Welcome to our new website!
May 12, 2022

Marc Hostovsky (Minoan) - How he's creating 'native retail', connecting ecommerce and in real life experiences to try out products

Marc Hostovsky (Minoan) - How he's creating 'native retail', connecting ecommerce and in real life experiences to try out products

My guest today is Marc Hostovsky, founder of Minoan. Minoan connects people with products in spaces that feel like home. This is a concept that Marc calls native retail. We discuss what’s missing today when it comes to trying out products, the intersection of ecommerce and retail and what is actually native retail.

Here are the questions I ask Marc:

  1. What was your attraction in ecommerce? Why did you want to work in ecommerce?
  2. What were some of your learnings at Walmart that have impacted you?
  3. What were you doing at Walmart?
  4. The importance of pace and hiring
  5. Hiring missionaries vs mercenaries
  6. What was the insight that led to the founding of Minoan?
  7. Why did you decide to build a product that wasn’t in ecommerce but was around physical retail or native retail?
  8. Not really having products to shine
  9. Why do people like shopping in stores?
  10. Real world shoppable experiences - be in moments of use, integrating commerce
  11. What are the use cases? Walk us through when and why a customer would use Minoan?
  12. Is the goal to eventually to become an online retailer or stay as a marketplace?
  13. What’s the customer experience like?
  14. How did you first approach hotels, Airbnbs and other places?
    1. How do you partner?
  15. How do you monetize? Is it a marketplace model?
  16. How do you work with brands?
  17. What was your approach to growth?
    1. What types of properties do you look for?
  18. What was your approach to raising money?
    1. What was challenging about the process?
  19. What’s one thing you would change about the fundraising process?
  20. What’s one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
    1. Why Buddism is true? By Robert Wright
    2. Competing Against Luck
  21. What’s one piece of advice you have for founders?
Transcript
WEBVTT 1 00:00:12.400 --> 00:00:17.039 Hello and welcome to the consumer VC. I am your host, Michael but 2 00:00:17.120 --> 00:00:20.960 and on this show we talked about the world of venture capital and innovation in 3 00:00:21.000 --> 00:00:25.480 both consumer technology and consumer products. If you're enjoying this content, you could 4 00:00:25.480 --> 00:00:30.679 subscribe to my newsletter, the consumer VC DOT substackcom, to get each new 5 00:00:30.679 --> 00:00:35.039 episode and more consumer news delivered straight to your inbox. Our guest today is 6 00:00:35.079 --> 00:00:41.000 Mark Hastovsky, founder of Minoan. Minoan connects people with products in spaces that 7 00:00:41.119 --> 00:00:45.640 feel like hope. This is a concept that he calls native retail. We 8 00:00:45.679 --> 00:00:51.280 discuss what's missing today when it comes to trying out and testing products, the 9 00:00:51.320 --> 00:00:57.799 intersection of e commerce and retail and where Menowan sits and this concept of native 10 00:00:57.880 --> 00:01:07.840 retail. Without further ADO, here's mark. Mark, thank you so much 11 00:01:07.840 --> 00:01:11.519 for joining me here. How are you? I'm great, happy to be 12 00:01:11.560 --> 00:01:14.959 here, Mike, Thanks for having me on the show. Oh well, 13 00:01:15.000 --> 00:01:17.239 thank you so much for taking the time. This is going to be a 14 00:01:17.280 --> 00:01:21.359 lot of fun. Chatted about native retail and Minoan. Oh Yes, what 15 00:01:21.480 --> 00:01:26.480 was your initial attraction to e commerce and retail? Why did you want to 16 00:01:26.519 --> 00:01:33.000 work in this world? I was really more attracted to jetcom than I was 17 00:01:33.040 --> 00:01:36.599 to retail, to be honest. So I was working at a company called 18 00:01:36.680 --> 00:01:41.599 CEB and sales, selling research to banks essentially, and a friend of mine 19 00:01:41.640 --> 00:01:45.719 was an early employee jet and it introduced me to some of the early team 20 00:01:45.760 --> 00:01:48.560 there and I was like, you know, I like startups, I'll go 21 00:01:48.640 --> 00:01:53.280 and interview and basically sat down with Scott Hilton and Aaron O'Neil and some of 22 00:01:53.280 --> 00:01:57.280 the early jet folks and they're telling me about they painted this incredible vision of 23 00:01:57.319 --> 00:02:02.000 like list, Amazon is an incredible company, but they've built this whole infrastructure 24 00:02:02.079 --> 00:02:07.719 on getting you one product as quickly as possible and the reality is the underlying 25 00:02:07.760 --> 00:02:10.919 economics of doing that or are expensive. And so we're building this model where 26 00:02:10.960 --> 00:02:15.599 we're going to allow people to build larger carts delay shipping at scale. This 27 00:02:15.599 --> 00:02:20.000 will give us an economic advantage and you know, they just laid out this 28 00:02:20.120 --> 00:02:27.560 very compelling strategy and vision and I pretty much left that conversation like went back 29 00:02:27.599 --> 00:02:30.479 to my job and I was like at how could I possibly how could I 30 00:02:30.479 --> 00:02:35.800 possibly go back to selling research to banks when this there's this company that's working 31 00:02:35.840 --> 00:02:38.599 on something awesome, and so that's sort of how I got into it, 32 00:02:38.639 --> 00:02:43.159 but I fallen in love with retail really since then. I just think it's 33 00:02:43.360 --> 00:02:47.120 it's so interesting. You know, I studied economics in school and so you 34 00:02:47.199 --> 00:02:52.919 learn about things like price elasticity and macro and micro and supply and demand and 35 00:02:52.919 --> 00:02:55.479 