From internal communication to remote offsites and onboarding, presentations are integral to the way we work as a company. We often get asked how we go about building decks ourselves, so we wanted to share how we built a particularly important presentation: the pitch deck behind our $85M Series B.
Founders abound in the Pitch community, so it’s only natural that fundraising is often top-of-mind. We’re no exception: As a growing startup, we’re familiar with the fundraising process and its challenges firsthand. Earlier this year, we completed our own Series B funding, raising $85 million in a round led by Lakestar and Tiger Global.
In the spirit of sharing our experiences with other founders, we want to take you behind the scenes, and show you how we created the deck we used to raise the round. We’ll look at the process we used to craft the narrative, share the ways we used Pitch together with other tools to collaborate, and highlight some of our top learnings.
Step 1: Kicking off pre-deck prep work
One of the most critical steps of building our Series B pitch deck came before we ever started a slide.
We see the fundraising process as an opportunity for us to pick our heads up from the day-to-day routine, reflect on the direction the world's moving in, and ask ourselves how we see Pitch fitting in as part of this bigger picture.
So, rather than starting with the slides themselves, we kicked the process off with a workshop with our leadership and product teams.
The goal of this workshop was to outline the high-level story we wanted to tell. While we already had a clear product roadmap and validated value propositions, we didn't want to limit ourselves to the here and now.
We saw this as a chance to take a step back and give our designers the chance to engage in ambitious, aspirational explorations of where we might take Pitch next. Not only did this workshop process give us the clarity we needed to start working on the actual pitch deck with confidence, it renewed our team’s creative energy to tackle what’s ahead and reminded us what we’re working toward.
Step 2: Creating the deck itself
The next step was to start crafting the presentation itself. As we set out to create our pitch deck, we wanted to find synthesis between our newly articulated narrative and the latest indicators we had on the health, growth, and evolution of our business.
We started by forming a working group with leads drawn from product, design, and marketing. Captained by our CEO Christian Reber, this group worked to begin building a draft deck that Christian could test-drive with existing investors, partners, and advisors in his network.
Christian returned with feedback on what was sticking, what needed more work, and what should be cut, and the team was able to make revisions in real time. By following this parallel process — aligning product and business on the one hand, and integrating live feedback on the other — we were able to continuously refine and improve our deck.
Step 3: Getting the pitch deck ready for primetime
With a road-tested set of slides, a clear product vision, and a view of our business opportunity all in hand, we had all we needed to kick off the fundraising process. But before we did, there was one final, critical step we took: determining what belonged in the central story we wanted to tell, and what could be shared separately for additional context.
The reality of fundraising these days is that it's a semi-asynchronous process. Rarely, if ever, do founders enter a room (or a Zoom) without having shared presentation materials in advance for review. So how do you handle the fact that you're going to talk through materials that have already been read (at least partially)?
The way we did that was by cutting our deck in two.
Our main deck was intended for presentation, and included slides that would be part of the pitch itself. This included slides showing our company story, our product vision, and our most promising growth opportunities. Even if investors look at them in advance, these kinds of slides work their magic when brought to life with a strong story in a meeting.
Then, we prepared a separate data deck with all the business fundamentals that were critical for assessing the investment opportunity with Pitch. This deck was denser, created with the goal of being informative, and didn't require an in-person narration to be effectively consumed.
When the time came to share our deck with investors, we created a dedicated folder for each investor we spoke with. That way, when we met, it was easy to direct attention to the deck with our story, and focus the conversation on what mattered.
By utilizing shared folders in this way, the process was closer to an ongoing conversation than a one-way PDF attachment. If investors had follow-up questions about the team, product data, or anything else, they were able to ask them directly in the deck using comments. And if more information was needed, we were able to add additional presentations to the shared folders to give them extra context or data.
The tools we used
While Pitch was the main tool we used, it definitely wasn’t the only one. We leaned heavily on some of our other favorite tools to help us collaborate and communicate most effectively. These tools were important throughout the process, but especially in the initial stages, before we had begun building the deck itself.
- Notion helped set our objectives and our process for our early thinking sessions and workshops. We created a Notion page with some background on why we want to create a new pitch deck. In addition to main objectives, we also documented the core working team and high-level timing that would enable us to deliver an initial version of the draft in time for our leadership offsite.
- Figma was where we did our visual explorations. Our product designers were able to work in Figma and then upload the finished assets to Pitch.
- Slack was where we discussed, debated, and aligned on our product vision in the early stages, and later where we communicated about the deck itself. We opened a Slack channel for our core working group to centralize all the important conversations around the production of the pitch deck and used a combination of Slack and Pitch to assign slides and share updates with the team.
When it came to the actual deck creation, the majority of the work naturally took place in Pitch. We made sure the deck was in our main company workspace, so more people could organically join the process by seeing the work in progress.
During the revision stages, Pitch’s strength as a collaboration tool really shone. Because multiple people could work on a slide at once, marketing wrote copy while product designers added in assets, with everyone confident that they were working on the most up-to-date version of the deck. We relied on comments and slide statuses to clarify progress, share feedback, and mention people for specific requests.
What we learned
- The process of building a pitch deck should be a natural extension of the way we work together. For us, this meant that stopping, reflecting, and realigning around our product vision was an essential first step as we prepared to speak with investors.
- Pitch decks are an expression of our vision, not an all-inclusive report. One of the ways we see pitch decks changing in our newly asynchronous world is that they have become more multi-dimensional. We created a central story, and built on top of that with personalized follow-up decks that enhanced our core vision with more information.
- Creating a pitch deck doesn't need to happen sequentially, or in a vacuum. A live, iterative process helped us move forward with confidence. Working in Pitch gave Christian a chance to test out individual slides and concepts during impromptu conversations with his network. He was then able to share feedback on what worked particularly well so we could fine-tune it.
In our view, pitch decks are about more than just convincing investors, they’re a chance to align everyone in the company and leadership team around your vision.
Don’t just take it from us: For companies like Pento and Yac, Pitch has proven itself as the platform of choice for building and sharing successful pitch decks. If you want to begin using Pitch to create your own pitch deck, get a head start with our free pitch deck template.