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I've collected over 600 pitch decks (starthouse.xyz)
606 points by drew_m 42 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 87 comments

As a fun exercise once at YC Demo Day, I decided to categorize the information on each slide and then record the order the categories were presented. I then noted which presentations I found the most compelling. Sadly I can no longer find the notes, as they were on paper.

I remember the categories I came up with:

* Name of company

* Problem being solved

* Solution being offered

* Total Addressable Market

* Current revenue/signups/other hockey stick graph

* How much is being asked for/current investors

* Who is on the team/why they are most qualified

Most of the pitches went in the order above, with some minor variations. Some skipped some of the slides.

But what I remember is the the ones that seemed most notable and memorable were the ones that used a significantly different order.

YC also has a post for their seed deck template[1].

[1] - https://blog.ycombinator.com/intro-to-the-yc-seed-deck/

Wow funny. I did my analysis before this but I guess they’ve been using the template internally for a while.

That's really interesting, and a great way of analyzing pitches. I've noticed most seem to follow the order you have listed too. It's pretty similar to the template Sequoia shared. Interesting that you found the pitches that used a different order were the ones that stuck with you - I guess that template is used a lot these days so audiences are probably familiar with it.

What I'd love to do with this at some point is to label each slide and do some analysis of the pitches: i.e. what percentage of pitches have traction slides, what percentage have market size slides, what order do they appear in (as you have said), how many slides are dedicated to the solution, etc, etc.

Thanks for sharing your insight, it's an interesting exercise. If those notes ever appear again, HMU :) I'd love to see them.

It's the funny that Facebook were pitching advertising to investors in 2004, and they didn't have any ads until 2007.

It's also interesting that there's no information on sources or anything to explain these pitch decks. I'm pretty sure the original would not start with "Facebook's original pitch deck", so how much each pitch has been altered?

Also survivor-ship bias... these are all highly sucessful companies with amazing products. It would also be great to see how failed businesses still got funding, e.g; "Juicero" or "Theranos"...



I don’t think that Facebook deck is real. It isn’t actually asking for an investment, but instead soliciting advertisers. The section on targeting seems way too evolved for where Facebook was in April, 2004 and if you search for the text from the slide, you only get hits on “sample pitch deck” sites: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22allows+for+targeted+adver...

It's even funnier that the pitch deck is supposed to be from 2004 but has a photo of Eduardo Saverin in it, taken 2011 [0].

[0]: https://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/29/tech/social-media/faceboo...

Successful startups dont really need that good pitch decks or pitching in general, because the metrics speak for themselves. Would be certainly more interesting to see Juicero pitch deck.

For Theranos I guess it was roughly:

1) list of big names advising or on board of directors acquired through connections

2) total adressable market of blood tests

3) current cost and complexity - need full vial for each single test

4) promise of lower cost and complexity - just one drop of blood

5) at some point down the time line they likely have added DoD contract and Walgreens partnership

6)Pre-orders (Governments in West Africa for Ebola, US military for Medvacs and Safeway)

Thanks for bringing this up. I've taken the FB deck down. It was a mistake for me not to properly vet each of them before uploading them and it does look pretty dubious.

Most of those pitch decks are "after the fact" fabrications, not the actual original decks. I'm afraid this resource is nearly useless, even if I admire how much work went into it.

Thanks for the admiration for the work I put into it. It didn't take too much time and it was a fun project to work on :) I'll try to remedy the fabricated decks

So, you are admitting some of the decks have been fabricated? Which ones?

If you read the comments here you'll find the author saying "I don't want to promote a 2nd year business student's work as an original pitch deck so I can look more closely into the provenance of problem slides if you could name these and I'll either redact them or adjust the title accordingly. Thanks for bringing this up :)"

Don't think it's quite as dramatic as you imply here, and I don't think anyone is deliberately fabricating slide decks in order to trick you.

The site claims these are original pitch decks from famous companies. Exciting!

So, I look at a a couple, but quickly get the feeling that these may not be genuine, that this site might be theonion of pitch decks, or something. I go to HN comments to see what others think.

I was disappointed to find that the author of the site apparently doesn't really know if these are real or not. I'd like to see more than a passive aggressive "oh gee thanks this was a fun project 2nd year business student blah blah I'll look into it", when the site clearly claims to show me “Facebook's original pitch deck” as the FIRST one which is very obviously not genuine.

He's admitting he may have made a mistake.

Why do you suspect they're fake?

In a couple spots I know they are. In others there's foresight that the founders simply wouldn't have had. In some the tone is clearly 2 year business student etc... they are not real pitch decks. I've seen more than my share of real ones to know the difference.

Sorry man... I'm sure you have good reasons to question the validity of some of them and I don't doubt your sincerity. It was my understanding that they are all legitimate. I don't want to promote a 2nd year business student's work as an original pitch deck so I can look more closely into the provenance of problem slides if you could name these and I'll either redact them or adjust the title accordingly. Thanks for bringing this up :)

I just want to add my 2 cents in hope that it's helpful. I'm a co-founder/partner of a seed-stage VC fund and do keep track of the pitch decks we've seen as a partnership over the past two funds spanning six years.