how price setting works, and so working at a in retail and seeing how 36 00:02:55.520 --> 00:03:00.599 all these little transactions bubble up and how important pricing is, I think I 37 00:03:00.879 --> 00:03:04.120 love it. I could talk about it all day. Exactly exactly that. 38 00:03:04.120 --> 00:03:07.039 That's really cool. So, so then you ended up then working a jet 39 00:03:07.080 --> 00:03:12.039 and then went through the entire acquisition do Walmart and work for Walmart a time. 40 00:03:12.120 --> 00:03:15.400 What we're kind of your learnings at a fast growing, scaling start up 41 00:03:15.479 --> 00:03:20.840 that was jet, ultimately then being choired by or by maybe like Mr Corporation 42 00:03:21.080 --> 00:03:23.759 right, and Walmart. What was that like? And also, I think, 43 00:03:23.759 --> 00:03:30.319 with tilt inten to is Walmart obviously a traditional retailer by trade, acquiring 44 00:03:30.400 --> 00:03:32.599 jet, obviously wanting to become a lot more aggressive, and e commerce. 45 00:03:32.639 --> 00:03:36.520 Well, what was the kind of your learnings here at be kind of talked 46 00:03:36.560 --> 00:03:40.360 about like the intersections of retail and commerce? Yeah, I mean jet really 47 00:03:40.439 --> 00:03:46.719 was my first foray into startups and I think I learned a lot from the 48 00:03:46.719 --> 00:03:50.599 founding team there. You know, particularly, I think, lies a landsman, 49 00:03:50.639 --> 00:03:53.199 who's now a general partner, Anya Mark Lory, who's doing a lot 50 00:03:53.199 --> 00:03:58.360 of stuff right now, Scott Health and who's now CEO of wonder, which 51 00:03:58.400 --> 00:04:01.680 is a new start up in the food space. One thing I learned is 52 00:04:01.680 --> 00:04:08.120 the importance of pace and sort of how important hiring is and getting good people 53 00:04:08.240 --> 00:04:12.120 together. So, you know, mark would say he calls this like hiring 54 00:04:12.120 --> 00:04:15.759 missionaries versus mercenaries. But I had just never been at a company that was 55 00:04:15.800 --> 00:04:21.360 getting so much done so quickly and like I ended up working at jet and 56 00:04:21.399 --> 00:04:24.480 then looking back in my career before that and I was like man, I 57 00:04:24.519 --> 00:04:28.079 was a stick in the mud for like five years. It was moving so 58 00:04:28.199 --> 00:04:31.319 slowly and so understand ending the importance of pace and how quickly you can get 59 00:04:31.360 --> 00:04:35.480 things done. I mean Jack from launch, ten months after launch, was 60 00:04:35.480 --> 00:04:40.160 doing eighty million dollars a month. And then going to Walmart, for me 61 00:04:40.319 --> 00:04:45.720 that the biggest eyeopeners, just how big they are. You know, you're 62 00:04:45.759 --> 00:04:49.000 talking about over five hundred billion dollars flowing through Walmart every single year. And 63 00:04:49.040 --> 00:04:54.160 so again jet I'm like, Oh wow, we went from zero to eighty 64 00:04:54.160 --> 00:04:56.120 million a month. Like I feel like I'm, you know, in a 65 00:04:56.120 --> 00:05:00.040 big company. I got this Nice PNL and then you go to Walmart and, 66 00:05:00.120 --> 00:05:02.680 like you know, the orders are replacing at Walmart, the numbers were 67 00:05:02.680 --> 00:05:06.399 doing at Walmart wire, just on a totally different level. And that was 68 00:05:06.399 --> 00:05:11.560 really my first experience with brick and mortar retail, which was a big driver 69 00:05:11.639 --> 00:05:15.120 of why I believe in native retail when I started Minoan. That's super cool. 70 00:05:15.120 --> 00:05:19.480 So did you always think that you wanted to be an entrepreneur or when 71 00:05:19.519 --> 00:05:25.279 did you get the entrepreneurial bug? When you were at Walmart? I always 72 00:05:25.319 --> 00:05:29.800 admired entrepreneurs. I Love Reading, I love listening to how I built this. 73 00:05:29.879 --> 00:05:33.560 I love reading books, you know, biographies, autobiographies from founders. 74 00:05:33.800 --> 00:05:39.160 I don't know if maybe before Jed I I maybe was unsure if I had, 75 00:05:39.160 --> 00:05:41.639 you know, what it took to really go out and start my own 76 00:05:41.639 --> 00:05:46.120 thing, but I always really admired founders and wished I could or wanted to. 77 00:05:46.439 --> 00:05:48.000 I think at jet I built a little bit of confidence in my ability 78 00:05:48.160 --> 00:05:53.839 to to execute and then through Walmart, I was working in retail and I 79 00:05:53.879 --> 00:05:58.279 had this idea that I couldn't shake for like really almost a year. I 80 00:05:58.319 --> 00:06:00.360 was like, I feel like the best product experiences, like they don't happen 81 00:06:00.480 --> 00:06:04.959 on screens, they don't happen on shelves, and like I can't like this 82 00:06:05.079 --> 00:06:08.759 isn't it. There's got to be a way to do this. And I 83 00:06:08.759 --> 00:06:13.240 think it was sort of a combination of this nagging thought, some some confidence 84 00:06:13.240 --> 00:06:15.480 in that I had led a pretty large Pano, I had worked in retail 85 00:06:15.600 --> 00:06:17.959 or. I felt comfortable making the leap, which is my second run. 86 00:06:18.000 --> 00:06:21.519 You know, I tried to start a company a few years after college called 87 00:06:21.519 --> 00:06:27.000 tailor, which was like virtual tailoring, which I won't get into. That 88 00:06:27.079 --> 00:06:29.959 was my first run in with the entrepreneurial buzz saw. It's like man, 89 00:06:29.959 --> 00:06:32.519 that's a lot harder than yeah, it's not harder than it looks from the 90 00:06:32.560 --> 00:06:35.720 outside. And so I think, you know, with Minoa and I really 91 00:06:35.720 --> 00:06:40.199 felt like like okay, I know I have a good sense of like how 92 00:06:40.240 --> 00:06:44.439 this needs to be done and how to approach it. So what is native 93 00:06:44.519 --> 00:06:48.160 retail? And I guess what was was there like a particular Aha moment. 