Cardstalk
Regulation Crowdfunding

Raising up to $1,070,000


Investment type: SAFE

Min Investment: $100 


Valuation Cap: $5M for first $500k / $10M up to max raise


Discount: 20%



Coming Soon!
Start date: November 10, 2021
End date: December 10, 2021

Welcome! We are collecting indications of interest for our planned capital raise through Regulation Crowdfunding. Please reference important guidance regarding Rule 206 under the Disclosures section below.

Why fund our local story
  • Creating the Redbox for greeting cards
  • Disrupt the $8b+ Greeting Card industry with print-on-demand greeting card kiosks, featuring art by local artists
  • Support ecologically sustainable card printing practices, including 100% post-consumer waste recycled card paper, no single-use plastics, and reduction in unsold card waste compared to traditional card printing and shipping models
  • Cardstalk’s ex-Amazon founding team worked on high-scale projects including the Amazon Go retail project, and deployment services support for Amazon Web Services. Their flagship kiosk was deployed into Asheville’s Earth Fare grocery store in November 2021
Overview

The Vision

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Bringing card buyers and artists together


Card shoppers should never have to leave the store empty-handed, without finding a card they love. We’re driven to create authentic and intimate greeting card experiences that are sourced from local and independent artists to meet the need for both high-demand and non-traditional occasions. All while minimizing paper waste, store floor space, and most importantly; customer inconvenience.




The Opportunity

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A Growing Market with Changing Needs


The greeting card industry is an often underestimated market totaling over $8 billion in the US alone, with 75%+ of those sales coming from Hallmark and American Greetings. Despite attempts to convert buyers to e-cards, luxury, or gimmick cards, the traditional greeting card model is holding strong with 60% of card buyers continuing to purchase from grocers and large retail stores. Thanks to card purchases from Millennials and Gen Z, the industry is actually growing like never before. At Cardstalk, we recognize that most card shoppers don’t want to replace tangible cards with online imitations. Also, neither mass-produced generic cards nor overly-complex boutique cards meet the core need: emotionally meaningful and relatable card gifting experiences.




The Problem

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Generic and limited selection for buyers, wasteful and inefficient process for retailers


The greeting card experience problem is really due to one simple issue: cards take up a disproportionate amount of floor space compared to the profit they provide to retailers. This drives everything from card selection to inauthentic and generic card designs.


Problems for Card Shoppers


Card buyers know first-hand the frustration, and the occasional horror story that can arise when looking for the perfect card.


Card aisle busy? You’re going to have to wait to browse or try to peer awkwardly over a stranger’s shoulder.


Shopping last minute for a busy holiday? Good luck finding a good card from whatever is left over.


Small card aisle? Selection is too broad and limited to the most common events only.


Need a really specific card? Guess you’ll have to drive around to multiple stores until you find it.


Finally found that card? Better hope the envelope that fits it is there.


Buying a card online? You’re going to have to wait for 3-5 day shipping.


Problems for Retailers


While floorspace is the obvious big problem for retailers, there are other pain points associated with selling cards from traditional card aisles:


► No data visibility into demand and trends until after the season has already passed.

► Wasted inventory for cards that most stores pay up-front for.

► The human labor involved with maintaining card aisles.

► Logistical overhead and bottlenecking from long-distance shipping.


In short: Almost no one is happy with the current situation, and these problems are not sufficiently addressed by simple online solutions or fancy cards.


The Solution

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"Redbox for Greeting Cards"




Cardstalk is redefining the greeting card experience through our print-on-demand “Redbox for Greeting Cards” kiosk, which can support a massive selection of greeting cards. Our unique marketplace model supports independent and local artists, and our printing process is optimized for ecological sustainability to ensure buyers and retailers alike can feel good about their cards.


The Cardstalk Kiosk




Card buyers can approach our kiosk and select and print their cards on the spot by using the tablet on the kiosk. Alternatively, they will soon be able to shop online at https://cardstalk.ink and pick up in-store. 




