Early Pitch Decks of Some Notable Unicorns

23 02 2016

The Great Unicorn

Over the past week and a half, about 10 angel investors from TechCoastAngels (TCA) have been evaluating the 60 second fast pitches from more than 120 entrepreneurs.  The culmination of these early rounds of judging will eventually result in 10 “finalists” who will present at TCA’s March 10 event, Celebrating Entrepreneurship, at the Segerstrom Theatre.

We evaluated each 60 sec fast pitch based on two components: the potential validity of the business based on what we heard within 60 seconds, and the presentation of the CEO.

The key to the 60 second pitch is to state the business case and need for solving a problem so that an investor wants so hear more.    In that vein, I thought it would be great to provide the early pitch decks of 5 Unicorns, companies valued at more than $1 billion.  This information is courtesy of CB Insights and may be found at: https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/billion-dollar-startup-pitch-decks/.  I hope you enjoy this information.

If you were Max Levchin, Elon Musk, or Reed Hoffman, the investor may be positively disposed to favorably listening to the detailed decks. In fact, you probably don’t need a 60 second pitch or based solely on the 60 second pitch, money is freely given.  For other entrepreneurs without this type of notoriety, the 60 second pitch supported by a solid business deck is critical to getting funded.

I trust you will enjoy reading this information and I hope to see you at our March 10 event at the Segerstrom.  And if I can help with your deck or want to discuss business issues, please contact me at dfriedman@clevelpartners.net or visit our website at www.clevelpartners.net.


The Early Pitch Decks of 5 Startups Before They Became Billion-Dollar Companies

Notching a billion-dollar valuation as a private tech company is hard; exiting at one is even harder. For nearly all the most valuable investor-backed companies in tech, nailing a pitch to early potential investors was a step on the journey. As Bill Gurley of Benchmark recently noted in his defense of the pitch deck:

“Investors are not solely evaluating your company’s story. They are also evaluating your ability to convey that story.”

So we compiled the early pitch decks of five private or exited companies valued in the billions of dollars. These include the decks of pre-revenue LinkedIn and a then-smallish-site named Buzzfeed, when it was registering just 2.5M monthly page views. Would you have invested in the vision they were pitching?

Note (from CB Insights: Also see our post on the 13 early and sometimes ugly websites of early unicorn companies.

AirBnB, current valuation: $25.5B

In its early pitch, AirBnB named Coachsurfing, Hostels.com, Hotels.com, and Craigslist as competitors. Today, its $25.5B private market valuation is greater than the public market capitalizations of Marriott, Starwood, Expedia, Wyndham, and HomeAway.

AppNexus, current valuation: $1.2B

First Round Capital shared this seed deck used by AppNexus, then a platform that would let companies run applications in the cloud. Seven months after its A round, it pivoted to focus entirely on ad tech.

Buzzfeed, current valuation: $1.5B

Buzzfeed’s 2008 pitch deck cited 2.5M pageviews per month. Today, the website claims over 200M million monthly uniques as NBC Universal poured a $200M investment that valued Buzzfeed at $1.5B.

LinkedIn, IPO in 2011

Greylock Partners dug up LinkedIn’s Series B pitch deck from August 2004. The deck billed LinkedIn as “professional people search 2.0.” LinkedIn had yet to generate a dime of revenue — but the deck highlights revenue as a high priority and identifies clear streams to achieve it. Today, LinkedIn’s market cap is over $28B.

YouTube, acquired for $1.6B in 2006

In YouTube’s initial pitch deck (page 30 in the document below), the online video platform counted under 10,000 users and 100,000 video views per day but had rapid growth. More recently, YouTube was seeing 7 billon video views per day and over 1 billion users. The deck, which includes Sequoia Capital’s investment memo by partner Roelof Botha, was dug up by Thrive Capital’s Miles Grimshaw.




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