Three pitch deck theorists you don't want to miss

January 6, 2020

When it comes to creating a perfect pitch deck, we certainly can rely on the best theory out there in regards to business presentations. Multiple theorists have written about how to craft the most successful pitch decks for startups. We will cover a few of the most famous startup gurus you can consult today to give you a solid idea about pitch deck theory basics.

If you’re just now inserting yourself in the startup business world, these are names you should definitely know. We therefore recommend you follow up on them with a few side readings, as well.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki's pitch deck template is one of the most popular ones out there. Aside from being a leader in terms of investment in tech companies and overall marketing strategies, his name is also behind the magical ten slide number to a perfect pitch deck. 

In reality, Guy has fostered the 10-slide notion out of the pre-existing 10/20/30 rule from PowerPoint. This theory highlights not only the 10 slide max, but an effective presentation as one that never exceeds twenty minutes. And this is also tied to every presentation slide preferably being created in a font no smaller than thirty points.

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Canva’s chief evangelist

As an ambassador, Guy Kawasaki stands behind Canva, as well as Mercedes Benz. However, his relation within Apple is also a better part of his early and impressive career background. 

It was in fact Guy himself who coined “chief evangelist” as a term to describe a person who promotes a specific brand, product, service or line of business. He basically put these two words together to describe someone who is capable of generating support for a given technology. Public figures such as these normally evangelize to the point where they can set their supported brand or name as an industry standard in whichever context. Kawasaki is thus better known as Canva’s chief evangelist. 

Kawasaki the author

As an established author of several books about entrepreneurship, make sure you include Guy Kawasaki’s publications as a part of your reading list if you haven’t read his literature, already. 

His most famous book is titled The Art of the Start, which can be considered a startup handbook. In it, he uses humor to describe his accomplishments, as well as failures. And he does so in a way that actually gives insight to anyone on how to best start a business.  

This book has now been amplified to more than double its previous length. The new edition comes with new advice on varied topics and has been titled as a 2.0. version. 

The Kawasaki pitch deck

More importantly, we have taken Guy Kawasaki’s recommendations on what makes up an ideal pitch deck and created a template that follows his pitch deck rules. Clean while also adhered to his proposed structure, you can feel free to edit the Kawasaki template online or download it.

Have you just started your company? Don’t worry! This format is indeed aimed at early stage companies. Best suited for seed financing, you should find you’re able to edit this template even at the birth of your startup and in most of its slides. 

Dave McClure

500 Startups template and its founder, Dave McClure, are very common points of reference with regards to pitch deck basics. This West Virginia native also relies on 10 slides to an awesome business presentation like Guy Kawasaki does. However, Dave has also defined a 10 slide pitch deck’s basic content and its proper order very clearly. 

In all honesty, while Dave’s document works just fine to be shared over email, his pitch deck structure is more commonly referenced as a deck for live presentations. It was actually designed as such. Moreover, it is a very reliable source for startup accelerator pitch competitions.

To share his knowledge on how to best pitch investors, Dave actually presented what he titled How to Pitch a VC over the course of 28 slides. Ironic, right? Well, it will also help to know that Dave’s instructive deck in itself is most commonly known as Dave McClure’s Startup Viagra.  

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500 Startups accelerator templates

Having once been on payroll for Skype, Facebook and Microsoft, Dave McClure’s reputation as founder to 500 startups has to do with this program being one of the most successful and best-known seed accelerators for early stage internet startups. 

Speaking of accelerators, we discuss our experience and opinions about them in this video:

Blogging in style

If you’d like to read more from Dave, you can still catch his very unique blog entries at 500 hats. Related to VC finance, his was at some point one of the 10 most read blogs of all time. Dave’s openness certainly characterized his way of putting his opinions in perspective. 

Paul Graham

Aside from being an author and essayist, Y Combinator rises as a startup accelerator thanks to Paul Graham’s co-founding efforts. Just in case you’ve missed out on Y Combinator’s top companies combined valuation, it has ranged above an impressive $155 Billion.

No wonder why the Y Combinator pitch deck template is also a point of reference.

Lisp is also an added part of Paul Graham’s achievements, yet this entrepreneur and VC’s company, Viaweb, was also the one to have created what was later renamed as the Yahoo! Store after Yahoo’s acquisition. 

Graham, nicknamed PG, has written and elaborated on how to convince and present to investors. He has created a long list of essays and a collection of them in the form of a book titled Hackers & Painters. Look them up! They will certainly give you other points of reference on the topic of pitch decks. 

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If you want to compare…

Would you like to see a chart that outlines what two of the most famous pitch deck theorists mentioned here like to see in their decks? 

We have created a pitch deck must-include list comparison for a perfect pitch deck for you. Take a look! And let us know if you have any questions or need additional help with your presentations!

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