Top 4 Business Plan Examples

It’s hard for founders to learn so many new skills when they’re starting a business, including writing a business plan. If you’re writing your business plan for the first time, it can be intimidating.

Can you tell me what you include? Can you tell me what kind of wording you should use? How do you make sure you don’t include anything? Does a midsize business plan differ from an enterprise plan or a scalable startup plan? Is it a good idea to include financials? Can you tell me what investors want?

This is enough to make even the most stalwart startup founder and management team give up.

You’re in luck – we’ve put together a complete guide to writing a business plan. Don’t forget to check it out. We’ll share some business plan samples so you can get started writing your own. (And if you came here from there, keep reading!)

Even though it’s nice to have a step-by-step guide, it can also be really helpful to have examples when you’re starting out.

So, here are four sample business plans from the Startups community that we think really stand out. Let these serve as a startup business plan template and make it easier to write your own. Whether you’re writing traditional business plans for an established business or startup business plans, these will give you some great ideas. Our business plan creator,, is great for creating business plans, but you can also use these examples with other business plan apps.

Culina’s can be found in fully formatted versions or text-only by clicking on the links below.

  • Cooking
  • Buying live
  • SmartOrca
  • The plum

Summary of CULINA

What you need to know:

Founded: 2013 Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Founder: Kent McClure Market Size: $12.5 billion Target Audience: Homeowners, property managers, insurance companies.

The quick version is:

The Culina company is an IoT and home automation company based in San Francisco. Our smart hub technology lets users connect and remotely monitor all their cooking devices and kitchen appliances through one user-friendly platform.

It’s our mission:

By leveraging affordable, automated technology, we can make homes smarter, more connected, and safer for families.

We have a vision:

Our mission is to become the leading provider of IoT technology for kitchen appliances with applications across residential and commercial properties.

Brief description of the company:

The next big thing in IoT and home automation is Culina Tech. It’s our mission to create the ultimate smart kitchen for homeowners everywhere. Users can make any kitchen appliance or cooking device smart with our revolutionary Smart Plugs. All existing brands that plug into standard two or three-prong outlets can be connected to Culina’s Wi-Fi network. Our Culina App lets users monitor and control all devices connected to our Smart Plugs remotely. Culina delivers unrivaled convenience and peace of mind, whether it’s remotely turning on the coffee maker after getting out of bed, turning off the stove remotely if it’s accidentally left on, or switching on the crockpot before you get home from work.

By setting energy caps on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, Culina helps homeowners stay within their monthly utility budgets and save energy in the kitchen through more efficient use of dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, and other appliances.

Culina alerts users through their smartphones when a device reaches its energy limit and can power down the device automatically if the user wants it to. App measures key usage metrics in real-time, so users can see energy consumption in real-time.

We’ve already completed the product development and design phase, with three prototype iterations, and now we’re ready to start mass manufacturing. We’ve also gained traction with consumers and investors alike, with 10,000 pre-ordered units sold and $5 million in capital raised.

Our goal is to ramp up hardware manufacturing, improve software UX and UI, expand sales and marketing efforts, and fulfill pre-orders in time for the holiday season. Right now, we’re looking for a $15M Series B investment that will give us the financial flexibility we need. We’d like to thank you on behalf of the entire Culina Tech team for your interest and time.

Allocation of funding:

A mix of 30 percent manufacturing, 25 percent sales, 25 percent key hires, and 20 percent operations

Brief overview of the team:

You can’t have a home without a kitchen. The quintessential gathering place for families and friends to break bread, be merry, and make memories. Yet the kitchen is also where tragedy often strikes due to misuse of appliances. After a tragic fire struck his own kitchen in late 2012, Kent McClure and his team set out to make it a safer and more energy-efficient space. It was a lucky escape for Kent and his family, but he couldn’t help but wonder “what if?”.

Having been in industrial design for decades, Kent knew he had the knowledge and contacts to improve on home automation for the kitchen with a solution that would make homes safer while cutting down on energy consumption and costs. We started Culina in early 2013. Kent and the Culina team have been working hard to revolutionize home automation and IoT with AI-powered technology since then.

Kent McClure | Founder & CEO Kent graduated from Carnegie Mellon with over ten years of executive leadership experience in industrial design and engineering. He has a successful entrepreneurial history, founding a prior tech-based startup which he grew to $100 million in revenue, followed by an acquisition in 2010 and then IPO shortly after.

