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Your pitch deck isn’t an application for financial aid

By Joseph Flaherty, Director of Content & Community

If you’re pitching investors, one of the easiest ways to improve your deck is swapping out blank interstitial slides, or the dull logo cover slide, with pictures of your product in use or in context.

Don’t think of your deck as an application for financial aid — a series of boxes to be dutifully filled out. Instead, conceive of your slides as a movie poster designed to draw in unsure viewers, who happen to have a nearly endless supply of alternatives to consider.

To that end, most decks would benefit from more pictures. Don’t overdo it, but any title slides that are largely blank are good places to show off.

If you make a consumer product, and it’s for sale at the Apple Store or Whole Foods, get a picture of it on the shelf. #ProudInvestor Plated

If you make a popular open source tool, find hackers with your logo sticker on their laptop and take photos.

#ProudInvestor Ionic & Firebase

If you’ve built a popular app, take a photo of the iTunes screen showing you ahead of another well-known brand.

#ProudInvestor JoyTunes

If you’re building an ecommence brand, get a picture of a load of boxes (with your logo on them) leaving the distribution center.

#ProudInvestor Lovevery

If you’re responsible for a dull as dishwater SaaS tool, a photo of a bustling office with your logo on the wall is cool. Likewise, an abstract adtech company seems more credible when seen advertising in Times Square! #ProudInvestor Moat

If you’re innovating in healthcare, get a shot of the CEO speaking at a medical conference with your logo next to a big name hospital.

#ProudInvestor Omada Health

Any of these slides would convey more information, and create more excitement than a generic PowerPoint slide with the word “Financials” in 48pt Gotham Bold.

Pitch decks are tools that help provide an analytical framework to help spur an investment decision but don’t waste easy opportunities to appeal viscerally. VCs are probably more rational than most, but aesthetics are influential.

Photos of your product in action reinforce two important ideas:

  • It’s real: Your pitch isn’t a business plan, it’s a reflection of a going concern.
  • You’re interesting: The visual table stakes have risen dramatically, even in the B2B SaaS world. Nice-looking imagery opens the door to discussion and builds confidences.

Your deck isn’t an application for financial aid or a tax return. You can and should use imagery to tell your story. Data will still drive most decisions, but there’s a lot of marginal value to be gained via compelling visuals.

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