WayRay’s $ 80M Series C Tires – Technewscity

We have quite a unique pitch tire on our hands today.

A few years ago, AR car hardware company WayRay raised $ 80 million worth half a billion in a Series C round led by Porsche, and I’m super excited to show off their pitch tires today! Yes, it’s a little bit older than some of the tires we usually tear down, but it’s rare that I get my fingers in a 100% unedited, unabridged tire that resulted in a half-unicorn rating.

WayRay’s tires consist of as many as 75 slides – about 50 more than I would typically recommend for a tire like this – and it’s clear that the founders took a different path than what we are used to seeing these days. Nevertheless, you can not argue with a successful fundraise of this caliber.

We are looking for more unique pitch decks to tear down, so if you want to submit your own, here’s how you can do it.

Slides in the deck

Typically, I list all the slides in a card game here so you can get an overview. But as I mentioned above, this tire contains 75 slides and many of them are not very clear as to what they actually are to. Just flipping through the tire generally leaves me really confused, but I have to get into why it’s a bad thing in a bit.

Let’s start by outlining what’s in the pile, and then take a look at how it all fits together, what works, and what needs to be improved.

  1. Cover glass
  2. “What Makes Us Stand Out” – USP slide
  3. Our Mission – Mission slide
  4. Graphic slide
  5. Former investor slide
  6. “Leadership in Holography” – Slides for platform description
  7. Cover slide – “Our main focus”
  8. “We believe the car’s windshield is the most natural medium for delivering AR content.”
  9. Technology team – Techstack
  10. Technology layer – Technical implementation
  11. AR Marketplace – Example of use case 1
  12. AR Marketplace – Example of use case 2
  13. AR Marketplace – Example of use case 3
  14. AR Marketplace – For the driver
  15. AR Marketplace – For the passenger
  16. Technological advantages
  17. “Benefits of WayRay’s AR HUD” product features slide
  18. “Technology Comparison” – Compare head-up monitors with competitors
  19. “Technology Comparison” – Compare head-up monitors with competitors
  20. “For us, conventional HUDs are no competition” – Positioning slide
  21. “Deep Reality Display” – Slides with product overview
  22. “Conventional HUD” – Shows what competitors are doing
  23. “Breakthrough in Volume” – Shows how WayRay HUDs take up a smaller footprint in cars
  24. Cover image – “Where are we now”
  25. “We are set up to sign commercial contracts” – Traction slide
  26. “True AR SKIN: from concept to commercialization” – Product Schedule Slides
  27. “When introduced in a vehicle model” – Explains the “stickiness” of the product between model years
  28. Business Model slide
  29. Cover slide – “How we work”
  30. Graphic slide: “Do Deep Tech”
  31. Graphic slide: “Do Deep Tech”
  32. “Vertical integration” – Competitive advantage
  33. Graphic slide: “Holography”
  34. Graphic slide: “Holography”
  35. “Breakthrough progress in holography” – Technical overview
  36. Graphic slide: “Custom Lasers”
  37. “PGU Optical Design” – Shows how the HUD is designed
  38. “Advanced Technical Techniques” – Shows how the products are designed
  39. “AR Rendering Engine” – Product Slideshow
  40. “True AR SDK” – Third party app developer slideshow
  41. Cover slide – “WayRay Overview”
  42. WayRay Team – Team-slide 1
  43. WayRay Team – Team-slide 2
  44. WayRay Team – Team-slide 3
  45. WayRay Team – R&D department organization chart
  46. WayRay Team – Chemistry team slide
  47. WayRay Team – Design team slide
  48. WayRay Team – Electronics Engineering team slide
  49. WayRay Team – Hardware Engineering team slide
  50. WayRay Team – Optics and holography team slide
  51. WayRay Team – Platform Solutions team slide
  52. WayRay Team – Quality Assurance team slide
  53. WayRay Team – Software Engineering Slides
  54. WayRay Team – Swiss Technology Center team route
  55. WayRay Labs – Laser Lab slide
  56. WayRay Labs – Holography Lab slides
  57. WayRay Labs – Experimental production slide
  58. WayRay Labs – PCB assembly facility slide
  59. WayRay Labs – Test laboratory glass
  60. WayRay Labs – CNC workshop glass
  61. WayRay Labs – Slide for metrology equipment
  62. Cover image – “Where are we going”
  63. New markets / radical innovations – Positioning slide
  64. Add-on holographic AR screen – Future product slides
  65. “Application across multiple industries” – Go-to-market brainstorm
  66. Construction equipment – Example of slide case
  67. “AR Side Window Solutions in trains” – Example of use case slide
  68. “AR side window solutions in cabs” – Example of utility glass
  69. “AR smart glass” – Example of slide case
  70. Prices – Prices received slides
  71. Events – CES 2017
  72. Events – CES 2018
  73. Events – CES Asia 2018
  74. Media coverage slides
  75. Thanks slide

