If you told me that a company that charges $70 a month for multivitamins would be able to raise a $10 million round, I’d like to see the receipts, and I’d be very curious indeed about the pitch deck. Looks like today is my lucky day!
Rootine is the company, and the founders were kind enough to share their pitch deck with me. Let’s find out what the investors saw in this startup.
The company first appeared in londonbusinessblog.com’s coverage as part of the Techstars accelerator in 2018. Anthony Ha reported that the company had 1,500 paying customers in Europe and was looking to expand in the US. Seems like that was a long journey that finally paid off.
Rootine’s deck is my 30th teardown — time flies! You can see the rest here, in case today’s reading isn’t pitch-decking enough for you.
We’re looking for more unique pitch decks to break down, so if you’d like to submit your own pitch decks here’s how to do it.
Slides into this deck
The Rootine deck consists of 29 slides and the team tells me there have been no omissions or redactions – this is what the investors saw when they were pitched!
- Cover slide
- Summary slide
- Traction overview slide
- Team slide
- “Why” slide
- Market Context Slide
- Shifting market size and trajectory
- Problem slide
- Solution slide
- “Community improves the member experience” – community slide
- Business model slide
- “The Precision Multivitamin” – product slide
- “Supported by a variety of home lab tests” – product slide
- “Innovative form factor for food products” – product slide
- Technology slide
- “Feedback Loop” – product slide
- Slide “How it works” – tracking member results
- Client Results Slide (“Member”)
- Traction slide for product
- Traction slide for the customer
- Traction slide partnership
- Competitive landscape slide
- Vision slide
- Slide with product roadmap
- Revenue projection slide
- Go-to-market evolution slide
- Slide advisors
- Requesting and using funds shifts
- Slide with contact details
Three things to love
Rootine’s slide deck is a masterclass; it includes everything I would expect in a card game. It goes deeper than I would have liked in the product, but looking through it again I can’t remove much of this deck to make it a lot better. By the way, there isn’t much I’d like to add either. That is a good sign. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
A “question” slide
By a fair margin, the slide is “asking and using funds”. the most screwed up slide in pitch decks, in my experience. This one isn’t perfect, but I’m so glad it’s here because it helps guide the conversation for what happens next.
I wish the company had mentioned on this slide how much money it raised to give it a bit of extra context. But that’s aside; I like the clarity here. Increasing ARR and membership numbers 3x and launching eight new products is a great set of goals. I wish the company had included deadlines (yes, 3x ARR… but when?), and “key hires” and “expand teams” are too light-hearted. But most startups don’t include any of this, so very good job there.
One small detail though: 30% growth, 40% technology, 20% community, 20% ops. oops. I like the realism that anything in startups can go over budget, and I believe in the wisdom of raising more than you think you need, but I’m pretty sure most investors prefer to raise funds use to add up to 100% .
As a startup, the lesson here is to show that you have clarity Why you raise money, as well as what you will achieve with the money. It’s embarrassingly rare to see any of these things clearly defined – and it’s literally the whole purpose of a pitch deck. The Rootine example above is a good starting point. Make it your own; Make it right.
Rootine has a few traction slides in its deck (one that makes me unhappy, but we’ll get to that), but I love how it bends its numbers in different ways to show how well the company is doing. Slide 19 shows some really cool traction:
An 18x increase in two years is objectively powerful. Having no numbers on the axes is a bit of cheating (why‽), but the trend is clear, so that’s encouraging. However, the slide I really want to celebrate Rootine for is the “summary” slide much earlier in the deck. slide 2:
I’m a sucker for a good business-by-the-numbers type of slide. I’m a little confused by the inconsistencies. londonbusinessblog.com reported that the company had about 1,500 customers in 2018, so the 2019 “launch” seems odd. It’s also risky to display projected numbers as part of slides; having it in two colors (blue for “real” numbers and maybe gray for the projected numbers) would have felt fairer.
I would also have liked more detail on the numbers behind the numbers. Acquisition costs, margins and all the numbers that drive a company forward. Especially in a Series A where a company is explicitly gearing up for growth, it would be good to have more detailed breakdowns of how the various key metrics have evolved over time.
How has customer acquisition cost (CAC) evolved over time? How have initial spend per customer and assumed lifetime value per customer shifted? What about cost of goods sold (COGS), etc.? As an investor, this is where I’d spend a lot of my due diligence time, so it makes sense to include most – if not all – of that as part of the presentation. If you position yourself as ready for growth, show that the numbers back it up!
As a startup, consider how you can use the numbers that drive your business to tell the story, both of what you’ve done and what you’ll be doing. If you have meaningful numbers that really show the growth of your business, use them to ram that point home. What you do is hard; boast, boast, boast!
The road to $1 billion
The whole goal of a startup is to scale insanely fast. The exponential curve that Rootine shows in this curve looks impressive and I’m not surprised that the investors got excited. I also suspect that investors would ask for it how on this point. I think it’s bold and exciting to claim to be a $1 billion company in six years. But it’s best to show up with the receipts.
I alluded to that above; I’d like to see the numbers driving this aggressive curve. Doubts aside; if you’re playing the VC game and raising growth capital, this is exactly the kind of claim you need to be able to make, backed with some confidence and the numbers to back it up.
In the rest of this teardown, we take a look at three things Rootine could have improved or done differently, along with the full pitch deck!