94 00:06:48.439 --> 00:06:53.480 Then you they kind of led to Minoan and realize, hey, I wanted, 95 00:06:53.680 --> 00:06:56.120 hey, this is going to be like my full time, my full 96 00:06:56.120 --> 00:07:00.439 time passion, my full time Gig by everything. Yeah, native retail is 97 00:07:00.480 --> 00:07:04.920 basically real world, shoppable experiences, without a salesperson over your shoulder, without 98 00:07:04.959 --> 00:07:11.360 scrolling through small images on a screen. It's about being in moments of use 99 00:07:11.399 --> 00:07:14.879 where you can actually use a product, see whether or not you like it, 100 00:07:14.920 --> 00:07:18.360 and then seamlessly integrating commerce in that moment where someone can buy a product, 101 00:07:18.560 --> 00:07:21.759 in that moment of inspiration. So the example would be, you know, 102 00:07:21.839 --> 00:07:29.560 staying in an Airbnb, sleeping on let's say casper mattress and then after 103 00:07:29.600 --> 00:07:32.000 to three nights of sleeping on this thing like man, I'm sleeping well, 104 00:07:32.000 --> 00:07:36.040 I'm waking up, I'm feeling rested. I like this thing. Native retails 105 00:07:36.040 --> 00:07:43.839 about integrating commerce into those real world experiences and the motivation for me was at 106 00:07:43.839 --> 00:07:46.199 Walmart. You know, when I was at Walmart, they're moving towards on 107 00:07:46.279 --> 00:07:49.439 the channel ownership, so there's an ECOMMERCE team and then a brick and mortar 108 00:07:49.480 --> 00:07:55.000 team and sort of moving the both under one panol management structure. And so 109 00:07:55.120 --> 00:07:58.879 I manage the ECOMMERCE side of, you know, my division, but I 110 00:07:58.879 --> 00:08:01.279 worked very closely with the team in Bentonville on the store side. And you 111 00:08:01.319 --> 00:08:05.879 know, when I was comparing the types of experiences we were having with products, 112 00:08:05.959 --> 00:08:11.120 or my team is having as buyers, you're having these incredibly rich moments 113 00:08:11.240 --> 00:08:15.759 with products, and so fitness was one of the categories that I manage, 114 00:08:15.759 --> 00:08:18.519 and so like when we're getting fitness products and we're testing them for functionality, 115 00:08:18.600 --> 00:08:22.800 durability, programming, is a comfortable, much spaced as a take up, 116 00:08:22.199 --> 00:08:24.800 you know, and then like this is great, this is a great product, 117 00:08:24.800 --> 00:08:28.279 our customers are going to love this product. Let's bring it into inventory 118 00:08:28.319 --> 00:08:33.879 and then, by the time our customers are engaging or interacting with that product, 119 00:08:33.919 --> 00:08:37.240 that very rich experience we've had is now distilled down to like, you 120 00:08:37.240 --> 00:08:41.919 know, two small images on a screen and some copy or we're taking, 121 00:08:41.960 --> 00:08:45.720 you know, this experience, we're putting it in a cardboard box and we're 122 00:08:45.759 --> 00:08:48.399 cramming on a shelf, we're putting twenty other products around them and we're just 123 00:08:48.399 --> 00:08:54.080 really deluding the richness of of the product experience and really like not allowing the 124 00:08:54.080 --> 00:08:58.399 product to shine like this. Produce products are designed to do things, to 125 00:08:58.519 --> 00:09:01.279 solve jobs, so to speak. You know, in the real world and 126 00:09:01.360 --> 00:09:05.720 I felt like we weren't really accomplishing that for for our customers any commerce or 127 00:09:05.799 --> 00:09:09.879 in or in stores, and so that was that was sort of the Big 128 00:09:09.919 --> 00:09:13.440 Ah moment that drove me to create Minoan. I can totally see that and 129 00:09:13.480 --> 00:09:16.759 I think that's certainly one of the issues that we talked on the show a 130 00:09:16.759 --> 00:09:20.679 lot. When I come to ECOMMERCE, how do you especially for me, 131 00:09:20.799 --> 00:09:24.200 obviously, for for physical products, how do you show what that product can 132 00:09:24.240 --> 00:09:28.159 do without being able to feel, touch and do it? And at the 133 00:09:28.200 --> 00:09:31.320 same time, the sour side, how do you make sure this product is 134 00:09:31.320 --> 00:09:35.559 not just another product on the shelf? And so that's constantly challenges, not 135 00:09:35.679 --> 00:09:39.440 from both sides of the scale. I mean obviously you have like in sort 136 00:09:39.519 --> 00:09:41.559 demos. Those are a lot more expensive and you do a lot more to 137 00:09:41.559 --> 00:09:46.720 get into our demos. My favorite experiences on retail growing up with like get, 138 00:09:46.720 --> 00:09:48.000 you know, brookstone and like sharper image. We could be able to 139 00:09:48.000 --> 00:09:50.919 like try out these like new gadgets, new products and what have you, 140 00:09:50.960 --> 00:09:54.480 and so but this is cool. So when you were first thinking about native 141 00:09:54.559 --> 00:10:00.919 retail and kind of how you can tie in when you experience a product you 142 00:10:00.960 --> 00:10:05.240 know anywhere that's really maybe outside, I guess, anywhere, meaning outside of 143 00:10:05.279 --> 00:10:09.120 that traditional retail experience, right outside of where you actually would buy the product, 144 00:10:09.200 --> 00:10:15.000 because you're looking at the intersection of obviously the physical you testing out the 145 00:10:15.000 --> 00:10:18.679 product and functionality yourself, but also there's The e commerce portion to where you 146 00:10:18.720 --> 00:10:22.240 actually trace back that product and you buy it online. What was kind of 147 00:10:22.279 --> 00:10:28.360 going through your mind when you first thought about starting Minowan on the channel is 148 00:10:28.399 --> 00:10:31.840 this big you know where that we like to throw out around and retail, 149 00:10:31.919 --> 00:10:35.639 or the intersection of digital and physical or like, I think figical. I've 150 00:10:35.679 --> 00:10:39.000 seen like a lot of words. It's sort of describe this concept of like 151 00:10:39.000 --> 00:10:43.080 how do we blend the two? And so when you look at just like 152 00:10:43.799 --> 00:10:48.399 root causing this stuff, it's like why do people like shopping in stores? 