We’ve heard a lot about how ISIS uses social media to recruit new members and spread it’s message. And as MATTER pointed out- if ISIS was a start-up, they’d be working with some pretty impressive statistics. But we could never have guessed how much the start-up mindset is engrained in their culture. Recent documents acquired by the Gabbler show ISIS’s latest pitch to investors.

By Lisa DeBenedictis and Dan Nott  

ISIS: Competitive Startup in A Fast-Paced Environment

Slide 1: Who We Are

ISIS is a band of young professionals seeking to redefine the boundaries of governance in the Middle East. ISIS combines the dynamic professionalism of a modern day army with the flare and edginess of a 21st century terrorist organization, with computer skills beyond “proficiency in Microsoft Office.”

  • Core members educated and radicalized in the most prestigious American prisons.
  • Years of hands-on experience operating in the explosive Syrian market.
  • Many everyday people, looking for a positive change and direction in their life!


Slide 2: Our Product:

The Islamic State provides social and security services to underserved communities across the Levant.*

*Must subject oneself completely to ISIS’s brand of Islam to receive benefits. Not valid for certain minority groups already deemed heretical. Failure to comply may result in injury or death.  


Slide 3: Market

Our organization has seized upon recent realty opportunities resulting from the Syrian Civil War and the legacy of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Market research found large amounts of territory to be entirely ungoverned, creating huge demand for our product to fill. Based in the historic “Cradle of Civilization,” ISIS is well-positioned to capitalize on the demands of this unique market and expand internationally.


Slide 4: Competition and Competitive Advantages

ISIS faces significant competition from established states as well as other start-ups in both the Syrian and Iraqi markets. However, our funding, modern technology, and ruthless ambition will guarantee our advantage over competitors.


  • Heavily saturated market: In a highly fractured environment, ISIS’s brand recognition stands out as an extreme alternative to ordinary start-ups.
  • Moderate Forces and Other Extremists: Thanks to captured U.S. weapons from Iraq, ISIS maintains a powerful advantage over less-established competitors like the Free Syrian Army and the al-Nusra Front.
  • Assad’s Regime: Business interests temporarily aligned.


  • Iraqi National Government: An unpopular, ineffective brand, detachment from local communities, and dysfunctional structure means the Iraqi government poses little threat to our growth.
  • Iraqi Kurdistan and Peshmerga: ISIS’s main competitor in Northern Iraq, ISIS is working hard to outcompete the ambitious Kurdish up-start and seize assets wherever possible.
  • United States: Both an adversary and unwitting partner, the U.S.’s actions to dismantle ISIS are key to increasing our growth and credibility across the region.


Slide 5: Growth Outlook

Over the past 3 years, ISIS has seen indomitable growth by every possible metric:

  • Members: Over the past 3 years, ISIS’s membership has increased from 1,000 to up to 80,000 members! Additionally, we expect huge increases in recruitment following initial airstrikes by the U.S. and other countries.
  • Territory: Now in control of up to 35,000 square miles of territory.
  • Capital: Crucial infrastructure includes oil fields and refineries, as well as over $2 billion in cash on hand.
  • Revenue: ISIS brings in up to $3 million each day from diversified sources, including revenue from exports to other markets, mandatory crowd-funding from individuals and businesses, as well as tangential professional services such as merchandising, ransoms, bank robberies.


Slide 6: Reviews and Testimonials: 

The ISIS brand is now internationally recognized, and discussed widely. VICE made a video about us. The international community, stunned by our fiery expansion, is clearly impressed by our credentials and abilities.

“[ISIS] is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded”…”This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.”

                        –Chuck Hagel, U.S. Secretary of Defense

“I do think they [ISIS] present the greatest threat we’ve seen since 9/11.”

                        – Representative Michael McCaul, chair of USA’s Homeland Security Committee

[ISIS is] “probably more sophisticated than most U.S. companies.”

                       – Aaron Zelin, Washington Institute, on ISIS’s social media game.

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