Card orders print in less than 60 seconds, and duplicate cards add only 2-3 seconds to the print time. Our prints are high-quality, 300dpi+ resolution, edge-to-edge, duplex prints on premium thick card stock. We are using 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper, and do not use single-use plastics for the print or sale process.




Local Artist Support


Card shoppers can visit our website to see our content and card shopping experience firsthand. Our platform uses modern development and operations practices, which our founders learned from careers as engineers for companies like Amazon.




Our marketplace empowers artists to sell their works directly to people in their community via the kiosks, where otherwise they would have to compete for visibility on crowded platforms across the country.




Having an online marketplace in addition to the kiosk gives us insight into demand and allows an alternative fulfillment model for people who might prefer to browse at home and pickup in-store. We believe this model will be more attractive than ordering online and receiving by mail. A research survey we conducted indicated that nearly 90% of card buyers who had bought cards online had said they would prefer a pickup in-store option if available. This research also found that over 40% of card shoppers buy their cards less than 2 days in advance.


Retailer Partnerships


Cardstalk aims to be a single solution to let retailers reduce or eliminate the large square-footage requirements required by traditional card aisles, without sacrificing sales. Because the Cardstalk team handles kiosk deployment and maintenance tasks, there’s no additional effort required on the part of the retailer to keep the kiosk generating sales. In the best case, Cardstalk might even drive sales to retailers with the kiosks, as we expect some customers will seek out retailers with a kiosk in order to purchase specific cards or support a specific artist.




Innovative retail brands, like Earth Fare, who value ecological stewardship and local community relations, have responded positively to the way that Cardstalk differentiates itself from other options available. Many competitor brands use single-use plastics around each card, and there is often no opportunity to feature local community artists in the card aisle with the big brands. We expect our values to continue to resonate with innovative retailers, and to be attractive long-term to mainstream retailers as well.


In the future, we plan to gather the data from card searches and purchases, and to analyze it to deliver practical data information to retailers. This data could be used as part of a retailer’s overall data strategy, that that they might understand trends and customer needs in other areas as well.


Business Model

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Costs


Materials for Cardstalk kiosks, as presently designed, cost ~$5,500 each, which can possibly be reduced to $5,000 when components are purchased in bulk. Our cards are currently listed for $7.00, where $1.50 goes to the retailer and artists receive a base payout of $1.00. During the introductory launch period, while we only have one kiosk, the artist's base payout has been temporarily increased to $3.00, to incentivize artist onboarding. This temporary cost increase will be maintained until we scale out to more print kiosks, as projected in phase 1 (see “Growth Plans” below). Once we’ve reached that point, we plan to let artists customize the pricing of their cards in order to make their desired profit, with Cardstalk taking a percentage.




Target Per-Kiosk Return on Investment (ROI)


After taxes and fees, we expect a total profit of ~$3.00 per card. If cards sell at the estimated 10 cards per-day average, we are targeting for a single kiosk to achieve an ROI in less than 9 months. This ROI calculation includes per-kiosk operating expenses, technician salaries and other projected maintenance costs. Expected lifespan for a kiosk is 5 years, based on warranty and support available for the core printing technology.


Additional Revenue Stream Opportunities


Once Cardstalk kiosks are deployed into brick-and-mortar, we are planning to investigate other revenue streams that do not require additional hardware to implement. For example, there is potential to print additional content within the cards (ie, printing gift cards inside, selling NFTs with the cards, etc.). However, our main focus is on potential services based on card search and sales data.


With our hyperlocal marketplaces for artists and shoppers, aggregated shopping data could be made available as a subscription service for retail partners. This could give them insights into shopper behaviors, such as when they begin shopping for specific occasions, and what content or styles are resonating. Retailers could use this data to tailor other in-store offerings, and potentially reveal underserved card-selling opportunities.