153 00:10:48.440 --> 00:10:52.559 And so when you look at like survey data there there's two reasons far away 154 00:10:52.679 --> 00:10:58.159 the people like shopping in stores. One is the ability to touch and feel 155 00:10:58.159 --> 00:11:01.000 and use a product. That was like eighty seven percent, I think, 156 00:11:01.000 --> 00:11:03.799 based on the survey I saw. And then number two, right behind it, 157 00:11:03.879 --> 00:11:07.639 is the ability to leave with the product. You know, the immediacy 158 00:11:07.679 --> 00:11:09.559 of being able to leave the store with it. And so it's like, 159 00:11:09.559 --> 00:11:13.000 okay, that's what people really value about stores. It's like, well then, 160 00:11:13.039 --> 00:11:18.240 on the e commerce side, what's really valuable about e commerce and digital 161 00:11:18.240 --> 00:11:22.200 retail experiences? And it's like, you know, the seamless integration of media 162 00:11:22.240 --> 00:11:28.320 and content to the data capture, the ability to offer completely dynamic experiences to 163 00:11:28.399 --> 00:11:31.559 the user who's on that screen. And so as I was thinking about like 164 00:11:31.679 --> 00:11:35.879 what is the best way to combine those two elements, like how do you 165 00:11:35.879 --> 00:11:39.399 take the best of physical retail, how do you take the best of e 166 00:11:39.519 --> 00:11:46.159 commerce? It's really about putting products in environments where people can use them, 167 00:11:46.279 --> 00:11:48.240 can see if they like them, and there's lots of data that shows that 168 00:11:48.279 --> 00:11:52.759 those environments convert very highly. Like I went to go see John Fully, 169 00:11:52.879 --> 00:11:56.440 the founder Pelaton, did a live how I built this in New York and 170 00:11:56.480 --> 00:11:58.600 I and this was when I was like just toying with the idea. I'm 171 00:11:58.600 --> 00:12:01.799 like, do I just leave, you know, do I leave Walmart and 172 00:12:01.879 --> 00:12:05.759 really go after this thing? It's a scary jump. I remember him saying. 173 00:12:05.799 --> 00:12:07.679 Guy Ross is like, well, why do you keep opening these stores? 174 00:12:07.720 --> 00:12:11.080 You know you're in the Short Hills Mall, you're in all these malls, 175 00:12:11.080 --> 00:12:13.000 but it seems like a core part of your strategy. And John looks 176 00:12:13.000 --> 00:12:16.440 them, he says, because I'm telling you, when I can get someone 177 00:12:16.480 --> 00:12:20.639 on the bike peddling listening to the music in the class, he's like, 178 00:12:20.720 --> 00:12:26.080 it's fifty fifty fifty, whether or not they're going to buy the bike right 179 00:12:26.120 --> 00:12:31.480 then and there. And those moments of use or just incredibly valuable and we 180 00:12:31.519 --> 00:12:37.559 want to create them in native environments and not sacrifice the greatest parts of e 181 00:12:37.720 --> 00:12:41.840 commerce, you know, capturing clicks, conversion, customer pathing, integrating media 182 00:12:41.879 --> 00:12:46.080 and content, providing instructional you know, you think about native retail. If 183 00:12:46.120 --> 00:12:50.679 you have like a mattress, for example, the way that you would talk 184 00:12:50.720 --> 00:12:54.440 about that mattress when it's physically in front of someone is different than the way 185 00:12:54.440 --> 00:13:00.240 you should talk about it if it's actually being represented abstractly on a screen and 186 00:13:00.279 --> 00:13:03.960 it's actually sitting in a warehouse somewhere. Instead of saying, you know, 187 00:13:03.039 --> 00:13:07.440 this mattress is good for back sleepers and side sleepers, it's soft, it's 188 00:13:07.480 --> 00:13:11.720 comfortable. You know, everyone says that you might create content that says, 189 00:13:11.759 --> 00:13:15.360 you know, we want you to go in line this mattress line your back. 190 00:13:15.399 --> 00:13:16.279 Okay, now we're all over on your side. Okay, notice that, 191 00:13:16.360 --> 00:13:20.879 no matter how your position, you know, this is cradling your body 192 00:13:20.919 --> 00:13:24.440 really well. That's because we use this specific foam technology that does experts. 193 00:13:24.480 --> 00:13:26.080 Okay, now ghost it on the edge of the mattress. Notice how it 194 00:13:26.120 --> 00:13:31.000 doesn't sink down. That's because we've used this technic alogy to fried really get 195 00:13:31.080 --> 00:13:33.279 edge support. You know, the content is a little more instructional in the 196 00:13:33.279 --> 00:13:37.000 way you talk about the product is a little bit different. Yeah, their 197 00:13:37.039 --> 00:13:41.080 benefits to both. Benefits to digital, there's benefits to the real world and 198 00:13:41.320 --> 00:13:43.639 you know we're trying to combine the best of both worlds. No, totally. 