The Art Of Effective Storytelling In StartUp Pitch Presentations

The Internet is full of resources and guidebooks on how to make an excellent pitch deck. But when the time came to build my startup pitch, I had a reality check. It turned out that I had grossly underestimated the amount of time, effort, and resources it took to build something remotely credible for my investors.

After going through several pitch decks, I found that the most effective pitch decks used great storytelling techniques. Storytelling conveys purpose, reminds people of the status quo and then shows them an effective way to solve the problem. By doing so, these pitch decks build the stage to show the conflict that needed to be resolved.

This realization led me to research how to master the art of storytelling in pitch decks and these are the learnings that I wanted to share with you.

For building effective pitch decks, I found it very useful to think of my presentation as a stage performance. Every good stage performance has three parts:

  1. The Story
  2. The Props

[A Few Examples of Props (Pitch Deck Templates)]

3. The Act Itself

(Pitch Deck Examples)

The Story:

A story has four clear elements:

  • A Protagonist,
  • Goals of the Protagonist,
  • What’s at Stake
  • The Spark that leads to the Goal.

Best storytellers in pitch decks keep the users of their product as protagonists and speak to their deep-seated goals. They establish the stakes involved and lay out a clear, believable change path in the face of the conflicts that are likely to arise.

Not so good storytellers in investor presentations keep the narrative at a superficial level and lose the audience quickly.

Following are a couple of examples of startup pitches that developed this subtle methodology of storytelling.


This problem statement slide cleverly used the fundamental concepts of storytelling. It first establishes the problems of average internet users (protagonists)- how they cannot easily share big videos via email. The spark or the solution here is YouTube itself. At stake is the deep need to connect to the community — which is very important to the protagonists.

The solution slide then goes on to make the solution believable in the face of technology difficulties by sharing how the solution works.


Uber showed how old cabs are inefficient and are bad for the environment, which created an angle of “doing things for the greater good.”

Their pitch deck presentation related to problems that people face, like hailing a cab in the streets and not having a guaranteed pickup.

The goal of the protagonist (cab riders), in this case, is to reach a place on time, but long waiting times, non-guaranteed pickup, and sub-standard services are in his way.

The change or spark of this story is Uber as the knight who comes at the end of the day and saves everyone from the impending catastrophe of not being able to find transportation just when it is needed.

The Props:

Props are all the resources and tools you are going to use to express your story.

Once you have your story ready, you need to start working on the PowerPoint slides to bring your story to life. The Powerpoint slides must look professional and stand on their own.

The acid test for a good PowerPoint slide is whether it needs a presenter to present or can it stand on its merit. Powerpoint slides that require a presenter to showcase fall short on thinking, messaging, visuals, and often cause confusion in the minds of the recipient

I would highly recommend signing up for a subscription with a PowerPoint template service like ours — SlideUpLift.

You will save hours by not building slides from scratch. If you are like me, graphic design is not your cup of tea- so leave it to the experts. I would much rather spend my time thinking of my story and how to prepare for the actual act.

Pitch Deck Template Examples

Below are some examples of Pitch Deck templates that can give you a head start in your business presentation building journey -

  1. Problem Statement

Articulate the problem being addressed to the investor in a way that’s clear, straightforward, and easy to understand. These Problem Statement PowerPoint Templates are a few creative examples to summarize and present the problem you intend to solve.

View Problem Statement Templates

2. Value Proposition

The value proposition for customers is a clear statement that explains how your product solves customers’ problems. Below is a collection of value proposition templates that can be used in the startup pitch presentation.

View Value Proposition Templates

3. Business Model

Business Model describes the rationale of how your startup will create, deliver and capture value. talk about your key business strategies.

With these business model templates, you can talk about your milestones, roadmap, etc.

View Business Model Templates

4. Competitor Analysis

Present the competitive landscape and how you are different than your competitors with this competitor analysis templates.

View Competitor Analysis Templates

5. Core Team

It is the driving force of your company. People who are critical to company growth. Here are a few team PowerPoint template to show strong leadership in your company.

View Team PowerPoint Templates

6. Investment Strategy

This explains the costs to start and operate the business to achieve key milestones over a certain period of time. A few investment strategy PowerPoint Templates-

View Investment Strategy Templates

7. Milestones

Roadmap templates to showcase the progress that you have achieved so far and milestones that you aim to hit. A few examples of milestones and roadmap PowerPoint template -

View Milestones PowerPoint Templates

The Act:

Here a list of presentation hacks that will help anyone conquer their Investor Pitch or Sales Pitch. I have clubbed these hacks in three categories for easy reference and understanding:

1. Hook Your Audience:

The attention span of an average human is around 10–20 minutes, and so, you have to hook your audience in the first few minutes.

  • Pick a power spot: Believe it or not, there is something known as a power spot on the stage where you are presenting. This spot gives you the most eyeballs on the stage. Look it up and find it ahead of your meeting: usually, it is right in the front & middle of the stage you are presenting.
  • Use personal stories: People love personal stuff- probably human curiosity-driven. This will help you create a connect with the audience
  • Appeal to senses: People respond far better to vivid details that evoke senses. Learn to say OAO: Ocular. Auditory, Olfactory. Say it with me: OAO. Provide vivid descriptions to help your audience nearly visualize, hear or smell what you are describing, and you will get access to their souls.

2. Minimize Distractions

Know thyself: You can be your worst enemy in the presentation. Here are some common pitfalls:

  • All over the place, literally: When presenter paces around in nervous motion- not only it evokes anxiety in the audience, but also, generates a certain kind of cringe that can be an antidote to your business idea
  • A walking cacophonic orchestra: Please take my advice and take out all that loose change in your pocket that creates motion generated jangle and distraction. Mute sounds other than those produced by your vocal cords.
  • Look Ma, no me: Some speakers want to hide in plain sight right in front of their slideshows. The audience faithfully proceeds to ignore the presenter and initiates a long-lasting stare at the screen with glazed eyes. When you are explaining something that doesn’t need the screen or when you are about to make a capstone point, please just shut it off by using the B button during the slideshow.

3. End Well:

Well begun is half done but remember: All’s well that ends well. Often, the conclusion of an act defines the whole act. Put your heart and soul into your climax and conclusion of the presentation to energize the audience. Always end on a high note with positive, uplifting messages that leave an impact on the audience.

The goal of your pitch deck should be to spark your investor’s interest in your company. Pitch decks come in different formats and structures. It is essential to understand which one fits perfectly with your startup.

Pitch Deck Examples

Save your time in designing the Pitch Deck from scratch. Here are a few Pitch Deck Examples that can be helpful in making an impressive presentation and allow the investors to pique more interest in your startup. -

View Pitch Deck Example

View Pitch Deck Sample

Now you don’t have to scour the web to find out the right templates. Download our PowerPoint templates from within PowerPoint. See how?


In nutshell, tell a story with smart, rigorous preparation; communicate with passion and style. Be the ultimate protagonist -the knight in the shining armor, who saves the princess — that your startup is or deserves to be.

About SlideUplift:

SlideUpLift is an online platform to help professionals make compelling presentations using principles of vision science and storytelling. The platform contains an online library of pre-designed presentation templates that can be used across industries and functions.

Check out our library of Free PowerPoint templates, which is weekly updated to serve the presentation needs of professionals. You will find out the simplicity and ease in downloading the editable template, filling it with your content, and building world-class presentations in just a few clicks.

Originally published at on April 13, 2020.

SlideUplift is a utility to help business professionals create powerful presentations using ready to use impactful PowerPoint tools and templates.