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Start-up packs macho in a box

Power Pitch

One man says he's created the perfect bromance between a crate and a crowbar.
"We hand select stuff that guy's love ... pack it into wooden crates, and send every crate with a crowbar," Jonathan Beekman told CNBC.

Beekman founded ManCrates.com, a company curating gifts solely for men. Its tag line: "We build awesome gifts."

Watch Beekman give his 60-second pitch to an expert panel with Nikhil Kalghatgi, Vast Ventures partner; Kelly Hoey, Cuurio's chief marketing officer; and Paul Cianciolo, FirstMark Capital vice president. Will his start-up be one giant leap for mankind? Or will the panel call it not so "awesome."

Gear, gadgets & grub

"Most people end up settling for a 'consolation gift' like a gift card and get really depressed when their gifts land flat," Beekman told CNBC.

He founded Man Crates in October 2011, with the manifesto "We say 'no' to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets. We don't save wrapping paper, we don't do ribbons."

Mancrates.com sells more than 30 different crates full of "manly" items like personalized barware, bacon and barbecue sauces. The start-up also offers personalized gift notes, videos and a Man Crates mobile app.

Source: Man Crates

Prices range from $25 for a "Jerkygram" crate to upward of $170 for a "Zombie Annihilation" crate. A team of up to 30 employees compiles the gift items and assembles the crates at headquarters in Redwood City, California.

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Man Crates can be shipped across the U.S and Canada, but not overseas.

Manning up

According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans spent more than $600 billion on holiday gifts alone last year. But Beekman told CNBC, "We think it's conservative to estimate that 25 percent of that holiday spend is gifts for men."

During the "Power Pitch" panel, Kalghatgi asked how Beekman sells to female buyers.

"Sixty-five percent of our customers are women. We're actually helping most of our customers who are women deliver something that creates an impact for the guys that they care about," Beekman responded.

The founder added: "We're not a bro brand, we're not a college brand. ... It's a brand that needs to appeal equally to women and men."

Bro brand or not, Man Crates still battles a crowded gift space with major public players like Amazon (AMZN), which holds a market cap of about $150 billion. Plus brick-and-mortar retail outlets that would be challenging to track.

Man Crates’ Grill Master Crate

But Beekman told CNBC that Man Crates has been profitable since 2013. The founder invested his profits back into the business, and projects he will be profitable again at the end of 2014.

"We're way better at gifting than our competitors because it's all we do," he told CNBC.

Beekman would not disclose sales specifics, but said his start-up has grown four times year over year since its 2011 launch, and is "doing millions in revenue."

So far, Man Crates has raised $500,000 from angel investors, with a second seed round in progress.

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