Here's how Airtable raised $160 million last year — and got a valuation of around $1 billion — without a pitch deck


Howie Liu

  • Airtable, the maker of an up-and-coming cloud spreadsheet app, raised $160 million last year without having to rely on a pitch deck, CEO Howie Liu said.
  • Investors were reaching out to Airtable, so it didn’t need to put together a presentation to solicit funding, Liu said.
  • Despite not having a pitch deck, Liu and his team had long discussions with potential investors about the business, he said.

It turns out that when you have a hot startup, you don’t need a pitch deck — investors will give you ample funding without one.

That’s what Howie Liu found out last year. His company, startup cloud spreadsheet maker Airtable, raised some $160 million in two different venture funding rounds without having to put together an official presentation for investors.

“The bizarre truth is that we didn’t actually use a formal pitch deck for either of [the two] rounds,” said Liu, Airtable’s CEO, in an email to Business Insider.

Read this: Here’s how to use Airtable, the user-friendly spreadsheet app that’s taking Silicon Valley by storm

The reason was that investors were reaching out to Airtable, unbidden, about backing the company, he said. The company has generated plenty of buzz — and a fast-growing user base — through its spreadsheet service, which allows users to easily incorporate items such as documents and pictures and to create custom applications.

So Liu and his team didn’t need to put together a pitch deck to solicit funding. 

That’s not to say that Airtable, which is now valued at around $1 billion and has previously gotten backing from actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher, was able to complete its Series B and C rounds with no questions asked. Instead, Liu spoke at length with potential backers, he said. They just didn’t put together a PowerPoint presentation for them.

The funding rounds “encompassed many weeks of fluid discussion with a small number of potential investment partners, diving into data, etc., but we never actually put together a deck,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Elizabeth Holmes bought an un-potty trained Siberian husky as Theranos crumbled, and it was a poignant symbol of the messy situation

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why Amazon canceled HQ2 in New York City and what it means for everyone involved