PechaKucha Names Chicago as U.S.-Based (Sweet) Home Headquarters

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Former Groupon Exec Leads Expansion and Growth for Popular Global Brand

PechaKucha started 16 years ago by two acclaimed architects and is now a global phenomenon. Today, Sean Smyth, a digital marketing executive and former Groupon VP, is officially named Co-Founder, President & CEO of the global brand. Smyth is charged with leading the company’s global revenue growth and expansion.  

PechaKucha’s time-boxed visual framework is lauded by both speakers and audiences for its efficiency and punch. The famed ‘20 images x 20 seconds’ format – brainchild of Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein of Klein-Dytham Architecture in Tokyo – automatically advances slides after 20 seconds so each presentation only lasts 400 seconds. Verbal storytelling aided by images, rather than words, are the focus of each presentation. PechaKucha has gained worldwide traction among artists and creatives to share stories and concepts at social events called PechaKucha Nights, now in over 1200 global cities, since its 2003 inception.

“Because of their simplicity and efficiency, PechaKucha-powered presentations are in greater demand among global corporate enterprises, government agencies, and educational institutions,” says Sean Smyth, PechaKucha CEO. “Our goal is to make it easier for any individual, professional, teacher or student to access PechaKucha’s licensing, software, and event management tools so storytelling can become essential to information-sharing and learning.”

Recently, Smyth held various marketing and business development leadership posts at Groupon. As an early Groupon employee, he launched new business verticals, scaled partner and affiliate marketing programs, and closed deals with some of the world’s most well-known brands including Apple, Disney, and Groupon’s biggest deal partner, Starbucks. Prior to Groupon, Smyth led strategic marketing and product development initiatives at events and entertainment company Metromix and Tribune Interactive. Smyth also serves as the current president for the Smart Bet Charity poker tournaments, raising over $1 million for local nonprofits offering tech, education, and entrepreneurial programs for Chicago students.

Under Smyth’s leadership thus far, PechaKucha has already received early seed investments totaling over $600,000 from angel investors and from Chicago-based Table XI Ventures to fund its initial technology build. Future capital investments will be used to expand the technology platform and supporting additional technical, sales and marketing staffing. PechaKucha now operates business from both Chicago and Tokyo. It currently employs seven people in both locations.

“Sean is leading PechaKucha into the future,” says Mark Dytham, PechaKucha Co-founder. “By enhancing PechaKucha’s platform with new capabilities, Sean is creating greater opportunities not only for professionals, teachers, and students who use it - but also supporting our global community of PechaKucha Night events.”

About PechaKucha: PechaKucha is the fastest-growing storytelling platform used by millions of people across the globe. Today, PechaKucha Nights are held in more than 1,200 cities in 137 countries. Schools, businesses and government agencies worldwide license PechaKucha’s “20 x 20” brand format to easily and quickly share information and present concepts. PechaKucha, which means “chit chat” in Japanese, is based in Chicago and Tokyo. Visit to gain inspiration from 15,000+ PechaKucha stories.

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Alexandra Corro
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