In 2009, coming out of Techstars, SendGrid set out to raise a seed round. The original target was $300,000. They ended up raising $750,000 in that round. Eight years later, they went public at around a $1B valuation. Shortly thereafter, Twilio acquired SendGrid for $2 billion.

Great success stories have humble beginnings. This was true for SendGrid.

I hope you find this deck useful or at least entertaining to see. In looking back at it a decade later, I notice two things:

1) The deck is remarkably similar to the business they built.

As a seed investor and accelerator, we often see major changes from the seed round pitch deck to what the business actually ends up doing. This was not the case for SendGrid. The founders stayed true to their original vision, which is somewhat unusual.

2) The deck isn’t overly stylized.

Today, we see people spending a lot of energy making their decks look super beautiful. SendGrid didn’t do that, but there’s a lot of substance. While design does matter, the content of the pitch and the business are by far the more important things.

When it comes to your pitch deck, substance matters a lot more than form.

If you want even more commentary on this deck, here’s a video where we break down the pitch done by Isaac Saldana, co-founder of SendGrid, a few years after their Techstars Demo Day:

And if you want to know what a founder does after a $2 billion exit, you can read all about what Isaac’s up to now.


Want to learn how to #domorefaster and give a great pitch? Learn more about Techstars mentorship-driven accelerators.

A version of this post appeared originally on David Cohen’s blog.


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David Cohen
(@davidcohen) Founder & Co-CEO of Techstars, previously founder of several technology companies. David is an active startup advocate, advisor, board member, and technology advisor who comments on these topics on his blog at