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:
|Entry||Company||Founded Year||Industry||Total Slides||Company funding||Lead Investors||Current Valuation/Acquired amount|
|1||Uber||2008||Logistics, Mobile apps, Transportation, Ride sharing||25||$22B||First round, Benchmark, Menlo ventures||$75B|
|2||WeWork||2014||Real estate, Proptech, Collaboration||37||$1.7B||Benchmark||$20B|
|3||Tinder||2012||Dating, Search engine, Social media||10||$50B||Benchmark, IAC||$10B|
|4||Snapchat||2011||Information technology, Social media||14||$4.6B||Lightspeed, Benchmark, IVP||$90.9B|
|5||Buzzfeed||2006||News and Publishing, Social news||21||$500M||Hearst, NEA, Andreseen Horowitz||$1.7B|
|6||Foursquare||2009||Analyzing, Apps, Big data||15||$155M||Andreseen Horowitz, Union square ventures||$600M|
|7||Airbnb||2008||Hospitality, Marketplace, Travel||13||$4.4B||Sequoia Capital, Greylock partners, Andreseen Horowitz||$47B|
|8||2004||Social media, Mobile, Internet||26||$16.1B||Peter Thiel, Tiger global management||$104B|
|9||Buffer||2010||Internet, Social media, Software||13||$4M||Collaborative fund, Tiny capital, VTF capital||$60M|
|10||Alan||1986||Fintech, Healthcare, Insurtech||42||$220M||Temasek, Index ventures||$1.67B|
|11||Brex||2018||Fintech, Accounting, Payments||19||$940M||Y combinator, Durable partners capital LLP||$7.4B|
|12||Cedar||2020||Fintech, Health care, Payments||26||$62M||Andreseen Horowitz, JP Morgan Chase||$500M|
|13||Clearbanc||2018||Venture capital, Fintech, Payments||19||$466.5M||Highland capital partners, Kevin Breay||$1B|
|14||Coinbase||2012||Fintech, Cryptocurrency, Block chain||11||$547.3M||Pegasus Tech Ventures, K2 Global||$86B|
|15||Gusto||2014||Fintech, Payments, HR||16||$516.1M||Fidelity investments, Capital G||$2B|
|16||Lola.com||2015||Apps, Business travel, Software||19||$81.7M||General catalyst, Accel||$100M|
|17||Monzo||2017||Fintech, Payments, Retail||16||$74M||Y combinator, Accel||$1.6B|
|18||Youtube||2005||Internet, Music, Video||14||$83.5M||Sequoia capital, Artis ventures||$170B|
|19||Canvas||2005||Internet, Web design, Web development||11||$24M||Grit ventures, Menlo ventures||$6B|
|20||Sequoia Capital||1972||Impact investing, Venture capital||15||$19.2B||Sequoia capital||$1.4T|
|21||Tik tok||2003||Social media, mobile||39||$9.4B||Goldman Sachs, Sequoia capital||$50B|
|22||Y combinator||2005||Finance, Impact investing||10||$700M||Y combinator||$300B|
|23||Yogatrail||2014||Social media, Sports, Health||10||$320M||500 Startups, NEXEA Venture capital||$780M|
|24||Zendyhealth||2012||Dental, Health, E-Commerce||14||$2M||Tech stars, 500 Startups||$10M|
|25||Mint||2006||Apps, Finance and financial services||16||$31.8M||Benchmark, First round capital||$170M|
|26||Front||2016||Collaboration, SaaS||24||$138.8M||Sequoia capital, Anthos capital||$500M|
|27||Kickfolio||2012||Customer service, SaaS||14||$1.2M||500 startups, Scrum ventures||$60 M|
|28||Reflect||2019||Developer tools, Software, Productivity tools||10||$1.9M||Y combinator, Battery ventures||$45M|
|29||TryM||2018||Agtech, Software, Robotics||17||$3.1M||Delta emerald ventures, Silverleaf venture partners||$36M|
|30||2003||Professional networking, Social media||37||$154.8M||S&P Global, Goldman Sachs, Sapphire ventures||$26.2B|
|31||Opendoor||2014||Real estate, Market place||12||$1.9B||Blackrock, GGV Capital, Hawk equity||$18B|
|32||Carta||2014||Fintech, Software||41||$628M||QD Ventures, First mark, Tribe capital||$10B|
|33||UpTop||2016||IT, Real estate, SaaS||12||$5.5M||KAL Investments||$85M|
|34||Osano||2018||B2B, Privacy, SaaS||9||$8.4M||Next coast ventures, LiveOak venture partners||$35.8M|
|35||Skymind||2014||AI, Deep learning||20||$11.5M||Y combinator, Funders club||$2B|
|36||Trumid||2014||Fintech, Trading Platform||20||$402.3M||TPG, Blackrock||$10B|
|37||Intercom||2011||CRM, Sales Automation||8||$291.8M||GV, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins||$8.5B|
|38||Mixpanel||2009||Analytics, Mobile, SaaS||12||$77M||Andreseen Horowitz, Sequoia capital, Max Levchin||$15B|
|39||Mattermark||2012||Big data, Data mining, SaaS||30||$17.2M||Switch ventures, Felicis ventures||$1.8B|
|40||Touristeye||2010||Guides, Tourism, Travel||25||$475M||500 startups, Walter kobylanski||$2.5B|
|41||Appnexus||2007||Ad network, Advertising, Internet||25||$321.5M||Yahoo Japan, Fidelity investments||$2B|
|42||Slidebean||2013||Presentations, SaaS||20||$1M||500 startups, Magma partners, Enclaves||$25M|
|43||Peloton||2012||Fitness, Health care, Wellness||30||$1.9B||NBC Universal, Tiger Global management||$8.1B|
|44||Monthly||1998||Apps, Finance, Mobile||19||$4M||Greenoaks capital partners, Jeffrey Weiener||$56M|
