Read the pitch deck and 7-minute script that the founder of Modern Picnic, a fashion-forward lunch-box brand, used to raise $900K in pre-seed funding
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- Ali Kaminetsky was working for Macy’s when she saw an opportunity to create stylish lunch bags.
- She launched Modern Picnic in 2018 when she was 22, and has raised $900,000 in pre-seed funding.
- She walked Insider through her pitch deck and the seven-minute script she follows.
After Ali Kaminetsky graduated from Lehigh University, she started her first job at Macy’s. As a 22-year-old working in New York City, she brought her lunch from home to save money, but she hated toting a lackluster lunch bag.
“I didn’t have a chic, functional, or sustainable way,” she told Insider. “When I went online to buy myself a lunch box, I saw options for little kids and men, but none for women who wanted to look good.”
In 2018, Kaminetsky left her assistant-buyer job to launch Modern Picnic, a brand that creates vegan-leather lunch boxes that look just like handbags. Prices for the bags start at $59 and go up to $250.
Modern Picnic’s 2021 revenue tripled from the previous year, which Insider verified with documentation, and Kaminetsky discovered her bags have more uses than she first thought. Her customers include nurses, doctors, and teachers who need to keep meals fresh during long shifts, mothers who store their breast milk, people with diabetes who travel with insulin, and people who carry the bags as stylish accessories.
Modern Picnic closed a $900,000 round of pre-seed funding in April 2021, led by Michael Cline, the founder of the ticketing company Fandango. Other investors included Backstage Capital, a VC firm; Michelle Cordeiro Grant, the founder of Lively; Yossi Nasser, the CEO of Gelmart International; and Michael Setola, the CEO of Tharanco Group. The startup is now raising more funding, including a round on the crowd-funding site Republic.
Kaminetsky shared her pitch deck and walked Insider through her speedy seven-minute pitch to investors.
The following is her pitch as told to Insider and has been edited and condensed for clarity. Some financial information has been redacted from the slides and script.
I always start by introducing myself
SCRIPT: My name is Ali Kaminetsky, founder of Modern Picnic.
In the next slide, I give a very high-level overview
Off the bat, it gives the investors the information they need to know about who we are and what we do.
SCRIPT: Just as a brief background before we dive in, Modern Picnic is a community-driven brand that makes high-end improved lunch bags for women. So we’ve created these multipurpose products to become not just an accessory in a woman’s closet, but an essential.
Then, very briefly, set the tone on what it is we’re about to embark on together
SCRIPT: Today, I’m going to walk you through Modern Picnic’s opportunities, traction, and growth plans, among other things.
We dive right into the market opportunity
This slide aims to set the tone for the market size and the true opportunity for Modern Picnic, using Yeti as a strong comparison. We all know Yeti, and so it gets investors excited to see us talking about them.
SCRIPT: So we all know Yeti. Yeti absolutely dominates the men’s athletic, rugged-cooler industry. They built a business valued at over $9 billion by understanding their original core audience of outdoorsmen and leaning into it. Now, who is covering it for the cosmopolitan working woman? Modern Picnic is.
Then look at the big picture
SCRIPT: After diving into the market opportunity, if we look at the big picture here, we found that women really care about feeling good by making their own food, doing good by reducing single-use plastics, and looking good by valuing high-quality products that will last.
This slide relates back to why I started Modern Picnic with my personal story
SCRIPT: However, the problem that we face is that the lunch-box industry is incredibly outdated and underserved for the modern woman.
Just for some context, when I graduated from college, I was working in the retail industry and I was bringing my lunch to work every day because, especially as a recent graduate, doing so was faster, cheaper, and healthier. And all the girls in my office were doing it. However, when I went online to buy myself a lunch box, I saw options for little kids and men, but nothing for women who wanted to look good or do good.
This next slide is a video
It’s exciting to give the voiceover as I’m presenting to investors and showing them a video of it coming to life.
SCRIPT: From there Modern Picnic was born on May 1, 2018. Modern Picnic provides a chic, functional, sustainable alternative to the traditional lunch box we all know and kind of hate, with insulated interiors and vegan-leather exteriors.
Slides eight through 10 give the investor a look into our product assortment, prices, and different use cases
SCRIPT: We launched with our first product, called the luncher. As you can see, it’s chic, functional, sustainable, and has a wipeable interior and exterior.
Since we launched, we’ve adapted and iterated, coming out with strategic products and pipelines, all varying in price point, functionality, and versatility. Additionally, all are linked by the commonality of providing function-based products to women that are built to last.
In the next slides, we go into who our customer is
SCRIPT: So who is the Modern Picnic customer? I think it would come as no surprise, the top customers are females living in cities, ages 18 to 54, have mid-to-high discretionary incomes, and really value the obtainable-luxury element of our product.
