Startup funding is a competitive landscape. Globally close to 300 million startups are created every year, while 120,000 businesses shut down each day. You can imagine the scale! Sadly, one of the leading reasons for a business failure is a lack of funds. Thus startups must master the art of fundraising as quickly as possible.
Pitch Decks for Company Funding
Those in the startup business long enough know how difficult it is to secure an investor appointment. If you get through an accelerator program, you will be catapulted to a demo day where you can pitch your business to a group of investors. That is good news. Otherwise, it is a difficult task. From experience, we can say that investor introductions work best through referrals.
Now imagine, after all the hard work, an investor agrees to hear you out. What next? You can expect a maximum of 10 minutes to present your business in person and an attention span of 3 – 4 minutes tops if on email. What do you say? How do you present yourself? How can you get an investor’s interest in such a short span? Here is the role of the best startup pitch decks.
What is in a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a PowerPoint presentation used by startup founders for a funding pitch. The best pitch deck examples carry a maximum of 20 slides, including the title. Think of it as the first look at your company. It itself won’t get you the final deal. So do not jam it with too much information and bullet points. It is meant to get the investor’s attention so that you get a second appointment to discuss your business further. If you do end up getting a 2nd look, they may ask for further documents like a cap table or recent valuation.
The best startup pitch decks have an aesthetic design mindful of brand colors. Research shows that investors spend the most time on slides with details about the competition, finance, and the startup team. Founders must tailor their pitch deck accordingly. It is best to create two decks:
- One for the personal pitch, which should be crisp, clear, and visually appealing.
- Another suited for email correspondence, which has to carry a lot of more details for an investor to read and understand.
Either way, remember to narrate a story. An investor must connect with your solutions and feel motivated to be part of your story. Here are some must-have topics to create the best pitch deck:
- The Problem – State the problem loud and clear as early as possible. An easy way to do this is first to identify the existing solutions in the market and the gap in them. You can even use a realistic example of a situation with which the investor might identify. Make sure you express clarity in your understanding of the problem. Research shows that investors tend to rely more on founders with a laser focus on one problem and nuanced understanding of it instead of a string of multiple problem statements.
- The Market – Once you have defined the problem, the next thing investors want to know is the number of people you plan to reach. How many people really face the problem you have identified? This is the market size and opportunity. Here you must provide some statistics about how many people are currently facing this issue and willing to pay for a solution. The best startup pitch deck examples project a market of at least $1 billion. This must be a realistic projection and works best if the idea holds the promise of turning into a disruptive force in the industry.
- Competitors – Every startup is bound to have competition. Someone creates something new; someone else improves one part of the process, another company creates a new variation of the product, and so on. This is how an industry grows. Unless you have identified a unique market segment where you have the competitive advantage on arrival, competition is part of doing business. Thus the best pitch decks carry one slide dedicated to the startup’s current position in comparison with existing competitors.
- The Solution – Once the target market and brand positioning are defined, present your product/service. The best startup pitch decks include pictures and short videos of prototypes. If it is a digital product, then include screenshots of the web or mobile app. Remember, many people come up with disruptive ideas. Very few succeed in the implementation. So make sure your product/service execution is impressive enough to stand out. If possible, draw a comparison between existing solutions in the market and how your product/service simplifies the user experience.
- Where do you stand – This is an important section in pitch deck examples. If you already have early adopters, data from their user experience will help build credibility at this point. Investors rely more on proof of concept in comparison to untested ideas. At this stage, it is also helpful to point out how your company plans to grow from this point. Share a basic road map preferably in terms of clear milestones.
- The Revenue Model – No matter how impressive your product is, investors will support you only if you promise money. A revenue model shows how your product makes profits. Make sure to mention pricing strategies and how it fits the competitive landscape.
- The go-to-market strategy – Depending on the nature of your product, clearly define your marketing strategy and sales channels. How do you plan to attract customers? If you already have traction, how do you plan to leverage that to your benefit? How is your digital presence? How much do you need to spend on product promotions? Is it worth the effort? Be ready to answer some of these queries from investors.
- The Financials – Based on the revenue model and the market size you are trying to reach, the best startup pitch decks have one slide that provides clarity on sales forecast and cash flow projections for at least 3 – 5 years. Do not make this very data-heavy. If the investor is interested, you will have plenty of time to discuss details in length. It should contain sales numbers impressive and realistic enough to get investor interest. Do not overestimate in an attempt to flatter investors. They analyze hundreds of pitch decks and can easily identify inflated projections.