Comparing these decks to the decks I have in our tracker (a dataset of similar size to yours), there's a lot of differences. Even if you only take the pitch decks of the successful companies (most of which we didn't invest in), a lot of these decks look a lot more polished.

Here's what I think is going on: Some decks are undoubtably real seed pitch decks, some decks are demo day decks from accelerators, and a few of these decks (Facebook's, for example) are after-the-fact business school exercises from students.

So, I do think most decks are real, but what's tripping up some people is how polished some of the decks are. True pitch decks used to get a seed round or into an accelerator aren't very polished because you're constantly changing the deck based on feedback over the span of 20-50 pitches. The truth is that many investors I know worry when they see a too-polished deck that everyone else has already seen the deal and passed :-P.

You don't think TheFacebook orignal pitch deck was called "Facebook's Original Pitch Deck" ? /s

Can somebody explain the images used to represent men and women on slide 16 of the Facebook pitch deck? [1]

[1] https://starthouse.xyz/facebook

I believe it's the view you'd see under a toilet stall.

Women don't have feet?

We stand on the seat on public restrooms....or hover.

One of these sounds harder than the other but I keep changing my mind as to which...

In asian bathrooms that have "western style" toilets, sometimes there are signs telling people not to stand on the seat to use it as a squatting style toilet.

Americans have weirdly exhibitionist toilets.

(But then they think German sauna is weird.)

I still don't get it. Why is there nothing for Womens

It's the men's bathroom.

Kegstand? If so, fair play for them having that in one of their early pitch decks and still becoming one of our tech overloads. I felt if we put a foot out of line in our pitch deck we were sunk. Number don't lie though, they had serious traction...

Excellent, now with sufficient training, an AI can learn to pitch itself to gain more resources.

Next HN post: notapitchdeck.com

This is honestly what I was hoping for


are these real decks? the quora one appears to be a course project. reddit also appears to be a marketing deck rather than VC pitch deck (still can be valuable but not quite the same)

Is there somewhere the source PDFs or PPTs can be found? I'd rather be able to browse the files than have to go to a website controlled by someone to page through.

Understandable, it isn't available now but I could add the option to bulk download all files if people would be interested. Or I could email you the pdfs or share them on a Drive if you'd like?

I'd love to see this too - I could learn from this when offline / at slow interwebs places.. and it's the kind of bite sized learning that lends itself to short bursts like waiting in line and such.

The thought didn't cross my mind when I was building it but come to think of it, it's actually something I'd like too. It would be nice to be able download them for traveling. I can implement it so

I'd love to see that feature also

This would be awesome! I’d even be cool paying for it if needed.

No kidding, I wasn't expecting this to potentially be a paid product. Just thought it would be cool resource to share with the community. Good to know this is something people want though, I'll implement it

Addressing the issue of fake pitch decks:

I gathered the decks from a variety of sources on the web and trusted they were originals. Although interpretations of company pitch decks may be of value for some people. I'd rather this be a collection of original pitch decks.

If I had have known this would receive the interest it got, I would have spent more time vetting them before uploading. The vast majority of them are originals and come from demo days of accelerators. But going through them again, some of them do indeed look dubious and I've removed them. I'm working on adding sources/references to each of the decks as well some of the other great ideas people have had.

If anyone notices pitches that don't look to be originals please comment here and I'll take them down. Thanks :)

Nice work, maybe add the ability to link to a specific page, like https://starthouse.xyz/facebook#4

There are already two comments here that could use the feature.

Will be great to know the source/reference of each deck. How did you get them, where did you get them ?

Good idea, I can add the sources/references in. They were scattered around a lot of different websites

It especially bothers me to find the same kind of post every X weeks. Compiling pitch decks, hundreds of pitch decks, use these pitch decks from successful companies. You can be one of them too! That's a lie, you can't.

Not only economic conditions, political environment and personal relationships matter, but we are simply selling the same idea to hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. The boomers are determined to explain to us how successful they were and the steps they took to achieve their enormous fortune and success. What they forget to explain is how a large part of their success is based on the economic conditions created by their parents and mostly on fraud or dubious behavior.

We sell the idea that they can be Google or Facebook, that they can compete or create new markets. But this idea is false. They have capitalized on all economic sectors, all market verticals and captured 90% of the existing opportunities. And if they forget some of them, they can eventually buy it. They drown you before you're born.

The market is rigged, even if you find market-traction, you will fail to attract investors even with the right relationships (no luck for you syrian refugee). Even the idea is good and represent a jump in a deep tech space, you essentially will get nothing unless you come out from MIT, Stanford and so (No luck for you Italian engineer)

Your pitch deck doesn't matter to anyone. VCs are waiting for 90% of projects to sink without financing, for months to get better conditions or simply to keep the surviving companies. Something their parents would never have done.

Great work! Love it, nice website, huge library of useful resources, smooth presentation, easy to navigate, all bells and whistles, kudos, bookmarked, will use for sure. Thank you

Thanks a million for your very kind words. I'm delighted you like it and it's a great encouragement to keep working on it!

