As little as possible in no more than 10-13 slides, including cover/title and contact/disclaimer. I won’t read larger decks and often ask entrepreneurs to try harder when they hand me a 20+ page deck.

  • Cover
  • Convention / Disruption (20 or fewer words on each)
  • Expand on prior slide, use schematics/workflow diagrams
  • User experience illustrated
  • Team (if you have prior exits, otherwise push this slide to the end of deck
  • Market size, growth rate — use a chart
  • Addressable market opportunity — another chart
  • Pilots, big customers or sales pipeline
  • Competitor matrix — gridof four squares with Leader/Follower (or other metric) across the middle and another metric from top to bottom — where do you and your competitors fall into this space?
  • Roadmap — some past milestones, the present (We are here), and future milestones (dev, sales, funding)
  • Funding — prior, seeking, form (20% convertible, etc.), Contact (one person)


Most decks are designed for presentations only — this leaves them dead or barely useful when the presenter isn’t in the room. Build your deck to live on its own. Every slide should have a title and two very* short sentences about the slide content. Taken together, these sentences should stand on their own without slide content and form a narrative across the slides. Pull them out into a bullet list — if you can’t read them on their own as a clean, understandable narrative, you have more work to do.


When presenting, speak about the slide — do not read the slide to your audience. Slides should have as few words as possible. If you can’t articulate your message in short sentences, you don’t understand the topic well enough. It takes time to widdle a message down to its essential parts. Use more graphics than words. View your deck daily and tighten up the prose — pull a word out on every reading. Don’t hesitate to pull entire slides out or combine one or more into a single slide using schematics/charts.

«I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.»

~ Blaise Pascal

This advice was made by Damion Hänkejh (Smithsonian Laureate CTO / CEO — investor / founder) from discussion on

Other great stuff about pitches: