If you're writing your pitch deck and the name Reid Hoffman is unfamiliar, stick around and keep reading. This is just essential information for anyone looking to generate a successful business in any environment, but especially today’s. If Reid’s legendary business career is already part of what is in your mental business records. We'll unveil some of the information that has circulated regarding his understanding of pitch decks and what they should include.
First, let’s start with a bit of trajectory on a man who's been called the Silicon Valley Grand Master by Apple podcasts. And who is at the forefront of a revenue-making job connecting platform as big as LinkedIn.
How Reid Hoffman Started LinkedIn
Worth a net 1.9 billion by this year, Reid Hoffman is not only co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, but also a partner at VC firm Greylock Partners. Born straight out of Palo Alto in the late sixties, it is easy to forget how the cover of one of Forbes magazines as the “best connected billionaire” in the Valley once left Apple the same year it sold eWorld to AOL in order to keep up with new technology at Fujitsu. Around a thousand days later, the author and investor would move on to his first business, SocialNet.com; a business already founded on social networking online.
Friends from Stanford University with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, also worth about 2.3 billion. Hoffman soon returned investors their capital from SocialNet.com to become PayPal’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. It's with the investment of capital for his own affairs out of here that LinkedIn is finally constituted at the end of 2002 with its launch officially taking place over the next year.
Reid Hoffman’s Preferred Pitch Deck Slide Order
A pitch deck is usually about 10 to 20 slides long, we tend to say. For Reid, however, the perfect presentation in this sense is exactly 15 slides which are ordered as follows below. The entire set of information has been rephrased from a private email Reid is alleged to have sent; which we can take or leave to some degree. In any case, take each segment to be defined next as extending precisely over a single slide unless otherwise stated.
Value Proposition - One/Two sentence pitch for company
Brief History – When was the business founded? How much capital has been raised to date and who did it come from? What is the capital you require over a new round?
Who/Team – Contains context on who you are, relevant board and advisory members, background story. Along with successes as much as failures to get a sense of how well you can choose the correct talent around you.
What’s the Problem? – why is what you came to pitch necessary? (This one can stretch over 2 slides, if needed)
How Do You UNIQUELY Solve the Problem?: This is your actual and very simple product pitch whereby the capitals truly define the scope of interest on this one. For Reid, you need to “deliver a 5-10x improvement for the customer in terms of ease of use/functionality and cost”. (Can also take you 2 slides, if must be)
Product/Tech – When live, maybe go for demo video, he states. The idea is to unveil the most amazing technology that is making your product fully revolutionary. (Go for 2 if it helps)
Customer Traction: Only possible if your product has reached customers, which should serve to define how long your service has been in the market and include data you have on users or beta customers. (Use the 2 if it helps you).
Market Size/Competitive Overview: How did you come up with the market size that you are here giving? What is your positioning now? Use graphs on value proposition such as the common Gartner like quadrant at the top right of the slide. Saying you have no competition is a sin to Reid (Go for the 2 if appropriate)
GoToMarket Strategy – Show how you will quickly grow in capitally efficient ways. How will product sales be generated and will these be direct, indirect or online? Potential or game-changing partners that have been signed are detailed here, as well.
Business/Revenue Model – What he wants here is literally for you to “show me that the economics of your business work” and, in that sense, spare it if you are still on single digit gross margins as those will, in his words, “get your out the door quite quickly”
Financials – How will you grow and how does your business scale? What does revenue look like in 3 years? He is clear in the need to clarify true cash needs to break even, even when early stage will mostly be based on estimates and guessing.
The Financing Round – Reid does not expand on this one, yet these typically include a proposed future “burn” rate with a monthly or yearly cash loss during development and marketing.
Milestones - Expose those that have been hit and clarify which make up next year’s plan for you with the new funding
The Power of Choosing Your Ideal Pitch Deck
Now, you will see the slides listed here differ from many other orders of pitch deck ideals from many other entrepreneurs. That is always, in a way, kind of the decisions you will need to be making in terms of structuring your own pitch deck presentations. From Reid’s 15 to Guy Kawasaki’s 10 to 500 Startups own alignments and version, we have touched a bit on all of them here. Studying the differences and similarities and going for what rings true to your company vision, strategies and tactics is a solid way to prepare for your own path and voice in delivering the perfect pitch deck for your business needs.
Freelance and Remote Web Content Writer is the current hat under which Ang keeps on the global move. Writing blogs, website content and (especially) Facebook ads for diverse small businesses, entrepreneurs and international parties is part of the common work under Ang's belt. Otherwise, you'll see Ang riding a motorcycle on their vegan way out of theater rehearsal.