I was very lucky to come across this pitch deck used by Snapchat back in 2014. To provide some background, Snapchat is a photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to recipients. The company was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. So far the startup has raised from investors $1.3B at a $16B valuation.
One of the things that I always find the most useful for entrepreneurs that are looking to raise capital is to show them pitch decks from companies that have already made it. I have done this with my book The Art of Startup Fundraising and also during the Fundraising Certification, which is a 3 week comprehensive course where I teach entrepreneurs everything they need to know about fundraising.
As I have stated on previous posts such as Silicon Valley Legend Creates Pitch Deck Template For Entrepreneurs, or Google Launches The Ultimate Pitch Deck Template For Startups, a killer pitch deck should include at a minimum the following slides:
- Market Size
- Amount being raised
If you are interested below you can access for free a robust pitch deck template that I created recently.
ACCESS FREE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
ACCESS FREE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
Now that you have more information about what a clear structure of a pitch deck looks like lets go back to Snapchat‘s presentation. This pitch deck was leaked by Digiday’s Matt Van Hoven and was used to talking to potential advertisers. However, with a few minor tweaks this presentation could have been easily used to get investors onboard as it conveys exactly what the company is set to accomplish.
In this presentation, Snapchat reveals updated user metrics and educates brands about its product offerings. Some of the usage stats included are the following:
- 700 million snaps are viewed per day, up from 50 million at the end of 2012.
- 1 billion stories — a thread of snaps that can be seen for 24 hours — are viewed per day
A cover slide should at the very least indicate the company name and the contact information of the person in charge of fundraising that interested parties can reach out to. A cover like the one above could work for a well established company with a fantastic brand awareness which is not the case for early stage startups.
In summary, the distribution of the presentation is the following:
- Cover Slide
- Get to Know Us
- Product Overview
- Our Story
- How It Works
- Now It’s Your Turn
- What Do I Snap?
- Get the Word Out
- How to See Your Stats/Accounts to Check Out
STORY & TRACTION
This slide reminds me that any startup that has a good amount of traction should put that slide as early as possible. It is without a doubt a good way to capture the investor‘s attention. In the case of Snapchat, however, I find the presentation to have too much text. but they do structure nicely their stats. Perhaps the first paragraph is already enough background on the company and app.
Normally when you are fundraising there are two types of pitch decks that you would need to use. One would be the pitch deck that you would distribute via email, which will include more text, and then the other pitch deck that you would use to present in person which would be more visual. This pitch deck was used for email distribution and from my own perspective it could have been simplified a little bit more.
I do think this slide is repetitive and redundant as this part was already explained in the previous slide. However, the takeaway is that you need to clearly show what is the vision and mission of your company. For Snapchat since the beginning they identified themselves as the app that allowed users to send content that would automatically disappear once it had been received and viewed by the user that is the recipient of the content.
Some great examples from billion dollar unicorn startups concerning mission and vision could be the ones below. You should insert your own in your pitch deck.
- Uber: transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone
- AirBnB: belong anywhere
- Pinterest: help people discover things they love and inspire them to go do those things in real life
- WeWork: to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living
- Square: making commerce easy
- Slack: we are on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive
Sometimes this slide might be too much to add in a pitch deck. Perhaps it could be included in the appendix with additional information. If you are in person do not show it this way. I would play with the product live so that people get a real feel of what you are building. In the event this is not possible, I would highly encourage you to play a video of the product in action. This slide from Snapchat is dry and doesn‘t really help in making me understand what the service is all about.
Normally the best products don‘t take too much time to demo. Take as an example the following:
- Larry and Sergey could demo Google search in less than five minutes. Here’s a box, type something in and you get a huge reward.
- Steve Jobs could demo Apple‘s iPod in less than five minutes. Plug it in, put in your CDs and it syncs your music. Turn it on and use the wheel to select what songs you want to listen to.
- Mark Zuckerberg could demo Facebook in less than five minutes. Sign up, fill out your profile, and add your friends.
This slide is more of the same keeping in mind the previous slide. In some circumstances it makes sense to just combine information and to make the pitch deck look much more simple.
