Traction is one of the most essential elements of any pitch deck because it shows investors that your business idea has demand, your business model is working, and the market is responding to it positively. Yet, creating a striking traction slide pitch deck is one of the hardest tasks for startups.

A good traction narrative is not only about your revenue. It must also incorporate your successes in product development, strategic partner relationships acquisition, customer feedback, marketing, and intellectual property. These elements together clearly communicate your product-market fit, scalability, and profit predictions, putting them on display for VCs and investors.

The traction slide is a must for pitch decks, whether the company is in an early, pre-revenue stage or it has achieved profitability. Most companies don’t realize the powerful role pitch deck traction slides can play; when used correctly, they can capture your potential investors’ interest, which can ultimately lead to an investment.

So, then, how do you build a striking traction narrative? How do you effectively communicate that you have achieved product-market fit? What is traction in pitch deck creation? What should you include in your traction slide? And why do metrics matter so much?

Let’s dive in!

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Key questions to address on the traction slide

As you build your traction slide pitch deck, you’ll discover it has the power to highlight key milestones and achievements quickly and that each of these directly correlates to creating long-term growth potential in the eyes of investors.

Here are some questions to consider in creating a strategic, growth-driven traction slide:

Are you achieving a product-market fit?

Finding your product-market fit (PMF) involves identifying the need in the market for your products and acts as proof that you’ve built a solution that customers actually want to buy. They are typically determined through market research or some other proof-of-concept exercise that demonstrates a market need.

PMF is a key indicator of your product’s success. Properly showing PMF on your slides is highly important since it’s something investors love to see.

Traction slide for FinTech startup
Traction slide for FinTech startup

How many customers / users do you have today? How fast is that number growing?

Take a look at your users and customer base. How many do you have? How does that compare to the number you had last year? Does it keep growing, or has it become stagnant?

Almost every great traction slide we’ve seen here at Waveup references user trends in some way. After all, your users are the bloodline of both your business and the IRR of your investor’s portfolio.

Do customers love your product?

When creating your traction slide pitch deck, utilize customer feedback to touch on how much they love your products. Try reaching out to potential customers and partners, asking them to share testimonials of their experiences. These quotes can then be used to fill in the traction slide, adding an emotional, real-world element.

Since investors examine your user statistics with great focus and dedication during due diligence, including user quotes and opinions in your deck is a great idea.

Do you track metrics? How have these metrics picked up speed?

Throughout the development of your business, you’ve likely collected tons of quantifiable data. Using this slide to show off your metrics is a great way to show what really matters in the most concise way.

Metrics, whether they measure your sales, product, users, or finances, are vital indicators of your business’s health, so it is very important you choose the right metrics to deliver in your traction story.

What is your revenue to date?

Be honest. Lay this out and combine all of the data from the questions above to create a startup traction slide that provides an honest outlook on your business.

Where should you add the traction slide to the pitch deck?

Pitch deck structure slide
Pitch deck structure

Most people put their traction slides at the end of a pitch deck, but that’s a grave mistake! We’ve discovered that putting it directly after the solution slide or somewhere within the first five slides dramatically increases the chances of a follow-up meeting.If investors have trouble seeing how valuable your products are on the market, it’s unlikely they’ll have a good first impression.

It is important to note that your traction slide should fit the overall narrative you’re presenting about your business. For example, if you position your company as a rapidly growing startup, your traction should demonstrate strong month-over-month or year-over-year growth; on the other hand, if you are positioning your company as a more established business, your traction should show evidence of stability and consistent performance.

Placement isn’t the only factor, though. The way you utilize the narrative of your traction slide is also critical to your fundraising success.

What should you include in your traction slide?

Investors want to see that you have a proven product-market fit. It’s the most essential reason for including a traction slide in the first place.

Any proof you have that your solution works at solving your identified problem is great. You just need to find a simple yet eye-popping way to put that on display.