Three things to love

There are a lot of incredible things to put your teeth into with these many slides. To start with, these slides are extraordinarily well designed.

WayRay operates in the OEM car range. In other words, in order for its products to be seen around the world, they must be tested and accepted by the car manufacturers, who must then add the product to a future version of the car.

It’s a scary prospect because these types of deals can drag on forever. I have worked with startups that have had to wait for more than a decade from their first conversations with a car manufacturer until the technology became available in a car you can buy. It is natural that such an endeavor is capital intensive, but it also means that once you overcome certain obstacles, you are on a fairly clear path to the market.

There is evidence for both in this tire.

Super clear timetable

[Slide 26] The WayRay driving license clearly shows its plans. Image credit: WayRay (opens in new window)

I loved the way the company presents its plans and its milestones so far in a really simple roadmap (pun intended). The company paints a clear picture of where it is and what it is trying to do.

I would have many questions about this timeline (a Q2 2022 RFQ for production in 2023 does not seem realistic in my experience), but I appreciate the clarity and the defined goals the company has set.

One of the deepest moats I have seen in a long time

[Slide 32] Vertical integration all the way. Image credit: WayRay

I often recommend that young companies only do what is absolutely core in their business and outsource or use platforms for everything else. WayRay has a different approach – it has in-house staff for all aspects of its product development and manufacturing process.

The company specifically lists optics and holography, hardware, software and electronics engineering, quality assurance, design and chemistry. For some hardware companies, I would not have expected otherwise, but in this case, it is helpful to clarify that WayRay has a fairly broad approach. Both here, and elsewhere in the deck, it becomes unshakably clear that the company has a real interest in and penchant for research and development.

WayRay does a great job of showing the world it wants to live in.

In particular, the company does not say whether it has an army of IP attorneys who make sure its assets are protected. In fact, the word “patent” appears nowhere in the pitch deck, which feels like an oversight.

Nevertheless, the company says: “The underlying intellectual property of our deep technological innovations is well protected and difficult to reproduce.” As an investor, I would like to hear a little more about how many patents the company generates, in which parts of the world and how many patents have been approved.

To paint a picture of a very different world

[Slide 67] One thing the founders were very right about: They help investors imagine another world. Image credit: WayRay (opens in new window)

Being a founder is a lonely, wild journey into a future that you can see clearly, but which does not exist yet. Storytelling is an important part of making that story a reality, and WayRay does a fantastic job of showing the world it wants to live in.

This tire has a series of slides that show potential uses – such as the augmented reality train window above – as tourist destinations with road and city overlays you might see that add information. Is it necessary? Who knows. But it’s so cool that it makes me excited to imagine what it could be like to live in this world.

As a founder, if you are able to inspire daydreams about the world you describe, you are doing an incredible job. I would not be surprised at all if these visions – beautifully rendered and displayed throughout the course – are some good opportunities for that to happen.

In the remainder of this demolition, we’ll look at three things WayRay could have improved or done differently, along with its full, 75-slides, unedited, unabridged pitch tires.

Three things that could be improved

Hi boy! OK, so let’s get it out of the way: 75 slides is way, way too many slides.

What’s worse, some of these slides make me wonder who they’re for. It seems that the person who put these slides together was really excited about the technology (and it’s wonderful), but then they shout about some of the wrong things from the rooftops, which somehow throws the track off the track .