|45||Fynd||2012||E-Commerce, Fashion, Shopping||20||$4.4M||Google, IIFL, Venture catalysts, Singularity ventures||$57.8M|
|46||Oomf||2014||Mobile, Sharing Economy, Software||18||$2.1M||Mass challenge, Atlas venture||$80M|
|47||Crew||2013||Collaboration, Messaging, Software||17||$58M||Sequoia capital, Greylock||$500M|
|48||Yalochat||2015||Analytics ,AI, CRM, SaaS||23||$108M||B capital group, Sierra ventures||$1B|
|49||Crema||2015||Coffee, Loyalty programs, Payment||10||$175M||Foodx, SOSV, 500 startups||$4B|
|50||Swipes||2013||Apps, Mobile, Enterprise software||11||$150M||Alchemist accelerator, Helle Uth||$4B|
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.
Uber or Uber Technologies Inc. was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. It was originally founded as a digital ride-hailing service in a market of radio cabs. Over the years, Uber has diversified into food delivery (Uber eats), package delivery, courier service, and freight transportation. Headquartered in San Francisco, Uber currently operates in 900 metro cities of 69 countries.
Their initial 20 slide pitch deck of Uber developed in late 2008 begins by identifying the cab-hailing ‘problem’ both at the customer and driver’s end. As the deck enters the ‘solution’ phase, there is a clear declaration of the target market – Professionals in American cities. Every solution suggested then directly addresses the daily transportation requirements of this category. Next follows the execution plan with a special focus on the factors that differentiate Uber from the existing yellow cab services. The pitch deck prioritizes clarity in brand position before diving into operations. Investors next get a taste of how the Uber app works, examples of real-life utility, the technology driving the business process, market size & composition, go-to-market strategies, pilot and target cities, expected market growth, and future optimizations. The deck closes with the current status of the company, their money expectations, and what they plan to do with the money.
WeWork was founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey. Headquartered in New York, WeWork is in the business of commercial real estate providing well-equipped shared workspaces for startups and freelancers. As of 2020, they had 828 buildings listed in 120 cities globally.
Here is WeWork’s 13 slide pitch deck from 2014. This is a good example of a company already a few years into the business and ready for the next jump. It begins with a company overview of the current number of members and revenue, followed by their revenue growth in the past couple of years. Then the deck briefs about the services, their target audience, how millennials are changing work culture, and the possible growth of this segment in the American market. This pitch deck clearly defines where WeWork is saving costs in comparison to regular office rented spaces. It closes with details of their key team members and their past experiences. This is a good move as investors have more faith in an experienced team for business expansions.
Tinder was founded in 2012 by Jim Lanzone. Headquartered in California, Tinder is an online dating application launched as Match Box within the startup incubator Hatch Labs. Here is the pitch deck used in the incubator.
It is a short 10 slide deck. It takes the storytelling route and begins by showing how finding a match using this mobile app could be a simple task. The deck then identifies the app USPs followed by revenue opportunities. Being a startup deck, pitching for the first time, this deck has all the basic information that would peak investor interest and push them to learn more.
Snapchat was created in 2011 by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. It is an instant messaging app with a special feature of short-lived messages. It is a rave with Millenials but brands are using it extensively to promote products as well.
Here is a 24 slide pitch deck of Snapchat. Unlike the previous ones, this is wordy. It begins with the brand journey from 2011 to 2014 followed by their philosophy of ‘deletion’. Then it moves into the product description and scope of using Snapchat with pictures as well as the story feature. The deck further elaborates on their priority for messages at the moment and deletion once seen. Another differentiator is their story feature that helps create event-based stories instead of a jumble of all snaps in a day. Lastly, the deck details the scope of Snapchat in business, the various avenues to create brand-driven stories. They have included examples of early adopters and their access to personalized statistics as well.
