10 Legendary Pitch Decks and How Each Impressed the Investors!

If you ever need to raise funding for your startup, the first essential tool you need is a pitch deck. The most important thing to remember here is that the pitch deck by itself won’t get you funded. The purpose of a pitch deck is to get you, meetings with the targeted Angel Investors or VC Partners.


Now, we all know that usually pitch decks are composed of at least 10 slides, but what is really hard for any entrepreneur is to create a strong visual story covering each aspect of your startup that will leave an impactful mark on the targeted investors and persuade them to invest in you.


“What matters most in entrepreneurship, is that you must have a great pitch.” - Guy Kawasaki

In terms of fundraising, what really wins the investment deals is, how succinctly founders pitch their story, showcase their vision, and exhibit their deep passion to solve a big problem, faced by many. But, creating an investment pitching deck, is rather easier said than done.


It's a nerve-wracking experience for any founder, especially when you have less than 5 minutes to make your mark in a room, full of investors. It's most daunting if you're a first-time entrepreneur and anxiously search for the right template to create your own pitch desk.



So, I've compiled a list of 10 legendary pitch decks of behemoths like Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, etc., which might serve as an inspiration for you, to create a pitch deck of your own. Each of these pitch decks have helped their respective unicorns, to raise thousands or millions of dollars, and serves as an important milestone in their billion dollars valuation today.


Most founders don’t want to share their decks publicly, hence a few of the decks below are rechristened versions of originals, to avoid legal complications. But, don't worry the crux and content remain the same.


I've even segregated each deck, based on its popularity i.e. search volumes per month (US), and this was done using UberSuggest's chrome extension.


What is covered across each pitch deck?


Besides, covering the year, amount of funding raised by their founders, and funding round, I've also touched upon their key slides, which (in my opinion) must've impressed the investors, to invest in them. Take a specific look at these slides, before you start creating your deck.

Image: Consolidated Review of Each Pitch Deck!


Let's start!


1. Airbnb


Airbnb is one of the greatest startup success stories of our time and was last valued at US $31 Billion, in 2019. To date, Airbnb Pitch Deck remains the most referred pitch deck amongst the entrepreneurs, across the world.

Image Source: PitchDeckExamples

Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2009

  • Funding Round: Seed

  • Funding Raised: $600,000

  • Investor/s: Sequoia Capital and Y Ventures

What Impressed the Investors?

Market Size ($2+ Billion), Business Model (Easy to Understand i.e. Flat 10% Commission), Competition (Unique Positioning), Competitive Advantages (First-mover Advantage and Ease of Use), and of course, the Team.


Brief: When Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk founded Airbnb, they had no idea on how to craft a pitch deck. So, while surfing the internet, they came across Sequoia Capital’s article on pitch deck. With that in mind, the founders crafted this unique Airbnb pitch deck, which helped them raise $600,000 from Sequoia Capital and Y Ventures, back in 2009!



2. Uber


Uber has now evolved from a simple idea into a unicorn, which has disrupted the car hiring industry.


Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2010

  • Funding Round: Seed

  • Funding Raised: $1.6 Million

  • Investor/s: First Round Capital, Brian Chesky (Airbnb), and Others

What Impressed the Investors?

Problem (Difficulties and Inefficiencies in hiring a cab), Product (1-Click Car Service, Pickup in 5 mins, Choice of Cars/Fleets), Technology (Uber App, Ease of Use), and Market Potential ($4.2+ Billion and Growing)


Brief: Co-founder Garret Camp created and used this pitch deck to raise their first (seed) round of $1.6 million funding, back in late 2010. Note, Uber was originally called UberCab.



3. Sequoia Capital


Sequoia Capital is one of the world's leading investment firms in Silicon Valley. Since 1972, it has funded who's who of the startup world, with a collective market value of over $3.3 Trillion.

Here's the Template, and the Article by Sequoia Capital


Brief: This deck in fact became an inspiration for the Airbnb pitch deck, when the founders in fact pitched them, to raise a seed round. It reinforces that you've complete clarity about your business, customers and how are/will you be making money



4. Facebook


Facebook has become a necessity, nowadays. However, back in 2004, 21-year-old Eduardo Saverin was just another entrepreneur trying to convince people to put money into a growing company called thefacebook.com, co-founded by him and his friend Mark Zuckerberg.

Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2004

  • Funding Round: Seed

  • Funding Raised: $500,000

  • Investor/s: Peter Thiel

What Impressed the Investors?

Market Size (15 million college students with an estimated purchasing power of $85+ Billion), User Demographics, and User Engagement.

"You may not be making a nickel out of your idea yet, but if you have a website where 70,000 people are generating 90 Million page views per month, you’re up to the next big thing!"


Brief: Back in 2004, at the time when thefacebook.com was launched, Eduardo went to New York to try and sell Facebook’s initial idea of ads to potential clients. So, technically this wasn't an investor pitch deck, but a media kit. And, TheFacebook.com wasn’t making any money, so the focus of the pitch deck was based on solid numbers such as their user engagement, traffic, users, and growth metrics.


In fact, Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist, and entrepreneur, was the first outside investor in Facebook in 2004, with an investment of $500,000.


Source: SlideBean


Is Your Startup Fundable/Investable? For free review, click here!



