Spotify Pitch Deck: startup pitch deck design and teardown

September 17, 2019

Today we’re gonna be looking at the slides of a Swedish company most of you have heard of,  probably even used recently. We are talking about a Spotify pitch deck.

Today, I find it hard to imagine a world without Spotify. I use it every day to play songs on my way to the office; when I listen to music while I work; when I host people at my place. This, and other streaming services are so widespread today, that it is sometimes easy to forget how different things were a couple of years ago.

How listening to music evolved

From Cassettes to MP3 players

My generation grew up with music cassettes, which we had to rewind using a pencil; later we were impressed with the appearance of discs, and disc players. Eventually, we saw the birth of MP3 players, and the idea that you could store a bunch of music, on such a small device was mind-blowing to me.

I remember the first time I held an iPod in my hands; I couldn’t believe how cool it was! how new the experience felt! All of these innovations were game-changers in their own time.

Music Streaming Services

And then, came Spotify. Once again, my preconceived ideas of how we interacted with music, were drastically challenged: we were not gonna physically own music copies, and we were not gonna store them permanently on any devices. The internet era opened up a new possibility: music was going to be streamed online. I can tell you without hesitation, this is one of the biggest changes of paradigm ever to hit the music industry, and we were lucky enough to witness this shift first-hand.

You see, Spotify is a company that’s very close to me because, like most people, music is a very personal thing. It relates to memories I have, to certain moments of my life, to people whom I’ve met and interacted with. And so, our relationship with music is a very close one, regardless of how we access it.

Check our Pitch Deck examples from successful Startups

Spotify pitch deck

Spotify Pitch Deck

So back to business, Spotify was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon as a way to bring music to everyone, everywhere.

Flash forward a decade, and the company is now valued at almost 30 billion dollars.  It has 232 million, monthly active users; including 108 million paying subscribers worldwide!

Spotify pitch deck

The Spotify pitch deck presentation we’ll be looking at today is not really an investor pitch deck per se. These slides were created by one of Spotify’s early developers, Jon Aslund, who joined the company in 2006. They were meant to recruit people for their team, pitching top talent at local universities back in Sweden.

For the most part, this presentation is a regular pitch deck. At least up until the middle of its staggering 70 slides! After slide 35, the presentation becomes pretty technical, given the fact that this was addressed to computer software engineers.

Why we chose this presentation

However, the first half of the Spotify pitch deck could easily be a regular pitch deck, given a few more slides on the business model, user acquisition and go-to-market strategy. But it does a fine job in depicting the company's value proposition, the team’s technical skills and most importantly, the companies’ traction!

So, with this in mind, let’s dig into the slides, and see what we can learn here. Also, what we would change in order to make the slides more compelling.

Review the Slides

First: Check the content

Look at how well the information is laid out and how little text each slide has. Reducing the amount of content on each slide is the simplest rule on the book, and yet seemingly the hardest to follow. Short ideas with bold text make up the best presentations! I already know I’ll have a lot of room and flexibility to play around with the slide layouts and visuals!

Second: Check the design

Notice here is how well these slides have “aged”. Obviously the logo has changed a bit, and sure some of the assets are a little outdated, but the rest of the slides feel totally current. And that, I can tell you, they owe it to simplicity. A dark background with white text will hardly ever go out of fashion! That being said, this presentation is 70 slides long, so at some point, I need to change the formula of black background and white text, in order to break the monotony and keep people engaged.

Third: Find your Killer Slides

Probably the most powerful thing about this Spotify deck is the traction slides. These slides are the killer ones because they validate the company in such a convincing way. Any investor would drool to see these devastating metrics. When you have tens of millions of users, actively creating hundreds of millions of playlists in your platform, you have an incredibly powerful story to tell. Make sure your traction slides stand out on your deck because, rest assured, they’ll be the ones to get you meetings, and dollars.

So, here’s what I want to do with this presentation.

Branding the Slides

The first thing I want to change in this Spotify pitch deck is updating its brand with the new logo, and color scheme. The new identity is much cleaner, and it will pop right from the cover slide. I want to create two different color sets for this presentation: one where I keep the dark background with white text, and a second one with the inverted combination. This will help bring more variety to the slides as opposed to just having a dark background for the entire deck. I also like to keep the green hue as a highlight that I can use on details, such as titles, quotes, and icons.

I also want to keep the idea of having big titles on each slide. For that, I use Slidebean’s Headlines which let me cover almost the entire slide with these short lines. I also chose a thick font, Montserrat Bold, which helps emphasize each sentence even more.

Choosing the right images

In terms of the images, I want to use pictures that transmit a young and cool vibe into the slides.

The way I choose images for each presentation varies a lot from one deck to the other. For Spotify, my thought process revolves around the music industry; it’s always had a rebel tone to it. It is an industry that speaks to the misfits and the trendsetters; the ones who connect with their hearts and minds. All of this is the inspiration where I want to draw from in order to choose my images. Unsplash is a great source of visuals, and I was able to find images for all of my slides.

A little side note here: try to stay away from obvious graphic choices.

Let me give you an example: for slide 5, the original pitch deck has the logo of KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The obvious choice would be to upload the logo of the Institute and move one to the next slide. But to be honest, that logo seems so boring and so different from the rest of the slides, that I wanted to explore a different path.

I went ahead and simply wrote the name of the Institute, and looked for an image that transmitted a technological or academic environment. And the result, I feel, is much more impactful. These little choices can go a long way in making your slides more interesting, so try to take these small risks.

Try different Layouts

Finally, I want to play around with different layouts to create more captivating compositions in the Spotify pitch deck. This is especially important when dealing with long presentations. Thinking about new layouts can sometimes be a little overwhelming, so I like to use Slidebean’s Slide module. In there, I can browse for different layout proposals, and create really cool slides with a single click. After I add them, I simply replace the placeholders with my own content.

Final Touch

This process, I do for every single slide, until I have a colorful, dynamic and stunning set of slides. I loved working with this Spotify pitch deck because the very concept of the company evokes a lot of ideas to play with. Let me know what you think of this redesign, and stay tuned for our next presentation teardown.

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