What makes a startup successful? Often, it comes down to the pitch deck. It is a powerful tool that can make or break the chances of getting funded. As a startup founder, it is essential to know what investors are looking for in a pitch deck.
This article examines 35 pitch decks from European startups that became unicorns. These decks offer valuable insights into what makes a successful pitch.
So let's discover what it takes for a small startup to enter the unicorn club.
❕ What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a presentation that provides potential investors with an outline of a company's business plan. It typically includes slides about the company's products, market opportunity, team, financials, and strategy. The purpose of a pitch deck is to persuade potential backers to invest in the company.
❕ Why a pitch deck is crucial for startups?
Pitch decks are the backbone of any fundraising effort. They provide a high-level overview for potential investors and customers and allow founders to capture their attention in an entertaining, professional, but not stiff or boring way. A good pitch deck can take your company to a higher level, attract funding, and increase the recognition of your company in a professional environment.
Klarna 🔸 Alan Healthcare 🔸 N26 🔸 Revolut 🔸 Personio 🔸 Mollie 🔸 Relex Solutions 🔸 Monzo 🔸 Sorare 🔸 MessageBird 🔸 GoStudent 🔸 Mirakl 🔸 CMR Surgical 🔸Jobandtalent 🔸 Spendesk 🔸 Wayflyer 🔸 Travel Perk 🔸 Paddle 🔸 Nexthink 🔸 Marshmallow 🔸 Cabify 🔸 Nord Security 🔸 Qonto 🔸 Lunar 🔸 BlaBlaCar 🔸 Bolt 🔸 Mambu 🔸 Wefox 🔸 Deliverect 🔸 BrewDog 🔸 Black Market 🔸 Doctolib 🔸 SumUp 🔸 Starling Bank 🔸 Flix SE
Klarna is a Swedish company that facilitates payments between merchants and shoppers. The business was founded in 2005 by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth & Victor Jacobsson with the help of an angel investor Jane Walerud. The idea is to provide people with an easier way to purchase things online who don't own credit cards or any other form of payment that is accepted by retailers' websites.
The company now employs over 1000 people worldwide, serving clients including H&M, Nike, and Wayfair.
Klarna dominated Swedish e-commerce marketing and was acknowledged as the most valuable tech company in Europe in 2021; however, the company's valuation decreased from $45.6B to under $7B the following year ,according to Financial Times.
Klarna became a unicorn company in December 2011 with a valuation of over $1B. Today, the company is worth $6.7B.
Alan is a French digital health insurance platform that offers plans with competitive prices and top-notch customer service. Founded in 2016 by Charles Gorintin and Jean Charles Samuelian.
Alan is the first independent insurance company that the French Prudential Supervisory Authority licensed in 1986. Alan promises customers transparency through out the policy process, from choosing your plan to paying claims and handling any emergencies or illnesses.
Alan Healthcare became a unicorn company in April 2021 with a valuation of $1.5B. Today, the company is worth almost $3B.
N26 is a German banking platform founded in 2013 by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal. The company received its first $9 million investment from Valar Ventures two years later, which helped it grow into one of Europe’s most popular mobile payment apps, with over 10 million users across 22 countries.
The company also used to operate in the USA but decided to leave the market in January 2022 due to country’s strict financial regulations.
N26 became a unicorn company in January 2019 with a valuation of $2.7B. Today, the company is worth $9.23B.
Revolut is a London-based fintech startup founded by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko in 2015. The company's goal is to offer banking services with cutting-edge technology. It also has an exchange rate for cryptocurrencies, so the customers can buy crypto within the app.
According to The Guardian, Revolut became the most valuable British startup of 2020. In addition, the company gained a British banking license in 2021.
Revolut became a unicorn company in April 2018 with a valuation of $1.7B. Today, the company is worth$33B.
Personio is an internet software company from Germany, founded in 2015 by Technical University of Munich former students — Hanno Renner, Ignaz Forstmeier, Roman Schumacher, and Arseniy Vershinin.
They aimed to create software that would automate small-business HR processes and help them manage their employees more effectively in order for these companies to be profitable but also to grow exponentially with minimal effort on behalf of owners.
The product was initially used by small startups, which quickly covered their market niche. As a result, in 2021he company received over $200 million in investments, becoming one of the top 3 German startups (according to Сapital.de).
Personio became a unicorn company in January 2021 with a valuation of $1.4B. Today, the company is valued at $8.5B.
Mollie is a Dutch company that was founded in 2004 by Adriaan Mol. The business went largely unnoticed before the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, global lockdown restrictions caused people to turn away from traditional payment methods and rely more heavily on digital wallets for transactions.