Traction & Growth Plan

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What we've done


✔︎ Spring 2020 - Founded Company

✔︎ Summer 2020 - Won Asheville’s Venture Asheville Grant for MVP Development

✔︎ April 2021 - Won NC IDEA MICRO grant (spring 2021) for funds to artist onboarding costs

✔︎ Fall 2021 - Launched https://cardstalk.ink and onboarded local artists to the online platform

✔︎ November 2021 - Deployed first kiosk into Asheville’s Earth Fare grocery store


What we have planned


In order to truly disrupt the $8 billion USD greeting card, we aim to prove that our print-on-demand kiosk marketplace meets market demand, can generate revenue, and can scale out to dozens and eventually hundreds of kiosks across North Carolina and beyond.




To accomplish our goal, we have identified two distinct phases with their own focus and goals. The first phase is where we begin to expand beyond our MVP kiosk, and establish a small network of kiosks (~10) that the founding team builds and maintains, possibly with the help of an employee. This phase will focus on building out networks of artists and card content, developing operating expertise, improving retailer experience, gathering metrics, and identifying next scale-out targets in regards to target regions and retailers. The second phase is where we expect to prepare to scale to dozens of kiosks in one or two regions. This is where we will begin to develop expertise on card data and analytics, hire a dedicated artist community manager, and begin to build sales relationships with additional retail partners.





Investment Summary

Anticipated Terms

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Plans are to offer SAFE notes for investors 


► Valuation cap : $5M (up to first 500k raise), $10M (up to max raise)

► Max raise: $1.07M

► Discount: 20%


Some definitions:


SAFE 

A SAFE stands for Simple Agreement for Future Equity. It allows investors to invest in early-stage companies and receive stock down the road when certain events happen such as a series A round, an acquisition, or an IPO.


Valuation Cap

The maximum valuation at which your investment will convert. This means you'll receive shares at this price, regardless of how high the company is valued in the future. ie: higher valuations mean more shares for the same amount of money.


Discount

This is the discount on the share price that SAFE investors receive upon conversion.


For example: With a 20% discount, if the share price in a trigger event is $1.00, SAFE investors would receive shares at $.80 each.


Notes

1. The SAFE converts by either the Valuation Cap or the Discount depending on which one yields the best return for the investors.


2. An easy way to think about a SAFE investment is that you're buying $X worth of future stock.


3. At a trigger/conversion event, the issuer may continue the terms of the SAFE, issue "shadow shares" of preferred stock or allow you to cash out at the applicable conversion stock price.


4. Once the offering is live, it is important to refer to the subscription agreement and SAFE shares agreement to understand the conversion and termination terms, as well as potential rights of the securities into which the SAFE may convert.


Use of Funds

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The use of funds ties directly to the phases outlined in the growth plans above. If we only receive the minimum funding goal, we expect to spend the next 12 months implementing phase 1 plans, and building a case for a larger raise that will propel us into phase 2 and beyond. If funds raised exceed the minimum, we will use those funds as outlined below to support the development of our larger scale, phase 2 plan. 


Funding Milestones


$300K = 10 kiosks with 12 months of runway (20% discount, 5 million cap)

        ► $55,000 - 10x kiosks for Earth Fare & future partner deployment

        ► $175,000 - Developers salaries (us!)

        ► $70,000 - Business expenses including servers, legal, design, and marketing


$387.5K = The above + Q1 2022 Equipment Manager hire 

Establish a Regional Manager for the first 10 kiosks to begin building service model


$462.5K = The above + Q1 2022 Artist Community Manager hire

Artist management for onboarding and coordinating artists as we expand in the region


$825K = The above + Prepared Q2-Q3 2022 expansion across NC, SC, Atlanta or other regions depending on interested retailers

        ► $222,500 - x40 more kiosks

        ► $75,000 dedicated to Service Technician under Regional Equipment Manager to service new region

        ► $40,000 dedicated to kiosk transportation and storage costs

        ► $25,000 dedicated to co-working/office space


$950K = The above + Q2-Q3 2022 Data Scientist hire 

Begin focusing on aggregating and developing SaaS services to partners and inform our expansion plans


