Chapter 10. The Standard Pitch Deck

OK. You’ve got your intros. You’ve got meetings scheduled. Time to get busy with the slides! The intergalactic standard for pitching your company is still the “slide deck,” whether prepared with stalwarts like PowerPoint or Keynote or upstarts like Haiku Deck and Presentate. Business plans are for suckers and restaurateurs—more on that later. When you make your deck, just stay away from anything that can’t be printed on paper (I’m looking at you, Prezi)—you are always going to need a backup copy.

While some visual excellence can perk up a boring deck, remember that VCs look at hundreds of decks a year (and active angels will see at least dozens). Following, or at least staying close to, the common standard structure helps not only to orient the readers, but also to reassure them that you’re not trying to pull a fast one on them.

I recommend the following basic outline.


The intro slide is straightforward but important. It will be showing while everyone files in and sits around for 10 minutes waiting for the senior partner to arrive. You can put a teaser image there, your website if you want people playing on their phones checking it out, or anything else you like—but keep it simple.

Title slide from Glowforge first round

There are three requirements:

Company name
I like to crowdsource names and domains from Squadhelp,1 but if the traditional “fifth of scotch, domain registrar ...

Get Hot Seat now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.