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Haiku Deck Simplifies And Beautifies The Pitching Process

Creating a pitch deck can be daunting and if you’re not a designer (which most of us aren’t) it can be downright nerve wracking. However, the difference between a good pitch deck and a bad pitch deck can mean the difference between getting money and not getting money, which makes that design seem a helluva lot more important, doesn’t it?



Adam Tratt realized that most people have trouble creating a pitch deck when an idea of his flopped but its pitch deck created a lasting stir. That got him thinking, there must be a business here somewhere. To figure it out, he put his head together with fellow entrepreneur Kevin Leneway and Haiku Deck was born.


Meet Haiku Deck from Haiku Deck on Vimeo.


Adam took some time to answer a few questions for us about this excellent, free resource for startup entrepreneurs. Check it out!


What’s the story behind starting Haiku Deck?

In 2010, our company began as celebrity-based Facebook game studio at Startup Weekend. That business itself didn’t work out quite the way we hoped, but along the way we were constantly faced with the challenge of creating presentations to enlist partners, investors, and customers.


As we went back to the drawing board, we were struck by how difficult it was to create an amazing pitch deck.


That’s when the idea for Haiku Deck hit us. Presentation software hasn’t changed very much over the years. It’s been business as usual since the invention of the Internet and the mass adoption of mobile devices. We set out to reinvent presentations for how we work, communicate, and create now.


Haiku Deck is rooted in a few basic principles. Keep it simple by limiting your text and focusing each slide on one idea. Make it beautiful by using full-bleed images to tell your story and tapping into one-touch themes, filters, and formatting. And, most of all, have fun. Fun is not a word most people associate with either creating or watching presentations, but we don’t see any reason why these things can’t be fun.


Where’d you get the name?

Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry with three lines comprised of phrases including 5-7-5 syllables. Through this framework, the author’s creativity and expression can come to life. This type of poetry is a metaphor for what we’re doing in Haiku Deck. We provide a framework that helps the author unlock their creativity by focusing them on a few words, a beautiful image, and simple formatting.


Who’s on your team?

My Co-founder and CTO is Kevin Leneway who worked at Microsoft and Accenture before joining Techstars, which is where we met. We were later joined by Marc Kamaka ,who is also a Techstars alum. Catherine Carr is our VP of marketing, with whom I previously worked at Cranium, the board game company.  There are now about a dozen dreamers, story-tellers, idea-generators, and software geniuses working hard to make Haiku Deck. Awesome.


Haiku Deck team

How was your experience with TechStars?

Techstars was awesome. I recommend it to most aspiring first-time entrepreneurs looking for a way to jump start their company.


What has been your biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?

Our biggest challenge has been keeping up with the awesome ideas and suggestions that our customers send us every day.


How’s the startup scene in Seattle?

Entrepreneurism is in Seattle’s DNA. From the time the first settlers arrived here to harvest the trees to Boeing to Microsoft and Amazon, we’ve just got a great spirit of company building and innovation here. I can’t think of a better city for starting a company right now. I just wish there were more software developers.


What would you recommend for startup founders who are in the first stages of seeking funding?

Have a great story! Lots of founders are so excited about their product that they forget to create an emotional connection with investors. Also, use Haiku Deck.


What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a startup founder?

Hard to name just one! Looking back to our very early days there were times when we were so eager to start building product that we neglected to test our assumptions thoroughly. As a result, we spent too much time building the wrong thing.


Haiku Deck Main


What are your hobbies?

I love biking and skiing and geeking out with my kids. Last weekend I built model rockets and launched them with my 4 and 11 year-old boys. So much fun!


What’s your vision for Haiku Deck?

We believe telling a story and sharing an idea should be an awesome experience that inspires the author as much as the audience. Our vision is to make it simple and fun to share an idea or tell a story- from the authoring to the delivery, whether it’s in person or online.


What makes you better than all of your competitors? How will you compete?

None of the other tools out there make it simple or fun to create a beautiful presentation. While everyone else is focused on adding bells and whistles to give your story more “power” or sizzle, our approach is to help our users communicate effectively by removing technology barriers.


Haiku Deck Private Notes


Anything you’d like to add before I let you go?

When speaking with startups, I always underscore the fact  that Haiku Deck is free and an awesome way for startups to craft a clear, concise, and compelling pitch for their business. Did I mention it’s FREE?! We’re testing a new browser-based version of the app that doesn’t even require an iPad.


Please give the app a try for your pitch decks, for conducting team meetings, for engaging customers and partners. Send me feedback anytime  and help us spread the word by publishing and sharing lots of decks. If you want us to consider promoting your business, submit your pitch deck to our gallery.


And where can our readers find you?

They can find us on our blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Google +!


Photo Credits

Courtesy of the founder

Author : Emma McGowan

Emma is a proud native of Burlington, Vermont, who has lived in six different countries over the past two years. She's living and loving the global nomad life and writing about technology and startups everywhere she goes. Check out more of her writing about tech on (the more titillating stuff) KinkAndCode.. Follow her on Twitter @MissEmmaMcG.

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