Pitch Deck Teardown: Planty Innovations' $1.4M Seed Deck | Tech Crunch

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It's rare that I see a pitch deck that ticks almost all the boxes. It's so good, in fact, that I fed the Plantee deck into an AI tool I built and it determined that Plantee had a 97.7% chance of raising money. This tool typically ensures that only 7.5% of all pitch decks are up to scratch, so Planty's is positively off the charts.

What the robots didn't pick up, however, was that Planty's Kickstarter campaign was canceled before completion, and there were a few other confusing bits. Let's dive in to see what works and what could be improved.

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Slides in this deck

  1. Cover slide
  2. Summary slide
  3. Team slide
  4. Advisors and investors slip up
  5. Mission Slide
  6. Market validation slide
  7. The problem is the slide
  8. Solution Slide
  9. Product slide
  10. Competition landscape slide
  11. Traction slide
  12. Target customer slide
  13. Market size slide
  14. GTM Slide
  15. Cost & Unit Economics Slide
  16. Vision Slide
  17. Ask and use the funds slide
  18. Operating plan slide
  19. Closing the slide
  20. Annexure Slide I: Products under development
  21. Appendix Slide II: Sources and references

Three things to love about Planty's pitch deck

It turns out the Planty team read my pitch deck teardowns very carefully, and it shows. The company has tons of details on its deck.

How do you make an introduction!

Slides 1 and 2 together (Slide 1 is at the top of the article) set the stage for the investor to 100% understand the what, why and how of the company:

(Slide 2) One page summary of praise. Image Credits: Planty

Planty Innovations Pitch Deck Starter Slides are rock solid. Between the two slides, the founders provide a clear and engaging introduction to what the company stands for and what it aims to achieve. A brief overview captures the audience's attention from the start, but also serves the dual purpose of effectively setting the stage for investors and filtering interest based on investment thesis alignment. The cover slide includes “IoT Smart Home / B2C Consumer Electronics / AgriTech / Raising $1.7M” — basically keyword bingo to help investors decide whether to jump right into the deck or trash it. That's a good thing: If the company doesn't sit well with investors, they can move on right away.

A good technical solution should be preferred

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a raging nerd and I love a good gadget. I also love plants; I have dozens in my apartment and I can keep most of them alive. As explained, I like Planty's approach to foolproofing plant parenthood.

(Slide 8) Technology, AI and happy plants. Image Credits: Planty

I imagine most plant owners think about light exactly once: when they first bring a plant indoors. Before the plants are a dry, brittle, sad mess in the corner of the dresser, consider watering them as often as possible. I'm glad the AI ​​is taking care of all the other stuff, because I didn't know plants needed so much!

On the one hand, it's a relief. On the other hand, maybe I'm just a naive and inexperienced plant daddy, but it confused me a bit. I've never heard anyone mention air humidity and soil heating. I can be convinced that there is a difference in these things, sure, but I'm definitely curious as to how much it's worth worrying about.

Good competitive landscape

It is a market without many competitors. Viewed through one lens, that's a good thing: it means there's a growing market, and Plantee can see what its competitors are doing well or poorly and position itself accordingly.

(Slide 10) That's a lot of competitors. Image Credits: Planty

As a competitive overview slide, it's pretty comprehensive. It separates the competitive landscape into “hard to grow” and “easy to grow” and into specialty (eg, mushroom/avocado growers) and general growers. That all makes sense, but here's still a small piece of the puzzle: the only real exit I know of in this space is the purchase of AeroGarden for about $50 million. Not the smallest purchase in the world, but not terribly encouraging.

Another question I have is whether this dichotomy even makes sense. If someone plants bonsai — a specific use case pitched by the Planty team — they probably won't be able to repot that plant, which is an interesting challenge. If you position yourself in the market that “you can grow anything,” I assume you'll want to replant occasionally. A small bonsai tree, however, can grow up to 800 years, so it's hard to claim that the “outlasts all plants” argument is very strong.

