Get funded: the key elements investors will look for in your Series A pitch deck


Copywriter & Strategist

April 6, 2023

Series A funding marks the beginning of your journey from a startup to a scale-up. Securing investment through a compelling pitch and deck is critical in enabling you to scale operations, hire new roles, and build on the traction you’ve gained following your first round of seed funding.

This article offers key insights into the Series A funding process. We'll explore when it's the right time to seek Series A funding, how to tailor your pitch and deck to suit different investors, and what essential elements you should include to increase your chance of securing funding.

If you’d like to reach out and discuss your approach in detail, you can find us here.

When Is The Right Time For Series A Funding

Series A is the funding stage that follows seed funding and precedes Series B. Startups should consider Series A funding when they have a well-defined product or service, have achieved some level of traction in the market, and are looking to scale at speed to make the most of the market opportunity.

At this stage, businesses typically seek to raise between £2 million and £15 million through experienced angel investors or private equity firms who have a track record of successful investments in their industry and understand the challenges and opportunities of scaling a business.

This funding round is more granular and data-driven than the seed round, with investors even more focused on guaranteeing their return and looking for a defined market opportunity, not just an exciting idea.

If you'd like to learn more about the different funding series, this video is a great place to start.

Why A PowerPoint Probably Isn't Your Best Option

You can’t hide behind a shaky business plan or false promises - investors will always see the devil in the details. What you can do, however, is to use creative storytelling and behavioural psychology to enhance your own pitch deck, shaping the lens through which venture capitalists or new investors perceive your business.

That could be through designing mockups to showcase future products, using infographics to elevate lifeless statistics or explain key points, or creating a compelling brand messaging framework. Unless you could sell ice to a polar bear, a fully branded, visually cohesive and linguistically resonant pitch deck is worth a king's ransom.

The Key Elements Of A Successful Pitch Deck

Investors are typically looking for several key components when evaluating a startup for investment potential. First, they want to see that the business has a clear and proven financial model that shows how it will generate revenue and profit. Second, they want to see an interesting solution to a real problem that has enormous market potential. Finally, they want to see that the team behind the startup has the skills and experience to execute their plan successfully.

Below, we’re breaking the core components for you.

  1. Problem statement: Start by clearly articulating the problem that your startup is addressing. This could be a problem in the market, an inefficiency in an industry, or a gap in existing solutions.
  2. Solution slide: Once you've defined the problem, explain how your startup is solving it. This should be a clear and interesting solution that is easy for investors to understand.
  3. Business model: Investors want to see evidence your startup has a viable and scalable business model. Explain how your company plans to generate revenue and grow.
  4. Market analysis and traction slide: It's important to show that your startup has a promising market opportunity. This could include key metrics such as market size, growth trends, and competitive landscape.
  5. Team slide: Investors want to know that your startup has the right team in place with a proven track record to execute its vision. Highlight the skills and experience of your company founders and team members, and explain how their backgrounds apply to your startup's mission.
  6. Needs: How much are you asking for? The needs section should be focused on where your startup requires funding and the key areas in which additional funding will impact the success of your business. This could be anything from product development or marketing to expansion or talent acquisition.

Want to see 50 pitch decks that have resulted in funding? Click here.

“Nice To Have” Slides
  1. Risk assessment and mitigation: Addressing potential risks your startup may face (regulatory, competition, market shifts) and how you plan to mitigate them can show investors that you are prepared for challenges and have a plan in place to navigate them.
  2. Case studies and customer testimonials: Sharing success stories, case studies, or customer testimonials can offer further validation of your product or service and showcase the value it provides to your target market.
  3. Advisory board and mentors: Highlighting the involvement of experienced advisors or mentors can add credibility to your startup and showcase the guidance and expertise available to your team.
  4. Intellectual property and proprietary technology: If your startup has any patents, trademarks, or proprietary technology, discussing these in your pitch deck can demonstrate a competitive advantage and protectable market position.

Common Mistakes To Avoid With Your Pitch Decks

While there are many tips for creating effective pitch decks, there are also some common mistakes that startups should avoid.

  1. Being too optimistic: While it's important to be confident in your startup's potential, investors are often sceptical of overly optimistic projections. Make sure that your pitch and deck are grounded in reality and supported by evidence.
  2. Not providing enough detail: While it's important to keep your pitch and deck concise, it's also important to provide enough detail to support your claims. Investors want to see evidence your startup has a firm foundation and a clear path to growth.
  3. Focusing too much on the product: While your startup's product or technology may be impressive, investors are ultimately more interested in the business opportunity. Make sure that your pitch and deck focus on the market opportunity and your startup's potential to capture a share of it.
  4. Ignoring the competition: Investors want to see that you've done your homework and understand the competitive landscape. Make sure that your pitch and deck address the competition and how your startup differentiates itself.
  5. Lack of investor fit: It's important to target the right investors for your startup. Make sure you research potential investors and understand what types of businesses they typically invest in.

Tailor Your Pitch Presentation To An Investor

Investors have different backgrounds, investment philosophies, and preferences, which is why it's essential to tailor your startup pitch deck to their specific needs. First and foremost, research the investor or venture capital firm you are pitching to. Look at their portfolio companies, investment size, industry focus, and investment thesis.

If applicable, highlight how your company is a great match for them. If, for example, the investor focuses on early-stage healthcare startups, emphasize how your company's product or service has the potential to disrupt that industry.

Consider dialling up or down the level of detail and technical language based on the investor's expertise. If the investor has a background in engineering, go into more technical detail about your product's development process. Conversely, if the investor is less technical, simplify the language and focus on the business value proposition.

It’s worth also looking into their individual values, beliefs and personal story. Taking BBC Dragons Den investor Steven Bartlett as an example, you might highlight your company’s social marketing skills, speak to a tech-savvy audience and highlight your focus on diversity.

Maximise Your Return On Investment With a Pitch Deck Sprint

The best pitch decks captivate investors with a clear, concise story that demonstrates market fit, exceptional growth potential, and a unique, defensible product or service.

Through working closely with businesses across a number of industries, design studios bring a wealth of experience to pitch development and funding rounds, helping you capture the essence of your business, whilst addressing an investor’s concerns.

At Overpass, we offer a pitch deck sprint, helping to clarify the core message and proposition behind your pitch, whilst developing a visual style and compelling narrative that will sell an investor on your idea.

Our brand sprints are based on years of research and Google's framework.

Over 10 days, you’ll work with a team of experienced designers and strategists to develop the content of your deck. From the pitch script and visual mockups to tailored language and strategy for different investor types.

It costs £4200 and it looks like this.

  • Start-up discovery interview
  • Half-day pitch deck workshop
  • Fundraising narrative script
  • Pitch deck wireframe
  • Visual styling & content creation
  • Pitch deck creation & handover

We're Happy To Help

Having helped countless founders and SMEs with fundraising, we know it can be a daunting task. So let’s start with a coffee and go from there.