- The Team – An idea is only as good as its execution. After all the brilliant storytelling, investors would want to know about the people accountable for it. This includes strategic partnerships that the startup relies on for technical inputs, process flows, etc. Usually, the best startup pitch decks carry one slide with details of the leadership team. Higher their hands-on experience, the better.
- The Ask – Finally lay out your monetary expectations from the investor. All the narration culminates here. If your ideas have solid ground and your projections are realistic, investors will find reason in your ask. If you also had a valuation done of your company, this will give the investors a benchmark on how much equity they will get in return for their investment. Make sure not to underplay your expectations. It sends wrong signals to investors. Always quote a range. It is observed that investors, especially VC firms, have budget limits. If your pitch provides a range, investors can explore the flexibility. If some investors are already on board, mention that. The investor community constantly speaks to each other. It is a good way to build credibility.
Why is a pitch deck important?
As far as investors are concerned, the best pitch deck is an ID card for your startup. Investment firms can’t keep track of hundreds of applications daily. Even if you have met an investor in person, it is impractical to expect them to remember all details from your pitch or to go through heavy files. This is why pitch decks are required.
Moreover, investing is never a solo decision. All proposals go through a vetting process. This means that the investing team must have some type of a basic document to show and tell.
Above all of these, the best startup pitch deck is also a good exercise for new entrepreneurs to fine-tune their ideas. In the process of creating precise slides, startup founders also gain clarity. It helps to pose as a devil’s advocate and anticipate all possible questions from investors. Better the clarity, more chances of a successful pitch. Remember, the goal is only to get to the next appointment!
How do you create a successful pitch deck?
Before creating a pitch deck, remember that investors and other funding institutions are not just money lenders. They are led by seasoned entrepreneurs and subject experts. For example, a healthcare fund will have experienced doctors on board. Thus the best startup pitch decks are those that are well informed and realistic. Here are some quick tips to help you stand out:
- Simple – Consciously work on this. In an attempt to attract investors, you might be tempted to load as much data as possible on the pitch deck. But this is counterproductive. Visually it is boring to sit through slide after slide of numerous bullet points. Try to convey the big picture in every slide. Minimize text. Get the investor hooked on your ideas first. There will be time for detailed discussions in the later stages.
- Updated – There is nothing worse than an outdated pitch deck. In the startup business, your statistics can become history even with a difference of a couple of months. Since the funding process takes time, make sure your statistics accommodate the buffer zone as well. Also, ensure that you tailor the pitch deck for every investor. The broad idea remains the same but communications must be fine-tuned to suit investment houses.
- Realistic – Don’t over-commit anything. Investors have a keen eye for the truth. Investment firms use evolved metrics and engage consultants/market research agencies to learn industry trends and market potential. Data even from the best startup pitch decks are downsized by investors. As a founder, your best play would be to present realistic data based on market traction. The closer your data lands to the investor’s estimate better would be your credibility.
- Narrative – Everybody loves a good story. So do investors. A well-told story has the power to capture the mind space of the audience. Make your brand story compelling to the point that it is embedded in the investor’s mind. PowerPoint aesthetics matter but so does the story itself. Do mock runs with your team and check if your narration is interesting enough to keep the audience engaged. The best startup pitch decks examples are creative. Though a pitch deck is a PowerPoint presentation, make sure to diverge as far away as possible from the typical pattern.
