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However, capital is essential to start and grow your business.
So, how do you alleviate some of the stress to secure necessary funding?
You’ll need a great startup pitch deck that will wow investors and a healthy amount of preparation.
To help you put together a winning pitch deck, we’ll be going over:
Generally, early-stage startup pitch decks are between 10-20 slides long.
The (non-representative) sample set of investor pitch decks below include eight Seed decks, four Series A, five Series B, and two Series C.
Below are the key takeaways after observing the 19 total examples from transparent companies who shared their learnings with us:
Now, let’s dive into the best startup pitch deck examples.
SEED | RAISED $600K | 2009 | MARKETPLACE
SEED | RAISED $500K | 2011 | SAAS
SEED | RAISED $2M | 2012 | MARKETPLACE
SEED | RAISED $500K | 2004 | SOCIAL
ANGEL | RAISED $1.35M | 2009 | APP
SEED | RAISED $600K | 2012 | SAAS
SEED | RAISED $200K | 2009 | APP
SEED | RAISED $1.2M | 2007 | MARKETPLACE
SERIES A | RAISED $3.5M | 2008 | MEDIA
SERIES A | RAISED $10M | 2016 | SAAS
SERIES A | RAISED $9M | 2016 | MARKETPLACE
SERIES A | RAISED $6.5M | 2014 | SAAS
SERIES B | RAISED $9M | 2014 | SAAS
SERIES B | RAISED $10M | 2004 | SOCIAL
SERIES B | RAISED $65M | 2014 | SAAS
SERIES B | RAISED $18M | 2012 | SAAS
SERIES B | RAISED $20M | 2016 | SAAS
SERIES C | RAISED $16.5M | 2013 | MARKETPLACE
SERIES C | RAISED $100M | 2011 | MARKETPLACE
Raised $600k | 2009 | airbnb.com
Investor(s): Sequoia Capital
"On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to seven prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were attempting to raise $150,000 at a $1.5M valuation. That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10% of Airbnb. Below you will see 5 rejections. The other 2 did not reply."
Raised $500k | 2011 | buffer.com
Investor(s): Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot), Hiten Shah, Guy Kawasaki, Peter Bordes, Gady Nemirovsky, Robert Fanini, Thomas Korte, Shan Mehta, Keval Desai, Maneesh Arora, Jay Gould, Andy McLoughlin, Gordon Paddison, Eric Kim, Jay Baer, Gokul Rajaram, Harvey Brofman, Graham Jenkin, Adii Pienaar, Jim LeTourneau, Alberto Benbunan
"Overall, we probably attempted to get in contact with somewhere around 200 investors. Of those, we perhaps had meetings with about 50. In the end, we closed a $450k seed round from 18 investors. Perhaps the most important part of our success in closing that round was that Leo and I would sit down in coffee shops together and encourage each other to keep pushing forward, to send that next email asking for an intro or a meeting."
Buffer's COO Leo Widrich shared his thoughts on the deck with OnStartups
Raised $2M | 2012 | crew.co is now dribbble.com
Investor(s): BDC Venture Capital, Real Ventures
"Moving our traction slide from the middle of our presentation to the beginning made a huge impact for our story. We started speaking with new investors and it proved to be something that stood out. The first few times we presented this story, we received multiple invitations for follow up meetings. We could feel the emotional difference in this version of our presentation compared to the first version. We shared our story with fifty investors over the next three months, closing a $2 million dollar investment round."
Raised $500K | 2004 | facebook.com
Investor(s): Peter Thiel
Founded in 2004 by Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook was initially pitched as thefacebook.com. Later that year, Facebook secured its initial seed money of $500,000 from a single investor — Peter Thiel — in exchange for 10.2% of the company. The platform wasn’t monetized at the time, so they got creative and pitched alternative metrics, like engagements, instead of revenue.
Raised $1.35M | 2009 | foursquare.com
Investor(s): O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, SV Angel, Joshua Schachter, Union Square Ventures, Kevin Rose (Digg), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Alex Rainert, Chad Stoller, Sergio Salvatore
"Decks don't have to be super formal. It's okay to stray from the 'business school’ 10-slide pitch deck template"
Raised $600k | 2012 | intercom.io
Investor(s): 500 Startups, Biz Stone, Digital Garage, Dan Martell, Andy McLoughlin
"Yesterday we announced Intercom had raised $50 million in an investment round led by Index Ventures. So today I thought it would be interesting to share the first pitch deck I ever used for Intercom. It’s from late 2011. When raising $600,000 was a monumental task. And when I thought it could get us to profitability."
Intercom CEO Eoghan McCabe shared the deck on their website for public viewing.
Raised $200K | 2009 | uber.com
Investor(s): Travis Kalanick, Garrett Camp
Before rebranding to Uber, the ride-sharing app was pitched as UberCab. Despite Uber’s many challenges — from cease-and-desist letters to obtaining necessary permits — it’s managed to become a multi-billion dollar company.
An investor who passed on the round shared his learnings on Medium.
Raised $1.2M | 2007 | dropbox.com
Investor(s): Sequoia Capital
Dropbox is a cloud-based file hosting service that allows you to store assets online and sync those assets to your devices. The company was founded the same year it drew in seed funding from the popular venture capital firm, Sequoia Capital, using the pitch deck above.