199 00:13:43.639 --> 00:13:46.240 I'm so glad you brought up that John Folio episode. That's one of 200 00:13:46.240 --> 00:13:50.519 my favorites. On how I bought this huge, huge high bolt this fan. 201 00:13:50.559 --> 00:13:54.679 But of course makes sense why he would open stores and to obviously have 202 00:13:54.799 --> 00:13:56.600 people try on the product. You know, as he said, it was 203 00:13:56.639 --> 00:14:01.240 a fifty what once they tried it and kind of have that experience, it 204 00:14:01.360 --> 00:14:03.799 was a fifty percent chance they actually my perch the product right there on the 205 00:14:03.799 --> 00:14:07.879 spot. But with you and and Minohan, it's not in store right. 206 00:14:07.960 --> 00:14:11.919 It's almost like the anti store. And so how, then, do you 207 00:14:13.159 --> 00:14:18.679 think about developing on the supply side, like partnerships, and we're actually people 208 00:14:18.720 --> 00:14:22.519 would kind of have these experiences. I think one of our biggest advantages is 209 00:14:22.559 --> 00:14:26.200 that these experiences don't happen in stores because, I mean, for a few 210 00:14:26.200 --> 00:14:28.960 reasons, stores are expensive, and that's another thing I learned to Walmart. 211 00:14:28.960 --> 00:14:33.320 I mean, the reason why everyone measures a store based on dollar for square 212 00:14:33.360 --> 00:14:35.919 foot is because there's a lot of fixed costs you got to cover. There's 213 00:14:35.919 --> 00:14:37.879 a least, there's build out cost, there's a lot of inventory, there's 214 00:14:37.879 --> 00:14:41.440 salespeople, and so that's why you get all these products that are crammed and 215 00:14:41.480 --> 00:14:46.639 crammed on shelves in big in big retail. And then even for Peloton, 216 00:14:46.720 --> 00:14:50.320 I mean those leases are not cheap. Lucky they have a high are product 217 00:14:50.360 --> 00:14:54.320 and the math works out. But for us, I think not having stores 218 00:14:54.480 --> 00:14:58.360 is it frees us to optimize around the customer and that customer experience rather than 219 00:14:58.440 --> 00:15:01.559 optimizing round dollar per square foot or something like that. And the way we 220 00:15:01.600 --> 00:15:09.600 think about what space is could become native shoppable experiences is really that any product 221 00:15:09.639 --> 00:15:15.399 that exists in the physical world has a corresponding native ecosystem. You know, 222 00:15:15.519 --> 00:15:20.480 like skis and ski boots are used on a mountain, office equipment is used 223 00:15:20.559 --> 00:15:28.480 in coworking spaces, linen's and mattresses are used in hotels. Automobiles are used 224 00:15:28.480 --> 00:15:31.879 in car rentals. You know, that's a native experience for the automotive category, 225 00:15:31.919 --> 00:15:35.559 where it's like all right, like I'm interested in this vehicle, I'm 226 00:15:35.559 --> 00:15:39.799 going to rent it for a for four or five days, see how ct 227 00:15:39.799 --> 00:15:41.039 fits, see how I like it, and then I can make my decision. 228 00:15:41.399 --> 00:15:46.399 And so when we're looking at the types of partnerships, you know where 229 00:15:46.399 --> 00:15:50.240 where the right space is to create these experiences. It's sort of aligning the 230 00:15:50.279 --> 00:15:56.559 category and the products in those categories with the space where they would natively be 231 00:15:56.720 --> 00:16:00.960 used. And there's a lot of different spaces. You know that there's lots 232 00:16:00.000 --> 00:16:03.279 of different environments you could go after. We're really focused right now in the 233 00:16:03.279 --> 00:16:10.279 short term rental space. So like AIRBNB's Verbos and products that would go in 234 00:16:10.279 --> 00:16:14.320 those experiences that are useful to the to the guests, and so it's everything 235 00:16:14.360 --> 00:16:19.840 from linen's electronics, speaker systems, appliances and the kitchen fitness equipment. You 236 00:16:19.879 --> 00:16:23.200 cast a pretty broad net with that starting point. This is one of your 237 00:16:23.240 --> 00:16:30.399 target markets is looking at short term rentalsbb. What's your process? Are you 238 00:16:30.759 --> 00:16:34.279 contacting owners and kind of being very scrappy and in terms of kind of build 239 00:16:34.279 --> 00:16:40.480 partnerships with them, and then looking at what boat products they have and seeing, 240 00:16:40.759 --> 00:16:42.759 okay, let's attach that to a digital inprinter or, you know, 241 00:16:42.840 --> 00:16:47.720 be able to shoppy commerce? Were you also providing products to the act later 242 00:16:47.759 --> 00:16:51.480 BBS? We're doing a little bit of both, and so I think that, 243 00:16:51.600 --> 00:16:53.720 you know, the way that brands can view our platform as we're essentially 244 00:16:53.799 --> 00:16:56.720 a be to be Toc and so it's like, you know, when you 245 00:16:56.759 --> 00:17:00.639 sign up on the no and we're going to help sell your products into all 246 00:17:00.679 --> 00:17:04.519 these we actually work with also fifty boutique hotels, so it's not just short 247 00:17:04.680 --> 00:17:08.519 mentals but hospitality generally. You know, we're going to help sell you into 248 00:17:08.559 --> 00:17:14.680 all these hospitality spaces be tob sales, and then we're going to turn every 249 00:17:14.680 --> 00:17:18.839 single one of these spaces basically into a show room for your brand where the 250 00:17:18.839 --> 00:17:22.000 guests can interact with them and, if they like them, you know, 251 00:17:22.039 --> 00:17:26.559 buy the ones that they like the way that we're focused on growth right now 252 00:17:26.680 --> 00:17:29.400 is we're really focused on the spaces side of things, you know, and 253 00:17:29.559 --> 00:17:32.559 we look at it's a complicated business, you know, like we do have 254 00:17:32.599 --> 00:17:36.440 a multiple stakeholders that we need to think about. Their spaces, there's brands, 255 00:17:36.480 --> 00:17:40.000 there's gas, and so when you sort of look