If your business is an early-stage startup, you may not have any real paying customers yet. But that doesn’t mean that you have no traction. You can still capture traction points to add to your pitch deck.

For instance, you can present the number of beta subscriptions, website visits, unpaid pre-orders, testimonials, and established partnerships, among other pertinent pieces of information. This will prove that you already have some customer attention and interest, even though it hasn’t yet been converted into financial metrics.

Quantitative traction: what is it, and why does it matter?

Impressing potential investors with your strong growth is the most significant reason for creating a pitch deck in the first place. And the best way to do that is with a pitch deck traction slide.

You can add the most attractive metrics on the traction slide and show maximum impact for month-over-month growth. Remember, traction is progress and is often correlated with risk. So, in the eyes of investors, the higher the traction, the lower the risk.

Product sales, R&D, operations, and financial metrics are all potentially great, simple indicators of performance. Numbers and metrics are a universal language that speak to all investors seeking to quickly filter bad business from good. That’s why it’s so vital you know which metrics to include and how to properly display them.

Here are some of the best indicators to include in your traction slide and pitch deck:

  • Your revenue, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), or annual recurring revenue (ARR)
  • Number of customers/users, active users, app installs
  • Number of pre-orders, leads, requests, or even website visitors
  • Your net promoter score (NPS)
  • Engagement and retention rates
  • Customer metrics (e.g., CAC, LTV, LTV: CAC, churn rate, CAC payback period)
  • Rule of 40
  • SaaS magic number, average sales cycle, and/or winning rate
  • Your average revenue per account (ARPA)
  • Your average revenue per account (ARPA)
  • Number of licenses and patents

Qualitative traction

Even if you don’t have revenue or growth, you still don’t want to skip this slide.

Traction can also be communicated through non-quantifiable metrics, such as the names of key partnerships or the customers you have onboarded recently. Here, we’re talking about the quality and importance of those partnerships and customers, not quantity. Some people believe in your idea, so try to fill in the slide with their quotes. At least show investors that you have a 100% developed product.

You can also outline how much money has been already invested, showing that you have skin in the game. You can also use this slide to talk about your milestones and the significant goals you have achieved so far. Adding a product or company roadmap that outlines crucial milestones is really helpful here.

What to show:

  • Net promoter score
  • App store rankings
  • Established partnerships
  • Customer feedback
  • Testimonials
  • PR coverage

How to present the traction slide

Here are some things to keep in mind as you figure out how to present your traction slide in your pitch deck:

  • Don’t overload the slide with too much information.
  • Don’t put every bit of data on one slide. If you have that much, you can split it into two or three slides.
  • Follow your narrative in determining the most essential figures and facts to include.
  • Use a clear and quickly readable slide design, as well as high-resolution pictures/logos.
  • Add impressive graphs and infographics.
  • For partnerships and customers, you can include logos.

Below, you’ll find some traction slide examples that have been proven to work for our many different clients.

Examples of traction slides

Here at Waveup, we know just how far a proper traction slide can take you – much further than just a follow-up call. It also serves as a strict and compact look at the overall success of your business that you spent so much time and effort building.

Take a look at some of the traction slides we have built here at Waveup. All of these helped our clients make great first impressions and captivated the attention of their investors in no time.

Journey to date slide: seed startup with strong MRR growth
Journey to date: seed startup with strong MRR growth

Traction slide for Series A startup with solid metrics and a global presence
Traction slide for Series A startup with solid metrics and a global presence

Seed startup slide early traction and product market fit proof
Seed startup: early traction and product market fit proof

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Senior Consultant

Hey! I’m Maria, Senior Consultant here at Waveup. I have over 5 years of experience in operating consulting, analytics, and venture capital. I have worked in top-tier consulting companies and have kept learning from domain experts and world-class VC advisors. In my articles, I share what I have learned from my experiences. I hope to provide valuable insights that can help others who are working in or interested in these fields.