What is the Sequoia Capital pitch deck template? What are Sequoia Capital’s recommendations for creating a pitch deck?
What does well known VC Sequoia Capital pitch deck template look like? How do you utilize their format to create a deck of your own that you can go out fundraising with?
What about the alternatives to Sequoia, and what’s really most important when it comes to creating an effective pitch deck that secures funding from great investors?
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Here is the content that we will cover in this post. Let’s get started.
- 1.Sequoia Capital
- 2. What’s Important To Them
- 3. Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck Template
- 4. Company Purpose
- 5. Problem
- 6. Solution
- 7. Why Now?
- 8. Market Potential
- 9. Competition & Alternatives
- 10. Business Model
- 11. Team
- 12. Financials
- 13. Vision
- 14. Making This Pitch Deck Your Own
- 15. Alternative Pitch Deck Template
- 16. What’s Most Important When Creating A Pitch Deck?
- 17. Summary
Sequoia is one of the most well-known venture capital investment firms. Founded 50 years ago, this Menlo Park, California-based investor had around $85B in assets under management in 2022.
They invest in seed to growth stage companies. With limited partners that provide their funding, including endowment funds, charitable foundations, and other large institutions.
They are most proud of startup investments like Airbnb. Though more recently have also lost money on big bets, such as FTX.
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What’s Important To Them
If you’ve seen Airbnb’s early pitch deck, it wasn’t really a beautiful work of art. Even Sequoia says that it wasn’t their slides that they liked, but their clarity of thinking, and the scope of their ambition.
Via their website and page on writing a business plan, they say that they love to invest when an idea is newly formed and has maximum room to grow.
Keep in mind that in fundraising, storytelling is everything. In this regard, for a winning pitch deck to help you here, you can also take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck Template
Via their website, below is their guide to writing a business plan and pitching.
It’s just 10 slides. Far less than most new entrepreneurs can fathom making theirs.
Let’s take a look at the slides and points that they recommend including, what should go on them, and then how to pull it all together.
1. Company Purpose
Sequoia Capital would like to see startup founders able to sum up their companies in a single sentence.
What is the purpose for your startup to exist?
This is your mission. Not the one product that you are working on right now. It is the one thing that you are in business to do, which everything else will come from.
Do not use this space to talk about all the features of your products. While your mission may resonate with some investors, and not with others, it is most important that you use this slide to prove you can focus.
You can only create incredible results if you are able to focus. You won’t be able to stay on track and push the progress investors are looking for if you cannot maintain your clarity and keep things simple.
If you can’t be clear when millions or more are on the line for raising funding, then they won’t believe that you can create the messaging needed to sell customers either.
What is the pain that your target customers are suffering from today?
What is the urgent need that is so painful that it needs to be solved? What is such a problem that people are going to pay money for a solution, or a better solution than is on the market currently?
You may contrast this to what solutions your customers have been trying to use prior to yours. As well as the problems with them, and gaps in the market.
Do not use too many words, but be clear about the problem, and why it is so important that a lot of money should be poured in to fix it.
What is your compelling, and unique value proposition?
Sequoia Capital would like to know what your eureka moment was. How you discovered the problem and solution, and where you are taking this all from here.
Again, you need to keep this clean and simplified. Though, be ready to answer questions about your product roadmap.
Remember that your solution needs to be far superior to existing options.
4. Why Now?
Sequoia believes that the best companies have a clear why now.
Timing can be everything when it comes to the success and survival of a startup. If you want investors to have that sense of urgency to take action to back you right now, then you need to have a compelling argument for why doing it right now is so important, and valuable.
If there is a real gap and vacuum begging for a solution to this problem, then why hasn’t it been filled already? How have others failed to succeed in this space, where you think you can win?
How have things changed to make this possible and viable as a business now?
5. Market Potential
What is this industry? How big is it? Who exactly are your customers?
While some companies appear to create their own markets, and Sequoia says they love the outliers, having a proven market also makes many investors more comfortable and confident in providing their capital.
If this is a new market, how is it being created and made possible now? How will it be supported going forward?
If this is an existing market, what share of it do you believe you can win? Is it still growing, and if so, how fast?
