How to create a compelling pitch story — aka the J12 seed pitch deck template

Luca Banderet
J12 Ventures
Published in
6 min readOct 25, 2021


Updated 2022–08–30.

I’ve spent a good amount of my adulthood browsing through founders’ pitch decks and the one thing that is for sure — there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution — so making a template is paradoxical. BUT, I also know that most founders (you?) prefer to spend time building your business — so hopefully, this saves you a few valuable hours.

Access the google slide templates here:

v2.0 all template slides (2022)

v2.1 story flow outline (2022)

First, some advice

Before you get started:

1. Tell a story.

This is btw why 1-pagers are the worst. I’ve learned a few tricks that I wanted to share shortly — stay tuned.

2. Keep it simple.

Explaining even something complicated simply shows skill. Few will decline a first meeting because your deck is too simple. But many because they don’t understand it.

3. Be concise.

“You had my curiosity, now you have my attention.” — that’s all you need. The rest you can explain later and show that you know your stuff.

PS: VCs spend less than 3min on your pitch on average according to Docsend!

What’s the most important thing at the seed stage?

Your pitch deck? Wrong. Most people will answer team. Does that mean your team slide is the most important one? Maybe almost the opposite, all the other slides will be a short opportunity to show how your team works.

Often the most important things to focus on in a seed deck are:

  1. Your product idea
  2. Why now?

Giving the reader a quick and simple feeling for why your idea has not materialised to date, but will fly off like a rocket once you bring it to the market is essential, and perhaps the most important slide of all of them — especially if you have not launched yet.

So why even have more slides? — you ask

To tell a story. And here’s how I suggest you tell a story:

Story flow — 10 to 20 slides

Here, the typical outline of your pitch following a logical flow of story-telling:

  1. The Yes-slide (!)
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Product
  5. Traction
  6. Why now (!)
  7. Market opportunity
  8. Business model
  9. Competition
  10. Go to market
  11. Growth plan
  12. Team
  13. Appendix
title slide.
the yes-slide.

The “Yes-slide”

What happens in the analytical head of a VC when they look at your deck? Sadly, they try to kill it. Find “the flaw” in your story and logic to save time and move on. That’s why I recommend you to have a “Yes-slide” in the very beginning — maybe even two. Typically, it describes a fairly obvious trend or opportunity that opens the reader's eyes to what is coming after. I call this “The Art of Yes-sliding” ™.

problem slide.


There are two ways you can go. Try to make people feel the pain emotionally or with data. The goal is the same, be clear about what problem you solve. Be clear about how painful it is. Be clear that it IS a problem.

solution slide.


Solution is the abstract version of product. The main use case that your product solves. You could skip this, but likely it will help your story flow.

product/demo slide.

Product / demo

How your solutions work in practice. Often a short demo video (or gif) might be the most efficient way to explain your product (or rather give the reader a feel for it).

Traction slide #1.
traction slide #2.
traction slide #3 — if you’re pre-launch — could show a time-line


Showing that you have momentum and made progress is useful for somebody that only gets a snapshot of where you are right now. Make them feel that you’ve achieved something, worked hard, and made progress. It might be hard to show pre-launch, hence a time-line of milestones could help (traction slide #3)

why now slide.

Why now?

This might be one of your most important arguments while often being based on somewhat subjective “beliefs” — make it easy for the newly arrived reader to convert into a believer. Use visuals where possible.

market opportunity slide.

Market Opportunity

Starting with the overall size of the market can help to show the long term potential and to dream big. At the same time it’s important to narrow it down so as not to seem theoretical and naive — and it must tie in with your “go-to-market” strategy and the segments you seek to address first.

business model slide.

Business model

How is your business going to make a profit over time? Typically, on a high-level you will focus on unit economics, that is, how each customer generates profits based on the marginal revenues and costs, ignoring fixed costs.
If you have a well thought through financial model it makes sense to include the forecast, be ready to argue all assumptions down to a reasonable level of detail.

competition slide.


The choice of axes say more than you being top right… What are the key success factors to win?

If you are creating a new market / behaviour / product competition is often less direct — you can then list what other services or behaviours provide a competing purpose. (e.g. “Walking” as a competitor to taking a “bike” — although you can’t buy walking…)

go-to-market slide.

Go to market

How are you going to reach your customers — what segments and channels?

growth plan slide.

Growth plan

Typically a summary of your financial model. you could also include a roll-out element, international expansion or new customer segments. If you haven’t figured out your pricing model and don’t really have a strong grip on financials it might be better to skip this slide. If you have a financial projection slide (like the one above) you will have to be able to argue for it.

team slide.


If you have relevant advisors/ investors it can be worthwhile adding those. Distinguish clearly.

More slides

If you need more inspiration, you’ll find additional slide ideas in the template v2.0. as well as a very lean story flow outline in v2.1 without illustrations:

v2.0 all template slides (2022)

v2.1 story flow outline (2022)

Better design?

Naturally, your slides should echo your company’s identity and fit your story so you’ll need to find your own design style.

A lot of the principles of the previous slides still apply in my opinion — don’t make slides that look very fancy but are hard to understand the main point. If you need some slide design inspiration has a lot of good stuff.

More fundraising?

Here you’ll find probably the most extensive list of pitch deck templates, financial models, investor lists, CRM tools, etc. In the end, what really counts are company results. If you get investor meetings without a deck — maybe you don’t need one at all. Otherwise, make sure you have a good one ;)

Thanks, Maja Shapiro for the face-lift and Emmet King for killing my spellies.



Luca Banderet
J12 Ventures

Tech investor at J12 | ex founder ex EQT — built from idea to IPO now sharing my learnings |