Read the pitch deck that Impossible Kicks, a sneaker-resale brand, used to close a $3 million Series A round

Impossible Kicks raised a $3 million Series A with this pitch deck.
  • Impossible Kicks, a brick-and-mortar sneaker-resale business, launched in 2021.
  • The company booked $15 million in revenue last year and has raised $7 million total in funding.
  • Here’s the pitch deck that helped its cofounder John Mocadlo raise a $3 million Series A round.

In 2020, John Mocadlo sold his car dealership after spending 23 years in the automobile industry. He was on the hunt for a new project. His brother, Wayne Mocadlo, suggested he put his decades’ worth of experience in sales and marketing to use with a sneaker-resale store.

Wayne Mocadlo had been reselling sneakers on his own and saw the potential of opening an in-person business. Together, the duo created Impossible Kicks, a brick-and-mortar store that resells streetwear and luxury sneakers.

“It was started with just a few hundred pairs of sneakers he had and virtually no cash,” John Mocadlo said, adding that they borrowed a hard-money loan, or funds from private investors secured by real estate. “The sales were so robust and it was so busy that we were able to start funding ourselves right from the get-go.”

Impossible Kicks booked $15 million in revenue in 2021, documents provided to Insider showed. It closed a $3 million Series A round in September, bringing its total funding to $7 million.

Impossible Kicks’ first store opened in West Hartford, Connecticut, where the Mocadlos were based. Looking to expand, the brothers sought a location in Florida, where the sneaker market was bustling, John Mocadlo said. Mocadlo went to a private investor and persuaded him to come out of retirement and join the Impossible Kicks team as a management advisor.

The investor put up $1.5 million in exchange for some equity — Mocadlo didn’t share the exact amount — and helped the team build its senior management staff and launch a storefront in Orlando, Florida. Today the company has 15 locations.

Mocadlo shared the 29-slide Impossible Kicks pitch deck used for the Series A funding round. He also offered his advice for founders looking for funding today, including what he considers the most important and most overused aspects of a pitch deck.

Open the presentation with a conversation starter

Mocadlo said that get investors into a sneaker-shopping mindset, he starts the pitch by asking investors about their favorite sneaker and their shoe size, and when they last bought a pair of Nikes.

Then he strategically moves the conversation to a specific pair of shoes. Impossible Kicks’ pitch deck begins with a photo of Jordan 1’s, a sneaker that launched in 1985 and remains one of the most popular shoes.

“A lot of people ask about the longevity of the business, but the most popular sneaker that I’m showing on the first slide actually came out when we were all kids,” he said. “I always ask people if they remember it, and the majority of the time they do.”

Set the stage with the most notable data points

Mocadlo sends the pitch deck to investors before any meetings so they can read any text-heavy slides before the presentation. Then, as he presents, Mocadlo focuses on the big picture and the best data points for the business.

“People are not going to remember every single item, so the best thing is to start off at a very strong point,” he said. For Impossible Kicks, that means focusing on sales per store, sales per square foot, cash, and inventory.

Differentiate your brand from others in the market

Mocadlo said it’s important to show that even when you’re going up against major competitors, you’re able to hold your ground as a business.

For example, Mocadlo said he often fields questions about how he sources inventory. He’ll explain that the company’s vast network and buying power establish it as an experienced brand in a difficult industry to break into.

Next, he shares the store design concept. “We wanted to highlight that we have a really new, industry-forward design with our stores,” he said. “We’re going to look unique; you’re not going to have something that looks like every other basic pop-up store that’s out there.”

Describe the executive team to help establish credibility

The next slide shows the executive team, which Mocadlo said helps establish Impossible Kicks as a reliable investment to venture capitalists. The page outlines the members’ experience working in and raising venture capital, managing major companies’ finances, and taking companies public.

Mocadlo said that executive-team members’ having big names on their résumés or “Wall Street acumen” demonstrates pragmatism. “Investors want to know that the money is going to be looked after and handled properly,” he said.

