YouTube is the third most visited site in the world today, but just 10 years ago, it was a startup looking to raise money. YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. Their goal was simple – video as a communication format was just beginning to emerge, and the founders realized that having a single source of the web to store all videos could be a great business idea.
They activated the domain name
www.youtube.com was activated on Monday, February 14, 2005 at 9:13 P.M. The first YouTube video was uploaded on 23rd April. Six months later, the founders wanted to raise money, so they sent this pitch deck to Sequoia.
Apart from now being a piece of internet history, there’s lots of lessons to be learnt from the deck. What stands out in the deck is simplicity – there’s no snazzy graphics, there’s no pictures, no inspirational quotes. In fact, the font even looks a incongruous – it’s a little too large, and the bullet points are not particularly easy on the eye.
But it works. The facts are stated simply without hyperbole, and they key aspects – market size, competition, and potential are addressed. It also helps that they had good traction by the time they’d started pitching to VCs.
And Sequoia bit. YouTube received a funding of $3.5 million from them initially, and eventually Sequoia put in $11 million. Nearly a year later, in October 2006, YouTube was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion.