Warstory: Our Value-add to Organic Basics — From Pre-seed to Series A
We’ve been a trip down memory lane with Mads, Christoffer & Alexander — the awesome founders of our fast-growing portfolio company Organic Basics who are putting sustainability first in the fashion industry.
This case study demonstrates Dreamcraft’s value-add to Organic Basics on their amazing journey from a small pre-seed startup, through escape velocity to now having become a solid, fast-growing Series A stage company 🚀
How the Partnership Got Off the Ground
At the time of initial investment in 2017, Organic Basics was a pre-seed stage startup with limited traction, fuzzy unit economics and only consisted of the three founders themselves.
So why invest?
The short answer was — the team. Due to the early stage of Organic Basics, Dreamcraft ultimately invested because of an exceptionally good impression of the founding team: Mads Fibiger Rasmussen, Co-CEO & Growth Enforcer, Christoffer Immanuel, Co-CEO & Brand Visionary, and Alexander Christensen, CTO.
The guys were highly driven, and deeply believed in their cause of changing the dirty fashion industry for a more sustainable future.
Between them, they had just the right amount of bold ambition you want, particularly in a consumer-facing case. And importantly, the three founders benefitted from complementary skills and personalities, making them robust as a unit.
To be honest, the thinking of Daniel Nyvang Mariussen, Managing Partner Partner at Dreamcraft and case lead on Organic Basics, when making the investment was:
“Well, we’re not exactly sure of what we’re actually looking at here with regards to the business, but with regards to the people that run it — the world can throw anything at those guys, and they’ll find a way to bend, jump or punch it square on the nose. So, let’s invest in them.”
For the historians out there — the world did throw everything at them, and they did bend, jump and punch!
How Dreamcraft Added Value
Typically, after making an investment, Dreamcraft helps the founders to conceptualize and execute the ideal escape velocity blueprint to reach the best possible Series A round. The conceptualization is translated into an operational playbook tailor-made to the specific needs of the startup and Dreamcraft helps founders deploy the processes, tools, competencies and infrastructure needed to execute, and gives access to a network of industry experts and later-stage investors relevant for the next funding rounds.
This value-add model can pose different diagnoses depending on the particular startup.
In this case with Organic Basics, the value add was particularly focused on setting up a business intelligence system that could model and monitor all relevant growth metrics which became essential to fully understand the mechanics of the business.
But first, Dreamcraft established trust.
Back then — as is often still the case — founders are told to ‘be wary of the venture capitalists’, even if they end up taking venture capital money. To break down that barrier, Dreamcraft spent time with the founders from Organic Basics, both holed up at the office together, and for the occasional beers after work. We got to know each other as people. As a result, thoughts and information now flowed freely from both sides of the table, to optimally inform the conversation about how we best reach our goals.
Then, we could truly get to work.
“Dreamcraft has been invaluable from the moment we partnered 3 years ago. Not so much of what they say at the board meetings, but because of all the things they do in-between. I’d recommend them to all founders I know “– Mads Fibiger Rasmussen, Co-founder, Organic Basics
As Organic Basics started to gain more traction, the need for a business intelligence setup grew.
Organic Basics and Dreamcraft jointly developed a business intelligence setup that could model and monitor the all the relevant growth metrics from the top funnel marketing activities to the bottom line in the income statement, including monitoring of customer cohort grids and unit economics over time.
This setup enabled the ability to zero-in on specific issues to be resolved, articulate concrete goals, and make actions plans.
This tool became essential to fully understand the mechanics of the business, evaluate experiments, continuously optimize business areas, and crucially — to predict cash flow with some measure of accuracy.
As 2018 progressed, and the founding team increasingly experienced that the growth modelling and monitoring worked, this cadence became a material contributor to the success in their execution.
The year 2018 became a growth success. The unit economics significantly improved, resulting in doubling the yearly revenue. By 2019, the cadence was expanded with an OKR framework which added to the success in 2019 and 2020.
The revenue is now growing like a hockey stick and by the end of 2020, the revenue will most likely have been multiplied by more than 16x since we partnered.
In 2019, the founders were able to attract a 2mEUR investment from the French consumer fund, Eutopia.
Irrespective of anything else, this achievement speaks mainly to how awesome the Organic Basics team is and their strong belief in building a purpose-driven organization in the fashion industry putting sustainability before anything else. But Dreamcraft believes a material contributor to that success was how prepared the company was to credibly conceptualize and pitch its financial future to VCs, based on a really deep understanding of itself from a number’s perspective.
In particular for high-volume consumer-facing cases, this has to be the benchmark for cases trying to attract an international Series A investor.
Where We Are Today & The Future
Organic Basics is a massively different business today, than it was three years ago.
Primarily in that, it is now an actual company. They have built a growth engine, they know their unit economics, control their cost base and can predict their cash flow. And just as important, they have kept a strong focus on developing the organization with sustainability as the main purpose in everything they have done. This has given Organic Basics a competitive edge and allowed them to attract a larger talent pool of employees than their competitors.
The company is crossing the chasm, from being fuelled by hope and outside investment, to being fuelled by competence and retained earnings. In other words, the founders actually have a beast they can control themselves now.
If Organic Basics wanted to raise a large international Series A, they could. So, in a sense, the bulk of value-add from Dreamcraft has been delivered.
Still, due to the close collaboration with founders from pre-seed through escape velocity, we’ve built a conversational platform together that is robust and can be applied to any new challenge. Challenges that are new to Dreamcraft as well, because we primarily focus on the early stages.
But we find that the sustained value-add which close collaboration at the early stage produce, is that conversational platform. The founders trust us, they know we are smart, and they know we are willing to work our butts off to help them arrive at the right answers if need be.
And Organic Basics know that Dreamcraft is happy to take a step back when we do not know what we are talking about.
That is all to say, that Dreamcraft’s engagement at the Board level and interpersonally with founders will endure from now through whenever founders think they no longer need it.