Advice from Y Combinator on Pitching and Creating the Perfect Slideshow

Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator has revealed a bulleted list of succinct but precious pitching and slideshow tips for entrepreneurs facing the all-important demo day at YC—advice that extends seamlessly to any Canadian startup in a Canadian accelerator, of course. So pay attention.

Among the tips, courtesy of YC partner Aaron Harris

On speaking:

  • Look at the audience. You don’t have to make eye contact with individuals, just with areas of the crowd. People in those areas will think you’ve made eye contact with them.
  • Don’t use generic phrases as transitions (“so…”)
  • If you make a joke, telegraph it. If you’re not sure the joke will land, cut it
On charts and metrics:
  • If you put up a graph that confuses people, they will feel stupid and stop listening.
  • Line graphs are better than bar graphs when showing growth.
  • If you should be generating revenue and then show a different metric, investors will be suspicious.
On slideshows:
  • Remember that minds wander, and people check phones. When they look up, they should immediately be able to pick up the thread.
  • Coolness and legibility are not orthogonal, they’re diametrically opposed.
  • Screenshot slides are typically bad.