Underrated startup demos

What are the coolest startup product demos you've ever seen? Here's my list of favorites 📺

Steve Jobs famously said: “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.”


Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

In tech startups, however, there’s a dangerous misconception that you should let the product speak for itself. "Great products sell themselves” they say.

It rarely works that way. By relying on your product’s so-called innate congenial talents, you are leaving too much to chance.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the top 1% successful product creators take an alternate approach and choose to tell their own stories. They get intentional and pro-active in telling a powerful story that can rally an early adopter community .. using their product as an aid.

But where do you start? How do you make your product demo compelling?

Well, I’d start with studying and taking notes from the greats. The iconic demos.

Here are some iconic startup product demos to spark your imagination: ⚡️

1. Dropbox

What I love about it?

The demo is presented by the founder Drew Houston himself. It’s raw, authentic, clear and speaks directly to the target user (in this case, a tech savvy early adopter). In 90% of the cases, don’t aim to be clever. Just clear and simple will take you really far in helping connect with your audience.

2. Mmhmm

What I love about it?

Who remembers this demo from 2020? It blew up on tech Twitter. I love how hilarious and comprehensive the demo is. Phil’s a natural storyteller despite looking very unassuming. The marketing cost for this was probably $0 given it was just Phil showing the tool around.

3. Descript

What I love about it?

One of the rare well executed high-budget marketing demos. The video is a blend of fun visuals, popping colors, well branded storyline yet somehow retained a startup vibe and highlighted key product features.

4. Patreon

What I love about it?

I love that this was a high-budget demo but directed in a way to highlight Jack Conte as the narrator. Why? Because he’s the ultimate user himself given that he’s a creator who can be relatable to the average Patreon user. I also love how each frame in the video features a specific Patreon creator as the story unfolds.

5. tl;dv

What I love about it?

That it is funny as hell. Plus you can tell it was done on a shoestring budget by a scrappy founder. Less budget but more wit. It won a Product Hunt award for the best video in 2021.

6. Replit

What I love about it?

Feels like a scene from a sci-fi movie. Replit is a beloved developer tool and this demos shows how the tool is evolving rapidly and adding more innovative use-cases like “taking to an IDE” and letting AI write /refactor code.

Finally, my favorite one of them all:

7. Runway

What I love about it?

Similar to Replit, Runway is about a painting a picture (pun intended) of what’s possible with the technology. Clearly done with a high-budget agency, it still retains the essence of a startup showing it’s latest creation. Turning text into visuals is masterfully presented through a series of imaginative prompts. The music and the fun ending makes it extra compelling.

What did you think of this list? What is your favorite? Do you have any other demo you love more?

Thank you for reading and giving me a piece of your attention!