The Airbnb pitch deck is one of the most well-known presentations in the world. The pitch deck from 2009 which raised $600k from Sequoia Capital & Y Combinator, has become a reference for entrepreneurs across the world.
As a presentation design agency, we’ve received many inquiries from Founders looking to create a pitch deck like Airbnb. We also know that some founders like to write their own pitch decks before they hire us to design. For them, Airbnb is a good example to follow. So, we decided to write a breakdown article dedicated to the Airbnb pitch deck.
Hope this article will be helpful to anybody seeking information about this famous pitch deck.
What’s so special about the Airbnb pitch deck?
What many people don’t know is that the Airbnb pitch deck follows the standard Sequoia Capital template. Even though this deck is used as a template, its structure is not the best part.
The best part is…
The Subtle use of storytelling across the deck.
The minimalism in word usage & clear communication.
Accurate planning of business model & financials.
Now that we’ve outlined the deck’s uniqueness, let’s dig deep into each slide.
1. Title Slide
Airbnb used a simple logo & tagline in the title slide. Writing a perfect tagline is easier said than done. You & your team need to rack your brain through hundreds of ideas until you find the sweet spot.
Airbnb’s tagline is clearly well thought out. In a few words, it proposes the right value to the right target audience & explains the business model. If only “3 birds with one stone” was a phrase.
As you can see, the problem slide completely challenges the use case of the current hospitality industry. Problem no.2 mentioned that hotels leave you disconnected from the city & culture. Isn’t exploration the whole point of traveling? When you see this problem slide, you can see how well the founding team knew what the market was missing.
When it comes to problem slides, prioritization is the key. If you ask any Founder about the problems their startup solves, they can list at least 8–10 problems. I’m sure Airbnb faced this issue too. Yet, their pitch deck shows 3 problems which means they had to reduce & rank their top 3 problems. Even though you’d like to tell the investors about your every detail, time is of the essence & prioritizing content is a tough choice.
As we now know that Airbnb is actually a perfect solution to experience the local place. In 2009, the idea was new & this slide attracted attention to actual problems.
The solution slide proposes the value to more than one beneficial party. The first introductory statement explains the solution in one sentence & indicates continuity. This slide is one of the finest examples of storytelling as it keeps the audience engaged in the new idea. The additional line & usage of icons makes the deck solution-focused rather than problem-focused.
If you observe carefully, the solutions are addressed in the same sequence as the listed problems.
Save money while traveling is addressed to the customer/traveler. Make money while hosting is addressed to the host. Share culture is again addressed to the traveler.
4. Market Validation
Airbnb clearly believes in letting the numbers speak for themself. Here it shows that craigslist.com has 670,000 users & couchsurfing.com has 17,000 temporary housing listings.
It’s a smart move, showing that there’s a demand and supply which lacks a middleman. Also, placing the validation slide immediately after the solution is a smart thing to do. Validate your idea in the initial stage, take the audience in your favor by removing doubt & then continue the storytelling.
5. Market Size
A lot of startups get the market size wrong, as a result, creating feasibility issues. The best thing I liked about this slide is that it isn’t too optimistic & isn’t too conservative.
Assuming a 15% market share with a brilliant business model is a good number to aim at. Airbnb clearly knew what they were doing since their pre-seed days.
It spans 4 showcase slides to bring the imagination into reality with the product screenshots. A simple strategy without the hassle of words & unnecessary explanations.
7. Business Model
Airbnb mentions the 10% commission in the title & makes further calculative assumptions. Using the market slide for continuity & taking 84 Mn (15% of the market share) as a reference point, Airbnb makes the case for its business model. The case that projected revenue would come to around $200 Mn.
Airbnb avoids complexity & lets simple calculations define investment reasons. Rather than complex financial modeling, they take the excerpts from their data & present the most useful numbers.
8. Market Adoption
The market adoption slide clearly showcases Airbnb’s plan to acquire the assumed market share. It answers the three major questions: events(where), partnerships(with whom) & craigslist (how).
Some pitch decks use tables for competitor analysis & comparison. But I loved how Airbnb mapped across the quadrants which made them look like a solution from every aspect. Like a solution to every travel problem.
10. Competitive Advantage
As you can see the slide lists 6 strong advantages Airbnb has over its competitors. Across the deck, there has been a consistent typography with a heading to attract attention & subtext for anyone who’s interested in exploring further. More importantly, the explanation always has a use case.
For example, ease-of-use followed by subtext “search by price/location & check-in/check-out date”.
The team slide isn’t for personal branding purposes. Many startups make this mistake. The purpose of this slide is to make the investors believe in your team.
Airbnb clearly knows this & hence shows the co-founders in particular roles & their backgrounds/credentials.
12. Press & User Testimonials
The self-descriptive words are good for storytelling but they’re not enough to validate. Airbnb got the early adopters & press to validate their product. This got them more attention & we all know…funding.
When it comes to the financials slide, I’ve hardly seen a slide that’s so well-written.
Airbnb mentions the time, number of transactions, target revenue & the exact amount of funding they need. How they creatively managed this in one slide is applaudable.
All in all!
What made this deck fulfill its intended purpose? I would say the accurate numbers, clarity in the business model, market knowledge & compelling value proposition. Without this, crafting this deck with logic & storytelling was next to impossible. So before you start making your pitch deck, in-house or with an agency, you need to have an exact idea like Airbnb.
Hope you liked reading this Airbnb pitch deck breakdown. In case I haven’t made it clear, we’re a presentation design agency & craft compelling pitch decks.
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