font size, use arrows.
  • Do not use too many words. Be professional, succinct, and light on storytelling. Use bullet points to make data bites easy to digest.
  • Do not use too many bullet points.
  • Do not present a word-heavy investor deck on stage. If you need to present, revert to the pitch deck, and give each investor a copy of the investor deck to read.

An Investor Deck Should Stand Alone

The primary role of an investor deck is to provide reassurance that your company is legitimate, trustworthy and successful. If an investor is mulling over your opportunity at home, the deck should be in their hands to provide all the details you weren’t able to cover from the stage.

Pitch decks compared to investor decks

First impression

A pitch deck should attract you, and an investor deck should reassure you. A pitch deck deals more in memorable sound bites, while an investor deck provides details that are key to decision-making. While both use captivating graphics and tasteful design, the pitch deck’s visual style is more central to the pitch.

Conveying information

A pitch deck should leave the audience with a good story about an amazing company to share and retell. An investor deck, on the other hand, should definitively answer in detail why that company is amazing.


A pitch deck’s aim is to convey a story that captivates the audience. If there are details, they’re elements of the pitch that the audience didn’t expect – a visual flourish here, an unexpected leave-behind there. An investor deck, on the other hand, is an authoritative guide to the company. Details and key facts are expected, and their absence will be noted. That said, details need to be vetted for relevance, and should be stated with brevity.


If you’re presenting a pitch deck, your audience could include investors… or other entrepreneurs, students, mentors, or the general public. If you’re going through an investor deck, however, your audience should consist solely of investors who have shown an interest in your company and want to dig deeper.


The difference between an investor deck vs pitch deck comes down to human psychology in the buying process. Each has a vital role to play in landing investment for your company. Use them together, and your chances of success rise dramatically.

Does your pitch deck capture the imagination? Does it get investors leaning forward in their seats? Does it provoke the ‘Tell Me More’ response? We cover all these questions when you optimize your pitch with me.




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