Airbnb’s deck is one of the most celebrated pitch deck ever as it managed to convince Sequoia Capital and Y Ventures to invest $600,000 on a radical idea that strangers will welcome other strangers into their home. The company is now worth $31 Billion.
Airbnb was smart in utilising the unbundling trend that was popular with many VCs in early 2010s. Unbundling is when a startup like Airbnb takes a small vertical in an aggregated business like Craiglist and make it their core product. VCs loved it because there’s a proven market already and the startup can capitalise that market as their early adopters.
Notable Slides From Airbnb’s Deck
Airbnb was able to summarise what makes them different in less than 10 words: Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels. If you are VC or an investor, you will be intrigued by that statement. Naturally, anyone who understands the thesis behind shared economy will be able extrapolate the business model and target audience of Airbnb from just that statement.
What makes it extra special? There’s no startup jargon or buzz words. Simple and straight to point.
Most new startups with a disruptive idea (regardless whether it’s a good or bad one) love to say that “we have no competition in the market”. More often that not, if you have no competitors or no one in the market is hacking a solution with pre-existing products, it might be because no one wants it.
I love what Airbnb did here – the used the proxy number for validation or to indicate market size. Airbnb picked the closest existing products in the market, Couchsurfing.com and Craigslist.com to show the VCs that the market exist and it’s thriving.
I am sure that Airbnb founders showed a product demo or the VCs went to their site to see how it works. This slide highlight the simplicity of thier mvp. Although they might have already started working on other features, its important to always highlight your biggest feature (or what I like to call ‘money feature’) especially if its a seed or A round.
Their dual posting ‘hack’ where anything posted on Airbnb will get listed on Craiglist as well is probably one of the world’s first growth hack. It’s always a good to show investors how you can acquire users for cheap by using smart tactics.
Other Notable Points About The Deck
- They included testimonials which shows that they have a group of early users that absolutely love them.
- Airbnb included press coverage which shows that they have enough media appeal to be covered (which is an indication for public interest).
- Their team had the perfect combination of hacker (coder/tech), hustler (sales/marketing) and hipster (design/culture). It’s not absolutely crucial to have this combination but it never hurts to have it.
If you are interested in checking other pitch decks, I have created a huge collection of successful startups pitch decks here.