CountertopSmart

Early Stage

The ingenious way to save big on countertops

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $111,080

Aggregate Commitments $

Platform

Republic

Start Date

01/19/2021

Close Date

04/10/2021

Min. Goal

$25,000

Max. Goal

$1,070,000

Min. Investment

$100

Security Type

SAFE

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Seed

Valuation Cap

$8,500,000

Discount Rate

0%

Rolling Commitments $

Status
Funded
Reporting Date

04/30/2021

Days Remaining
Funded
% of Min. Goal

444%

% of Max. Goal

10%

Likelihood of Max
Funded
Avg. Daily Raise

$1,371

# of Investors

187

Momentum
Funded
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Location

Austin, Texas

Industry

Consumer Products, Goods & Services

Tech Sector

CommerceTech

Distribution Model

B2B/B2C

Margin

High

Capital Intensity

Low

Business Type

Life Style

CountertopSmart, with a valuation cap of $8.5 million, is raising funds on Republic. It is an online marketplace that helps buyers search local partial slabs by the size, color, and species of their choice. The users can also get a quote for installation and see the stone in person. Tazio Diehl and Zach House founded CountertopSmart in January 2019. The proceeds of the current crowdfunding raise, with a minimum goal of $25,000 and a maximum goal of $1,070,000, will be used to grow the team, continue market expansion, and execute growth. CountertopSmart has sold over 2,000 partial slabs and generated 22% revenue from repeat purchases. It has a $750,000 run rate and a 50% take rate.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$315,221

$97,429

COGS

$154,845

$53,358

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-385,989

$-110,446

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$3,422

$3,334

Accounts Receivable

$0

$0

Total Assets

$6,504

$3,334

Short-Term Debt

$95,495

$63,496

Long-Term Debt

$336,258

$0

Total Liabilities

$431,753

$63,496

Financials as of: 01/19/2021
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Ratings KingsCrowd Startup Rating Methodology Article

Analyst Report Analyst Report Methodology Article

Synopsis

A staple of the modern kitchen is a nice, large stone countertop. However, not all countertops are the same size, and providers regularly have to cut slabs of rock to fit the needs of whoever is ordering. Partial slabs are often leftover as a result, which are often then thrown out or placed in a landfill by the provider. Many people are forced to buy a full slab and then have it cut down to fit their dimensions – which costs much more than just finding the right size right away.

CountertopSmart provides an online marketplace for users to search through local partial slabs by dimension, color, and rock-type (among other characteristics). The platform also gives customers a quote for what installation would be, giving them full sight over the cost of the entire ordeal. Currently the company operates hyper locally, which allows for customers to even go and see the slab in person to determine if it fits their needs.

CountertopSmart works for both fabricators and customers. Those who cut the slabs now have a place to see even more profit, as opposed to the previous solution of ingenuity or waste. Customers get the luxury of spending less money on the exact product they need.

CountertopSmart has seen solid traction thus far – being named a winner of CodeLaunch 2018 and selling more than 2,000 slabs. The company has seen average sales of $400, from which CountertopSmart takes half).  The company operates in two hyperlocal markets — Austin and San Antonio, TX — to good effect, but it remains to be seen if the scalability can come through to allow for more access to market share.

CountertopSmart’s current Republic raise has been rated a Deal to Watch by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Price

CountertopSmart is raising via a SAFE at an $8.5 million valuation cap with no discount. Although the lack of discount is discouraging, the overall valuation is very reasonable. CountertopSmart has also seen early revenue, making the $8.5 valuation even more justified. As a result, the company’s price score is above average.

Market

The United States countertop market was valued at $29.3 billion in 2019. However, the industry’s CAGR is estimated to be around 3%, so future growth will be very limited. Residential demand for countertops accounts for 80% of the market – which works to CountertopSmart’s favor as that is the customer that their product aligns with. The company is currently focusing on the market in Texas, specifically Austin and San Antonio. The company has identified cities like Dallas and Los Angeles as expansion cities, both of which provide a large market opportunity.

One thing working in CountertopSmart’s favor is its lack of direct competition. Consumers have the choice of going to businesses like Home Depot or Lowe’s to pay higher rates or opt to use CountertopSmart’s platform. The platform tells the customer exactly how much the entire process will cost, from the price of the slab itself to the installation cost – which allows for complete transparency throughout the process.

Balancing the market’s healthy size with its limited growth, CountertopSmart’s market score is middle-of-the-road.

Team

Zach House is the CEO of CountertopSmart, as well as one of the original founders. House has experience in the home design industry as he ran a kitchen and bath showroom that focused on sustainable interior finishes for eight years. His experience working in the home improvement field gives him a great base of knowledge about the industry.