Three things Planty could improve

At first glance, the Planty deck is quite unusual and the AI ​​tool gave it a 97% chance of success. As a human investor, I'm less confident and I disagree with AI for a few key reasons.

Does it make sense as a product?

I love a good indoor growing system and there are many who have tried (and failed) in this space. GROW raised $2.4 million back in 2017, before it finally stalled. I reviewed the $1,000 Abby a few years ago, which, like Planty, pre-sold $100,000 worth of products on Kickstarter, and it was terrible. I even built my own hydroponics system for under $150, which is obviously a lot of work, but it goes to show that these types of systems don't have to be expensive.

Planty is up against some pretty formidable competition. On the low end, for just $40 you can opt for a pod-based hydroponic system. If you want to spend a little more, Click & Grow has your back. Rise Gardens recently raised a $9 million round. People kill houseplants all the time, but most of them are easy to care for. If you need some help, a quick Google search for “AI plant growing app” will give you dozens of options, many of which are free.

My biggest challenge with the Planty deck isn't what's there, but what's missing: the wider context. If you take all of the company's claims at face value, this is an extraordinary prospect. However, zoom out a bit and talk to a few plant lovers and you'll realize that the gap in the market isn't as big as one might think. The assumption underlying the Planty story is that people who are bad for plants will spend $1,400 on a fancy automatic plant pot.

I'd argue that's wrong, and that people who are bad about plants would rather get a kitten, or take up watercolors, or get a plastic plant, than invest four months' worth of car payments on a fancy piece.

So what happened to that Kickstarter campaign?

(Slide 11) Planty argues front and center that its Kickstarter campaign is part of market validation. But there is a catch. Image Credits: Planty

Planty, in fact, convinced 109 backers to pledge just over $100,000 for its product. The campaign was fully funded in less than eight hours, but canceled after just one month.

what happened Image Credits: Screenshot from Kickstarter

That puts the Planty team in an odd position: The Kickstarter campaign claims to prove market validation. And that may be true: the company says it was able to lure its preorder customers to $275 CAC. Basic math dictates that by selling 109 units, the company spent about $30,000 to make $100,000 worth of sales. That's not too shabby, assuming there's enough margin in the product to make the cost of customer acquisition worthwhile.

The problem, however, is that nowhere in the company's pitch deck does it state and discuss that the campaign has been cancelled why It was cancelled. It could be argued that this was never intended to serve as a Kickstarter campaign and was merely a marketing test to help determine if there was a market for this sort of thing.

I'm not sure that makes sense. Before Plantee's campaign, EcoQube ($300,000 in funding in 2019), GroBox ($70,000 in funding in 2019), Herbert ($280,000 in funding in 2019) and dozens of others were already successful, and it's not entirely clear what Plantee learned from this exercise. Since then, others have had successful Kickstarter campaigns (HerbStation, MarsPlanter, GrowChef).

Simply put, I'm having a hard time figuring out how the Kickstarter campaign fits into the overall story, and by seeming to skip the issue off the deck, Planty isn't doing itself any favors. Maybe I'm being too sensitive after one of my own Kickstarter campaigns went down in flames a decade ago and eventually took the entire company with it, but personally, I'd include a “So, what happened with Kickstarter” slide. An appendix to bring that part of the story forward. Bad news must travel fast.

A little on the dramatic side

I love me some good stories, don't get me wrong, but parts of this pitch deck seem to miss all points of view. Phrases like “never lose another green baby,” “it started when my best friend died,” and “the stress that affects the mental health of caregivers” are undoubtedly powerful and emotionally charged, but for those of us who have lost a good friend, have serious mental health challenges, or Indeed, the loss of a human child is not very palatable to compare its vast and almost unbearable pain with the loss of a houseplant.

(Slide 5) Ondra, I'm sorry for your loss, but this is bordering on bad taste. Image Credits: Planty.

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