at the Flywheel, 256 00:17:40.319 --> 00:17:42.720 like okay, where is the power really generated here? When we did that 257 00:17:42.759 --> 00:17:47.119 analysis, were like we need to go out and get a lot of spaces 258 00:17:47.160 --> 00:17:48.279 to sign up, and we are doing sort of. You know, we're 259 00:17:48.319 --> 00:17:52.079 still really early, like we just closed our seed round, which were, 260 00:17:52.119 --> 00:17:56.359 you know, we're very happy with, but like we're in chapter one of 261 00:17:56.440 --> 00:18:00.920 like a thousand here, and so we're definitely doing all the appy finding facebook 262 00:18:00.960 --> 00:18:06.119 groups, reaching out in Reddit communities, anyway that we can get in front 263 00:18:06.119 --> 00:18:08.359 of these hosts. We want to and the message we have for them is 264 00:18:08.400 --> 00:18:15.160 basically like you guys are for walled influencers and you're creating such special moments between 265 00:18:15.200 --> 00:18:19.920 people and brands within these spaces, and you know that should change the way 266 00:18:19.960 --> 00:18:23.240 you look at how you furnish your space and how you think about curating your 267 00:18:23.240 --> 00:18:26.680 space, and you can use us to do that, because the reality is 268 00:18:26.720 --> 00:18:32.839 that on their and the way that these hosts are furnishing their spaces is it's 269 00:18:32.880 --> 00:18:36.039 like they're paying full retail, which, like you shouldn't be payingful retail because 270 00:18:36.039 --> 00:18:37.759 you're creating such value in these spaces. They're ordering, you know, if 271 00:18:37.759 --> 00:18:41.079 they're ordering from twenty different brands, it's happening on twenty different websites, there's 272 00:18:41.079 --> 00:18:45.480 twenty different returns processes, twenty different credit card inputs, and so we're simplifying 273 00:18:45.480 --> 00:18:49.359 twenty different trackings. Mean tracking when you're ordering stuff from a bunch of events, 274 00:18:49.440 --> 00:18:52.759 tracking in and of itself as like a nightmare. And so what we've 275 00:18:52.759 --> 00:18:56.200 done is we built a lot of tools to simplify that, make that easier, 276 00:18:56.200 --> 00:19:00.039 basically save them time and money, and then bring brands in that will 277 00:19:00.079 --> 00:19:03.519 make a difference in the in the guests experience. And then, if guess 278 00:19:03.599 --> 00:19:07.319 or sorry, and then if hosts work with brands that they really like. 279 00:19:07.480 --> 00:19:11.640 I mean this is how we started working with parachute. We had a few 280 00:19:11.640 --> 00:19:15.000 hosts that were like, we love parachute linens, they're incredible, like I 281 00:19:15.000 --> 00:19:17.319 we should reach out to them and talk to them, and so a lot 282 00:19:17.359 --> 00:19:21.880 of our brand acquisition is actually driven by what host you're telling us they like 283 00:19:22.240 --> 00:19:25.880 for now in their early days. That's right. I mean it's not quite 284 00:19:25.920 --> 00:19:30.319 the same, but it just as we talked about shoppy natively and, you 285 00:19:30.359 --> 00:19:33.519 know, really kind of avoiding the store per se and that kind of experience. 286 00:19:33.559 --> 00:19:37.480 It just reminds me of when I talked to Jakelu who's the founder of 287 00:19:37.759 --> 00:19:41.279 outer. We Love Jake. Yeah, we work with them. Okay, 288 00:19:41.319 --> 00:19:45.279 awesome, awesome, awesome. I thought that his story really resonated just because, 289 00:19:45.839 --> 00:19:51.599 instead of doing that kind of traditional retail shop and you know where you 290 00:19:51.599 --> 00:19:56.240 can see and experience the outdoor furniture of outer, instead he actually turned to 291 00:19:56.279 --> 00:19:57.759 his community, or turn a customers, and said, Hey, if you 292 00:19:57.799 --> 00:20:03.000 actually hosts, maybe these like little showings in your backyard and you actually have 293 00:20:03.079 --> 00:20:07.640 like your costmers backyard becoming the show room. Obviously it's different because the single 294 00:20:07.720 --> 00:20:10.400 product versus your more of a market place, but I think it's just quite 295 00:20:10.400 --> 00:20:14.920 interesting this kind of parallel that people are really open to trying out product and 296 00:20:15.000 --> 00:20:18.400 make kind of untraditional ways. Jake was one of the first brands we actually 297 00:20:18.440 --> 00:20:22.880 started working with at Minoan because I just reach out to him. I was 298 00:20:22.920 --> 00:20:27.119 like, I'm working on something that I feel like you're going to really relate 299 00:20:27.200 --> 00:20:30.039 to, based on how you've structured your business. Yeah, and I think 300 00:20:30.079 --> 00:20:33.920 it's I mean, it's a brilliant strategy and, just like you said, 301 00:20:33.960 --> 00:20:37.720 you know, what outers doing is like a verticalized way, where they're mobilizing 302 00:20:37.720 --> 00:20:41.480 their own customers into show rooms. You know, we're taking the horizontal approach 303 00:20:41.519 --> 00:20:44.519 where it's like, you know, it's not just the outdoor furniture, you 304 00:20:44.559 --> 00:20:48.200 got a lot of stuff in here that is valuable, and let's be the 305 00:20:48.240 --> 00:20:52.279 one platform where all of these brands can can be integrated and made a part 306 00:20:52.319 --> 00:20:56.440 of that experience in a digital first way, of course, since it is 307 00:20:56.559 --> 00:21:00.839 a market place that you're building. Right, how did you solve, from 308 00:21:00.880 --> 00:21:04.200 the very beginning, like the the classic shaking her the egg problem, which 309 00:21:04.240 --> 00:21:08.519 is, you know, the supply side and getting all these maybe brands on 310 00:21:08.599 --> 00:21:11.799 board and as well as maybe it's air being be host and partners? You 311 00:21:11.839 --> 00:21:15.880 know, as you can say, it's quite a complicated scenario when it comes 312 00:21:15.880 --> 00:21:18.559 to stakeholders, and also would love to kind of unpack that and as well 313 00:21:18.599 --> 00:21:22.960 as, obviously, like the customer itself and people that would actually be experiencing 314 00:21:23.000 --> 00:21:29.680 these products and hopefully purchasing them. Yeah, I started with the brands. 