The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

December 31, 2019

Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life. The show hosts, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah, are both serial entrepreneurs who have founded multi-million dollar SaaS startups. Being busy CEOs of fast-growing companies, they know the value of your time and make sure you get the most out of each 22 minute episode. Tune in for new episodes every Tuesday and Friday.



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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the bones of what makes a great pitch deck and how to use it to wow possible investors. Steli and Hiten give you tips based on real life stories and pitches that got their attention. Tune in to find out the importance of knowing and communicating your “WHY”, turning your pitch deck into a story, and how you can connect with your audience. Hiten also gives the inside scoop about his new pitch deck product to listeners for the FIRST time—this will definitely help you with your next pitch.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:05 – Today’s episode is about creating a killer pitch deck

00:41 – Steli spills that Hiten is launching a pitch deck product very soon


01:25 – People send pitch decks to Steli to be critiqued

01:53 – Where should people start?

02:22 – Pitch decks are the new business plan

03:10 – The common method today is creating and using a pitch deck so that you can raise money through angel investors

03:53 – Those who join Y Combinator already have a product to talk about

04:15 – There are still traditional people who do not understand how to get money without a business plan

04:47 – The biggest mistake people make is making the numbers up

05:01 – A pitch deck is a story of what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you’ll be doing in the future

05:17 – Investors are investing in the future

05:48 – The data and numbers should be used to support your story

06:14 – Investors need to buy into the storyline and be able to see that it has value in the future

06:55 – Tell a compelling story and stimulate the imagination and fantasy of the audience

07:25 – Hiten has worked with a lot of people in making pitch decks and storytelling

08:16 – Steli asks Hiten how useful is it when adversity is included in the storytelling


09:18 – Hiten says investors just want to invest in a great business

09:33 – Your whole pitch and whole story should show how great your business is

10:00 – Hiten talks about Close.Io—how it addresses the needs of people and how it has a compelling pitch

11:22 – Steli’s Close.Io story is awesome because he made it happen


12:20 – The investors do not care so much about the details, they care about the essence and how true it is

13:13 – Steli is surprised by how people have difficulty finding what is compelling about their story

13:26 – Steli shares a story about a meeting he had with a startup company

14:20 – There was a lot of traction in the company, but the guy he was speaking to had a  backstory that was even more interesting


14:34 – The guy had an older sister who was an overachiever whereas he did not get into a great school and wasn’t offer the same opportunities for work

14:51 – The guy had to work hard to get a job in finance and this backstory explained his overall business concept


15:33 – The WHY connects with many people

16:09 – Steli advised the guy to tell the story about his sister, instead of just saying it as a side comment

16:41 – The amount of businesses that start every year are increasing and investors are seeing a LOT; they are also able to discern what idea/company is good

17:06 – The investors need something they can remember you by

17:44 – If this guy starts with the story of his sister, he will get passionate about the rest of the pitch

18:25 – Start your story with your WHY

18:41 – To learn more about storytelling, listen to Episode 60

18:52 – Steli and Hiten’s entrepreneurial stories are found in Episode 15

19:30 – Pitch decks from Google search are already old

20:07 – Hiten shares for the first time the name of the pitch deck product and it is Dogo

20:33 – If the site is not live yet, email Hiten and he will give you access

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