Show the physical space and footprint

The next slide lists current and upcoming Impossible Kicks locations to show investors the company’s footprint, starting with marquee locations or storefronts in major cities.

The next eight slides feature photos of the storefronts.

Mocadlo said the goal was to show the high quality and unique aesthetic of the stores. He added that many of the images show the product offerings to give an inside look at the customer experience.

Explain the financial overview and model

Next, Mocadlo gives an in-depth look at the company’s finances and successes.

Prove past success through finances

Part of the financial overview is the store-rollout chart, which shows revenue per store per month.

Mocadlo also explains the financial model to show that the company’s growth goals aligned with its results.

“People like to see that explosive growth,” he said. “It’s a good story to tell because the numbers go up so exponentially. People are impressed by 2% or 3% gains.”

Demonstrate that your brand has a broad reach in product offerings

Mocadlo wanted to highlight that Impossible Kicks’ merchandising mix, or the list of brands it sells, includes mainstream sneaker brands like Adidas and luxury designers like Off-White and Dior.

“There are a lot of high-end brands that are very popular with our demographic, which is typically between 16 and 45 years old,” he said. But he added that venture capitalists and managing partners are usually outside of that age range, which is why having brands they’d recognize and buy from is crucial.

The slides are meant to show that if the market pivots, Impossible Kicks is adaptable.

“If Nike and Adidas get slow, there’s still a considerable amount of brands that we can pivot into and work with,” Mocadlo said, adding that the diversification of the merchandise makes investors feel more comfortable about the business’ longevity.

Show investors your marketing strategy

Mocadlo shifts to talk about Impossible Kicks’ marketing strategy and social-media reach. He explains the company’s different forms of advertising, such as grand-opening events, to show the ways the business is connecting with customers.

Mocadlo said the slide explains how the team has approached organic marketing without capital and highlights recent analytics. After raising its Series A, the company surpassed 200,000 followers and 10 million monthly impressions.

Show that your model is sustainable and scalable

Mocadlo touches on the longevity of the business model and the industry. He reminds the venture capitalists and investors of the Jordan 1 discussion from earlier in the presentation and argues that the ability of a shoe to stay popular for so long speaks to the future of the resale space.

He also mentions the scalability of the business model. Impossible Kicks has not only opened new locations but has launched an e-commerce site and app. Mocadlo said the multiple touchpoints for customers prove to investors that this business plan is capable of scaling up and sustaining shifts in the market, economy, or consumer spending habits.

Show investors what you’ll do for them

Mocadlo described this as the most important slide of the pitch deck, adding that anyone looking to raise money should include a comparative-valuation chart.

“We’re looking at what their potential return on investment can be,” he said, adding that while investors can love an idea, their main goal is to make money from it.

“It was very important for me to tell the whole story: Tell them what our revenue is, how sustainable it is, how we can keep growing,” he said, “but then say, ‘This is what your investment will be worth after we get it to scale.'”

Position yourself in the larger market

Mocadlo said founders should explain their general customer demographics and identify any high-profile clients.

“Venture-capital people always like to be associated with some of the biggest names in sports, fashion, entertainment, and music,” he said, adding that being able to insert yourself in those communities is enticing for many investors.

He said it’s a good topic of conversation and acts as proof of concept.

Create a call to action

The slide deck ends with a call to action suggesting investors contact Mocadlo if they’re interested in working together.

Mocadlo said that overall it’s important to be specific and realistic with investors and their money.

“The biggest thing with investors is answering what it’s realistically going to be worth and what is the real-world valuation,” he said.

But don’t muddy those stats with too many details. “I have helped a lot of young entrepreneurs with their pitch decks who go into way too much detail,” Mocadlo said, adding that a successful pitch deck is simple.

His biggest piece of advice: “You should be able to explain it to somebody who’s not in the business, stick to the point, and make sure that your presentation is not more than 10 minutes.”

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