I normally don’t. I had to do something different for the crowdfunding critique forums I don’t cover on TechCrunch, but for Supliful, a company that solves an amazing problem.
Consumer packaged goods companies can churn out products all day long, but marketing is a costly challenge. Creators produce content all day long but don’t always have an easy way to generate traffic. Of course, creators have the opportunity to promote affiliate marketing and/or goods on behalf of brands, but Supliful comes with another option: the ability to promote their own brand of white-labeled supplements and health products.
Men’s Journal breaks down the simple genius of the business model, and TechRound conducted an interview with the founder detailing the details of the company, its founder, and its formation.
Supliful says it has raised $1 million. Also, it was incredibly clear with the numbers and slides without any editing. Let’s dive right in.
We’re looking for more unique pitches to break down, so if you’d like to submit your own, here’s how to do that.
Slides on this floor
Even though it’s pretty ugly and full of bugs, this is one of the best decks I’ve ever seen.
On first click of the deck, I couldn’t get over the fact that it was full of typos and the design was awful. But after looking at it carefully, I remembered to go by the golden rule: people are willing to suffer bad UX for good content, but not great design for bad content. This 22-slide deck isn’t perfect, but it’s a great example of how a company can use storytelling to make a point. He uses a few slides that I rarely see in slide decks (Financial Levers and Forecasts, to name a couple) to great effect here.
- Cover slide
- Case study teaser slide
- Problem slide
- The solution slider
- Market size slide
- “Why now” slide
- “How it works” – product slide
- Slides of money lifts
- Internal sales/market growth slide
- Case study slide
- Parameters slide
- Competition slide
- The slide predicts
- Group slide
- Investors slipped
- Financial forecasts slide
- Money usage slider
- Contact information slide
- Middle slide: Appendices
- Appendix: Suppliers
- Appendix: Market opportunities in the neighborhood
- Appendix: Creative Development
Three things to love
This deck – despite the design and typing – is unique, and I’m not surprised that Supliful has successfully funded it. There’s a lot to like, but since there are few opportunities to do so, I’d like to celebrate the odd slides that actually work.
Slides of money lifts
High-quality founders understand what the financial drivers are in their company. I really like this, and basically, it boils down to “If we spend 5x more here, we’ll earn 15x more there” or “If we spend 2x more in this area of product development, we’ll get a cut.” It is very important to know how these things hang. I researched this further a few years ago:
Supliful has a full slide showing that he has a deep understanding of what it takes to get to where he wants to be.
This slide is deceptively simple, but it does a few things: It shows that the company wants to hit $4 million in gross merchandise value (GMV) over the next 18 months. That’s what the industry refers to as a BHAG – a big hairy audacious goal.
But it’s not just a wish; Suppliful explains that he knows how to get there – average marks up to third. Make sure they get 5% commission on the storefront. And create a subscription plan for creators. To those in the CPG space, those numbers seem not only reasonable, but eminently achievable. The psychological impact 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 to hit your goals, is that because you don’t fully understand or because there’s something complicated that you haven’t cracked yet?
Very clear question slide
It is similar to the above, but instead of talking about a specific goal, it is related to understanding the financials in the business, this slide tells how much the company is growing and what it can achieve when it does. It does two things beautifully – it breaks down how much Supliful is raising and it shows what the money is being spent on. These are typical SMART goals: The company is promising 4,000 active inventors, an education program, 15 vendors, and testing capabilities and automation tools to make selling to inventors more efficient, all for $2 million. It is clear, and it is easy to measure whether the company is on the right track.
For startup founders, the takeaway here is that transparency sells well. There is no doubt what the company promises. I like that the goals are clearly defined. This isn’t “we’ll get more creators,” it’s not “we’ll get 4,000.” It’s not “we’ll meet with some food vendors” but “we’ll find 15, and we’ll bring in a testing lab to make sure what we’re selling lives up to its promise.”
He predicts! Yaaaaaas!
As a startup, you are occasionally caught between a rock and a hard place. Yes, you want to up-market and change something important, but when you do, how do you know if your customers want what you’re whipping up? The best way to tell this part of the story is to use examples—relevant examples in adjacent markets—that show what you’re doing is likely to exist in your market.
A wide selection of on-demand printing services. Creators and especially cartoonists and visual artists have long sold their designs on t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. The on-demand publishing market for these audiences is well developed, and you can point to successful companies. Use this model to help creators earn money. Publishing on demand works for cartoonists, but what about health and fitness creators? Tah-daaaaah, that’s where Supliful comes in. I like this as a storytelling technique because it says, “Hey, it worked there, why doesn’t it work for us?” You can say
If you can find a comparable market with strong players that you can point to as a relevant market for what you do, it helps the story seem less daunting.
For the rest of this teardown, we’ll look at three things with the full deck that Supliful could have improved or done differently.