315 00:21:29.960 --> 00:21:33.960 This maybe not as strategic. I started with brands just because I knew retail 316 00:21:34.079 --> 00:21:38.160 really well and I knew that brands were struggling to acquire customers and I was 317 00:21:38.279 --> 00:21:42.759 very confident my ability to sort of talk to these big Brit brands and talk 318 00:21:42.839 --> 00:21:45.480 about what we're going to do in the vision and how it works for them 319 00:21:45.519 --> 00:21:52.960 and and have a very compelling value proposition. And so we started with the 320 00:21:52.000 --> 00:21:55.960 brands and then once we felt like we had good coverage or like all we 321 00:21:55.960 --> 00:22:00.079 got, we got a decent collective of brands, then we started talking to 322 00:22:00.799 --> 00:22:04.200 what was the unique in terms of thing, the value prop when you first 323 00:22:04.200 --> 00:22:07.640 were on boarding brands? What was the unique value like, because you didn't 324 00:22:07.680 --> 00:22:11.240 have any locations yet? Is that right? Yeah, we didn't. I 325 00:22:11.279 --> 00:22:15.720 mean we're there's a little bit of like we have like two or three big 326 00:22:15.759 --> 00:22:21.200 hotels with Nice Logos. That gave us anough credibility, but you're sort of 327 00:22:21.279 --> 00:22:25.680 like inching, you know. But partnerships up right side right, okay. 328 00:22:25.720 --> 00:22:29.559 But the value proposition for for the brands was basically, you know, we're 329 00:22:29.599 --> 00:22:33.039 like, look at your category, you probably have en x the competitive set 330 00:22:33.079 --> 00:22:40.079 that you did a decade ago. And if they're all digitally native, you 331 00:22:40.119 --> 00:22:44.440 know you're all likely targeting the same channels, facebook and Google. Those are 332 00:22:44.480 --> 00:22:51.359 auction based ecosystems driving up prices and it's like, how are you getting in 333 00:22:51.359 --> 00:22:53.799 front of people? How are you? It's hard. How are you getting 334 00:22:53.839 --> 00:22:57.920 in front of people? And so sort of pit positioning this new way of 335 00:22:57.960 --> 00:23:00.799 getting in front of people and saying, you know, we work with these 336 00:23:00.799 --> 00:23:03.240 handful hotels. We could get you into these hotel. You know, we 337 00:23:03.279 --> 00:23:06.880 worked at the Harbor House in we still work with them, which had a 338 00:23:06.920 --> 00:23:11.279 Michelin Star still has a Michelin Star restaurant in outside Mendicino. Looking at Pacific 339 00:23:11.279 --> 00:23:17.759 Oceani. We kind of use these really euphoric Nice hotels as like a carrot, 340 00:23:17.880 --> 00:23:18.839 like, you know, when this be a nice place for your product 341 00:23:18.880 --> 00:23:22.720 to be in, and then use that to sign up the brands. And 342 00:23:22.720 --> 00:23:25.599 then once we had all the brands, we'd go to more spaces and be 343 00:23:25.640 --> 00:23:26.839 like, look at all these brands that want to be shoppable, that want 344 00:23:26.839 --> 00:23:30.440 to be in your spaces. You know we can, we can help introduce 345 00:23:30.480 --> 00:23:34.960 them at a really strong economics for you and then kind of wiggled our way 346 00:23:36.039 --> 00:23:38.960 out of that initial like cold start. From now we work with over a 347 00:23:40.079 --> 00:23:45.079 hundred sixty brands and a network of thousands of spaces and we're still, I 348 00:23:45.119 --> 00:23:48.000 mean it, as far as penetration goes, it's still very, very, 349 00:23:48.079 --> 00:23:51.640 very low, but at least it's enough of a there's enough of a group 350 00:23:51.640 --> 00:23:55.960 on both sides from for a momentum the really start build building. Is it 351 00:23:56.000 --> 00:24:00.519 hard to I mean I know that you're obviously working with boutique hotels, I'd 352 00:24:00.519 --> 00:24:04.839 imagine hotels or maybe ideal just because it's maybe one account per se and and 353 00:24:04.920 --> 00:24:11.440 there's just a lot of them space that you could use with obviously lots of 354 00:24:11.519 --> 00:24:15.920 rooms. Is it's it harder on the air being seat, the air being 355 00:24:15.960 --> 00:24:19.759 B sides, since you're working with individual owners, or have you also contacted 356 00:24:19.799 --> 00:24:25.079 Airbnb to try to do like an official partnership with with them or kind of 357 00:24:25.079 --> 00:24:27.519 what's the story there? Yeah, not yet. So so air BNB's are 358 00:24:27.599 --> 00:24:33.160 definitely very fragmented, which we've you know, we learned pretty quickly early on, 359 00:24:33.519 --> 00:24:37.880 but it's also a very community driven I mean one of the great things, 360 00:24:37.880 --> 00:24:41.640 you know, the team at Airbnb did a really good job of building 361 00:24:41.680 --> 00:24:45.559 a community driven business, because most people we work with that have an AIRBNB 362 00:24:45.799 --> 00:24:51.839 know other people with airbnb's and so that's sort of been a nice you know, 363 00:24:52.000 --> 00:24:55.000 once we got a core group of airbnb's that really love the product to 364 00:24:55.079 --> 00:24:57.880 start telling their friends, that was sort of a nice way to penetrate this 365 00:24:57.960 --> 00:25:02.559 fragmented industry that's like kind of tough to get in touch with. There are 366 00:25:02.599 --> 00:25:07.039 other aggregators you can play within the space, like vacation management companies, are 367 00:25:07.079 --> 00:25:11.039 property rental groups or you know, there are groups you can work with that 368 00:25:11.160 --> 00:25:15.160 have networks of their own within AIRBNB that help you acquire folks into the network. 