Top 50 Startup Pitch Deck
At the onset, the idea of pitch decks might be daunting. You might struggle with what information to include and what to leave out. It could take months to create the perfect pitch deck. But it is all worth it. Here is a compilation of the 50 best startup pitch decks:
|Company||Founded Year||Industry||Total Slides||Company funding||Lead Investors|
|2004||Social media, Mobile, Internet||26||$26.1B||Peter Thiel, Tiger global management|
|Uber||2008||Logistics, Mobile apps, Transportation, Ride sharing||25||$25.2B||First round, Benchmark, Menlo ventures|
|Sequoia Capital||1972||Impact investing, Venture capital||15||$22B||Sequoia capital|
|WeWork||2014||Real estate, Proptech, Collaboration||37||$21.9B||Benchmark|
|Tik Tok||2003||Social media, mobile||39||$9.4B||Goldman Sachs, Sequoia capital|
|Airbnb||2008||Hospitality, Marketplace, Travel||13||$6.4B||Sequoia Capital, Greylock partners, Andreseen Horowitz|
|Peloton||2012||Fitness, Health care, Wellness||30||$1.9B||NBC Universal, Tiger Global management|
|Opendoor||2014||Real estate, Market place||12||$1.9B||Blackrock, GGV Capital, Hawk equity|
|Carta||2014||Fintech, Software||41||$1.1B||QD Ventures, First mark, Tribe capital|
|Monzo||2017||Fintech, Payments, Retail||16||$1.1B||Y combinator, Accel|
|Brex||2018||Fintech, Accounting, Payments||19||$940M||Y combinator, Durable partners capital LLP|
|Wealthsimple||2014||Finance,Financial Services,FinTech,Impact Investing,Personal Finance||24||$900.4M||Dwight Powell and Meritech Capital Partners|
|Gusto||2014||Fintech, Payments, HR||16||$746.1M||Fidelity investments, Capital G|
|Y combinator||2005||Finance, Impact investing||10||$700M||Y combinator|
|Clearco||2018||Venture capital, Fintech, Payments||19||$698.6M||Highland capital partners, Kevin Breay|
|Buzzfeed||2006||News and Publishing, Social news||21||$696.3M||Hearst, NEA, Andreseen Horowitz|
|Trumid||2014||Fintech, Trading Platform||20||$658.3M||TPG, Blackrock|
|Square||2009||FinTech,Mobile Payments,Productivity Tools,Retail Technology||20||$601.2M||ARK Investment Management ,GGV Capital|
|Coinbase||2012||Fintech, Cryptocurrency, Block chain||11||$573.3M||Pegasus Tech Ventures, K2 Global|
|Alan||1986||Fintech, Healthcare, Insurtech||42||$558.2M||Temasek, Index ventures|
|Foursquare||2009||Analyzing, Apps, Big data||15||$390.4M||Andreseen Horowitz, Union square ventures|
|Cedar||2020||Fintech, Health care, Payments||26||$351M||Andreseen Horowitz, JP Morgan Chase|
|Appnexus||2007||Ad network, Advertising, Internet||25||$321.5M||Yahoo Japan, Fidelity investments|
|Yogatrail||2014||Social media, Sports, Health||10||$320M||500 Startups, NEXEA Venture capital|
|Mixpanel||2009||Analytics, Mobile, SaaS||12||$277M||Andreseen Horowitz, Sequoia capital, Max Levchin|
|Intercom||2011||CRM, Sales Automation||8||$240.8M||GV, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins|
|Front||2016||Collaboration, SaaS||24||$203.6M||Sequoia capital, Anthos capital|
|2003||Professional networking, Social media||37||$154.8M||S&P Global, Goldman Sachs, Sapphire ventures|
|Lola.com||2015||Apps, Business travel, Software||19||$81.7M||General catalyst, Accel|
|Yalochat||2015||Analytics ,AI, CRM, SaaS||23||$73M||B capital group, Sierra ventures|
|Dwolla||2008||Banking,Developer APIs,Financial Services,Mobile Payments||18||$72.4M||Union Square Ventures and Next Level Ventures|
|Snapchat||2011||Information technology, Social media||14||$60M||Lightspeed, Benchmark, IVP|
|Crew||2013||Collaboration, Messaging, Software||17||$58M||Sequoia capital, Greylock|
|Tinder||2012||Dating, Search engine, Social media||10||$50M||Benchmark, IAC|
|Mint||2006||Apps, Finance and financial services||16||$31.8M||Benchmark, First round capital|
|Canvas||2005||Internet, Web design, Web development||11||$24M||Grit ventures, Menlo ventures|
|Osano||2018||B2B, Privacy, SaaS||9||$19.4M||Next coast ventures, LiveOak venture partners|
|Mattermark||2012||Big data, Data mining, SaaS||30||$17.2M||Switch ventures, Felicis ventures|
|Skymind||2014||AI, Deep learning||20||$14.5M||Y combinator, Funders club|
|UpTop||2016||IT, Real estate, SaaS||12||$5.5M||KAL Investments|
|Fynd||2012||E-Commerce, Fashion, Shopping||20||$4.4M||Google, IIFL, Venture catalysts, Singularity ventures|
|Youtube||2005||Internet, Music, Video||14||$4.3M||Sequoia capital, Artis ventures|
|Monthly||1998||Apps, Finance, Mobile||19||$4M||Greenoaks capital partners, Jeffrey Weiener|
|Buffer||2010||Internet, Social media, Software||13||$4M||Collaborative fund, Tiny capital, VTF capital|
|TryM||2018||Agtech, Software, Robotics||17||$3.1M||Delta emerald ventures, Silverleaf venture partners|
|Oomf||2014||Mobile, Sharing Economy, Software||18||$2.1M||Mass challenge, Atlas venture|
|Reflect||2019||Developer tools, Software, Productivity tools||10||$1.9M||Y combinator, Battery ventures|
|Slidebean||2013||Presentations, SaaS||20||$962.5K||500 startups, Magma partners, Enclaves|
|LaunchRock||2011||Analytics,Enterprise Software,SaaS,Social Media||15||$800K||BoxGroup and 500 Global|
|Touristeye||2010||Guides, Tourism, Travel||25||$475K||500 startups, Walter kobylanski|
10 Best Pitch Deck Samples
Now let’s take a look at the 10 best startup pitch decks. In this section, we provide an overview of the ten best brands that have created clear and concise pitch decks that have won them millions of dollars in the early stages.
