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Sealing the deal in 12 slides: What VCs really want to see inside your seed deck

In this blog, we dismantle the science behind building a successful pre-seed pitch deck and the make-or-break sections that go inside.

If you’re a seed founder ready to get potential investors amped about your product, look no further than your pitch deck. Building a simple, well-thought-out deck will not only help you capture VC attention quickly, but will also convince them why your company is positioned to be the next big thing.

In this blog, we explain what a successful seed pitch deck looks like, how long VCs spend on each section, and the specific information investors want to see inside.

What is the purpose of a seed pitch deck?

Founders use seed decks to educate and excite potential investors about their product and market potential—ultimately using it as a tool to raise money. Structurally, seed founders organize their decks in a way that tells a compelling narrative VCs can quickly understand.

How much time do investors spend reviewing seed decks?

We see VCs spend an average of three minutes and 20 seconds reviewing seed pitch decks. With less than four minutes to hook their interest, this means that seed founders need to get their attention at the very beginning of the deck to get them to continue all the way through.

seed pitch deck startup fundraising data

What does a successful seed pitch deck look like?

While all successful pitch decks are unique in their own way, each follows a uniform structure that’s designed to capture VC attention quickly. Following these clear formatting, content, and slide order guidelines lets founders tell a compelling story that captures VC interest and helps them raise money.

What sections need to be included in a seed pitch deck?

We’ve found that building a 19-20 page deck with the following sections is the best way to catch the attention of busy investors:

slide order seed pitch deck
Keep in mind that your slide order matters. While most of the seed decks we see tend to follow a similar structure, founders who open their decks with the first four sections above are more likely to raise funding than those who opt for other approaches.

Below, we break down each of these sections, explain their purposes, and share do’s and don’ts for including the make-or-break details VCs want to see.

Section 1: Company purpose

This is the first slide in your seed deck and should clearly outline your company’s purpose in a single sentence.

Do: Pitch it to other people. What words capture their interest the most? Equally important, does it make sense? Your purpose statement should not only be enticing, but straightforward. If it’s not, go back to the drawing board until it’s just right.

Don’t: Overcomplicate it. Busy VCs have neither the time nor interest to decipher complicated or vague vision statements. Keep your company purpose simple, succinct, and memorable.

  • Target section length: 1 page
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.3 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 26 seconds

Section 2: Problem

The problem section immediately follows your company’s purpose. This slide broadly addresses the one problem your company is solving.

Do: Make it relatable to folks in and outside of your industry. As a rule of thumb: If your friends or family can’t understand the problem you’re solving, chances are good an investor won’t either.

Don’t: Overcomplicate it (again!). Broadly define the problem using simple, easy-to-understand words that anyone can follow along with. If an investor can’t understand the problem, they won’t see the value of investing in your solution.

  • Target section length: 1-2 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 2.15 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 34 seconds

Section 3: Solution

Think of the solution section as the companion slide for your problem statement. Clearly and broadly outline how you’re solving the previously defined problem.

Do: Articulate why your solution is unlike any other on the market. Explain why your strategy is both creative and better at solving the problem. Investors want to know why your product or service is different than any others.

Don’t: Dive into technical specifics here—you’ll go deeper into your product later on. Here, you want to stay aligned to the problem with a clear, easy-to-understand solution statement.

  • Target section length: 1-2 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.5 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 34 seconds

Section 4: Market size

As the fourth section in a seed deck, your market size slides should define your target customer with a comprehensive market analysis.

Do: Make this section robust by sharing TAM SAM SOM market research. VCs care about both the short and long term. Show them where they can get a return on their investment within the first couple of years, as well as a sense of their long-term opportunities.

Don’t: Forget to connect this section back to your first three sections. Your purpose, problem, solution, and market size sections should tell a cohesive, compelling story that entices investors to keep reading.

  • Target section length: 1-3 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.7 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 29 seconds

Section 5: Why now?

An optional slide for both the pre-seed and seed stages, this section gives you an opportunity to highlight any market urgency for the problem and your solution.

Do: Consider what, if any, market conditions make your company a reality. Is the problem or opportunity for your solution unique in any way? Some of the common examples we see here include things like social justice, Covid-19, and climate change.

