structure of a South African Investor Pitch deck

The Ultimate Guide to the Structure of a South African Investor Pitch Deck for Maximum Impact

With start-up fundraising, the importance of the Structure of a South African investor pitch deck, cannot be overstated. Picture this: you kick off your fundraising call with a personal introduction to the venture capital firm in South Africa which you have been trying to get a conversation with, only to find yourself inadvertently immersed in discussing your business, bouncing from the genesis of your startup idea to problem-solving strategies and market size—all in a matter of minutes.

To navigate this challenge, a fundamental recommendation emerges: always utilize your pitch deck in the initial fundraising conversation. Despite the temptation to assume that investors have thoroughly reviewed the deck before the call and to plunge directly into Q&A, reality tells a different story. Investors, on average, spend a mere 2 minutes and 47 seconds screening pitch decks, as per data from docsend. Consequently, neglecting the use of the deck means foregoing the most potent tool to showcase your ability to pitch in a structured manner, fortified by compelling visuals and a coherent storyline. Every corporate finance advisory firm will tell you that this holds true even if the investor is already acquainted with your business, as selectively using slides to delve into key topics while bypassing others can be remarkably effective.

The crux lies in structuring not only your pitch but also your deck and arguments effectively. Employ techniques such as “trackers” atop headlines or “divider slides” (e.g., “market,” “competition,” “roadmap”) to explicitly delineate each section of your pitch. Simultaneously, endeavor to ensure that your verbal comments align seamlessly with your deck, enhancing clarity and leaving a lasting impression.

Avoid the pitfall of being reframed during your pitch. It’s common for burning questions to arise, tempting you to address them immediately. However, succumbing to this impulse can lead to a divergence from your planned pitch structure. When faced with a question unrelated to your current pitch section, resist the urge to hastily respond. Instead, provide a succinct high-level answer and convey your intention to delve into the details in a subsequent part of the deck. By doing so, you not only acknowledge the question but also retain ownership of the narrative structure, reinforcing your control over the investor conversation.

The SCRAMBLE Pitching Principle as  Structure of a South African Investor Pitch Deck: 

While the traditional components of a pitch deck remain essential, mastering the art of the pitch conversation is equally crucial. Enter the SCRAMBLE Pitching Principle, a comprehensive guide to crafting an investor pitch that captivates, resonates, and secures funding.

The SCRAMBLE Pitching Principle Demystified

S: Storytelling (Engage through narrative)

Every successful pitch begins with a compelling story. Your narrative should not only introduce your startup but also draw investors into the journey that led to its inception. Start with a personal intro that sets the stage for your entrepreneurial adventure. Utilize your pitch deck as a storytelling tool, guiding the conversation seamlessly from one key point to another. Stories create emotional connections, making your pitch memorable and relatable.

C: Captivate (Seize attention)

In a world filled with information overload, capturing an investor’s attention is a precious commodity. Your pitch needs to be captivating from the outset. Consider employing attention-grabbing visuals, impactful anecdotes, or surprising statistics to make a lasting impression. The goal is to intrigue investors enough that they are eager to delve deeper into your pitch.

R: Real problem being solved (Address a genuine need)

Investors are drawn to startups that address real-world problems. Clearly articulate the problem your startup is solving, emphasizing its significance and relevance. Use data and real-life examples to underscore the pain points your target audience faces. A pitch that convincingly addresses a genuine need lays a strong foundation for investor interest.

A: Address competition (Acknowledge and differentiate from competitors)

Acknowledge the competitive landscape and position your startup strategically within it. Highlight your unique selling propositions and key differentiators. Investors appreciate founders who not only understand their competition but can also articulate why their solution stands out. Be transparent about challenges while showcasing a clear path to outperforming competitors.

M: Market potential (Demonstrate growth and market size)

Demonstrate a thorough understanding of your market’s potential. Leverage data to showcase market size, growth trends, and untapped opportunities. Investors are keen on startups with the potential for scalability and significant market impact. Clearly articulate your market entry strategy and growth projections, providing a roadmap for success.