The company allows its customers to accept cashless payments through credit card machines at stores across Europe.
Mollie raised $800 million in outside funding in 2019 from investors like JP Morgan Chase & Co and Qatar Public Investment Fund (QPIF), making it one of Europe's largest fintechs, according to CNBC.
Mollie became a unicorn company in September 2020 with a valuation of over $1B. Today, the company is worth $6.5B.
Relex is a Finnish company founded in 2005 by supply chain scientists Johanna Småros, Michael Falck, and Mikko Kärkkäinen to help retailers unify their planning systems. It provides retailers an easy way to integrate all aspects from demand & merchandise management through operational efficiency into one system for better decision making, reducing turnaround time while increasing sales efficiency.
Relex received a significant additional $200 million investment by TCV in 2019.
Relex solutions became a unicorn company in February 2022 with a current valuation of $5.7B.
Monzo is a British online bank that was founded by Gary Dolman, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein, and Tom Blomfield under the name Mondo in 2015. They provided customers with prepaid debit cards until 2017, when they finally introduced full banking accounts to all of their users, after setting up a dynamic relationship over time through customer service interactions or automatic payments.
According to Forbes, in 2016, Monzo set the record by raising $1.8 in funding in just 96 seconds, being the quickest fundraising round in history. As a result, the bank now serves over 5 million customers in Great Britain.
Monzo became a unicorn company in October 2018 with a valuation of $1.8B. Today, the company is worth $4.5B.
Sorare is a blockchain-based online football game from France, founded by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort in 2018. Players can trade and manage football teams via cards based on Ethereum cryptocurrency.
The amount of player cards is strictly limited and presented as NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Since Sorare has signed contracts with football leagues, they represent the actual football teams and players in the game, just like in EA's FIFA.
Sorare became a unicorn company in September 2021 by raising $680 million in Round C funding, getting a valuation of $4.3B. The company’s current worth is about the same.
MessageBird is a Dutch cloud communications platform established by Mollie founder Adriaan Mol and Robert Vis in 2011. The company has its own telecommunication carrier infrastructure, which allows companies to set sendings via SMS, messengers, social media, voice mails, etc. The list of their biggest customers includes Uber, SAP, Meta, Amazon, and Aramex.
MessageBird became a unicorn company in October 2020 with a valuation of $3B. Today, the company is worth $3.8B.
GoStudent is an Austrian edtech company founded by Felix Ohswald, Ferdinand von Hagen, and Gregor Muller in 2016. This online platform matches students with tutors based on their needs and preferences.
GoStudent uses artificial intelligence and computerized testing to ensure the right fit for every individual learner — whether they're learning English or taking up music. Lessons can be held digitally or via a mobile app.
GoStudent became a unicorn company in June 2021 with a valuation of $1.5B. Today, the company is worth $3.5B.
Mirakl is an e-commerce software company from France, founded by Philippe Corrot and Adrien Nussenbaum in 2012. In the co-founders' own words, they help companies become “...like Amazon.”
The platform allows small businesses to create their own marketplaces at scale. Starting in retail, Mirakl expanded across various industries, such as consumer-oriented ones, medical products, and food distribution.
Mirakl became a unicorn company in September 2020 with a valuation of $1.5B. Today, the company is worth more than $3.5B.
CMR Surgical is a British medical device company founded by Martin Frost in 2014. The company produces Versius, a robotic surgery tool, which, in their own words, “redefines human skills” and helps surgeons increase their performance.
Versius is controlled by a doctor sitting at the console and performs a keyhole surgery (minimally invasive surgery, carried out by a tiny incision), a complicated surgery usually performed by top specialists.
CMR Surgical became a unicorn company in September 2019 with a valuation of over $1B. Today, the company is worth $3B.
Jobandtalent is an online staffing marketplace from Spain, founded by Felipe Navio, Juan Urdiales in 2009. It is a new, innovative platform that aims to help companies find and hire talent more efficiently.
The company offers a service that helps companies hire more flexibly while being committed to reducing unemployment rates around the world by assisting workers to find employment opportunities.
Jobandtalent became a unicorn company in December 2021 with a valuation of $2.35B. The company’s current worth is about the same.
Spendesk is a French fintech platform, founded by Jordane Giuly, Rodolphe Ardant and Thibaud Elziere in 2016. The company offers various financial services to help customers manage their spending. They provide both business teams and employees with debit cards, virtual wallets,data analytics.
Spendesk became a unicorn company in January 2022 with a valuation of $1.4B. The company’s current worth is $1.5B.
