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The Must-Have Legal Disclaimers in Pitch Decks for Startups

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Creating a compelling pitch deck is crucial for startups seeking funding, covering key components such as the problem and solution, product or service, market opportunity, business model, competitive advantage, and financial projections. These pitch decks serve as a vital tool for startup founders, allowing them to succinctly communicate their vision, business model, and growth strategy to potential investors and partners. By highlighting the startup’s unique selling points and core team expertise, a well-designed pitch deck can significantly impact securing the necessary venture capital or angel funding. 

Furthermore, a pitch deck goes beyond simple presentation templates; it encompasses a comprehensive communication strategy, integrating elements of design, marketing, and data visualization to tell a cohesive story. Tailored disclaimers are integral to these decks, safeguarding the startup and its founders throughout the funding process. This article will explore must-have legal disclaimers for every startup pitch deck, ensuring founders are well-equipped to navigate the complexities of raising seed funding while maintaining a professional and engaging narrative. 

The Essence of Legal Disclaimers in a Pitch Deck 

In the realm of startups, particularly when it comes to securing funding through a pitch deck, legal disclaimers play a pivotal role in safeguarding the company and its founders from potential legal liabilities. These disclaimers are not merely a formality but a necessary component of a well-prepared pitch deck. They serve multiple purposes, from protecting the company’s intellectual property to ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and managing investor expectations. Here are some key aspects of legal disclaimers in pitch decks:

1. Forward-Looking Statements: 

  • Purpose: To clarify that any projections or expectations about the future are not guarantees but are based on current plans and assumptions. 
  • Example: “This presentation contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations discussed.” 

2. Compliance and Legal Protection: 

  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensures the startup adheres to securities laws and regulations, crucial for avoiding penalties and maintaining transparency. 
  • Protection from Legal Action: Shields the presenter and the company from potential lawsuits by explicitly stating the limitations of the information provided. 

3. Managing Expectations and Clarifying Information: 

  • Investor Awareness: Makes potential investors aware of the risks associated with investing in the startup. 
  • Clarification of Information: Helps in setting the right expectations by clarifying that the information presented is based on current knowledge and conditions. 

In addition to these, seeking legal counsel is strongly recommended to tailor disclaimers to the startup’s specific needs and ensure comprehensive protection. Startups must understand and comply with applicable securities laws, which include but are not limited to, restrictions on general solicitation and advertising, compliance with regulatory filings, and the strategic use of disclaimers. This legal foundation not only protects the startup from future legal challenges but also builds trust with potential investors by demonstrating a commitment to transparency and regulatory compliance.

Must-Have Disclaimers for Every Startup Pitch Deck 

In crafting a startup pitch deck, incorporating the right legal disclaimers is crucial to mitigate potential liabilities and ensure clarity for potential investors. Here is a breakdown of the must-have disclaimers for every startup pitch deck:

1. Forward-Looking Statements: 

  • Purpose: These statements protect the company by clarifying that projections and expectations about the future are speculative and are based on current assumptions and forecasts. They alert investors to the inherent risks and uncertainties in any forward-looking information. 
  • Example: “This pitch deck may contain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results could materially differ from those anticipated.” 

2. Disclaimer on Legal Advice: 

  • It’s important to clarify that the information provided within the pitch deck is not legal advice. This disclaimer ensures there is no misunderstanding regarding the nature of the content and its purpose. 
  • Example: “The content presented in this pitch deck is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by this presentation.” 

3. Avoid Disclaimers on Projections: 

  • According to insights from Dana H. Shultz, a seasoned lawyer specializing in startups, including disclaimers specifically about projections is not recommended. This approach aligns with the practice of focusing on the current state and potential of the business rather than speculative forecasts. 

Additionally, startups can leverage resources like Termly for creating comprehensive and compliant legal documents necessary for their pitch decks. Termly’s offerings include: 

  • Policy Generators: These tools help create essential legal documents, including Privacy Policies, Terms and Conditions, and Disclaimers, ensuring startups meet legal requirements and best practices. 
  • Compliant Consent Solutions: Tools like Cookie Consent Banners and Consent Management Platforms assist startups in managing user preferences and complying with data protection regulations, crucial for businesses with an online presence. 

By incorporating these disclaimers and utilizing available resources, startups can safeguard their interests and maintain transparency with potential investors. 

Tailoring Disclaimers to Your Startup’s Needs 

When tailoring disclaimers to your startup’s needs, it’s crucial to consider various factors to ensure they serve their intended purpose effectively. Here’s a guide to crafting disclaimers that align with your startup’s unique requirements: 

1. Understanding the Scope and Purpose: 

  • Forward-looking Statements: Acknowledge that while investors understand projections can be incorrect, clarity in these statements helps manage expectations. 
  • Valuations and Market-based Assessments: Highlight the importance of valuations, especially for revenue-generating businesses, and explain that market-based valuations consider numerous factors, emphasizing the uniqueness of each business. 

2. Legal and Industry-Specific Considerations: 

  • Compliance and Industry Standards: Ensure your disclaimers comply with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. This is particularly important for startups in regulated sectors like healthcare, finance, and technology. 
  • Features and Limitations of Services or Products: Clearly outline the extent of your startup’s liability for both tangible and intangible goods, protecting rights and limiting responsibility for third-party actions. 
  • Privacy and Data Usage: Incorporate a privacy statement detailing customer information gathering and usage, reinforcing transparency and trust. 