5. WeWork


WeWork offers both a physical space and social community made to adjust to a company's specific characteristics.


Founded in 2010, it is headquartered in New York City. The company has an estimated total funding of $1 billion, however, its valuation has fallen from $47 billion last year to $2.9 billion. SoftBank's Vision Fund, which has invested in WeWork, has suffered billions in losses.

Image Source: Slidebean

Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2014

  • Funding Round: Series D

  • Funding Raised: $355 Million

  • Investor/s: T. Rowe Price, Goldman Sachs, Others

What Impressed the Investors?

Company Overview (15000 members with $628 revenue/member), User Demographics (Millenials are redefining the workforce), Market Size (60 million), Value Proposition (25% savings for users), finally the Impressive Team & Board.


Brief: Founders used this pitch deck to raise a whopping $355 million round of Series D funding. The deal valued WeWork at a whopping $5 billion, as per The Wall Street Journal.



6. LinkedIn


Since it's launch in 2002, LinkedIn remains the top business-oriented social networking platform. It was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 Billion in 2016.

Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2004

  • Funding Round: Series B

  • Funding Raised: $10 Million

  • Investor/s: Greylock Partners

What Impressed the Investors?

Search Services (broad trend of moving from directories to networks i.e. Internet 2.0), Impact of Network Effect (900 Million Users), Strong User Engagement (73% Adoption), and Competitive Advantages (Entry Barriers)


Brief: This LinkedIn’s pitch deck was used by Reid Hoffman to pitch to Greylock, for a $10 Million Series B investment, back in 2004. The deck presents a great potential for a professional networking platform with extensive analogy of Internet 2.0, high adoption of LinkedIn, and the overall market potential.



7. YouTube


Everyone knows about YouTube, it’s considered to be an authoritative source of video content. Originated in San Bruno, California, YouTube was made in 2005 by former PayPal employees like Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.6 billion!

Image Source: Slidebean

Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2005

  • Funding Round: Series A

  • Funding Raised: $3.5 Milliion

  • Investor/s: Sequoia Capital

Brief: This is YouTube’s rechristened (not-original) pitch deck to Sequoia Capital in 2005 when it didn't even had 10,000 users as yet. This was an elementary 10 slide pitch deck, which founders had prepared while pitching to Sequoia, yet able to raise $3.5 Million in Series A round, however giving up 30% of equity stake in the company.


What Impressed the Investors?

Company Purpose (To become the primary outlet for user-generated video content), Problem (Big Problem i.e. Video files were too large to email/host), Market Size (Huge market owing to broadband usage), Team (Former PayPal employees, who knew how growth is acquired), and Metrics (Overtaken competition, now a dominant player).


Is your pitch deck truly highlighting your compelling story? For free review, click here!



8. Square


Square combines software with hardware to enable sellers/merchants to turn mobile devices and computing devices into payments and point-of-sale solutions.

Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2011

  • Funding Round: Series A

  • Funding Raised: $100 Million

  • Investor/s: Tiger Global Management and Kleiner Perkins

Brief: This unofficial deck helped founders to raise $100 million in Series C. The deck is composed of Presentation Slides (main part i.e. 10 Slides) and Appendix Slides.


What Impressed the Investors?

Team (Those who've been with Twitter, Google, Linkedin, Paypal, etc.), Market ($214 billion of mobile payments), Go-to-Market Strategy (Exactly knew how they'll acquire 100,000 customers per month), Competition & Defensibility (First-mover advantage, Apple Partnership), and Why Invest Now along with Exit Strategy (IRR of 55%, who could decline in their real senses). In fact, every slide of this deck is about solid numbers, backed with data from trusted sources.



9. Mint


Mint was founded in 2006 as a free personal finance service in which users could track their spending (credit card, loan, bank transactions all in one place), and find ways to save money. Eventually, Mint was acquired by Intuit for $170 million in 2009.

Here's the Template!

  • Year: 2007

  • Funding Round: Series C

  • Funding Raised: $14 Million

  • Investor/s: DAG Ventures and Founder’s Fund.

Brief: This pitch deck was used in 2007’s TechCrunch40 conference, which closed a $14 million Series C funding round.


What Impressed the Investors?

Proposition (How it was saving money for users), Value to User & Partner (clear value proposition for both), and Exit Strategy (It's prediction of possible acquisition by Intuit, did go right!)



10. Buffer


Buffer is a social media management platform that helps users schedule content across their social media accounts.

Here's the Template and Article!

  • Year: 2011

  • Funding Round: Seed

  • Funding Raised: $500,000

  • Investor/s: Various Angels.

Brief: This pitch deck was used (and later shared) by Co-founder Leo Widrich to raise $0.5 million seed funding, back in 2011.


What Impressed the Investors?

Traction (Solid numbers i.e. 800 users with 40% growth every month, $150 K ARR, 97% Margins), Business Model ($3.6 million revenue projection), Market (Burgeoning Social Landscape), and Team (Great team backed by Renowned Mentors and Investors).


With these learnings I hope you would now have a fair idea on, "how to draft your unique pitching story" for the targeted investors.


Disclaimer: Templates and examples are suppose to only educate you about the investors' expectations, but your story has to be unique which can't be simply copied from templates. 


 
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