Don’t: Stress about including this slide if your problem isn’t connected to any particular timeliness. While this section can give useful insight into urgent market conditions, it isn’t used (or needed!) by every seed founder.

  • Target section length: 1 page
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.5 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 23 seconds

Section 6: Product

The product section highlights the unique features you’ve built to solve the business problem.

Do: Deep dive into product readiness here. In three to five slides, explain your most important product features using wireframes, screenshots, embedded videos, and/or Figma mockups.

Don’t: Underscore how important this section is to potential investors. The product section will be one of the most scrutinized sections in your deck, so use this opportunity to show VCs exactly what the product experience will look like.

  • Target section length: 3-5 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 3.3 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 59 seconds

Section 7: Competition

The competition section should clearly outline who you’re competing against within the space and why your product is different than theirs.

Do: Focus on companies and products that compete closely with yours. Include companies at similar stages as yours or those who’ve successfully raised money recently. Comparison matrices with accompanying descriptions tend to work well for these sections.

Don’t: Go after the big players in your space. Show VCs who your true market competitors are while articulating how you solve the problem in a way your competitors can’t.

  • Targeted section length: 1 page
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.3 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 34 seconds

Section 8: Traction

This section should detail notable traction based on the stage of your product. Traction can include things like current customers, quotes, and testimonials.

Do: Indicate more than one type of notable market traction. We found that VCs spend 80 percent more time evaluating the traction of companies that didn’t raise money successfully. If your market traction isn’t immediate to investors, it may raise skepticism and prompt more inspection that may not work out in your favor.

Don’t: Fret about not having enough to show. Investors will take into account the stage your product is in. You can include letters of intent, testimonials, customer pipeline, and beta feedback as appropriate to your product’s stage.

  • Targeted section length: 1-4 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 2.3 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 40 seconds

Section 9: Team

The team section introduces your founding team members and describes why they’re the right folks to help you solve the problem.

Do: Explain why these are the right people to solve the problem. Showcase backgrounds and skillsets using LinkedIn profiles pictures, bios, and relevant work experience. Remember: VCs are as interested in individuals as they are big ideas.

Don’t: Make this section more than two pages. It’ll naturally be one of your most detailed, wordiest sections, so avoid adding more details than you actually need here.

  • Target section length: 1-2 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.5 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 38 seconds

Section 10: Business model

The business model section outlines a clear, understandable monetization strategy that’s repeatable over time.

Do: Show investors you’re building a fully-fledged business. This section gets the longest look from VCs, so explain how you’re going to make money and what your business model looks like.

Don’t: Leave this as an afterthought. Develop your business model and monetization plans in tandem with your product strategy to keep them tightly aligned from the very beginning.

  • Target section length: 2-3 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 2.8 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 64 seconds

Section 11: Financials

As an optional section, the financial section explains your strategic spending history or burn rate.

Do: Include this slide if you can show how your spending has fueled positive returns. This section had the sixth-longest viewing time among decks that included one. If you have positive spending history to show, VCs want to see it.

Don’t: Skip this section without first asking the following questions. How have you deployed previous funding? What resources did you spend the money on? How did those investments contribute to your targeted business outcomes?

  • Targeted section length: 1-2 pages
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.4 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 37 seconds

Section 12: Fundraising ask

The fundraising ask is the final section in your deck and tells investors how much you want to raise and how you plan to spend it.

Do: Thoughtfully consider how you’ll spend the money. For example, will you hire more people or invest in more research and development? You’re defining the next chapter for your company and you’re fundraising ask will directly support its growth.

Don’t: Pick an arbitrary number. State exactly how much you need and be ready to defend why and how you plan to spend it.

  • Target section length: 1 page
  • Industry averages:
    • Average length: 1.2 pages
    • Time VCs spend here: 32 seconds

Leave a lasting impression with a well-thought-out pitch deck

Getting attention from potential investors has never been harder than it is today, which is why creating a winning pitch deck is tables stakes for seed founders. By building a thoughtful, well-structured pitch deck, you can show investors how much time, research, and commitment you’ve put into building a successful company—and why your idea and business is one they’ll want to invest in.