Sherri Carlson is COO of the company. She earned her MBA at Harvard Business School. A Culina’s Operations Manager oversees the company’s operations to make sure sales, profitability, cash flow, and business goals are met.

CTO Martin Frink is a Stanford University alumnus with over a decade of experience at venture-backed tech companies. It’s his job to lead all aspects of Culina’s technological development, strategy, development, and growth.

Margaret Burns | CFO Margaret got her degree in Finance from NYU. Margaret worked for a public tech company based in Silicon Valley for seven years before joining Culina. Her current responsibilities include managing Culina’s financial risks and keeping track of everything.


Taking advantage of the market

There’s a huge need to reduce energy consumption. It’s estimated that businesses alone use 12-20% of US energy on food production, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and preparation.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that the average US household uses 11,280 kWh a year. Most homeowners don’t realize how much energy many small appliances in the kitchen use:

Dishwasher: 133 watts Television: 1,200 to 2,400 watts Coffee Maker: 900 to 1,200 watts Washing Machine: 350 to 500 watts Toaster: 55 to 250 watts Window Fan: 800 to 1,400 watts

The majority of US households now spend roughly 35 percent of their energy on appliances, electronics, and lights.

The little details can save you a lot on your energy bill, but most homeowners don’t think about them. Majority of people keep their refrigerator or freezer too cold, don’t make sure refrigerator door seals are airtight, don’t defrost their fridges and freezers regularly, overload their dishwashers, and keep dishwasher water temperature too hot. Because of that, energy bills stay high and energy consumption stays high.

Besides being a major source of household energy consumption, kitchens are also a major source of house fires. Household cooking appliances often account for billions in fire-related insurance claims every year, and more fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house. Stoves are the number one cause of house fires and house fire injuries.

✓ 46% of home fires are caused by cooking equipment 62% are caused by ranges or cooktops $4,000 is the average fire damage repair cost

We’re solving both of these issues caused by cooking equipment simultaneously at Culina. By aggregating data from all kitchen appliances connected to our Smart Plugs, we’re able to provide homeowners with real-time insight into their energy consumption while also providing preventative intelligence to reduce kitchen disasters.

Here are some key features and benefits:

Using our Culina Smart Plugs and an intuitive, user-friendly mobile app, users can upgrade the most popular room in the house with new tech.

Setup is easy:

The Culina Smart Plug works with most standard two- and three-pronged appliances. The Culina Smart Plug simply connects to the appliance’s electrical, plugs into the wall, downloads the Culina app, connects, and configures itself.

Staying on top of things:

Our Intelligent Culina Response System learns user habits every time someone uses an appliance connected to one of our Smart Plugs.

Sensors that detect more than one threat:

With our state-of-the-art sensors, you can detect sudden and unusual temperature fluctuations, poisonous gas emissions, toxic smoke, and more. When unusual activity is detected, like a stovetop left on for too long or during unusual hours, homeowners get alerts.

Monitoring via remote:

Culina Apps for iOS and Android let users monitor all information in real time from an easy-to-navigate dashboard. Metrics like fridge and freezer temperature, cook times, and usage data are available as they’re collected.

Control appliances remotely:

All connected appliances and devices can be controlled through the Culina App. Users can, for example, add ingredients to a crockpot before they head to work, set the crockpot remotely, and come home to a ready-made meal waiting for them.

Using our Culina Smart Plugs and an intuitive, user-friendly mobile app, users can upgrade the most popular room in the house with new tech.

Turn it off remotely:

A remote control over appliances not only makes life easier, but it also prevents kitchen accidents. The Culina App has auto shut-off capabilities, so you can turn appliances off even if you’re not home. It’s especially useful if users forget to turn off the oven or stove to avoid house fires.

Get advanced notifications:

Apart from alerting users when an appliance is left on by mistake or detects a potential hazard, Culina also reminds them when regular maintenance is needed.

Consumption data:

In the Culina App, users can also monitor their energy consumption on a weekly basis. At-a-glance insight into energy use allows users to adjust their usage accordingly to conserve energy and save money on utility bills over time.

Achieving interoperability:

Google’s Nest and Lowe’s Iris are just a few of the popular platforms we integrate with.

Benefits of Cost-Saving:

New insurance guidelines also offer significant discounts to homeowners who deploy smart technologies in their homes, so you can save money on energy costs with Culina.