3. Implementation and Management: 

  • Visibility and Consent: Place disclaimers prominently on your website or app, ensuring they’re visible and that users acknowledge them. Tools like PandaDoc Waivers can streamline this process by allowing for easy creation, management, and collection of legally binding signatures. 
  • Regular Updates: Keep disclaimers up-to-date with changes in your business model, legal obligations, or user feedback. Regular monitoring and management help maintain compliance and effectiveness. 
  • Features of Management Tools: Utilize features offered by document management platforms, such as processing documents in bulk, building and storing waiver forms, and automating waiver expiration, to enhance efficiency and compliance. 

By carefully considering these elements and employing recommended practices and tools, startups can craft disclaimers that not only protect their interests but also foster trust and transparency with their users and investors.

Common Mistakes Startups Make with Legal Disclaimers

Startups often embark on their journey with enthusiasm and innovation at the forefront. However, when it comes to the legal aspects, particularly legal disclaimers in pitch decks, common mistakes can derail their efforts. Understanding these pitfalls is crucial for any startup looking to secure funding while maintaining legal integrity. 

1. Misleading Statements and Lack of Clear Agreements: 

  • Avoid phrases like “These are conservative projections.” Such statements can mislead investors about the certainty of future success. 
  • Not having a founder agreement clearly defining roles, responsibilities, and equity splits can lead to disputes and misunderstandings. 

2. Legal Form and Compliance Oversights: 

  • Choosing the wrong legal form for the business (e.g., sole proprietorship instead of an LLC) can expose founders to unnecessary liability and tax implications. 
  • Failing to comply with federal and state securities laws when issuing stock or securities can result in severe penalties. 

3. Intellectual Property and Contractual Missteps: 

  • Neglecting trademark clearance and thorough research can lead to infringement issues. 
  • Using poorly drafted standard form contracts instead of well-crafted agreements can leave startups vulnerable to disputes and misunderstandings. 

4. Documentation and Policy Gaps: 

  • Not maintaining proper corporate and HR-related documentation, and failing to regularly update these documents, can lead to compliance issues. 
  • A lack of a comprehensive Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy for the startup’s website can expose the business to legal risks related to user interaction and data handling. 

5. Common Pitfalls in Disclaimers: 

  • Vague or ambiguous language in disclaimers, omission of key information, and copying disclaimers without customization can render them ineffective. 
  • Neglecting industry-specific regulations and failing to update disclaimers can lead to legal challenges and loss of investor trust. 

Understanding and avoiding these common mistakes can significantly impact a startup’s ability to navigate the legal landscape effectively. By focusing on clear communication, proper legal forms, comprehensive agreements, and up-to-date policies and disclaimers, startups can position themselves for success in the competitive funding environment. 


Through this exploration of the essential legal disclaimers necessary for startup pitch decks, we have delineated the critical role they play in safeguarding a startup’s interests, ensuring regulatory compliance, and building trust with potential investors. The article elucidated the importance of forward-looking statements, compliance and legal protection, and the strategic management of investor expectations, along with highlighting common pitfalls startups face in incorporating legal disclaimers. It also provided actionable insights into customizing disclaimers to suit a startup’s specific needs, emphasizing the significance of legal counsel in navigating the complexities of securities laws and regulatory requirements. 

As startups venture into the competitive landscape of securing funding, the integration of targeted legal disclaimers within their pitch decks emerges as a non-negotiable element of their strategy. This practice not only protects the startup from potential legal challenges but also reinforces its commitment to transparency and ethical business practices. By adhering to the guidelines and considerations outlined, startups can navigate the intricacies of investor relations with confidence, paving the way for sustainable growth and successful partnerships. 


Yes, incorporating a disclaimer in your startup pitch deck is essential. While the main goal is to present a compelling case for investment, a disclaimer is crucial for safeguarding against potential legal issues in the future.

To build a credible and effective pitch deck, consider these key tips: 

  • Limit the deck to 15-20 slides. 
  • Maintain a single message per slide. 
  • Have a clear introduction and conclusion. 
  • Structure the presentation strongly. 
  • Embrace a minimalist approach with content. 
  • Consider professional assistance rather than doing it all yourself. 
  • Use visuals extensively to enhance the presentation.

A pitch deck should typically include the following elements: 

  • Introduction 
  • The problem your startup aims to solve 
  • Target market analysis 
  • Your proposed solution 
  • Current traction and progress
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Competitve landscape overview
  • Information about your team

A well-rounded pitch deck should feature 10 key elements: 

  • The problem being addressed 
  • Your solution to the problem 
  • Key features of your product or service 
  • Market fit analysis 
  • Competitive landscape 
  • Revenue and operating models 
  • Evidence of traction 
  • Financial projections 
  • An introduction to your team 
  • Details of your funding request

Further Exploration

We at Pitch Deck Guru produce several growth accelerations features for our clients according to their business needs. Most common tools include Whitepapers, eBooks, Business Reporting, Executive Summaries, and Research Articles.
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