Ideal pitch deck financial projections should consolidate all your 3-5-year financials into a clear breakdown of the key metrics and indicators investors care about.
If crafted well, your pitch deck financials slide assures investors of two key things:
- Your idea is financially viable (strong revenue growth, manageable cost, good profit margin)
- Your assumptions are reasonable and well-founded
However, having reviewed thousands of pitch decks and financial models, we barely came across financial projections slides that achieved those things.
Most of the slides we’ve seen were stuffed with irrelevant information, lacked some vital metrics, or both. Either situation doesn’t reflect well on your idea or judgment in the eyes of investors.
This article will help you avoid this fate and learn the key principles of a killer financial projections slide to impress investors.
Key elements of pitch deck financial projections slide
Your pitch deck financial projections must give investors a quantifiable representation of your anticipated revenue, expenses, and profitability over a specific period—for at least three to five years.
You will achieve that by including the following:
- Revenue projections: Outline the expected income generated from the sale of products or services, providing insight into the scalability and revenue-generating potential of the startup.
- Expense forecasts: Detail the anticipated costs and expenditures associated with running the business, encompassing both operational expenses and investments in growth.
- Cash flow statements: Track the movement of cash into and out of the company, highlighting the ability to manage and sustain healthy cash flows.
- P&L projections: Showcase the projected profitability of the venture by deducting expenses from the anticipated revenue.
On top of that, you must include key metrics—in the case of early-stage companies, assumptions—such as gross margin, net income, and various operational metrics you base your projections.
Сritical metrics VCs expect to see in a pitch deck financial slide
The numbers and metrics VCs expect from a startup’s financials slide differ from those of a traditional business. Early startups operate in fast-paced, high-growth markets where traditional metrics like net profit and EBITDA might not fully reflect the business’s potential or traction.
While you should certainly include these metrics if you can, you must supplement them with various operational metrics that signal early success and serve as the foundation for other projections.
Here are the metrics to include in your pitch deck financial projections slide:
Showcase the growth potential of your startup by highlighting your current revenue figures and project future revenue based on your business model and market analysis.
- Recurring revenue (for SaaS businesses)
- Average revenue per account (ARPA) / Spend per customer
- Gross merchandise volume (GMV) for marketplace businesses
These metrics demonstrate your ability to generate income and attract customers, making it a crucial indicator of your startup’s financial viability.
It’s crucial to include metrics that give insight into the cost-effectiveness of your sales and marketing strategies, including:
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Lifetime value of a customer (LTV)
- Conversion rates
For SaaS products or apps, especially in a B2C sector, strong user engagement metrics serve as the main prerequisite for revenue and a signal that you have a product-market fit. If you’re in this sector, add the following to your financials slide:
- Daily active users (DAU)
- Monthly active users (MAU)
- Churn rate
Including metrics demonstrating profitability is essential to prove to investors you’ll, well, make them money. They demonstrate your ability to generate positive cash flow and cover operating expenses.
- EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization)
- Net Profit (the amount of money left after all expenses have been deducted from revenues)
- Gross Margin (the difference between revenue and cost of goods sold, divided by revenue)
These metrics provide deeper insights into the evolution of your financials. They also show investors how exactly you’ve arrived at your revenue at profit projections by offering a more comprehensive view of your business’s operational efficiency, customer retention, and growth potential.
Depending on your business model, your operational metrics might include:
- Cost of customer acquisition (CAC)
- Lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio (LTV/CAC)
- Average revenue per account (ARPA) / Spend per customer
- The number of active users or customers, and so on
The type of metrics and the level of detail in your financial projections slide will vary depending on the stage of your fundraising round.
In a Pre-Seed round—where investors focus primarily on the founding team and the core idea—the available data is quite limited. Here, your focus should be on high-level information emphasizing revenue projections and key profit margins. At this stage, stick to no more than one slide.
In Series A and beyond, when your startup has developed its product and achieved a solid product-market fit, investors expect high-fidelity projections. They will expect detailed revenue breakdowns, specific KPIs, and a clear roadmap to profitability. At these stages, you can use as many slides as you need to convey this information to investors.
But whatever stage you’re at, make sure your financials in a pitch deck show a clear path to profitability.
5 metrics founders get wrong in a pitch deck financial slide
There are a few critical mistakes we repeatedly see founders make that harm investors’ perception of their financials.
- Projecting extremely high revenue growth: While rapid revenue growth may seem impressive, it’s important to provide context and explain the sustainability of such growth to avoid raising doubts or unrealistic expectations.