Revenue and pricing

Culina will first monetize from hardware sales.

What you need:

We’re going to sell our product for $149 MSRP with a 40% profit margin. We’ll sell our product at first through popular e-commerce platforms and our website – then brick-and-mortar stores like Lowe’s, Best Buy, Home Depot, and others.

The company’s milestones:

With most of the heavy lifting already done, Culina is ready for rapid growth. Here’s a look at what we’ve accomplished since we started in 2013.

Validated by consumers:

It’s ready for commercial production and market-ready. 10,000 units have been pre-sold, which is about $1,890,000 in pre-launch revenue. There’s no doubt this is a product that consumers want and are enthusiastic about, as our customer base keeps growing.

An investor-backed company:

We’ve raised $5 million from angel investors, founder capital, friends and family, and venture capitalists.

Patented technology:

Our Smart Plug technology has been granted a provisional patent.

Creating strategic partnerships:

In the home automation sector, we’re building relationships with notable industry leaders, influencers, and development teams. Several big insurance companies are also in advanced partnership discussions with us.

Mentions in the press:

Many of today’s top tech and business publications have covered Culina, including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, The Verge, WIRED, and Engadget.

The manufacturing industry:

We’ve secured a US-based contract manufacturer who’s ready to start producing around 50K units per month as we grow.

Plans for the future

As we launch our launch product, we’re focusing on the consumer space as a first step. Our future plans include rolling out a B2B model to capture a larger market share and keep growing exponentially. It will give Culina new revenue streams and give businesses a valuable, tech-driven solution.

A commercial kitchen looks like this:

According to the EPA, commercial kitchens consume 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial spaces.

Often, commercial kitchen equipment is only 50% efficient, according to the Foodservice Consultants Society International. Commercial kitchens have a challenge with reducing energy consumption because replacing all equipment or redesigning entire workspaces isn’t practical or affordable.

Some governments are offering incentives to businesses that reduce their carbon footprint in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions. Businesses in the UK can get 100% tax relief on their qualifying capital expenditure on energy-saving equipment with Enhanced Capital Allowances. It’s a great way to boost your cash flow and get you to invest in energy-saving equipment that normally costs more.

For commercial kitchens, where equipment is often chosen based on low capital cost without considering whole life-cycle cost and energy consumption, our 2nd generation product represents a revenue-generating and energy-saving solution.

With cloud computing, machine-to-machine communication, and sensors, the Internet of Things market makes more and more commonplace devices “smarter.” With smartphones and tablets everywhere, home automation and IoT products are now much easier to use and way cheaper than they used to be.

Consumers can now access and use home automation devices that were once only available to the wealthy and tech-savvy. Thanks to the Internet of Things, consumers can control everything from their door locks to their thermostats to their garage openers and everything in between. Home automation technology has had a huge impact on the consumer space as evidenced by products like Nest and Amazon Echo.

There’s a thriving market for home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) that’s expected to reach $50 billion by 2020. Compared to today’s $12.5 billion market, this represents a 300% increase. In just one year, 8.4 billion connected devices will be installed around the world. Sixty-three percent of these devices will be used by consumers, and the rest by businesses.

Culina is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the multi-billion dollar market opportunity to provide greater protection, actionable intelligence, lower energy consumption, and more cost savings to millions of US homes.

The target audience

Our product is targeted at three specific target populations:

For homeowners:

Our end users are homeowners, so they’ll benefit most from our product. Culina offers homeowners peace of mind, convenience, and an economical investment that pays for itself over time.

Managers of residential properties:

Apartment complexes and student housing owners. Culina offers increased ROI, occupant satisfaction, and lower operational and maintenance costs.

Companies that insure:

Unattended cooking causes home fires every year that cost billions of dollars in insurance claims. Our technology can also be used by insurance companies to adjust homeowners insurance rates.

Strategy for marketing

Culina has carefully developed a marketing strategy to keep our brand in the minds and hearts of current and potential customers, so that we can keep expanding and growing. Over 100,000 people are regularly in contact with us through our social networks and email databases.

Social media & SEO:

We’ll use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and other social media to drive traffic and conversions. SEO and SEM are also on the table.

Marketing Content:

Through our blog, we consistently share marketing content that educates our audience about the value of our product. Content marketing is our way of influencing and persuading readers without using traditional direct selling tactics.