How did you get the search to work?

I used fuse.js - it's a fuzzy search javascript library which works pretty well.

The issue with pitch decks is that they represent only the legible part of the fundraising process. The promise of a good pitch deck is that it gets you funded. However, this is far from the truth.

The truth is that the biggest early-ish rounds (pre Series B) were not closed because of the pitch deck, but despite of it.

Actually, the earlier the round the less important does the pitch deck become.

It's the illegible part, that so few talk about and that can't be shared that is the main driver. It's the social reality surrounding the founders and the round. It's the whisper and rumors inside the investor community, who makes the intro, the medium of the intro (phone or email) and many other small things.

Well, now it's time to train a GAN network on these to create new pitches from scratch.

AI generated AI startups. Why not?

So I've always seen the word "deck" and never really understood what it meant. Turns out a "deck" is just a powerpoint? Why do people call them decks?

Physical slides were using transparencies or slides. A bunch of them stacked together would be like a deck of cards - a slide-deck.

From "slide deck", which itself comes from "card deck", I'd guess.

Related, I think it'd be interesting to see a compilation of projected revenue from pitches vs actual.

The pitch deck is only good if the concept, team, and opportunity are good. A pitch deck should not be hard to put together if you have those three things on your side. If you do not, no slick pitch deck will really help you.

Not that I have first-hand experience at successfully pitching for huge money, but I completely agree. A lot of successful companies have average pitch decks but have great content on their side. One takeaway I've gotten from this side-project is that with pitch decks design doesn't matter but story-telling does.

The archive of pitch decks is really just post hoc confirmation of what were excellent, well-timed, and well-executed business plans. Imagine the thousands of great pitches that didn't end so well. I have seen many excellent teams with great pitches that failed for reasons entirely outside their control and reasonable ability to anticipate.

The demographics slide from Facebooks pitch deck in 2004 is pretty hilarious. I wonder if sean parker created this.


I feel dumb but I don't get it... do the first two pertain to the third's kegstand?

The AirBnB one I thought was particularly good. Clean preso, no superfluous information, readable, addresses all the concerns, short and to the point.

The reddit one is the exact opposite in that regard, but it has cats.

>The reddit one is the exact opposite in that regard, but it has cats.

I came to comment about this, it seemed particularly bad. I can only imagine doing this if I wanted to send a message of:

"We don't really need you - we're not taking this seriously at all".

good resource. I wish the decks had some metadata:

1) A date as there's a fashion to these decks and what worked a few years ago might be all wrong today 2) Did they get funded from the deck? 3) revenue (or user count) at the time of the deck 4) Market Size 5) Founder's previous exit (or connection to Google/FB etc..) I know this is difficult, but some founders can get money on an envelope sketch because they made VCs wealthy in the past.

I realize this is difficult data to get, but it would make the decks much more informative.

Ideally these would be organized by stage, sector etc.

Yeah absolutely, I'd like that too. I think year, amount raised, stage, sector and team size would be a good start

No way to explore?

I had to search for "a" to have a kind of full list of the presentations.

Will be nice if there is some sort of categories, collections or tags.

Yeah absolutely, I was thinking a filter by the funding round, year, team size and industry would be good. Any others? It has been a fun side project and I wasn't sure if people would be interested in it so I wanted to launch early and get some feedback before putting more time into it.

Might be too much to ask - but is it possible to add current status ( public / private / acquired / defunct ), funding source ( prominent VCs that picked them up ) or valuation ( highest / seed / other rounds )

I've been working on my deck for the last few months. What's. most useful would be funding round / year. Also, your search is broken so I can't tell you if you're missing any decks.

The Uber pitch deck is amusing, including the quote "profitable by design" (Uber is still not profitable 10 years later)

It's interesting, but there is a real difference between, has found product-market fit but unprofitable because trying to grow in "silicon valley style" and no product-market fit and might never make money.

To my mind, Uber chooses to lose money. They don't have to spend 700m a year advertising, and they could probably trim the fat in other areas as well (and have in the case of COVID--19),

Leaving COVID--19 alone for a second, the operating expenses have to be taken with a grain of salt, I would be very surprised if they HAVE to do a lot of those to keep the business from falling apart.

Ref: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/understanding-uber-loses-mo...

If these are real, I'm sure all those startup founders are thankful for having their phone numbers published in public...

I want to see what this does when passed through some kind of Neural net...

Should be enough to get a neural net to raise till round C or so.

How can I be notified when this is back? I love it.

Very nice - thank-you. Easy to use, great content.

Glad you like it, thanks a million.

Thank you!

maybe your search doesn't work, not sure...

Cool idea, thanks!

And then displayed them in the worst way you could think of? Why does it instantly produce two-way scrolling? How do you even advance to the next slide? Why does Facebook's pitch deck have three pitch decks and an ad for the site I'm already on?

I don't get two-way scrolling here, and there's very obvious orange "First, previous, next, last" buttons under each slide.

Imagine being so entitled that you get this annoyed by something you were given for free and can close at any time.

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