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Does Product Offering Influence Startup Potential?

Analyzing how startups across different industries rate on KingsCrowd.


At KingsCrowd, we evaluate startup potential in five key areas: price, market, team, performance, and differentiation. Users can use our ratings algorithm to assess individual subscores or a company's overall score. In our recent analysis, we looked at subscore and overall score averages based on the type of product or service offered by startups. Here are the key findings:

  • Early stage hardware / CPG companies had the highest average overall, team, and performance scores, thanks to their quick revenue generation compared to software companies.

  • Early-stage pharmaceutical companies scored the lowest on average in price, market, and performance due to regulatory challenges but excelled in differentiation with innovative drugs or medical equipment. Growth-stage pharmaceutical companies had the highest average overall score.

  • Software companies led in market scores for both early and growth-stage categories.

  • Service companies (restaurants, breweries, etc.) scored the lowest in both team and differentiation for both early and growth stage categories.

To learn more, including a chart on growth-stage companies, you can read the full analysis HERE.

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Brief: Queenly is making strides in the U.S. second-hand apparel market, focusing on formal and eventwear. Embracing conscious consumerism, its platform boasts 1 million users and significant sales growth, with a mere 2% clothing return rate, demonstrating customer satisfaction and product-match efficiency. It’s raising $1.2M with a valuation cap of $14M and a minimum investment of $100.

Key People: Queenly is co-founded by CEO Trisha Bantigue and CTO Kathy Zhou-Patel. Bantigue is a previous pageant candidate. She brings industry expertise and has a great network to succeed in the formalwear niche. Zhou-Patel is a full-stack software engineer with experience at Pinterest and Venmo.

Interested in Queenly? Access the deal report HERE 🔓📈


Here's what we like: The company’s marketplace for formalwear and eventwear aligns perfectly with the rising trend of sustainable fashion and the growing consumer preference for thrifting and second-hand goods. With over 1 million users on its platform, Queenly had maintained a remarkably low clothing return rate of only 2%. This indicates high customer satisfaction and a successful fit in a typically challenging niche of online apparel retail.

The strong 122.75% revenue growth between 2021 and 2022 showcase Queenly’s product-market-fit. The company’s innovative approach of combining AI-driven technology differentiates it from other second-hand clothing platforms.

Moreover, Queenly’s participation in YCombinator (YC) coupled with backing from notable venture capital investors such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Interlace Ventures, The House Fund, NextView Ventures, Rebel Fund, and Amino Capital, not only provides the company with valuable resources but also validates its growth potential. Investors believe in the complementarity of the company’s founders, Trisha Bantigue and Kathy Zhou, a former pageant queen and a software engineer.

Queenly has secured partnerships with high-profile entities such as Netflix’s Bridgerton, Miss Universe Organization, and Walmart, which should enhance its differentiation, market presence and credibility.

Here's what we don't: Queenly operates within the competitive second-hand apparel market, facing direct competition from established second-hand players like Poshmark, ThredUp, and Vinted, as well as indirect competition from general online marketplaces like AliExpress and LightintheBox, which both offer affordable formalwear. These competitors have already captured significant market share and have robust logistics, technology, and user bases, which could make it challenging for Queenly to differentiate and scale effectively.

The monthly burn rate of $273,833 is substantial relative to the company’s cash on hand of $600,000, potentially leading to cash flow issues if not addressed promptly. The current fiscal health of Queenly could become a pressing issue without a significant increase in revenue or additional funding, especially given the need for further investment in hiring, marketing, and partnerships, as stated in their campaign proceeds usage. This, coupled with a 2022 net income loss of over $3 million, could raise concerns about the company’s short-term financial health.

Would you invest in Queenly?

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In this episode, we interview Spencer Martin, CEO of Sonic Power. Chris and Spencer walk through his journey in the consumer electronics industry. With extensive experience from working in Chinese manufacturing to involvement in Silicon Valley startups, Spencer shares the insights he used to create Sonic Power. Spencer dives into his brand's business model to stand out in the electronics market through a private label strategy akin to Costco's Kirkland Signature line and Trader Joe's, offering customers high-quality, cost-effective electronic products.

Listen to the full episode here


Chilau Foods, founded by Michael Anderson, offers Southern-inspired cooking with its line of soup stew bases, infusing bold Southern flavors into home cooking. Designed for cooks of all levels, their products aim to transform the soup aisle with an exceptional taste experience. With over 370 retail outlets and 20,000 online customers, Chilau Foods celebrates culinary traditions, reflecting the founder's heritage and his grandmother's kitchen influence.

  • Valuation Cap: $5 million

  • Minimum Investment: $100

CGB Green Liberty Notes, part of Connecticut Green Bank and crowdfunding on Raise Green, is dedicated to boosting green energy adoption in Connecticut. Focusing on aiding small businesses in enhancing energy efficiency and reducing costs, they have mobilized over $2.43 billion in the state's clean energy economy.

  • Interest Rate: 5.25%

  • Minimum Investment: $100

Sholder addresses the critical issue of employee burnout, prevalent in 77% of professionals according to a Deloitte survey. The platform provides emotional and mental support, expert-led curriculum, and transformative support, enabling employees to earn while receiving help. Impacting 2,900 lives and with a $2.5 million sales pipeline, Sholder's growth potential is evident.

  • Valuation Cap: $7.5 million

  • Minimum Investment: $100