B: Benefits (Highlight advantages and value proposition)

Clearly outline the benefits of your product or service. Showcase how it meets the needs of your target audience better than existing solutions. Use the pitch to emphasize the value proposition and advantages that set your startup apart. A focus on benefits assures investors that your solution not only solves a problem but does so in a superior way.

L: Leverage FOMO (Create a Fear Of Missing Out)

Harness the power of FOMO by showcasing momentum and investor interest. If you’ve received term sheets or are progressing rapidly in due diligence, strategically mention these achievements. Create a sense of urgency without overdoing it. Genuine progress and interest from other investors can significantly influence decision-making.

E: Engage Emotionally (Connect on a personal level)

Building a personal connection with investors is key to a successful pitch. Share anecdotes, express passion for your business, and convey a genuine sense of ambition. Investors are not just looking for a business opportunity; they are entering into a long-term relationship. Connect with them on a personal level to build trust and leave a positive lasting impression.

Implementing the SCRAMBLE Pitching Principle


Use Your Pitch Deck to Structure the Conversation

Start your pitch by using your pitch deck as a roadmap for the conversation. Even if investors have briefly reviewed your deck, leverage it to showcase a structured and logical storyline. Break down your pitch into sections using trackers or divider slides. This ensures that both you and the investor stay on track throughout the conversation.

Structure Your Deck and Your Arguments Well

Ensure your pitch deck is well-structured with clear headings and easy-to-follow visuals. Use action titles that convey statements rather than generic descriptions. Break down your comments into key arguments to make your pitch concise and impactful.

Don’t Get Reframed. You Are the Owner of Your Storyline.

During the pitch, stay in control of your narrative. If a question arises that takes you off-course, briefly address it and commit to covering it in detail later. This approach maintains the structure of your pitch and demonstrates your ability to manage the conversation effectively.

Be “To the Point” in Fundraising Conversations

Use a Light, Concise Pitch Deck

Craft a pitch deck that is concise, focused, and easy to navigate. Aim for 10-15 slides that cover the essential aspects of your business. Prepare a data room with additional details for investors who want to delve deeper after the initial pitch.

Focus on Key Messages

Identify and emphasize key messages that resonate with investors. Use action titles in your deck to express these messages clearly. During the pitch, ensure these messages are prominently articulated, making it easy for investors to grasp your startup’s value proposition.

Manage Time

Be mindful of time during the pitch. If detailed questions threaten to derail your timeline, address them briefly and express your intention to delve into more detail later. Proactively manage time to cover all essential aspects of your pitch within the allotted timeframe.

Admit Unknowns

Don’t attempt to have an answer for every question. Admit unknowns when necessary, demonstrating credibility and reflection. Investors appreciate transparency, and admitting when certain details are unknown builds trust. Offer educated guesses when possible and commit to providing more information as it becomes available.

Make Your Pitch Appealing

Pass the Bar Test While Pushing the VC Buttons

Craft a pitch that passes the bar test – direct, engaging, and entertaining. Simplify your storyline to ensure it resonates with individuals unfamiliar with your industry. Highlight exciting aspects of your business that specifically appeal to VC investors. Whether it’s impressive growth metrics or a stellar team, showcase these elements in a way that generates excitement.

Take People on a Journey

Integrate stories and anecdotes into your pitch to create a memorable experience for investors. Share experiences from personal, employee, or client perspectives. Use visuals to enhance the storytelling, providing investors with a vivid understanding of your startup’s journey.

Combine Passion and High Ambition – The Magic Formula

Infuse passion into your pitch, even if your industry may seem less glamorous. Share compelling stories about the challenges your startup addresses and the mission to disrupt the status quo. Combine passion with a high level of ambition to convey a sense of purpose that resonates with both investors and employees.

Leverage FOMO

Mention Momentum and Progress

If your startup is gaining traction or receiving attention from other investors, strategically mention these achievements. Highlighting momentum creates a sense of urgency and positions your startup as a desirable investment opportunity. However, be genuine and avoid exaggeration.

