Rarely have I come across a financing package that ticks almost all the boxes. In fact, it was so good that I fed Plantee’s deck into an AI tool I built, and it determined that Plantee had a 97.7% chance of raising money. The tool typically determines that only about 7.5% of all pitches are qualified, so Plantee’s pitches are undoubtedly excellent.

What the bot didn’t notice, however, was that Plantee’s Kickstarter campaign was canceled before it was completed, among other things that were confusing. Let’s take a closer look at what works and what can be improved.


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Slides in this deck

  1. coverslip
  2. Summary slide
  3. Team slides
  4. Advisor and Investor Slides
  5. task slides
  6. Market Validation Slides
  7. question slides
  8. Solution Slides
  9. product slideshow
  10. Athletic landscape slide
  11. Traction slide
  12. Target customer slideshow
  13. Market size slideshow
  14. GTM Slides
  15. Pricing and Unit Economics Slides
  16. visual slideshow
  17. Funding Request and Usage Slides
  18. Operations Plan Slide
  19. end slide
  20. Appendix Slide I: Products in Development
  21. Appendix Slide II: Sources and References

Three things to love about Plantee’s promotional materials

It turns out that the team at Plantee read my Pitch Deck teardowns very carefully indeed, and it shows. The company includes a lot of detail in its decks.

This is how you make an introduction!

Slides 1 and 2 together (Slide 1 at the top of the article) lay the foundation for investors to understand 100% the what, why and how of the company:

[Slide 2] A one-page summary deserves applause. Image Source: plant extract

The opening slides of Plantee Innovations’ pitch deck are rock solid. Between the two slides, the founder provides a clear and engaging presentation of the company’s proposition and goals. The concise overview captures the audience’s attention from the outset, but also serves the dual purpose of effectively setting levels for investors and tailoring filter interests to investment themes. The cover slide includes “IoT Smart Home/B2C Consumer Electronics/Agritech/Raised $1.7M” – this is basically keyword bingo, helping investors decide whether to jump in or throw the deck right away. That’s a good thing: If the company isn’t a good fit for investors, they can leave immediately.

Must like good technical solutions

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 of them all over my apartment and I can keep most of them alive. As mentioned before, I love Plantee’s foolproof approach to plant parenting.

[Slide 8] Technology, artificial intelligence and happy plants. Image Source: plant extract

I’d hazard a guess that most plant owners only think about light once: when they first bring their plants into the house. They’ll consider watering as much as possible, hopefully before the plant becomes a dry, crispy mess in the corner of the dresser. I’m glad there’s an AI that handles everything else 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 newbie plant dad, but this has me a little confused. I have never heard anyone mention air humidification and soil heating. Of course, I can believe that these things have an impact, but I do wonder to what extent it’s worth worrying about.

good competitive landscape

This is a market without many competitors. From one perspective, that’s a good thing: It means the market is booming, and Plantee can see how well its competitors are doing and position itself accordingly.

[Slide 10] There are many competitors. Image Source: plant extract

As a competitive overview slide, this is quite comprehensive. It divides the competitive landscape into “hard to grow” versus “easy to grow” and specialist growers (e.g. mushroom/avocado growers) versus generalist growers. This all makes sense, but there’s still a small piece of the puzzle missing: As far as I know, the only real exit in this space was ScottsMiracle-Gro’s acquisition of AeroGarden for about $50 million. It’s not the smallest acquisition in the world, but it’s not very encouraging either.

My other question is whether this dichotomy makes sense. If someone grows a bonsai (a specific use case proposed by the Plantee team), they may not repot that plant, which presents an interesting challenge. If you market yourself as “you can grow anything,” I would assume that you will occasionally want to replant. However, small bonsai trees can live up to 800 years, so it’s hard to argue that the “grow everything” argument is that strong of a selling point.

Three Things Plantee Could Improve

First impressions are that the Plantee deck is excellent, with the AI ​​tools giving it a 97% chance of success. As a human investor, I’m less convinced, 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 people who have tried (and failed) in this area. GROW raised $2.4 million back in 2017, but eventually stalled. A few years ago, I reviewed the $1,000 Abby, which, like Plantee, was a $100,000 pre-sale product on Kickstarter that did terribly. I also built my own hydroponic system for less than $150, which obviously requires more work, but it goes to show that these types of systems don’t have to be expensive.

Plantee faces some pretty strong competition. On the low end, you can buy a pod-based hydroponic system for as little as $40. If you want to spend a little more, Click & Grow has your back. Rise Gardens recently raised $9 million in funding. People kill houseplants all the time, but most plants are easy to care for. If you need help, a quick Google search for “AI plant growing apps” will give you dozens of options, most of which are free.

My biggest challenge with the Plantee deck is not what it has, but what it lacks: a broader context. If you take all the company’s claims at face value, this is a great opportunity. However, narrow it down a bit, talk to some plant enthusiasts, and you’ll realize that maybe the gap in the market isn’t as big as people think. The underlying assumption in Plantee’s story seems to be that someone who’s not good at growing plants would spend $1,400 on a fancy automatic planter.

I think it’s a fallacy that people who aren’t good with plants will get a kitten, or paint watercolors, or keep a plastic plant before they’re willing to spend four months’ car money on a fancy piece of technology.

So what happened to the Kickstarter campaign?

[Slide 11] Plantee contends that its Kickstarter campaign is part of market validation. But there’s a problem. Image Source: plant extract

In fact, Plantee did convince 109 backers to commit just over $100,000 to its product. The campaign was fully funded in less than eight hours, but was canceled less than a month later.

what happened? Image Source:Screenshot from Kickstarter

This puts the Plantee team in a strange position: it claims that the Kickstarter campaign proves the market works. That might be true: The company said it was able to attract pre-order customers with a CAC of $275. By selling 109 units, the company spent about $30,000, based on basic math, and made $100,000 worth of sales. Assuming the product is profitable enough to make customer acquisition costs meaningful, that’s not too bad.

The problem, however, is that the company made no mention of the event being canceled in its promotional materials, nor did it discuss it. Why It was cancelled. It may argue that it never intended to run a Kickstarter campaign, but that it was simply a marketing test to help confirm whether there was a market for such a product.

I’m not sure if this makes sense. Plantee’s campaign follows the success of EcoQube ($300,000 in 2019 funding), GroBox ($70,000 in 2019 funding), Herbert ($280,000 in 2019 funding) and dozens of other companies, and it’s unclear where Plantee will go from here What was learned from this activity. Since then, many others have launched successful campaigns on Kickstarter (Herbstation, MarsPlanter, GrowChef).

In short, I’m struggling to figure out how the Kickstarter campaign fits into the overall narrative, and Plantee isn’t doing itself any favors by seeming to sidestep the question. I had one of my own Kickstarter campaigns fail a decade ago that ended up taking down the entire company, and maybe I’m being sensitive about it, but personally, I’d include a “So, what happened to Kickstarter” slideshow? . The appendix is ​​there to give us a head start on this part of the story. Bad news should travel fast.

A little bit dramatic

I love telling great stories, don’t get me wrong, but some parts of this promotional material seem to have lost all perspective. Phrases like “never lose another green child,” “it all started when a good friend of mine died,” and “stress that affects growers’ mental health” are undoubtedly powerful and emotional, but for us For these people who have lost a close friend, suffered severe mental health challenges, or actually lost a human child, it seems rather tasteless to compare the overwhelming and almost unbearable pain to losing a house plant.

[Slide 5] I’m sorry for your loss, Ondra, but this borders on vulgar. Image Source:plant.

Complete pitch materials


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