6. Competition & Alternatives
Who are your competitors in this space? Both indirect and direct competitors?
What other options do your customers have than you? How do they compare? How will you win against them?
7. Business Model
How will your company thrive?
How do you make money? A business is about making money. An investor is putting their money in to get a financial reward, and you are responsible to them for delivering the financial returns you promised.
What is your business cycle? From getting the product to selling the product, and putting money back in the bank?
Who are your key team members and company founders? What is their story?
In the early days, the only real tangible thing or performance for investors to base their investment decision on is your people. Do they have what it takes to make it through the series of battles, and grueling endurance race that is ahead? What have they achieved before that proves that they can do this?
Sequoia Capital loves ambitious founders that are passionate and can be very clear in conveying their message. Yet, a startup team also needs to be capable of delivering on its aspirations.
Does your company have existing financials?
If you have been selling, or have raised previous rounds of financing, then you use this slide to show your performance and financial status.
If you are just starting out, then you may use this slide for your financial forecast. What are the financial projections for this company over the next 12 to 36 months?
What’s the big vision for this venture?
Sequoia wants startups to put this in terms of a five-year timeline if everything goes well.
For other investors, you may want to go even bigger than this. It is not uncommon for it to take 10 years to create a startup that is an ‘overnight success’, and a big success. One which goes the distance to be able to hold its own as a profitable private company, can go public, or is going to be acquired, and will return investors their capital and expected returns. It takes some even longer than that.
Note that this is different from your mission. It is what the world will look like once you’ve been successful.
Making This Pitch Deck Your Own
So, how do you take this Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck template and make it your own?
If you are planning on pitching Sequoia for funding at your next round, then you can adopt this framework for that pitch.
You will want to begin by creating an outline. Including slide names and what you will put on each slide.
Then create your pitch deck in the optimal software for building the deck, collaborating on it with your team, and sharing it with your advisors and prospective investors. As well as for pitching live.
This may be in Microsoft Powerpoint. Though Google Slides can offer a lot more flexibility and integration for those that are using Google for other things.
Pitch a theme and background which is clean, simple, and will both match your brand identity, and resonate with investors as a startup that is going to be just as successful as the best in their portfolio history, or those they’ve missed out on.
Everything is on the line here. This is about selling. It is a marketing exercise, and test if you can pitch correctly, far more than it is about showing off your technical expertise and product.
Be sure to utilize the best copywriters and graphic designers you can to create a pitch deck that will convert your desired investors into funding partners.
Alternative Pitch Deck Template
The Sequoia Capital pitch deck template isn’t the only business plan and format out there. There are other successful pitch deck templates. Below is another great option for startup founders.
This 16-slide pitch deck template may be easier for many entrepreneurs to use. It may be more effective when out there pitching other investors, angel groups, and VCs.
This template provides a little more room, and space to have clean and focused slides. Without going so long that you’ll bore investors and run out of time for them to take action on your funding request.
1. Cover Slide
2. The Problem
3. The Solution
4. Market Size
5. The Competition
6. Competitive Advantages
7. Your Product
9. Customers and Engagement Slide
10. Business Model
12. Amount Being Raised And Other Investors
13. Use Of Funds
14. The Team
16. Back Cover and Contact Information
What’s Most Important When Creating A Pitch Deck?
Above all else, it is vital to have a clean, simple, and clear pitch deck.
It doesn’t matter how great everything else is if you cannot explain it, and get the message across clearly and quickly.
This trumps deep technical genius, more features, and the product every time.
This is a sale. It is about showing investors that you can check the boxes that they are looking for, and have what it takes to build a hyper-growth company that can deliver outsized returns.
You can also learn how to create your own pitch deck by watching the video below.
The Sequoia Capital pitch deck template offers a glimpse of what they are looking for in a pitch deck on their page about writing a business plan. This 10-slide deck tells founders what they need to include in their presentation to get funded.
There are other pitch deck templates that you may prefer as well. Including this 16-slide deck.
No matter which template you use, it is essential to boil your message down to the simplest version you can. Keep it clean and compelling.
You can provide a lot more detail, and weave a great story around this slide presentation when you are pitching investors live.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.