Wayflyer is an Irish company that offers revenue-based financing to help grow e-commerce businesses, founded by Aidan Corbett, Jack Pierse in 2019. Wayflyer has a simple application process with no credit requirements for approval; they provide fast funding at affordable interest rates — all without any complications found on other platforms.
Wayflyer became a unicorn company in February 2022 with a valuation of $1.6B. The company’s current worth is the same.
Travel Perk is a travel managing company from Spain, founded by Avi Meir, Javier Suarez, and Ron Levin in 2015. The company helps businesses manage their travel and expenses. They do this by automatizing spending limits and implementing policies to control how much a corporation spends on an employee.
Travel Perk became a unicorn company in January 2022 with a valuation of $1.3. The company’s current worth is the same.
Paddle is a payments platform from the UK, founded by Christian Owens and Harrison Rose in 2012. The company takes away the pain of payment infrastructure. Paddle’s service is a more straightforward, cheaper, and safer way to handle everything related to your customers' transactions — from acquiring them all up until they are finished paying.
Paddle became a unicorn company in May 2022 with a valuation of $1.4B. The company’s current worth is the same.
Nexthink is a digital analytics software company from Switzerland, founded by Patrick Hertzog, Pedro Bados, and Vincent Bieri in 2004. With Nexthink, companies can improve by measuring employee satisfaction and productivity.
Their product range includes tools that help managers understand what makes an effective online presence; how people interact using various devices like desktop computers, mobile phones, tabletops, etc.
Nexthink became a unicorn company in February 2021 with an estimated worth of $1.1B. Currently, the company’s worth is nearly the same.
Marshmallow is an insurtech company from the UK, founded by Alexander Kent-Braham, David Goate, and Oliver Kent-Braham in 2017. Unlike most European insurtechs, which only offer banking or finance services, it’s one of the few that own its own insurance company.
The goal of this startup remains to “...shake up the outdated insurance industry” through accessible services for customers at affordable rates.
Marshmallow became a unicorn company in September 2021 with a valuation of $1.25B. The company’s current worth is about the same.
Cabify is a ridesharing company from Spain, founded by Juan de Antonio in 2011. The company operates in Spain and across Latin America. It’s similar to other billion-dollar taxi companies like Uber and Careem, with one significant difference — they do not take commissioned trips but instead act as an intermediary between drivers, who have their own car, and passengers looking for someone else's ride.
Cabify became a unicorn company in January 2018 with a valuation of $1.4B. The company’s current worth is about the same.
Nord Security is a digital privacy provider from Lithuania, founded by Eimantas Sabaliauskas, Jonas Karklys, and Tom Okman in 2012.
Their main product is NordVPN, ranked as one of the fastest VPNs in the world (according to Cnet) with 500 servers in 60 countries; the company also provides a password manager, end-to-end encryption tools, and many more services providing safe and secure internet surfing.
Nord Security became a unicorn company in April 2022 with a valuation of $1.6B. The company’s current worth is the same.
Qonto is a payment platform from France that enables users to receive payments in minutes. Founded by Alexandre Prot and Steve Anavi in 2016, the company offers safety features of traditional banks with its quick settlement times for small business transactions without any middlemen involved.
It also allows people who own Bitcoin or other digital currencies easily access their money via a mobile app and a web browser.
Qonto joined a unicorn companies list in January 2022 with a valuation of $4B. Today, the company is worth $5B.
Lunar Bank is a fintech platform from Denmark, founded by Ken Villum Klausen in 2015. The bank provides an ample variety of financial services, including insurance, savings accounts, and budgets. It also offers loans and investments in various markets, such as the stock market, that can be traded online. In addition, the bank provides free and premium accounts.
Lunar became a unicorn company in July 2021 with a valuation of $1B. Today, the company is worth $2B.
BlaBlaCar is a carpooling marketplace from France founded by Frédéric Mazzella in 2006. The company connects passengers with drivers who are willing to share their rides.
It operates in 22 countries across Europe and Latin America, acting as an intermediary between these two parties so they can carpool or rent out seats for cheaper rates than if they would use public transportation.
BlaBlaCar became a unicorn company in September 2015 with a valuation of $1.6B. Today, the company is worth $2B.
Bolt is a mobility company from Estonia, established in 2013 by Markus Villig, when he was only 19 years old. Markus borrowed $5000 from his parents, which he used to capitalize Bolt. The company started out as a taxi aggregator but now operates across multiple sectors and using its own fleet of vehicles.
