Syneroid recently lifted a $500,000 funding round to bring something halfway between microchips and dog collars to market. The company finds interesting slices of the market, but the game, overall, leaves a few things to be desired. We learn more from mistakes than from perfection, so I thought now would be a good time to dive into this week’s pitch deck teardown!
We’re looking for more unique pitch decks to take down, so if you’d like to submit yours, here’s how you can do so.
Slides in this deck
Throughout this pitch deck teardown, you’ll see the company called Syneroid and GPC Smart – the official company name is the first, but the brand they use for the pitch deck and its products is the second. The company told me it raised this round at a $3.9 million valuation.
The company used a tight set of 12 slides for its pitch, and no information was redacted or omitted.
- cover slide
- problem slide
- Competition slide
- Solutions Slide
- Slide Competitive Advantages
- Story/Pull Slide
- Merchant size zipper
- Target markets/go-to-market slide
- Team slide
- Operational Finance Slide
- Lay the slide
- Contact slide
three things to love
Syneroid enters a market that is very easy to understand: lost pets are something most of us have experienced in one way or another. This is an advantage in that you don’t have to explain the market in detail. It also means the company faces a wall of potential competitors even as it tries to gain traction. It’s a challenge, and it’s interesting to see how Syneroid tackles it.
Cover the gap between the perceived and the real
Because the company is entering a relatively well-mastered market, its challenge is not to explain what it does but how it advances the market. The second company slide is labeled “overview,” which helps to quickly get a picture of the overall challenge facing this particular market segment.
An investor probably knows at least some of this, but these chips increase (or gently correct) any preconceptions an investor might have, smoothing out the delta between their Perception of the market and the realities of being in this market. This slide – although quite long – does a very good job of clearing up any misunderstandings an investor might have.
That said, it also raises important questions. Lost animals are only part of the challenge; stolen pets will have their collars removed and pets that stray can sometimes lose their collars. Syneroid doesn’t really address either scenario.
Excellent overview of the competition
It’s pretty rare to see a startup bring the big picture of their competitors to the forefront, but I think it was a really smart move in this case. Again, this is not a deep tech game or a market shrouded in mystery. I suspect most potential investors would be able to offer the two main competitors. Tackle this head-on seems a bit defensive, but given the market, I think it makes a lot of sense in this case. Here’s how the company approached it:
There are a number of obvious competitors in this space, including the more common, existing etched metal tags or injected microchips, both of which have their own pros and cons. There are also the latest generation of GPS-enabled dog collars, such as those from Fi, Whistle, Fitbark and others, which are not considered in this competitive landscape.
If the animal is stolen, the thief will simply throw away the collar, and then it doesn’t matter what is on the collar.
This slide shows an understanding of the competitive landscape. I love that the company chose to tackle this problem from the start. I think it’s important, and it’s a great way to get ahead of the most obvious investor rejection.
As on the previous slide, although her presence is encouraging, it raises a few questions. I think an NFC/QR code dog collar is nice, but I struggle to see how they are inherently better than standard engraved tags. The exact laser-engraved tag pictured doesn’t cost $15, as shown on the slide, but can be ordered from Amazon — fully personalized — for $4, with four lines of text on each side of the metal tag.
Of course, you can’t “update” the information, but pet owners can probably afford the $4 every time they move house or change phone numbers. You can’t include location information, but someone willing to catch a stray puppy is likely able to text or call the owner with an address and details. Again, if the pet is stolen, the thief will simply throw away the collar, and at that point it doesn’t matter what is on the collar. As far as tracking goes, an Apple AirTag might be a good solution for these situations (but throwing an AirTag into the bushes is just as easy as any other collar).
This slide shows that the founders understand the challenges with their messaging and positioning, but it also shows that their responses are a work in progress.
A market beast
The pet market, in the United States and around the world, is incredibly large. Investors know this, but adding a reminder can’t hurt. You don’t have to capture so big of market share to build a very important business here.
One of the things that investors love above all else is a huge and growing market. Wearables for pets are definitely qualified in this world, and my gut tells me that smart wearables (especially GPS-like trackers) are going to drive value on this front. There’s probably room for a product like GPC, if it’s able to play its cards right and find a good beachhead market for its customers. Pricing is going to be crucial here; this will be a product for people who want something fancier than an engraved tag but something simpler (or cheaper/easier to use) than a GPS tracker.
This slide shows the overall market size, which is impressive, but I would have liked it even better if the company said something about what it thinks is its usable market and how it’s going to tackle those customers.
The one thing you can learn from this slide as a startup? Have a clear idea of the size of your market and show that it is important and that it tends towards growth.
In the rest of this teardown, we’ll take a look at three things Syneroid could have done better or done differently, along with its full pitch deck!
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