As I cover on the post Study Reveals The Pitch Deck That Will Land You Millions, VCs and other investors that are sophisticated will probably meet with an average of 1,000 entrepreneurs on a yearly basis in person. This does not even count the pitch decks reviewed. These investors allocate on average 3.44 minutes per pitch deck and for that reason you want to be able to capture the investor‘s attention right away and avoid additional information that is unnecessary.
This slide explains in detail how the Story feature or the 24-hour flipbook works. Again,more of the same as this feature is something that users can quickly figure out when they use the app.
CHAT & HERE
The first feature that is discussed on this slide is Chat, which is direct messaging. The second is Here, which is video chat. From my point of view, there is no need to explain how to use Snapchat through detailed screenshots. As I discussed previously you can combine all the product slides into one or just erase them altogether and include them during your live demo.
The presentation does not show the benefits of the feature. Perhaps more emphasis on branding opportunities would have made it more effective. In any case, I do still believe that all these features spread across the pitch deck ultimately will contribute to loosing the investor‘s interest.
HOW IT WORKS
I find a slide of this nature a must in any presentation. It is a good guide of how the service in action works and a good way to tell the investor how you are solving a problem from point A to pint Z. The way I would have structured the flow on this pitch deck would have been to put this slide first and then one single slide showing the product in action in the event you are using the pitch deck for email distribution.
However, this slide is just geared to showcase the Our Story feature which makes this slide unnecessary on the presentation.
NOW IT‘S YOUR TURN
This slide is interesting. It is inviting and also actionable for anyone that is reading the presentation. Remember that every presentation needs to end on a high note in a way in which it encourages investors to keep asking questions and engaged with your venture‘s story. Perhaps I would have taken out all the additional text that doesn‘t add much value.
WHAT DO I SNAP?
This slide should come out of the pitch deck. It is graphic and visual which makes it interesting but it does not move forward the conversation. Remember that fundraising as well as sales are all about moving things forward in order to get you to the closing and getting the money in the bank. Going around in circles repeating yourself will only contribute to loose people‘s attention.
GET THE WORD OUT
Snapchat has now become one of the most effective tools out there to market and get the word out about anyone‘s business. Marketer legend, Gary Vaynerchuk, goes as far as saying:You need to be thinking about @Snapchat as a channel to grow your customer base. Period. Click To Tweet
This reminds me that it would have been more powerful to add quotes from influencers in order to increase the credibility and trust towards this slide. Something that any startup should do. I have seen it many times in other pitch decks where startups include either influencers or some of the praises from their own users. This is a tactic that was nicely done by Slack. It gave Slack social proof and a great tactic to acquire users much faster.
This slide should be erased. As I mentioned above it does not move forward the conversation. I do totally understand that they are trying to use early adopters and examples to get the person reviewing to understand what Snapchat is all about. However, by the time the person reviewing the pitch deck gets to this slide they have already understood the concept and perhaps this slide would add zero to no value.
HOW TO SEE YOUR STATS
The first part of the slide provides information on how to view stats for an account. The slide also features a list of Accounts to Check Out, which is great for doing additional research. The purpose of the deck is to convince businesses to sign up for an account. For this reason I find that the way this pitch deck ends is absolutely terrible. It also does not include a slide with contact details of who to contact in case there is further interest.
Perhaps I would have used an actionable closing slide. The last slide that I would have added right after the actionable slide could have been a thank you slide where you talk about all the praises your company has received from the press where you include as well all the logos from reputable media outlets that have featured your story.
Just as I tell my students on the Fundraising Certification, fundraising is all about storytelling. On every powerful presentation you will need to name the problem, the solution, market potential, competitors, competitive advantage, the team, and the capital that you are raising. In the event you are presenting in person, perhaps you should take a page out of Steve Jobs as I mention on my post Wan‘t To Master The Pitch? Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and The Power of Storytelling. Use Jobs linguistic to have a bigger impact which includes the words revolutionary, breakthrough, reinvent, phenomenal, extraordinary, etc.