Raised $3.5M | 2008 | buzzfeed.com
Investor(s): SoftBank Capital, John Johnson, Hearst Ventures, HuffPost
Buzzfeed is a news, media, and entertainment platform that grew to popularity with its short quizzes and listicles.
Gus Tai, a general partner at Trinity Ventures, reviewed Buzzfeed’s 2008 presentation and told Fast Company, “…that presentation and the essence of the pitch was world-class.”
Raised $10M | 2016 | frontapp.com
Investor(s): Stewart Butterfield (Slack), Social Capital, Eoghan McCabe (Intercom)
"My learnings: keep building relationships... choose carefully what metrics you talk about during those meetings... raise or don't raise. But don't 'kind of raise'... expect the process to be stressful."
Front CEO Mathilde Colin shared her thoughts on their deck and process on Medium.
Raised $9M | 2016 | vettery.com
Investor(s): Greycroft Partners, Raine Ventures
Founded in 2013 by Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, Vettery is a hiring marketplace that uses machine learning and real-time data to place candidates. The company was able to secure $9 million in Series A funding using the slides above.
Raised $6.5M | 2014 | mattermark.com
Investor(s): Foundry Group
"Two years, six months, and nine days after incorporating Mattermark we were finally raising our Series-freaking-A! I wanted to tell everyone! I wanted to sleep for days. I wanted to drink a bottle of champagne! I wanted to go on one of those silent retreats where you’re not allowed to speak to anyone for a week. I wanted to tell my whole team! But not until the money was in the bank."
For more information, check out Danielle Morrill’s Series A announcement.
Raised $9M | 2014 | contently.com
Investor(s): Sigma Prime Ventures, Jackson Square Ventures, ff Venture Capital, NYC Seed, Lightbank, Innovation Group Investors, Dave Lerner, Contour Venture Partners, Bullish
Raised $10M | 2004 | linkedin.com
Investor(s): Greylock Partners
"Press and analysts characterized LinkedIn in one of two ways: 'LinkedIn is an interesting niche that might be worth paying attention to' or 'LinkedIn is the Friendster for business.' Neither is a particularly good backdrop for trying to raise capital, because we weren’t the natural leader of a market or technology trend that everyone was paying attention to, we didn’t have substantial organic growth, and we had no revenue."
Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, LinkedIn
Reid Hoffman shared his pitch advice for entrepreneurs on LinkedIn.
Raised $65M | 2014 | mixpanel.com
Investor(s): Andreessen Horowitz
"When Tim and I first went to go pitch our company to investors in 2009 (right after the recession hit), we hopped on the Caltrain, rode our bikes down Sand Hill Road, and talked to 10 investors who all categorically told us “No.” A few of them even wanted to replace the CEO of our company (we didn’t know who would be CEO yet!). We hadn’t quite realized we even needed an official pitch deck. And when we did build a deck, we had no idea how to construct one intelligently. We really struggled."
Suhail Doshi, a co-founder of Mixpanel, shared his thoughts on the deck on the company’s blog.
Raised $18M | 2012 | moz.com
Investor(s): Ignition Partners, Foundry Group
"Much of February was spent contacting investors, colleagues and entrepreneurs we knew and asking for help with introductions, positioning and the creation and review of a funding slide deck. Some of those calls and connections led to early interest from some big names in the later-stage industry. Unfortunately, these started out with a familiar pattern — a call expressing interest, a request for data, upon receipt of that data, a deeper request for more data, repeat ad nauseum. We were just settling in for the tough reality of a long slog to reach that first offer we could leverage to start a process when I got on the phone with Brad…"
Wizard of Moz, Moz
Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin expressed his thoughts on the round on Moz’s blog.
Raised $20M | 2016 | pendo.io
Investor(s): Battery Ventures, Core Capital, Contour Venture Partners, IDEA Fund Partners and Salesforce Ventures
"Raising millions of dollars can be daunting. But like any form of selling, it’s about building relationships, doing right by those people, and staying confident that finding that great fit benefits everyone. That takes time. And like any relationship, partnerships with VCs have to be built on authenticity. You can’t force it — you just have to keep looking until you find the right one."
Todd shared his thoughts on raising funds outside the Bay Area on Pendo’s blog to help startups succeed.
Raised $16.5M | 2013 | dwolla.com
Investor(s): Andreessen Horowitz, Village Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Thrive Capital
Dwolla, a United States-only e-commerce platform, raised its most considerable funding in a single round in 2013. Read more about Dwolla’s $16.5 million Series C funding in an announcement on TechCrunch.
Raised $100M | 2011 | squareup.com
Investor(s): Kleiner Perkins, Tiger Global Management
The mobile-payment startup empowering business owners — Square — joined the billion-dollar valuation club after closing $100 million in Series C investments.
Cirrus Insight’s Attachment Tracking feature shows you:
Thousands of startups use Attachment Tracking to send their pitch decks to investors, uncover the best prospects, and close their rounds.
Pitching to investors will never be an easy task, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. Draw inspiration from one of the top startup pitch deck examples above to help form your sales strategy, and you’re on your way to securing capital.