House’s co-founder in this venture is Tazio Diehl. Diehl works as the Director of Field Operations at CountertopSmart – which fits his previous work experience well. He worked as a Shipping and Receiving Manager at Concept Systems Manufacturing, a semiconductor manufacturing company. Following that work, Diehl co-owned a small asset recovery business where he specialized in purchasing and sales. 

Rounding out the team is the VP of Engineering, Dustin Lancaster. Lancaster brings with him 13 years of programming and web development experience, a vitally important skillset that every startup needs. 

CountertopSmart’s core team brings ample industry experience as well as some past entrepreneurial work. Taken all together, the team score for the company is quite strong. 

Differentiators

The current way to buy a countertop is to go to a store like Home Depot or Lowe’s and pick out a full slab of rock that needs to be cut down to fit the size you need. If you need 2.25 slabs for your kitchen, that means you need to buy three full slabs – making the whole purchase much more expensive than it needs to be.

CountertopSmart is creating an alternative to the way homeowners furnish or renovate their kitchens or bathrooms. Being able to handpick which slab of rock you get for your countertop ensures that there is less waste throughout the whole process and also cuts down on cost for the customer. CountertopSmart’s marketplace also benefits the fabricators of the countertops as well. Instead of having leftover slabs that eventually get moved to a landfill, they can now expand their profit margins by selling the entire slab.

While giving homeowners the chance to buy partial slabs is a major step forward in this market, it is not a highly defensible service. CountertopSmart is only providing the marketplace for these transactions to occur. By fulfilling a middleman position, the company will rely on the business of both countertop fabricators and homeowners looking for new countertops. If one side or the other does not perform strongly, the company may struggle. Furthermore, if another company arises which offers the same (or similar) service at a better price or with better selections, CountertopSmart could find itself pushed out of the niche it created. 

Balancing the uniqueness of CountertopSmart’s marketplace against its lack of defensibility yields the company a below average differentiators score.

Performance

Financially, CountertopSmart has little history to go off of. The most recent Form C filing has the company’s 2019 revenue at $315,221, up from $97,429 in 2018. Despite the increase in revenue, CountertopSmart’s net income dropped to -$386k in 2019 after being -$110k in 2018. A startup company losing money in its early years of operations is nothing surprising – and it’s in other areas where CountertopSmart’s performance is exciting.

Dating back to 2018, CountertopSmart has been impressively racking up accolades. The company was a finalist at CodeLaunch 2018 and was a part of Techstars Austin’s 2019 cohort (Techstars is a seed accelerator that has had a solid track record in picking and helping startup companies – notably ScaleFactor and Convey).

Beyond the accolades, CountertopSmart has seen real life success in their two markets thus far. The company reports that it has seen more than 2,000 partial slabs sold and, more impressively, has 22% of its revenue from repeat purchasing. With its eyes on markets like Dallas and Los Angeles for expansion, CountertopSmart could see solid growth over the next few years. 

With growing revenue and strong early traction, CountertopSmart’s performance score is quite high.

Bearish Outlook

The business model of CountertopSmart doesn’t lend itself to a high growth rate. With net losses increasing year over year, the company will soon need to see money come in faster and faster in order to stay afloat. The company has managed to launch well in two cities, but they are both in Texas. There can be no guarantee that the company can successfully launch in Los Angeles or Chicago or New York – and a failed launch can be pricey.

CountertopSmart also benefits from being a local Texas business (it is based in Austin), so word of mouth is a strong form of advertising for it. In other cities and other states across the country, the company will need to pay for advertising and marketing campaigns to get its product in front of possible customers – which can be another pricey ordeal. If it fails to scale, CountertopSmart may manage to survive operating in Texas, but the return on investment could be minimal.

Bullish Outlook

CountertopSmart has found a problem in an industry and created a product specifically designed to fix that problem – and it benefits both consumers and producers. As word-of-mouth spreads from fabricator to fabricator that they can earn money on their partial slabs by partnering with CountertopSmart, the company could see inventory skyrocket. If inventory grows, there will be more product for customers to peruse, potentially finding the perfect slab for their kitchen or bathroom.

 CountertopSmart has already seen two successful launches in large cities. It has the backing of companies like Techstars and, despite its net loss, has seen a sharp increase in revenue year over year. The executive team has experience in home improvement, supply and field operations, as well as engineering and design – all are important areas for CountertopSmart’s potential success.

The path towards profitability has begun for CountertopSmart. Expanding its operation to a larger market like Dallas or Los Angeles could catalyze quick growth.

Executive Summary

CountertopSmart has identified a problem in the home improvement industry and tailored a solution that works for consumers and producers. The executive team brings varied expertise, and the traction has been solid thus far for the young company. The financial sheet is worrying, but nothing out of the ordinary for a new company. Failure to scale well could For all these reasons, CountertopSmart is a Deal to Watch.

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com

Analysis written by Ethan Thomas.

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CountertopSmart on Republic
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Platform: Republic
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $8,500,000

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