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LinkedIn's Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs (reidhoffman.org)
152 points by Ecio78 on Oct 15, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 22 comments

"You have the most attention from investors in the first 60 seconds of your pitch, so how you begin is incredibly important. One common mistake is putting the team slide early in the deck. The team behind your idea is critical, but don’t open with that. Instead, open with the investment thesis."

Great piece of advice, so obvious in retrospect and at odds with many other pitch guidelines out there, that suggest you start with the management team / "company snapshot".

As with everything else, it depends.

You start with your strongest suite. So, if you're an extremely early stage startup with a stellar team, you start with that. If, you're technology/traction/investment thesis is stronger, relative to your team, you start with that.

Keep in mind this is a Series B. By now the team already has some momentum and track record, so it has been vetted before. The question is not the team anymore; is this line of business really going to explode with more money?

The first 60 seconds is key for any presentation (pitching investors or not). But even on a seed round, I wouldn't start with a team slide, unless it sends a powerful message of why this is a team of rockstars (but chances are, if this is the case, you wouldn't even need to talk about team upfront. Your reputation precedes you).

As someone that has raised $100M+ in VC for my current startup, I totally agree with this sentiment.

Open with the investment thesis -- or more specifically, lead with WHY this is a great investment compared to the other 100+ deals they're looking at.

With the increasing popularity of the "aquihire" exit strategy, I'm not surprised that "pitch guidelines" encourage discussing the team so early.

Investors typically are not going for acquihires. See for a good discussion on many issues: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2013/05/13/the-corrosive-...

Interesting data from the "LinkedIn is the Market Leader" slide (data from 8/04):

- Friendster is the largest social network. - Facebook is not present.

Something to keep in mind when considering how much emphasis to place on existing competition in a market.

I would love to see a visual representation of the relationship between pitch deck length and successful raise. I was surprised by the length of this deck.

I think it was more a sign of the times and the fact that it was a B round. You can elaborate a bit at the B stage.

Longer decks still work -- even today.

Possible reason: Often, decks are shared before a meeting is taken, so the really good ones are designed to be read (not just presented).

Love this post. Only about a fifth of the way through it right now (@work), but I'm definitely going to peruse the rest later and bookmark it for when I make my own pitch deck here soon!

Wow this is fantastic! Not only are the slides included, but a detailed and helpful analysis of each slide as well.

Wow, the design looks much worse than I would have expected from LinkedIn.

Looks perfectly minimalist to me. You don't want a flashy design to distract from important content.

Disagree with this.

In today's world (particularly in consumer Internet), investors often judge the "quality" of a team based on the aesthetics of the pitch-deck -- and website. All things being equal, the deck with the better design sense wins.

In the present context, I think you make a good point.

But it's worth noting this deck is from 2004, and thus should be judged in the context of contemporary designs.

Not that I like the design either, but a successful guy has taken a non-trivial amount of time to share his experience/wisdom, so the only think I can say is "thank you".

I know what a lot of future startup pitch decks will look like :)

am I the only one who is surprised at how ugly it is?

Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this on HN.

This one line is simply bang on at so many levels:

...we knew that our pitch would need to steer into investors’ biggest concern: the lack of revenue.

And seemingly relevant in the current climate of 2013 again.

ICYMI, Reid addresses today's climate, too:

In 2013, it’s whether you can break through the noise. Today, there are probably a thousand consumer internet startups founded every quarter — how do you become one of the 1 to 3 that matter in a 7-year timeframe?

A much better system would be printing money to fund startups, instead of our current, print money to fund debts.

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