Marketing with influence:

As part of the initiative, we’ll start guest blogging for IoT, home automation, and startup tech publications like TechCrunch, Wired, VentureBeat, and others.

Landscape of competitors

Besides Nest Labs, Amazon Echo, and Wallflower Labs, Culina’s main competitors are other companies in the home automation and IoT space.

Make a nest

Introducing Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011, Nest is a leading home automation company. Founded in 2010 by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, the company is based in Palo Alto, California. Nest was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion on January 14, 2014, and still operates under its own brand.

The features are:

Smart thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems from Nest Labs are programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, and Wi-Fi-enabled.

What it costs:

Nest’s 3rd generation thermostat is $249, their indoor and outdoor cameras are $199, and their smoke & CO alarm is $99.

Those are the key weaknesses:

The company’s sales have underperformed since Google bought Nest, falling below the expectations Google set for them.

Echo Dot

Powered by artificial intelligence, Amazon Echo, also known as Alexa, is a voice command device designed by November 2014 was the first time the smart home hub was released.

These features:

Echo smart speakers come with Alexa, a voice-activated virtual assistant. Simply say her name and then ask her a question or tell her what to do.

The price is:

You can get the Amazon Echo for $99 if you’re an Amazon Prime member and $170 if you’re not.

There are a few weaknesses:

There have been some complaints about the sound quality and limited “skills” capabilities. It’s also only possible to interact with Alexa in English and German.

Being a wallflower

Based in Charleston, MA, Wallflower Labs designs an internet-connected smart plug that works with any freestanding plug-in electric stove. Amazon acquired Yap – a speech recognition company founded by the company’s founder – in 2011 to help develop Alexa. With $1.5 million via a convertible note on August 30, 2016, the startup has raised a total of $2.5 million from three rounds of equity funding.

What it has:

Smart plugs sound an alarm and notify homeowners via smartphone when the stove is on, someone forgets to turn it off, cooking time expires, or the smoke alarm goes off.

The price is:

Wallflower Labs hasn’t released consumer pricing yet because they’re in pre-launch.

There are a few weaknesses:

Culina connects to all smart appliances and cooking devices in the kitchen, but Wallflower Labs only monitors stove usage.

Here’s how Culina measures up:

Factors that make us different

Culina has a unique competitive advantage over other home automation and IoT products. We’re different in these ways:

A wide range of products

With Culina, you can see everything across an entire network. Whether they’re connected to the refrigerator, gas or electric stove, microwave, or dishwasher, our Smart Plugs can deliver insight into everything from smoke and gas detection, to temperature changes, and usage metrics — regardless of brand and with a single, user-friendly app.

Easy to use

No technical skills are required to use our technology. Users are able to be up and running out of the box in approximately 10 minutes, and software updates are auto-deployed.


We deliver superior functionality and value at a lower price than our competitors. As a result, we’ll be able to keep gaining market share.

We have a team of industry veterans with decades of experience in industrial design, mobile tech, cloud-based tech, artificial intelligence, and more.

We have a history of starting and leading companies to successful exits and have established valuable relationships with industry leaders that will help us strategically position Culina as a market innovator.

Opportunity to invest

We’re seeking $15M in Series B equity financing to fuel our next stage of growth – including manufacturing, pre-order fulfillment, platform development, and marketing efforts to expand the Culina brand. We’ll use any remaining funds for operating expenses.

Culina: Why should you invest? Investors can get in on the ground floor with a company that’s positioned to grow into a leading innovator in the home automation and IoT space.

We’ve got something truly special with Culina, and both early adopters and investors are raving about it. With 10,000 units pre-sold and $1.89M in pre-launch revenue, we’ve already proven ourselves in the consumer space. Investors already believe in our company, our mission, and our ability to succeed after raising over $5 million across several financing rounds.

Additionally, we’ve built a robust product pipeline that will prepare us for widespread expansion in the future. Nextgen technology is pushing the boundaries of what home automation can be and do, and we’re looking for investors who share our passion.

Looking forward to working with you to accelerate Culina’s growth to become a dominant player in the global IoT and home automation space.

Final thoughts

These business plan examples should get you started on the right track to turning your idea into a company. Please keep in mind that these startup business plan examples aren’t a uniform guide for every business. A 5-year business plan template might be all you need, or maybe just some examples of business plans for students. Don’t forget this when you’re writing your startup business plan, and let us know if these examples helped you.

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