$1M = The above + Kiosk R&D and maturation for next regional expansion

With 50 kiosks deployed, we want to take lessons learned from our Mark 1 kiosk and prepare a final production model that reduces our involvement with future kiosk assembly


Our People
About Company:

Cardstalk is founded by a pair of married founders - Brandon Prime and Steph Prime. They are both alums of NC State Computer Science B.S., who worked in the industry in Seattle as Engineers at Amazon. Brandon was a Software Engineer on the Amazon Go project to create a “just walk out” grocery store concept, while Steph worked on DevOps and Deployment   for Amazon Web Services. When they decided they wanted to build a startup, they returned home to North Carolina, in hopes that the company built here will strengthen the local economy and improve opportunities in our local communities.



Common Questions

How many cards can be printed before the kiosk needs refilling of any supplies? Paper, ink etc.

Depends mostly on kiosk configuration, but a kiosk can support 100-400 prints between services. Toner/Fuser and such are in the thousands of prints.

How many cards can be printed at one time?

Right now it takes less than 30 seconds for the kiosk to process and print an order, but the printer can take up to another 30 seconds to warm up (still optimizing on this!). If you order multiple cards, same image or different, they are an additional 2-3 seconds each.

What is the kiosk footprint?

At the moment the kiosk measures roughly 2.5ft deep and 3.5ft wide. A lot of the top surface is dedicated to writable space and the kiosk tablet, and we expect future iterations to reduce the foot print a bit as well.

How tall is the kiosk pictured and what height is the workspace?

With our prototype at the moment, the top surface is a bit over 40 inches tall, however this is the maximum height needed for the maximum paper capacity. We expect it will be shrunken at least a few inches in future iterations.

Where are you expecting to take market share away from?

Big Box/Supermarket or small Mom & Pop stores.

Ultimately our aim is at big/medium box stores as they provide us with an expansion path that allows our kiosk servicing and B2B sales strategy to scale. Although we have seen small stores such as Moonlight Makers showing interest in kiosks with a marketplace tailored specifically to their card selection.

Why Now?

On the customer side, millennials have shown a strong affinity to card buying and gifting, however traditional card sale channels are not connecting to millennial shoppers who are seeking a more authentic card giving experience. On the technology side, simply put the printing technology has not been scalable nor as profitable in the past. With the new generation of lower-cost edge to edge, duplex printers we are confident we can match the card quality of the big competitors without sacrificing convenience. 

Why Grocers?

Our research indicates that grocers are currently one of the most frequented card-buying locations, however due to floorspace constraints they cannot compete on selection with specialty stores. Additionally grocers are more concentrated among metropolitan areas, with longer open hours, meaning we have a clear path to expansion and availability with future partners.

Why Kiosks?

Our main focus right now is to intercept customer shopping habits because online card buying leaves out a large portion of card buyers. Almost half of people buy the day of or the day before their card occasion, meaning they can't afford to wait days for their cards to be mailed. As brand awareness of our kiosk expands, we hope that buy online and pick-up in store will become a stronger channel of continue sales.

How much has COVID impacted the physical greeting card market?

From our research, less than 13% of current card buyers are "less likely" to purchase cards from a card aisle. Although we can't predict the course of the pandemic, we ultimately suspect that the long-term impact of covid on physical shopping preference for cards will be minimal.

Docs
Risks

Investing carries general risks, such as losing all the money you invest. Some key risks will be listed below. Additional general and project-specific risks may be detailed here if the Regulation Crowdfunding securities offering goes live.


You can learn more about the risks of investing through Vicinity here

Disclosures

This is not currently a live securities offering.

        • No money or other consideration is being solicited, and if sent in response, will not be accepted.
        • No offer to buy the securities can be accepted and no part of the purchase price can be received until the offering statement is filed and only through an intermediary's platform.
        • A person's indication of interest involves no obligation or commitment of any kind.

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