Founded in 1972, Sequoia Capital is an American venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. It specializes in investing in startups and early-stage growth companies with a focus on the high technology, Internet, and healthcare areas. Donald T. Valentine, the founder of Sequoia, has led the firm since its inception. The total company’s funding is $22 billion, and the valuation has reached $1.4 trillion.
While its impressive pitch deck of 15 slides clearly outlines the company’s detailed strategy, from a mission, business model, problem, and solution to competition, market size, team, and financials, the deck is simply presented and easy to read, with a clean layout and easy-to-follow numbers. It features a clear goal, a simple but specific plan to get there, and is extremely detailed and specific.
Y Combinator is a startup accelerator located in Mountain View, California, United States and was founded in 2005. Y Combinator was established by Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, and Trevor Blackwell to provide seed funding and support to startups. The aim of Y Combinator is to help startup founders to get their businesses off the ground by providing them with seed funding, advice and support. With a valuation of $300 billion, and $700 million in funding, Y Combinator is one of the most successful startup accelerators in the world.
When it comes to fundraising, Y Combinator’s pitch deck is quite impressive, especially in light of the fact that it features a breakdown of the funds that were raised by the company. With a 10-slide pitch deck, including the problem and solution along with the business model, team, market size and financial aspect of the business. Y Combinator clearly has a well-researched pitch deck that is straight to the point and easy to read. Its concise and simple layout makes it easy to scan quickly through each slide and notice the most important points.
One of the most popular video-sharing platforms, YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2005. The company’s headquarter is located in San Bruno, California, United States, and it provides a platform for uploading and sharing videos.
The platform allows users to upload, view, rate, share and comment on videos in addition to enabling users to create their own channels where they can upload content. $4.3 million, the total funding raised by YouTube, and the valuation value has reached $170 billion.
YouTube’s pitch deck of 14 slides features a well-researched problem, solution, purpose, and detailed business model. With a very basic layout, the company’s deck is easy to read while its straightforward explanation of the company’s team, competition, market size, and financial information makes it a powerful tool for fundraising. The deck features a strong mission statement with a specific target market that aligns with the company’s goals, a purpose with a detailed plan to get there and a clear business model.
Facebook is an American multinational corporation of online social media and social networking services based in Menlo Park, California. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 and is the most popular social networking site worldwide. It is one of the most funded companies in the world, with total funding of around $26.1 billion, and a valuation of $104 billion. Facebook focuses on building a community of people interested in sharing and discussing various information, ideas, and activities.
If you’ve ever wanted a closer look at what goes into crafting a pitch deck, Facebook’s slide presentation is perfect for you. With 26 slides in total, Facebook’s pitch deck is set up using a number of slides that allow them to provide a thorough and detailed breakdown of the user base, site views, target market, growth rate, demographics and competitors. While general information about Facebook including the problem, solution, and business goals is featured at the beginning of the pitch.
Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown. The application was launched in 2011 and is more popular among teens and young adults. Located in Santa Monica, California, Snapchat is known for its image and video messaging feature, which allows users to share images and videos with their friends in a self-destructing message format. With a valuation of $90.8 billion and total funding of $60 million, Snapchat is one of the most successful social media companies.
