Thank you Tyler Mincey for the introduction to our guest today's guest Ben West. Ben is the founder of Spark Grills, which is precision charcoal grilling meaning it's the best of both worlds. You get the amazing flavor since you're cooking on charcoal, but the ease and temperature precision that's typically associated with gas grills. Previously, Ben founded EcoZoom, which brought efficient cookstoves to areas of the developing world plagued with indoor air pollution. We discuss some of the differences building a company that is tailored towards the developing world vs one that is focused on the developed world, the two groups he considers as Spark Grills target audiences and what it was like launching during COVID.
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Questions I ask Ben:
- What was your attraction to entrepreneurship, wood stoves and grills?
- What led to the founding of Eco Zoom?
- What were some of the challenges building a company in developing countries?
- What inspired you to start Spark Grills?
- What was the insight?
- How did you go about developing the product?
- Why did you think people needed a charcoal grill?
- How did you think about the competitive set?
- What was the transition like creating a premium product for developed nations vs. a product for people in emerging countries?
- How did you decide the channel you wanted to sell on?
- How do you approach building your brand?
- didn't have the performance, lifestyle
- What was the go-to-market strategy?
- Democratize the joy of grilling
- Democratize in terms of making grilling easy
- When did you realize you needed to fundraise?
- What has been the effect of COVID on Spark Grills?
- What's one thing that you would change about the fundraising process?
- What's one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
- What's one piece of advice that you have for founders?