Build a Rapport in Your Pitch

Understand the Long-Term Relationship

Acknowledge that a funding round is more than a transaction – it marks the beginning of a long-lasting relationship between founders and investors. Use the pitch conversation to provide insights into your character. Share personal anecdotes, engage in non-transactional conversations, and inject moments of levity. Building a personal rapport can influence investment decisions positively.

Reflect Consistency in Relationships

Recognize that your interactions with investors extend beyond fundraising. Investors often assess how founders engage with them, potential customers, and potential hires. Consistently building personal connections enhances your reputation and contributes to long-term success.

By incorporating the SCRAMBLE Pitching Principle into your fundraising strategy, you not only enhance your pitch but also increase the likelihood of securing investment. Remember, a successful pitch is not just about the numbers; it’s about telling a compelling story, building rapport, and leaving a lasting impression on investors. 

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Matthew Musgrove

Matthew Musgrove

Matthew is an entrepreneur and business Advisor with a passion for change management and social empowerment. With a background in business accounting and advisory, as well clinical research project management, he strives to find strategic and sustainable solutions to business problems.



Mark Van Hoff comes from background of technical & production planning, budgeting & scheduling of major live events. As the first production co-ordinator at M-NET for Outside Broadcasts, Mark has managed major local and international productions including Miss South Africa, Miss World, multiple music events and major sports events, including the PnP Cycling Tour.​Mark co-founded Van-Man Productions in 1994, Page to Picture in 2000 and Move Media Networks in 2007. All three companies have achieved domestic success and have been well-regarded in the South African production industry.



Oluwaseun Adewuyi who is the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Caban, is a Certified Chartered Accountant, with Fellowship status at both the ACCA as well as the Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, a UK Based industry body with a specific focus on the management of charities, not-for-profit organisations and NGOs.. Oluwaseun comes with strong business acumen and 20+ years of progressive experience in finance and operations management within well-reputed and high growth organisations Including Next Plc and Royal Mail. He has been heavily involved in impact investment across Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in the creation of a series of community schools in West Africa. Throughout his career, he oversaw a broad range of operations, including Business Strategy and Business Reorganisation, summarising the organisation’s financial status, and coordinating the preparation of tactical plans, financial forecasts, and budgets. Adept at developing and implementing effective internal control framework to maintain sound financial accountability.

tim scholtz


Tim Scholtz, who's is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Caban Investments, is experienced in implementing corporate governance guidelines, formulating risk management structures, process and cost optimization. Tim has a strong corporate background, having worked as COO at the South African Tourism board, was COO at the Nelson Mandela foundation and as a internal audit manager at Arthur Anderson earlier in his career.

Ben Botes


Ben Botes is Entrepreneur, VC, co-Founder, Author and Academic with a strong social conscience. Ben Involved with early stage and growth firms for the past 20 years and has been Co-founder of 9 separate businesses across Africa. Ben has directly and indirectly been involved in impact investment and the support of charities and non profits for the last 30 years. Ben is a regular speaker at the African Investment Conference in London and has been featured in Wall Street for Europe, The Guardian Small Business, BBC, the Mail and Guardian in the UK and BizCommunity, Channel 3 TV, Investors Weekly, The Cape Times, Radio 702 with John Robbie and Good Hope FM in South Africa

Dave Romero


Dave Romero is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with a passion for making an impact. A qualified Professional Accountant, Dave has been a director in multiple financial institutions and was once the youngest Chairman on the JSE, in addition to being listed as one of Business Times’ Top 100 companies and the 40th fastest-growing company in South Africa. Dave is a core founder of the Caban Group, which aims to provide a comprehensive service offering to small businesses in return for equity. With a passion for nurturing entrepreneurs, Dave can often be found outside of the boardroom – offering advice, creating innovative funding solutions and building communities through sustainable practices.



Dr Ruben Richards is a truly inspirational South African leader. Through his peace-building seminars for criminal gangs, Dr Ruben has facilitated the longest ceasefire in the history of gang warfare on the Cape Flats. In addition to being Chairman & Founder of the non-profit Ruben Richards Foundation, Dr Ruben is an ordained cleric, company director, non-executive Chairman of Visual International Limited and was once the Deputy Director-General of the now-disbanded Scorpions.