The company’s pitch deck is well organized and covers a number of distinct slides that allow them to provide an overview of the platform, history, philosophy, product overview, story, statistics, and usage. Their stylish and unique presentation of 14 slides is a great example of how a pitch deck should be designed. Their deck is eye-catching, and their use of bold colors that are associated with the appropriate sections and a variety of infographics makes it easier to read.
Coinbase is a San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam. The company is considered the leader in the space of digital currency with an aim to create a safe, seamless and intuitive experience for buying, selling and using digital currencies. It is reportedly valued at $86 billion with total funding of $573.3 million. Coinbase strives to provide the best and most user-friendly experience in the digital currency space.
The company’s 11-slide pitch deck is a basic yet informative presentation of the business, highlighting its growth, competitors, and business model. In addition to this, the customer’s related information such as application usage, total sign-ups, and transaction volume is also highlighted. The deck’s use of common fonts and layouts makes it easier to read, with a clear and concise explanation of the company’s value proposition, business model and growth strategy.
A multinational transportation network company that includes on-demand services such as ride-hailing, food delivery, and bike sharing. The company was founded by Travis Kalanick in 2008, headquartered in San Francisco. With one tap, from the comfort of their homes to the street, making it an all-in-one platform for transport. The company aims to address and alleviate the inefficiencies of traditional transport systems. $75 billion of valuation and $25.2 billion of funding are a result of a few years of success.
With a well-organized and concise presentation of 26 slides, the company’s pitch deck is a powerful tool for fundraising. The deck features a strong and specific problem and solution, with a user manual, a business model, competitors, market size and the potential of Uber. Overall, the pitch deck gives a good representation of the company’s strategic plans, value proposition and customer base.
TikTok is a video-sharing application that was founded by Zhang Yiming in 2016, a Chinese technology company. TikTok is considered one of the most popular short video-sharing platforms in Asia that allows users to create short videos performing a song and lip-syncing to it while adding pictures and text. With a current valuation of $50 billion and funding of $9.4 billion, Tik Tok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world.
TikTok’s pitch deck is a massive 39-slide presentation covering all aspects of the company and its platform. From platform introduction, audience, target market, user base, and business model to examples, competitors, and product features. The presentation is well-stacked with a variety of information that gives the reader a complete overview of the company’s products and services.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a global home-sharing platform that connects hosts who have accommodations to rent with those looking to stay in the area. Airbnb is a go-to website for vacationers looking for accommodation in various locations, which can range from shared rooms and apartments to entire houses. Located in San Francisco, California, and was founded by Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia. The total funding for Airbnb is reported to be $6.4 billion with a current valuation of $47 billion.
The 13-slide pitch deck of Airbnb employs a number of beautiful infographics to display the application’s interface that allows users to easily find and book accommodations. While the problem and solution, market size, growth, key statistics, and business model are all detailed in the presentation. The deck’s use of colors, layouts and fonts makes it easier to read and provides an enjoyable experience for the reader.
LinkedIn is a professional social networking website that aims to help its users connect with potential employers and colleagues, find jobs and make business contacts. The company was founded in 2002 in Mountain View, California, by Reid Hoffman. This virtual career networking website is currently the most popular social media platform in the world. It has an estimated valuation of $26.2 billion and has reportedly raised over $154.8 billion in funding.
The LinkedIn pitch deck is a 37-slide presentation that is an impressive example of the importance of presenting a strong business case. It covers the company’s vision and mission, its value proposition, products and services, competitive landscape and key statistics. The presentation does get a bit lengthy, but it is useful in painting a complete picture of the company. This is a good example of how an entrepreneur can use visual tools in order to appeal to potential investors.
Add Value to Your Pitch Deck With Eqvista
As seen throughout this articles, a powerful pitch deck is able to take a small company to becoming a large corporation with company funding. In addition to presenting your pitch deck to investors, its also important to get a valuation to support the worth of your company. A company value lets the investor know directly how much equity they would get for their investment, with numbers to back it up.
Eqvista provides independent valuation reports both for investment and stock option purposes, in the form of our 409a valuation report. We also provide a platform for companies to record and manage their equity with their founders, employees and investors. Checkout our price list here. Contact us for more information on how to add value to your pitch deck!