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I have reviewed 1000+ pitch decks. These are the most common mistakes • londonbusinessblog.com

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the past six months I wrote 25 Pitch Deck Teardowns – the popular series of articles where I discuss a pitch deck in detail, celebrate the wins and suggest careful (and sometimes not so careful) improvements. We’ve seen decks with 74 slides (yes, really), decks that are full of spelling mistakes and bogged down in a horrible design (but still work incredibly well), and decks whose founders don’t seem to fully understand what market they’re in. .

For every deck I reviewed for my londonbusinessblog.com series, I saw dozens of other decks as well. Don’t tell my bosses, but I have a side job as a pitch coach and because of that I see a lot of decks. I’m also friends with a bunch of nice VCs and accelerators who often send decks forward to look at. I have a directory of hundreds and hundreds of pitch decks ranging from $10,000 angel rounds to multi-billion dollar pending deals. People also sometimes send me screenshots of slides (I like to think of those as “unsolicited deck photos.” Ahem.)

In any case, I’ve long lost count, but I’ve probably seen a few thousand pitch decks in the past few years. Suffice it to say: I have opinions about them.

In this post, I want to break down the top 11 (yes, it had to be 11) most common errors I see in pitch decks, along with some examples of how these errors appear.

Oh, and if you’re looking to submit your own deck for a possible pitch deck breakdown, you’re in luck: instructions are here.

Let’s go.

Not knowing your audience

A pitch is a story and stories have an audience. You wouldn’t put a kid in front of Arnold Schwarzenegger hacking and slicing his way through different parts of the Predator. Likewise, the story you use to sell to your clients is not the same story you need to convey to your potential investing audience.

You need to understand how VC works; that is non-negotiable. If you don’t, it means you don’t know how to tell your story and you don’t really understand what they’re buying. Solve that yourself!

Examples of decks that do this well:

Examples of decks doing this wrong:

Not fully understanding your market size

It is painful to read a pitch deck and realize that the founders have no idea how to define their own market. At the earliest stage, your company needs to prove exactly two things:

  • Can you build an enterprise-level business in this market?
  • Is this the right team to build that business?

The way to answer the first question is to say sensible things about the market you operate in and how you see the size and trajectory of that market. If you don’t, guess what – you’re proving that you’re not a good founder and you probably aren’t the right team to build the business.

Yes, calculating the TAM, SAM and SOM for your market can be very difficult, and sometimes it takes assumptions and guesswork, but that’s okay – you won’t be judged on how accurate your numbers are, but on how you view the market. where you are. If the numbers are “wrong” but you can defend why you felt that way, it tells your potential investors a lot about your quality as a founder.

Examples of decks that do this well:

Examples of decks doing this wrong:

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