I don’t normally criticize fundraising decks we haven’t covered on londonbusinessblog.com, but for AdditionallyI had to make an exception because it’s a company that solves a spectacularly interesting problem.
Consumer packaging companies can produce products all day long, but marketing is an expensive challenge. Creators produce content all day long, but don’t always have an easy way to monetize their traffic. Of course, creators have access to affiliate marketing and/or promoting goods on behalf of brands, but Supliful comes with another option: the ability to use their brand to promote white-label supplements and health products.
Supliful also claims that it raised $1 million with a really interesting deck of cards, which perked up my little ears. Moreover, it was remarkably candid with its figures and slides, without any editing. Let’s dive right in.
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Slides in this deck
This is one of the best decks I’ve ever seen, despite being ugly and full of flaws.
On the first click through of the deck, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s full of typos and the design is terrible. But after scrolling through it more carefully, I reminded myself of my golden rule: people are willing to suffer bad UX for good content, but they won’t suffer from great design for bad content. This 22-slide deck isn’t perfect, but it’s a great example of how a business can use storytelling to make a point. It also uses a few slides that I very rarely see in slides (financial levers and predicates, to name a few) used with great success here.
- cover slip
- Case Study Teaser Slide
- problem slide
- Solution slide
- Market size slide
- ‘Why now’ slide
- “How it works” – product slide
- Financial levers slide
- Internal Sales/Market Growth Slide
- case study slide
- Stats Slide
- Match slide
- Predicates slide
- team slide
- Investors slide
- Financial projections slide
- Use of funds slide
- Slide with contact details
- Interstitial Slide: Attachments
- Appendix: Suppliers
- Appendix: Adjacent Market Opportunities
- Appendix: Maker Growth
Three things to love
This deck – despite the design and typos – is extraordinary and I’m not surprised that Supliful has successfully raised money. There’s a lot to love, but since there are a few options for doing this, I want to celebrate the more unusual slides that work really well.
Financial levers slide
High-quality founders understand the financial drivers of their business. I’m very passionate about this, and essentially it comes down to “if we spend 5x more here, we get 15x more revenue there”, or “if we spend 2x more on this aspect of product development, we cut time-to- market by a fifth.” Knowing how these things interrelate is crucial, I researched that more a few years ago:
Supliful has an entire slide that shows it has a deep understanding of what it needs to do to get where it wants to go:
This slide is deceptively simple, but it does a few things: it shows the company aims to reach $4 million in gross commercial value (GMV) over the next 18 months. That’s what the industry calls a BHAG – a big hairy audacious goal.
But it’s not just wishful thinking; Supliful explains that it knows how to get there – get an average markup to a third. Make sure they get 5% commission on shop windows. And roll out a subscription for creators. To people in the CPG space, those numbers don’t just seem reasonable, but also eminently achievable. The psychological effect of this slide is, “Well, I believe this company can pull this off.”
This slide clearly shows what drives Supliful’s growth and evolution, and that’s a lesson startup founders should take note of. If you can’t explain how you’re going to achieve your goals, is it because you don’t quite understand it or because there’s some complexity you haven’t cracked yet?
Super clear question slide
Kind of similar to the above, but instead of talking about the specific goal, which is related to understanding the financials within the company, this slide discusses how much the company is raising and what it can achieve if it does. It does two things beautifully: it shows how much Supliful is raising and what the money is being spent on. These are classic SMART goals: The company pledges 4,000 active creators, an education program, 15 vendors and testing capabilities, and automation tools to make sales more efficient for creators, all for $2 million. It’s clear and it’s easy to measure whether the business is on track.
For startup founders, the takeaway here is that clarity sells very well. There is no doubt what the company promises. My favorite is that the goals are clearly defined. This isn’t “we’ll get some more creators”, it’s “we’ll get 4,000”. This isn’t “we’re going to talk to some food suppliers,” it’s “we’ll find 15 and we’ll set up a testing lab to make sure what we’re selling lives up to its promises.
As a startup you sometimes find yourself between a rock and a hard place; yes, you want to turn a market upside down and change something important, but if you do, how do you know the customers want what you’re thrashing about? A great way to tell this part of the story is to use predicates – recognizable examples in neighboring markets – that show that what you do may be possible in your market.
Supliful picked print-on-demand services. Makers, especially cartoonists and visual artists, have long been selling their designs on T-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. The print-on-demand market for these audiences is well developed and you can point to a range of successful companies using this model to help creators make money. It goes without saying that print-on-demand works for cartoonists, but what about wellness and fitness creators? Tah-daaaaah, that’s where Supliful comes in. I like this as a storytelling technique because you can say, “Hey, it worked there, why wouldn’t it work for us?”
If you can find a comparable market with solid players that you can point to as a related market for what you do, it can help make the story seem less scary.
In the rest of this teardown, we’ll take a look at three things Supliful could have improved or done differently, along with the full pitch deck!