SampleServe

SampleServe

Early Stage

A user-friendly app and platform that simplifies environmental sample collection, project management, communication between technicians, managers, and labs, and then quickly generates the wide variety of regulatorily required reports.

A user-friendly app and platform that simplifies environmental sample collection, project management, communication between technicians, managers, and labs, and then quickly generates the wide variety of regulatorily required reports.

Overview

Raised this Round: Raised: $142,228

Total Commitments ($USD)

Platform

Netcapital

Start Date

09/01/2020

Close Date

04/30/2021

Min. Goal
$10,000
Max. Goal
$250,000
Min. Investment

$99

Security Type

Equity - Common

Series

Seed

SEC Filing Type

RegCF    Open SEC Filing

Price Per Share

$1.00

Pre-Money Valuation

$7,022,431

Year Founded

2018

Industry

Business Services, Software, & Applications

Tech Sector

AutomationTech

Distribution Model

B2B

Margin

High

Capital Intensity

Low

Location

Traverse City, Michigan

Business Type

Growth

SampleServe, with a post-money valuation of $7.2 million, is raising funds on NetCapital. It is a user-friendly platform for simplified environmental sample collection and project management. It automates the routine activities and improves the communication between technicians, managers, and labs. A. Russell Schindler founded SampleServe in 2018. The current crowdfunding campaign has a minimum target of $10,000 and a maximum target of $250,000. The proceeds of the raise will be used for accounts payable, employee compensation, and scaling up the operations. SampleServe offers the project management tool, field app, and lab app for free, but generates revenue from its report generator. It has been awarded two patents on its digital chain-of-custody.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$93,105

$156,256

COGS

$0

$22,732

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$-1,025,698

$-500,018

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$25,783

$317,321

Accounts Receivable

$0

$0

Total Assets

$572,794

$547,475

Short-Term Debt

$101,000

$300,000

Long-Term Debt

$0

$0

Total Liabilities

$101,000

$300,000

Financials as of: 09/01/2020
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Raise History

Offering Name Close Date Platform Valuation/Cap Total Raised Security Type Status Reg Type
SampleServe 03/19/2023 StartEngine $7,203,404 $25,246 Equity - Common Funded RegCF
SampleServe 04/29/2021 Netcapital $7,022,431 $142,228 Equity - Common Funded RegCF
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Revenue History

Note: Revenue data points reflect the latest of either the most recent fiscal year's financials, or updated revenues directly from the founder, at each raise's close date.

Valuation History

Price per Share History

Note: Share prices shown in earlier rounds may not be indicative of any stock splits.

Employee History

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Summary

SampleServe has been selected as a “Deal to Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10%-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to hello@kingscrowd.com.

Analysis written by Daniel Jones.

Next Section: Problem

Problem

Environmental waste is a serious issue. The rapid period of industrialization over the past century-and-a-half led to significant amounts of pollutants flowing into the ground and coursing through our water systems. In recent decades, governments have gotten better at policing this. Even so, accidents do happen, and intentional polluting continues to remain an issue. State, local, and federal government agencies have mandated certain regulatory reporting in an effort to prevent and fix these adverse environmental impacts. This reporting is meant to provide updates on what kind of wastes are impacting an area, how bad the impact is, and which direction, if any, it’s traveling in.

The average cost a property owner must pay for these reports ranges between $2,000 and $4,000. On average, around four such reports are required per year. The typical length of an investigation is around six to eight years, with some lasting 30 years or more. This results in the property owner paying out many thousands of dollars each year for years on end. Part of the reason for the high cost of these mandated reports is that they require significant amounts of time to compile. They are also generally completed manually, using programs like Word, Excel, AutoCAD, and more. This arcane procedure is time-consuming and expensive.

Next Section: Solution

Solution

One company that recognized these problems was SampleServe. Originally, the company began as a sampling service that used in-house software developed by the founder, A. Russell Schindler. The ultimate goal was to reduce costs and increase productivity. That idea morphed into a paradigm shift for his business. He transitioned from a sampling-as-a-service provider to a software-as-a-service provider.

Conceptually, what SampleServe does is simple. The company has developed a software platform and app that allows environmental testers to record their results. This includes listing which contaminants exist, finding exactly where they are located using GPS, providing photos when necessary, and understanding the scope required to complete the task at hand. Environmental samples that require laboratory testing can be fitted with an app-generated QR-code. The QR-code enables what SampleServce calls the ‘chain of custody’ — a patented process that allows for a digital record of proper procedure and responsibility over part of the sampling and reporting process. Once a sample reaches the lab, it’s automatically logged into the system, as are the results from subsequent testing. This process then allows for automated reports to be generated for all relevant parties. These reports are meant to be actionable and take only seconds to be drafted.

