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10 Awesome Startup Pitch Decks

10 Awesome Startup Pitch Decks

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Most entrepreneurs dream of having that killer pitch deck that inspires investors and raises that dream round for pennies on the dollar. For all the hoopla around the technical details of a successful pitch deck, there is actually an art behind it that goes much deeper than just sharing a business model and showing the monetization strategy.

 

But first: What is a Pitch Deck?

pitch deck is a presentation pitching a business idea, typically to a group of investors. In the startup world, a pitch deck is a slightly more fleshed out elevator pitch put together in a few, easily-scannable cards. The term came from the stack of papers that traditionally an entrepreneur would carry during a pitching presentation.

 

Nowadays, a pitch deck is done on Powerpoint, Prezi, or Keynote, and it provides the intended audience with an overview of the entrepreneur’s vision. The audience of a pitch deck is investors, partners, and sometimes customers among other stakeholders.

 

Let’s reiterate: a pitch deck is an overview.

 

3 Most Important Parts of a Successful Pitch Deck

1. Introduction to the team

Particularly in the seed stages of venture funding, the team is the most important thing – more so than the idea or traction. Yet too many entrepreneurs load their deck with meaningless projections and facts and figures while leaving little more than a byline for their cofounders.

 

When introducing themselves, it is crucial to be personable and as honest as possible without coming across as too flippant. A good investor will see right through “resume-speak”.

 

When there is a team behind the idea, an introduction to the individuals and their roles is important. The panelists listening to the pitch want to know each person and their role in growing the idea. Putting the team early on is usually a better approach to inspire buy-in as you then pitch them on the vision.

 

2. Explain what need is the business trying to meet?

This is the part where the entrepreneur convinces potential investors about what the business is trying to achieve. This is where you channel all of your inner Steve Jobs because provided you’ve inspired buy-in with your team, it’ll make or break the pitch. Don’t dump facts – tell a story about the problem the product or service is trying to solve.

 

Investors love to be part of the greater good with projects that they fund. It is imperative that they see a real problem and a solution that could change many other lives – and find your story a compelling one.

 

The panel may put questions across to find out what the product or service can do that others can’t. At this point, the entrepreneur can lay out the benefits of their brand’s product or services and show why they are superior to others on the market or more beneficial.

 

Explain the solutions that the business offers and invite questions from the listeners. Confidence is king – no investor will buy into your idea if you yourself aren’t 100% invested.

 

One of the benefits about MATA is that there is full transparency in this platform, and investors are able to look at every startup’s goals and progress. There is really no big need to create pitch deck when investors are the ones finding you. 

 

3. Have measurable signals that prove the businesses potential

Before pitching the business idea, it’s essential to show at least some evidence of market signals behind your idea. Nowadays every business needs some traction to raise a round – even if that “traction” is a few people you stopped on the street. Also, doing this enables the entrepreneur to identify the shortcomings of their idea and find solutions – a process investors need to see realized.

 

Proving the viability of the business idea with measurable results may be the key to convincing investors. This is usually the point where the entrepreneur can also share the business model to give the scheduled time frame for return on investment and also share the budget needed to implement the idea successfully – for most early-stage companies though, these forecasts are pretty meaningless.

 

Related: How Does Equity Work in a Startup?

 

10 of the Best Pitch Decks That Changed the Game

 

1. Airbnb

Airbnb has made traveling for business or pleasure a comfortable affair for many. Their pitch deck has a phenomenal intro which introduces the concept of booking a room in a home rather than a hotel. In a time where pitch decks loaded with numbers and corporate jargon was the norm, Airbnb was revolutionary in their approach.

The best part of their pitch deck

Airbnb really set the blueprint with the classic problem-solution-validation one-two-three-punch. Within the first 3-4 slides they show in a few words how big the problem is, and how much validation their prototype has gotten – the rest of the pitch deck, at this stage, is just gravy.

 

2. Facebook

Facebook kicked off a furious 5 years of fundraising with the now-famous half a million-dollar seed round from Peter Thiel off the backs of this pitch deck.