Estonian and Finnish angel investors brought the company’s significant initial major funding of $2. In 2019, Bolt relaunched in London and started working across the globe. The company now operates in Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia.
Bolt became a unicorn company in May 2018 with a valuation of $1B. Today, the company is valued at $8.4B
Mambu is a German banking software company founded in 2011 by Frederik Pfisterer and Eugene Danilkis. The firm started out servicing microfinance organizations but now offers its own banking platform (based on SaaS model) across all industries and client types, including N26 and Solarisbank.
Mambu became a unicorn company in January 2021 with a valuation of over $1.7B. Today, the company's worth estimates at $5.5B.
Wefox is an insurtech company from Germany, founded by Julian Teicke in 2015. The company provides its personal insurance products in addition to third-party ones.
The company connects insurance agents to connect with their customers via Wefox’s platform and uses technology to decrease loss ratios compared to their rivals. According to Forbes, the company became Germany’s fastest-growing insurtech in 2019.
Wefox became a unicorn company in December 2019 with a valuation of $1.65B. Today, the company is worth at $4.5B.
Deliverect is a Belgian e-commerce platform, founded by Jan Hollez, Jelte Vrijhoef, Jerome Laredo and Zhong Xu in 2018. The company integrates third-party online ordering platforms like Uber Eats and others into their point-of-sale systems.
Deliverect's mission is to make it easier for food businesses and their customers. The company saves its clients time, focusingon what matters most — making and enjoying food.
Deliverect became a unicorn company in January 2022 with a valuation of $1.4B. The company’s current worth is about the same.
BrewDog, in point of fact, stands out on this list. It’s not related to the tech world;the company brews craft beer. Founded in a garage by two Scottish pals, James Watt and Martin Dickie, in 2007, based on a crowdfunding model.
The guys brought the American craft beer trend to the traditional UK setting and ,certainly, made the right choice. They were named the best-seller in Great Britain in 2019, according to The Morning Advertiser. The company launched a brewery in Ohio, USA, in 2016 and opened a funding series with a creative and fun video pitch (watch below).
BrewDog became a unicorn company in April 2017 with its estimated worth of $1.6B. The company’s current value is about the same.
Back Market is a marketplace for refurbished electronic devices from France, founded in 2014 by Quentin Le Brouster and his colleagues Thibaud Hug de Larauze and Vianney Vaute. The site currently has over 2 million products available across 13 countries in Europe and the USA.
The company is the most prominent French startup of 2022, according to sifted.com.
Back Market became a unicorn in May 2021 with a valuation of $3.2B. Today, the company is worth $5.7B.
Doctolib is a French cloud-based medical booking platform that helps doctors find patients and manage bookings. The company was established in 2013 by Franck Tetzlaff, Ivan Schneider, Jessy Bernal & Steve Abou Rjeily, with Thomas Landais joining them as Chairman of the board
Doctolib helps doctors find patients and manage bookings; patients, on the other hand, get free service that helps them book medical and dental appointments 24/7. The company initially raised over $6 million as a startup in 2014.
Doctolib became a unicorn company in March 2019 with a valuation of $1.13B. Today, the company is worth $6.4B.
The British fintech company, SumUp is an industry leader in providing customizable payment solutions for small businesses. With the support of well-known investors such as American Express and Groupon, amongst others, they had grown dramatically since 2012, when Jan Deepen founded it along with his four business partners — Marc-Alexander Christ, Petter Made, Daniel Klein, and Stefan Jeschonnek.
The company currently operates across 34 countries, maintaining its position at number 17 on Fortune’s list of “World's Most Admired Companies.”
The company raised over $200 million in its latest funding round in summer 2022.
SumUp became a unicorn company in July 2019 with a valuation of $1B. Today, the company is worth $8.5B.
Starling Bank is the digital challenger bank from England founded by Anne Boden in 2014. The company obtained its banking license in 2016. The bank currently operates within Great Britain with plans to expand across Europe soon.
Starling Bank became a unicorn company in March 2021 with a valuation of $1.3B. Today, the company’s worth is $3.34B.
Flix SE (former Flixmobility, owner of Flixbus, Flixtrain, Flixcar, and many more) Is a German transportation company, founded by Daniel Krauss, Jochen Engert, Olaf Rosati, and André Schwämmlein in 2013.
The company is known for its innovative business model, which includes mobility apps to buy tickets on the go. Flix SE has proliferated since its establishment and operates in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Brazil.
Flix SE became a unicorn company in July 2019 with a valuation of over $2B. Today, the company is worth $3B.
Aside from putting all the essential information about the company, what rules should startup founders follow to make a good pitch deck?
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