SampleServe will help to reduce costs and time for all parties involved in the environmental sample industry. They estimate that utilizing the platform will reduce the field crew’s time spent working by 20%. The costs of preparing and issuing a report, meanwhile, should fall by as much as 85%. SampleServe intends to charge when a report is created, but it will make reports available at no charge to all parties in the environmental sample testing supply chain. This includes field personnel through the labs that work with the samples and report their results back to the inspectors. Management has not said precisely what their pricing will be, but they have used an estimate of $15 per sample included in a report. Their belief is that the average report will then come out to about $270.

Operationally, the history of SampleServe has been interesting. In 2018, the company generated revenue of $156,256. This fell to $93,105 in 2019. Management cited this unpredictability and instability as indicative of the firm’s software development process.  Its net loss in 2018 was $500,018, while in 2019 this surged to a loss of $1.03 million. Operating cash outflow, meanwhile, grew from $269,033 in 2018 to $742,753 last year. The drop in sales alone is worrisome, but investors would be best to view this as a period of transition. After all, management asserted that they did not launch a monetized version of their technology until December of 2019. This means that the firm’s revenue-generating activities moving forward have only been tested since then. Sadly, no financial figures have been provided for 2020, so we can’t know what kind of sales SampleServe is capable of at this time. This does create a degree of uncertainty.

Next Section: Market

Market

In its own marketing materials, SampleServe pegged the US opportunity in the environmental testing space at $2 billion. They then placed the broader global environmental engineering services market at around $33 billion in 2018. Its opportunity, they said, would allow it to reach $44 billion by 2025. Based on our findings, their assessment of the US testing space is probably a bit conservative. However, it is odd that they used environmental engineering services for their global market estimate, as that market is much broader than just testing alone. 

According to one source we found, the US market for environmental testing should be worth around $2.8 billion. Another big market here is China. At this time, the market opportunity there is worth about $1.8 billion. With a projected annualized growth rate of 9.2%, it should reach $3.3 billion by 2027. That same source pegged the global opportunity at about $10.2 billion and placed an annualized growth rate on it of 5.9%. If this is accurate, it will imply an opportunity worth $15.2 billion by 2027. One interesting subgroup the source talked about was wastewater/effluent. This particular opportunity, on a global scale, is worth about $4.3 billion today. With a projected annual growth rate of 6.7%, it should reach $6.8 billion by the end of our forecast period.

Other sources suggested a similar global market size for environmental testing. One, for instance, suggested the market was worth $8.3 billion this year. With a growth rate of 7.9% annually, it should reach $12.1 billion by 2025. Another forecast for the testing market suggested it was worth $10.1 billion. With an annualized growth rate of 7%, it would reach $14.2 billion by 2024. Yet another source pegged the market at $10.3 billion this year. With an annualized growth rate of 6.62%, it places the opportunity at $14.1 billion by 2025.

Other sources of information we found did look at the broader environmental monitoring market. We feel that this is the largest market that SampleServe could realistically play in in the foreseeable future. One such source indicated that the opportunity in monitoring should be about $13.7 billion today. It pegs the global opportunity’s growth rate at 7.5% per annum, placing it on track to reach $21.1 billion by 2025. One other monitoring study suggested the space was larger at $15.5 billion today. If it holds true and the market expands at 9.5% each year, it should reach $26.7 billion by 2026.

Next Section: Team

Team

The management team at SampleServe consists of three key individuals. The first of these is A. Russell Schindler, the business’ founder and its current CEO. Prior to founding SampleServe, Schindler served as President of H2O Investigation. Before that, he was President at American Remediation, and his role prior to that was as a Project Specialist at FEMA. 

The second key figure at SampleServe is Frank Swierz. He is currently employed as the company’s CTO. Before joining SampleServe, Swierz worked as CTO at Make the Connection. His role before that was as a Senior Director of Software Development at Thomson Reuters. And prior to that role, he worked as Director of Software Development for Thomson Tax and Accounting. 

Lastly, Paul Mead is SampleServe’s COO. At present, he is still a Principal Advisor at ClearPath Strategic. Previously, he was employed as the VP of Project Management at Hagerty Insurance. And before that, he worked as a Technical Writer for Compass Technologies.

Next Section: Rating

Rating

Based upon all of the data made available, our team has rated SampleServe a Deal To Watch. The environmental testing market seems prime for change, and the interesting (but simple) way management wants to approach this is logical. Add in the pricing and the impact that could have on the timing and cost of reports and SampleServe is bringing a clear benefit to its users. Management, particularly the founder and CEO, is well-connected and familiar with this space. The $7.02 million pre-money valuation is a bit lofty for a firm so early in its life cycle, but it’s not ridiculous. The market opportunity is small, but not so small that it’s not worth pursuing. The firm’s historic net losses, as well as cash outflows are disconcerting. Uncertainty regarding whether users will ultimately adopt the platform also creates some risk. However, these risks are somewhat characteristic of startup investing in general. Weighing these strengths and weaknesses together, SampleServe looks to be an interesting investment opportunity.

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SampleServe on NetCapital
Platform: Netcapital
Security Type: Equity - Common
Valuation: $7,022,431
Price per Share: $1.00

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