One thing that’s worth noting is that Modern Picnic has done a really good job of capturing the eyes of the Gen Z demographic, shown by the 17% that they represent in our customer base. It’s also shown by our pretty massive TikTok following.
Slide 11 gives the hard numbers, but in 12 we like to add some color and show the true women behind the brand and our dynamic customer base
SCRIPT: The Modern Picnic customer is so much more dynamic than a simple chart on a slide, whether she’s a new mom who needs a way to store her breast milk, a vegan who cares about what her products are made of, or a healthcare worker who simply does not have time to leave in the middle of the day to get food. Modern Picnic is for her.
Slides 13 through 17 show investors the brand’s equity
SCRIPT: What makes Modern Picnic so special is not just the product, but the community we have built.
I highlight customer testimonials
SCRIPT: We have thousands of customer testimonials on our website.
Show our press features
SCRIPT: We’ve been in hundreds of major press features. We’ve actually been featured in over 350 publications, including, but not limited to Forbes, The New York Times, The Today Show, Vogue, Oprah, and Harper’s Bazaar, among others.
And our brand-ambassador program
SCRIPT: We’ve also been able to build a brand-ambassador program of over 600 women from across the country. I think it’s important to note here that our brand ambassadors have a $0 acquisition cost, meaning we do not pay anything for them to join our program. It is 100% organic. However, not only are our ambassadors a powerful acquisition engine but more importantly, a community-first group of women built to last.
And our strategic partnerships
Building a community-first brand is incredibly important to Modern Picnic. The purpose of these slides is to show and articulate that through customer relationships, press relationships, the ambassador program, and then strategic-grant partners.
SCRIPT: We’ve also been able to build strategic relationships with other like-minded brands, including American Express, Swell, and more.
This slide shows how we are acquiring customers through three different sales channels
SCRIPT: While our e-commerce and direct-to-consumer business accounts for the majority of our revenue, we do a three-dimensional distribution strategy, including e-commerce, wholesale, and retail.
This slide highlights our first sales channel, e-commerce, and our returning-customer rate
This slide highlights our incredibly strong returning-customer rate, which answers the question from investors, “Well, how many of these do people need?” The answer to that is, “She might not need more, but she wants more. She’s going back for more.”
The new marketing channels that we opened in 2021 are meant to highlight that marketing diversification has been a big strategy for Modern Picnic. We are not a company that relies solely on Facebook.
SCRIPT: On e-commerce, we have a $138 average order value. A major way we’ve acquired these online visitors and sales is through paid ads.
Although paid ads have been a major form of acquisition for Modern Picnic in 2021, we really created a sense of urgency around getting into more channels and implementing new tactics and tests. So in 2021 alone, we introduced SMS marketing, affiliate marketing, TikTok ads, and SEO, each seeing really strong, early traction and growth rates.
We then go into our second and third pillars in our distribution strategy.
SCRIPT: So for wholesale, we work closely with Saks Fifth Avenue, Gilt, and Dillard’s. And then last is retail. We’re able to further establish and foster community footholds by holding yearly popups and events. And these have been an amazing way for us to connect one-on-one with influencers, brand ambassadors, and customers to really listen and grow our brand.
The purpose of this slide is to show our investors where we are headed next
SCRIPT: So what is next for Modern Picnic? We will get to the next level of growth by leaning into three pillars: product, licensing, and distribution.
Then we show how we’ve done this so far
SCRIPT: Modern Picnic has raised $900,000. We have stayed incredibly lean since launching, growing into a multimillion-dollar business.
This is the slide that stumps investors the most.
This slide shows that, if this is what we’ve been able to do with little to no capital, what can we do with a little bit more.
SCRIPT: All while raising little-to-no capital. We bootstrapped the company.
This slide shows what we’re raising and exactly where the money is going
SCRIPT: We’re looking to raise $2 million to accelerate our trajectory toward being the female-cosmopolitan version of Yeti. This funding is going to go toward growing our head counts for our growth plans, marketing expansion and operations, product development, and then inventory manufacturing and freight.
Then, I tell a little bit more about me and my background
SCRIPT: I went to Lehigh University where I studied supply-chain management and marketing before supply chain was such a buzzword. While at Lehigh, I played on their Division I tennis team and I was appointed as the captain in my junior year. Right after graduating, I went on to work at Macy’s, where I got such a great foundation in the retail industry. But it was also at Macy’s where I came up with the idea for Modern Picnic.
And I think it’s worth noting I was 22 years old when I came up with the idea for Modern Picnic and was able to successfully launch a company within two years, highlighting my ability to make things happen for not only myself, but most importantly, the company.
Last but not least, this slide shows our impressive advisory board and core team
Investors want to know who they are investing in and the person behind it. The purpose of slides 24 and 25 is to give details about my background, how I got here, and the team.
SCRIPT: We have a small, yet mighty team of predominantly women who are all incredibly instrumental in our growth and trajectory. And then we also have some amazing strategic advisors who guide us along the way.