Buzzfeed was started in New York by Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III in 2006. It is a digital media company focused on tracking viral news. They are redefining the social and entertainment news sector and are a disruptive force in content marketing.
Here is their precise 20 slide pitch deck. It directly dives into the current status of the business with statistics about users, impressions, burns rate, and patent status. The next step clarifies where they are headed from this situation. Then there are screenshots of various aspects of the website like their current editorial content, expected leap into Algorithmic content, user-generated content, a new front page design, an integrated platform for all viral web content, the web application, optimization, and the leader board concept. Then the pitch deck talks about the revenue model followed by how advertisements would add to their content. After this, investors are introduced to their ideas of distributed promotion, custom promotion, and trend targeting. Finally, the deck closes by touching upon the existing market, its unique positioning, the scope of expansion, and the team leading it.
Foursquare or Foursquare Lab Inc. was founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai in 2009. Headquartered in New York they provide a location and advertising technology along with app developer tools. Their breakthrough technology of real-time location sharing and check-ins is the foundation of several businesses and consumer products.
This is the earliest pitch deck of Foursquare. It is a 15 slide concise summary of their ideas. It begins with an overview of the company and directly moves into its applications as a friend finder, social city guide, and points system on check-ins. Foursquare also pitched to incentivize users with a point score on the leaderboard as well as badges on achieving certain milestones. The next two slides are about their revenue model. The deck closes with screenshots from the website and some encouraging statistics about the current business.
Airbnb short for AirBedandBreakfast.com was founded by Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia in 2008. Based in San Francisco, Airbnb is in the lodging business providing an online marketplace for homestays, vacation rentals, and tourism activities.
This is one of their earliest pitch decks. It is a 15 slide deck and one of the most direct pitches ever. The design is such that an investor can refer to it at a later stage and still understand the crux of the pitch without in-person prompts. The deck identifies the problem in three sentences, provides a clear picture of the market size, and the brand position in comparison to competitors. This is followed by a three-step solution and encouraging data from early adopters. Then the deck shows screenshots of the actual product which is the website and how properties are listed. Airbnb entered the market in a segment where there was no competition. The deck lists this factor along with some more that gave the brand a competitive advantage. Finally, it closes with their business model, possibilities of new market adoption, and the talented team behind this venture.
Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. It was initially founded as an online school directory for American students to connect. But over the years Facebook has grown into the largest integrated social media platform in the world.
This is their earliest pitch deck when Facebook was expanding in the American student market only. So all details revolve around how students are engaging with this platform and what advertisers can expect in terms of reach. Instead of statistics, this 15 slide deck begins with a quote from the Stanford University newsletter. It sets the tone for the already viral nature of Facebook on campus. One slide simply shows how attractive a student profile looks on Facebook with all up-to-date details such as contact information, personal details, course information, and a current picture. Further, the deck points out how a Facebook profile can help access the intra-school networking system and how it was launched successfully in many Ivy League schools in America. The pitch closes with actual numbers – estimated student spends on recreational and professional activities and the expected ad revenue from it.
Buffer was founded in 2010 by Joel Gascoigne, Leo Widrich, and a group of European ex-pats. It is a mobile and web application that helps schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Tinder, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Besides, it helps users access profile statistics and improve community engagement.
Here is a simple 12 slide pitch deck of Buffer from their early-stage funding rounds. The deck begins with two defining quotes that indicate the immense potential of a service like Buffer. Then it provides a screenshot of how social media posts can be scheduled. This is followed by some solid data that show their traction and already achieved milestones. The pitch deck then moves into the business model, the social media landscape and market opportunities, the effect of pre-scheduling posts using Buffer, existing partnerships, and expansion plans. The deck closes with a snapshot of competitors and the talented team that would lead Buffer into profits.
Alan is the first digital health insurance company in Europe. It was founded by Charles Gorintin and Jean Charles Samuelian. Based in France, Alan was licensed by the French Prudential Supervisory Authority (ACPR) in 1986. Since then it has revolutionized the way customers interface with health insurance.
This is the pitch deck used by Alan for their Series-A funding in 2017. Unlike other pitch decks which are 19 to 25 slides, this pitch deck has 42 slides. It starts by addressing why they need funds for Series A. Then it dives into the digital product. How simple sign-in is, how companies can rely on Alan to take care of their employees, how easy it is to use the Alan card, and feedback from early adopters. Then the deck provides a snapshot of the market size and the competitive landscape. Further, it moves into growth metrics, distribution strategy, and acquisition channels. Then comes the execution part where the deck points out their USP, the team behind this venture, and the victories of their seed round. Finally, the deck closes with a product roadmap and expected milestones.
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!