5 Decks That Turned Startups into Huge Companies

Foursquare pitch deck

Check out this old Foursquare logo!

If you want to launch the next big thing, chances are good you’ll need to secure some funding. Pitching your product is part of that process, and now you can look back at the pitch-deck submissions that some huge tech entities used to convince venture capitalists to throw gobs of cash at them.

SlideShare has some interesting catalogued decks. Even monoliths such as YouTube have decks hosted on the site, and we’d be lying if we told you we didn’t giggle at YouTube’s old position that email was its biggest competitor (totally fair in 2005; in 2017, it’s just so darn cute.)

Other firms, including WeWork, now have enormous valuations based on a really great idea. Venture capitalists (sometimes) know what they’re doing, and any good idea can be worth big bucks for the right crowd. The decks we’ve assembled here are meant as a learning tool as well as a stroll down memory lane. If you’re riding another company down the VC funding rabbit’s hole, we suggest checking out SlideShare to get an idea of how some of the tech world’s buzziest firms secured capital – and how to distinguish yourself from their pitch.

YouTube

Seriously: YouTube’s main pitch slide (after their mission statement) says “video files are too large to e-mail.” In 2005, that was a great point, but harkens back to a time when we had massive cameras shooting 480p at 30fps and big SD cards and… let’s just never speak of it again. Now part of Google, and a cultural touchstone in our lives, it’s easy to forget YouTube’s “simple” beginnings.

Foursquare

Before it was Foursquare and Swarm, it was just Foursquare. Way back in 2009, Foursquare was pitching VC firms in the hope it would become our go-to for finding and rating local establishments. It brought gamification to the real world, and is now a supplier of the data it’s collected ever since this deck made its first appearance. Still securing funding, Foursquare is worth an estimated $650 million these days.

WeWork

Seeking $335 million in 2014, the company is now worth $16 billion. This fairly exhaustive slide deck lays out why remote working is great, but points out that gaps exist when you need a meeting space or a more formal setting. Whether you want to emulate it or not, the WeWork deck is a great look at how to properly outline growth and projections when you’re trying to secure funding.

Mint

Mint may be owned by Intuit, but that wasn’t always the case. In 2009, it was seeking $14 million to help users “take back” their wallets. This second-round deck has an acquisition easter egg (Scott Cook, Intuit’s founder and CEO, was an investor in the first round of funding!), and is a good look at what it takes to prove to investors you deserve more cash. Perhaps even more interesting is this was pre-launch, but just ahead of its acquisition. Sometimes pitching your company leads to just that.

LinkedIn

How #meta is this?! From 2004, we get a glimpse at LinkedIn’s Series B round when it sought $10 billion. Now part of Microsoft, the company was bought for $26 billion in 2016. Another very thorough deck, LinkedIn’s is a great example of how to properly lay out a B2B service when you want to get investors excited.

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