Airbnb’s first pitch deck
Posted at 15:45h, 13 Oct 2015 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Airbnb’s first pitch deck has been circulating of late, and while it’s a great lesson in how to put together a deck and launch not only a company, but a viable business (Lessons From Airbnb’s Investor Pitch Deck), remember – seven investors passed on it. Quelle dommage and for the record, we first heard about the company not long after it launched, when an early adopter frequent-traveler British friend put it on our radar. We thought it was a no-brainer (only couchsurfing had been around before that, which might have been their closest competitor, but that company had no revenue model. There’s a non-starter for you).

“We may be nearing the end of a cycle where growth is valued more than profitability,” Bill Gurley said on Twitter. “It could be at an inflection point.”

Which brings us to WeWork, and What the $10 billion co-working company’s internal financial documents tell us about how a decacorn is built, and how often are we told how important it is to tell a good story? “MILLENNIALS ARE REDEFINING THE WORKFORCE,” says WeWork and while it’s a great story, when you get down to it, the company itself is mostly about smoke, mirrors and just the right amount of buzz words, rather than getting to anything that even vaguely resembles profitability any time soon: ‘Space as a Service,’ ‘subscription model,’ ‘asset light,’ ‘sharing economy,’ ‘next generation.’ We’ve also been at conferences where WeWork founder Adam Neumann has spoken, and he likes to present WeWork not so much as a coworking space, but as a software platform. We see it more as a house of cards/financial shell game that will not survive the changing economic winds. In a downturn, how long do you think it would be before teams in New York City will once again start meeting up at the Ace Hotel, where space can be found, basically, for the price of a cup of coffee? Or at any of the more affordable coworking spaces that have cropped up over the years since WeWork was founded?

What happens when the bills come due and the waiter comes around with the check? As always happens.

Airbnb is the apotheosis of the sharing economy: simple, elegant, asset light. And they’ve been taking their fair share of revenues generated since Day 1.

As we saw in the pre dot bomb days, WeWork’s deck promises investors that they’ll be making billions in revenue at a date in the none-too-distant future (2018) – but one that’s not too close for comfort and in tech, three years is a lifetime for many companies. It’s a good story. But one that those of us who remember have heard before and know all too well.

There’s a world of difference between hipsters and cooligans.

Winter is coming, according to Gurley (Bill Gurley to Unicorns: Winter Is Coming. You Ready?) and some of the more squirrely unicorns who’ve been playing fast and loose with the bottom line and to companies who hope to survive the meltdown and move forward, the halcyon days are about to come to an end. WHEN THE TIDE GOES OUT – HAVE YOUR SWIMWEAR ON, warns Adam Quinton. Nothing like sobering times to separate the wheat from the dross. And the true unicorns from those who turned out to be little more than party animals. Onward and forward.