- Mistaking gross merchandise value (GMV) for net revenue. GMV represents the total value of merchandise sold through a platform, but it’s not equivalent to net revenue. Clarify the distinction to ensure accurate financial assessment.
- User or customer growth without revenue growth. Highlighting user or customer growth is valuable, but it becomes less meaningful if not accompanied by revenue growth. Investors want to see a clear monetization strategy and engagement with your user base.
- Leaving out without customer acquisition cost (CAC). A high ARPU is appealing, but it’s essential to provide insights into the cost of acquiring each customer (CAC). If the CAC is also high, it raises concerns about profitability and scalability.
- Basing your lifetime value (LTV) on inaccurate churn rate. LTV measures the value a customer brings to your business over their lifetime. However, if it’s based on an inaccurately low churn rate, the LTV may be overestimated. Presenting a realistic churn rate is crucial for accurate financial projections.
Financial projection slides to include in a startup pitch deck & tips to make them better
Typically, the financial section of a startup pitch deck can consist of up to five slides, depending on your stage.
Don’t include slides just for the sake of it. It’s important that you present enough information yet keep the presentation concise and focused, or you risk confusing or boring investors.
Here are the key slides that are commonly included:
Provide an overview of your financial projections, highlighting key figures such as revenue, profitability, and growth rates. Give investors a snapshot of your business’s financial health and potential.
Outline your revenue projections over a specific period. Line graphs or bar charts can illustrate the expected revenue growth and highlight important milestones or assumptions. But you may also consider alternatives such as stacked area charts or war.
Break down your revenue streams, including product sales, subscriptions—or any other sources—and highlight the key drivers behind your revenue projections.
Showcase your projected expenses in an expense breakdown slide. Use a visually organized format, such as a pie chart— or try a treemap, scatter plot, or stacked bar graph—to provide a clear overview of how you plan to allocate resources across different expense categories.
Highlight key expense areas such as marketing, research and development, operations, and administrative costs. This way, you’re helping investors understand your cost structure, expense management strategies, and investment priorities.
Profitability and margins
Focus on your profitability metrics, such as gross margin and operating margin. Demonstrate your ability to generate profits and maintain healthy margins, showcasing the financial sustainability of your business.
Key financial assumptions
Provide an opportunity to highlight the key assumptions underlying your financial projections. It allows you to explain the rationale behind your numbers, addressing factors like market size, pricing strategy, customer acquisition costs, and retention rates.
Funding requirements and use of funds
While not strictly a financial projection, this slide outlines your funding requirements and how you plan to allocate the funds raised. It gives investors a clear understanding of how their investment will be utilized and the expected impact on your business’s financials.
Ensure you outline your capital requirements and how you plan to use the investment you seek. Present a clear breakdown of the funding you need for various purposes such as product development, marketing initiatives, team expansion, or operational expenses.
Use a stacked bar graph—or a funnel or radar chart—to illustrate the allocation of funds. Help investors understand the specific areas where their investment will be utilized and demonstrate your strategic planning and financial management capabilities.
8 tips to improve the performance of your financial projections slide
The following advice will help you improve the accuracy and quality of your financial projections slide, making your assumptions grounded and trustworthy among investors.
- Explain your sales cycle: If your sales cycle and its length impacts your revenue and cash flow, explain it to investors.
- Stay consistent: Make sure that your financial projections align with the rest of your presentation and make sense in regard to your business model. Any visible inconsistencies will cast serious doubt on your judgment.
- Consider unit economics: If applicable to your business model, showcase the profitability of individual units or products. This provides deeper insights into the financial viability of your startup.
- Include industry benchmarks: Benchmarking your financial projections against industry standards and comparable companies shows investors that you did your homework and provides them with a basis for evaluating your performance and growth potential.
- Connect financial projections to business strategy: Aligning financial projections with your startup’s overall business strategy ensures a clear connection between the projected financials and your company’s strategic objectives.
- Tailor projections for the audience: Tailoring your financial projections to meet the specific needs of your audience allows you to target either venture capital funds—worried about ROI—or potential strategic partners that may be more interested in revenue synergies.
- Use design cheats to highlight key points: Good design helps to draw attention to your key message and numbers, helping to really hammer the point home.
- Keep your slides neat: Use concise and clear language, and keep your slides free from excessive metrics or explanations.
Overall, your ability to capture VCs’ attention and convince them your idea is a future profits machine boils down to two things:
- Having strong assumptions, you base financial projections on
- Knowing how to demonstrate them in the most compelling way
Check our financial model blog section to learn all there is to know about creating compelling financial models and pitch deck slides. Or just get in touch with our financial wizards and pitch deck experts, tell them all about your project, and save yourself a sweat.