Here’s the deck Castle used to raise funding. In April 2015, they closed a $270,000 angel round. They are graduates of Y-Combinator. In total they have raised $2.77M in 5 Rounds from 10 Investors, including from Khosla Ventures and SV Angel.
Castle manages rental homes for landlords using automation and on-demand labor. We find tenants, collect rent, and coordinate maintenance, allowing owners to kick back, relax, and never worry about their rental properties again. Owners either have to deal with this whole mess themselves, or spend 10% of their rental income on a traditional property management company that requires constant supervision and is often incentivized to act against the owner’s best interest.
There are 43 million rental units in the United States, and most of them are currently managed with some combination of faxes, mail, and unreturned voicemails on the landlord’s personal phone. Castle moves all of property management into a seamless online experience, providing owners with transparency, speed, and incredible customer service—plus huge cost savings over traditional management. Renters get great service and instant updates about important issues.
All in all this is a pretty well done deck for an angel stage company. There are still a lot of unknowns and early traction, but I have a feeling the team are smart. It’s not often you can read the personality of a team in a deck.
- For once, they use the headers to tell the story of the deck, rather than just saying ‘problem.’ This is really supportive in passing the ‘flick test’ VCs do. The flick test is ‘can you flick through the deck in 15 seconds and get it?’
- They make good use of visualisation. It was not done by a graphic designer (well, at least one at large cost) but it’s definately good enough
- The deck starts well with good visualisation. I’m not sure I like the tagline ‘put your properties on autopilot.’ Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine for consumers, but for investors it could be better. I don’t really know what it means
- The second slide starts strong with a statement “Rental property owners want to make money without the work of being a landlord.” This is good at showing a problem
- The problem slide is good, follwing the previous slide as it sets the problem well. It couldn’t have been done that much better
- The ‘Owners save 40% with Castle’ is a catchy headline. That speaks to me and should to you too. The juxtapose the alternative and their offering. One bug bear is that the difference in pricing isn’t that huge. I’m not going to pound their pricing model here though
- I like they are positive about their traction. In around 4 months from soft launch they have for to 49 units. I just get a sense these guys are hustling. Sure the numbers aren’t huge, but I get a good feeling about them
- The go to market slide ‘and we have some great ways to grow’ shows some good level of thought. In a few sentances I have learnt about how these guys think. In some ways this is one of the best slides I have seen. They are really thinking about how to hack their growth such as writing scripts (like Thumbtack did), working up the chain to get landlords on board, freemium models and scraping databases
- The ‘team’ slide shows the team have build a startup together. That’s a very positive thing as it reduces some of the founder blow up risk. The negative is that they don’t actually say anything what so ever about who the founders and the team are. I like the deck so I would probably meet with them, but this is a peculiar omission
- The milestones are quite good. They use specific umbers which makes me believe their is a model behind it. I also like they are quite reasonable about market expansion (a great cause of failure). They only add markets 3 and 4 around 18 months later
- The ‘solution’ slide isn’t super. It isn’t bad, but it could be a bit better. It doesn’t really explain what the solution really is. It’s a bit of a wasted slide. “Automate landlording through software and on-demand labor” sounds like an obvious solution but it raises questions. ‘On demand’ is certainly a scary word in my books these days
- The ‘how it works’ slide is decent and simple. It might be good enough to get a meeting but I’m sure as hell going to have a lot of questions and hope they have another deck with a lot more details
- I don’t really like the ‘The Castle web app’ slide, I flicked through it and even forgot to make a note about it
- The ‘Competition’ slide is more of a c+ slide to me. It’s not that bad but I prefer a matrix. Maybe they don’t have direct startup competition but I find that hard to believe
- They don’t have an ‘ask’ slide. There are no source and use of funds
Castle pitch deck reading material
Castle Is A Property Management Platform From The Future
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