The best part of their pitch deck

What makes the Facebook pitch deck so effective is the first slide. A powerful, no-nonsense testimonial from a reputable source recently delivers a killer punch to kick things off. A good pitch deck is bold and confident, right from the get-go, inspiring further discovery.

 

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn raised a Series B round on a pitch-deck that shows a remarkable balance between detail and startup simplicity – the kind of balance that allowed them to become a billion-dollar social network for professionals.

The best part of their pitch deck

What’s powerful about the LinkedIn deck is their use of numbers. In general, you should only throw numbers if you’ve got something to brag about – and if you do, flaunt it. LinkedIn’s strength is their numbers, so they throw the phrase “market leader” around constantly and almost immediately dive into the array of numbers showing why they’re the greatest.

 

4. Square

Founded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Square was a pioneering company that enables merchants to accept credit card payments through a dongle.

The best part of their pitch deck

The Square pitch deck introduced their team to the customers and investors, first and foremost. Why? Because their strength was the team so they hit off the bat with that. We’re seeing a common trend here – the best pitch decks triple down on their stretches.

 

5. Mint

Mint is a personal spending tracker that helps users keep tabs on what they are spending and how they can save.

The best part of their pitch deck

Mint didn’t have a bevy of proven founders or a wealth of traction, so they focused on their strength – market size. Their pitch deck leads off instantly describing a prevalent global need for everyone: keep track of spending and save money. They also leveraged their position as a SaaS platform by highlighting investors with an exit strategy – straight out of “how to get an investor” 101.

 

Related: How to Obtain Private Investors for Startups

 

6. Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed broke onto the scene as the first “clickbait” news website – for better or for worse becoming a cultural centerpiece of the internet. 

The best part of their pitch deck

Before they raised money for their business, the company created social proof with millions of users visiting the website monthly. They kicked the Buzzfeed pitch deck off right away with these traction numbers, before diving knee deep into product details showing how the company separates itself.

 

7. FourSquare

FourSquare is the pioneering platform for geolocation and checking-in, launching in the early days of the mobile web.

The best part of their pitch deck

Users were already using this app to find places to go in their areas. The company used screenshots of user interactions on Twitter for their pitch deck to investors – especially in the early days of the social web, this was killer.

 

8. Dwolla

Dwolla allows users to send, request and receive money from other people.

The best part of their pitch deck

Their investor deck included a personal story about the founder paid $50,000 in credit card fees and how that was motivation to find a solution to prevent that from happening again. This is a common problem for many people, and the Dwolla pitch deck provided a solution to it – while humanizing the story and proving to investors why their team was best suited to solve it.

Personal stories can be incredibly compelling at building your founder’s story.

 

9. Gusto

This platform allows small business owners to quickly and efficiently pay their employees on time. It was known as ZenPayroll before rebranding to Gusto.

The best part of their pitch deck

We wanted to highlight Gusto because they actually released a template based on their own pitch deck that offers a fantastic, simple boilerplate for a successful raise. To highlight the most important takeaway: content light, < 10 words per slide. 

 

10. Fittr

Fittr provides custom workouts for users with specific equipment, times, and goals.

The best part of their pitch deck

So far we’ve mostly looked at companies who either have some combination of an obvious underserved market, a rockstar founder, a ton of traction. What about seed companies that have none of these? The Fittr pitch deck is a great playbook – they don’t spend much time on the current market and team, rather investing 90% of the deck on pitching pain point.

 

Takeaway

Well, there you have it. Most of these pitch deck examples are easily replicated and a proven commodity in catching an investor’s eye. Be warned, though – any investor you talked to has probably seen these decks before (and a few dozen copycats to boot).

It’s essential, therefore, that you focus on the fundamentals and get creative to set your company apart. Good luck!

 

If you’re looking to fund your startup, but you are still unsure about your pitch deck, Mata is here to get you started

 

Related: Should You Hire a Business Startup Consultant?

 

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