Airbnb is a massive global company today, with thousands of employees and a net worth of Rs. 2,00,000 crore. But not that long ago, it was a startup struggling to raise funds. And it had an unusually rough time as a new startup. “If you launch and no one notices, launch again. We launched 3 times,” says CEO Brian Chesky.
Nearly a year after starting up, Airbnb (back then still called Air Bed and Breakfast), was trying to raise money from investors. The idea might seem simple now, but there were plenty of hurdles – no one was sure if people would be ok with letting strangers into their homes for a fee.
Airbnb dealt with these challenges and more in its pitch deck.
Airbnb’s pitch deck kept things simple. The deck is just 10 slides long, and instead of being crammed with information, focuses only on salient points. The problem is succinctly explained in just three lines, and then the founders laid out the solution. Since Airbnb operated in a space where lots of competition existed, that’s where the deck delves into details – it breaks down the competition along “affordable” and “online/offline” axes, and attemped to place Airbnb among the competition. That’s a clever device, because it lets you know at a glance how it compares to the competition.
All this clearly worked. In April of 2009, less than a year after it launched, Sequoia put in $600k into the company. The rest, as they say, is history.