369 00:25:15.200 --> 00:25:19.720 But hotels are definitely when you look at like when you just think about 370 00:25:19.759 --> 00:25:23.920 an impression basis and the value that like a two hundred room hotel is going 371 00:25:23.920 --> 00:25:27.000 to have close to a million product impressions a year. When you think about 372 00:25:27.039 --> 00:25:30.880 the different products in the space, is the number of gas the touch points, 373 00:25:30.039 --> 00:25:34.720 and even calling those impressions is like not a fair analog because like the 374 00:25:34.759 --> 00:25:38.640 average digital impression is like a second. You know, in these moments in 375 00:25:38.680 --> 00:25:42.559 reality or lasting because you're actually experiencing the products. You're in the same room 376 00:25:42.599 --> 00:25:48.000 as them. So, yeah, it's like a threeday engagement really is what, 377 00:25:48.119 --> 00:25:49.920 you know, we would probably call it. But, you know, 378 00:25:49.960 --> 00:25:55.000 for us we've decided to focus on short tram mentals first, because some of 379 00:25:55.039 --> 00:25:59.599 the problems were helping them solve around like bringing in products that, you know, 380 00:25:59.640 --> 00:26:02.720 helping them save money on stuff that they're buying, helping give them a 381 00:26:02.759 --> 00:26:06.359 system to to order and reorder, you know, the soaps and the shampoos, 382 00:26:06.359 --> 00:26:08.960 and there's there's lots of stuff that these hosts are ordering on a regular 383 00:26:08.960 --> 00:26:12.359 basis. You know, like a throw pillow gets trashed or all of a 384 00:26:12.359 --> 00:26:15.160 sudden, you like, you know, and I just got a negative review 385 00:26:15.160 --> 00:26:18.839 about someone who was working from our kitchen table for three days and said their 386 00:26:18.880 --> 00:26:22.119 back was killing them. Like we need an office chair. You know, 387 00:26:22.279 --> 00:26:25.039 there's a lot of things that come up that they need to buy, and 388 00:26:25.119 --> 00:26:30.000 so our portal of making it really easy for them to buy stuff. You 389 00:26:30.039 --> 00:26:33.440 know, the value to the host is very, very, very high. 390 00:26:33.519 --> 00:26:37.440 As we work with hotels, like they usually have procurement teams. They're still 391 00:26:37.519 --> 00:26:42.839 ordering stuff, the excel spreadsheets, they're still like sending email pos are still 392 00:26:42.839 --> 00:26:45.799 a lot there where we're like, okay, we need some there's there's some 393 00:26:45.839 --> 00:26:51.319 technology that can be built to make this a whole lot easier. But our 394 00:26:51.400 --> 00:26:55.400 core, like initial product is much more valuable to the host, and so 395 00:26:55.440 --> 00:27:00.200 we're focusing on expanding within that sort of like group can tinuing to improve the 396 00:27:00.240 --> 00:27:03.880 product, continuing to do like things that are really important to hotels, for 397 00:27:03.920 --> 00:27:07.839 example, would be integrations with like accounting systems, like a net street, 398 00:27:07.880 --> 00:27:10.920 you know, so they can keep track of image or so like that. 399 00:27:10.920 --> 00:27:14.359 It's like for a host, like they don't know. Most of them like 400 00:27:14.359 --> 00:27:18.599 they don't need that level of tech work. And so as the product gets 401 00:27:18.680 --> 00:27:23.759 better and grows and improves, it sort of opens up these other spaces, 402 00:27:23.799 --> 00:27:29.440 other native spaces, that where this is relevant and we'll continue to go from 403 00:27:29.480 --> 00:27:33.440 there. Also, you know, your previous employer, walmarts, target and 404 00:27:33.480 --> 00:27:37.759 others have been really like we talked about some of the show all the tide 405 00:27:37.799 --> 00:27:44.000 be pretty aggressive bringing in DDC brands instead the retail shops and stores. How 406 00:27:44.039 --> 00:27:48.880 do you think about that in terms of the way of Minoan, since you 407 00:27:48.960 --> 00:27:52.759 are trying to attract DDC brands, do you think of that as a potential 408 00:27:52.759 --> 00:27:57.400 competitor or this is maybe such a unique, you know, marketing channel, 409 00:27:57.480 --> 00:28:00.799 channel for the brand, where it actually we don't think about that as competitive 410 00:28:00.799 --> 00:28:03.799 at all. It's a good question. That doesn't worry me, you know, 411 00:28:03.880 --> 00:28:08.720 because I because I understand, like why DDC brands that have built a 412 00:28:08.839 --> 00:28:15.160 really strong brand and have like a strong following, you know, target and 413 00:28:15.200 --> 00:28:17.839 Walmart, like, if they can get them in stores, it helps elevate 414 00:28:17.880 --> 00:28:21.880 the credibility of the store and can help them bring people in. I think 415 00:28:21.920 --> 00:28:26.119 technically, you know, like any sale is, it's like could have come 416 00:28:26.160 --> 00:28:29.559 through us, could have gone could have gone somewhere else, but we don't 417 00:28:29.559 --> 00:28:34.000 really think about it. If we accomplish our vision, the idea would be 418 00:28:34.039 --> 00:28:37.759 that you start to hear the term native retail just as often as you hear 419 00:28:37.839 --> 00:28:41.799 the term, you know, brick and mortar or the term e commerce. 420 00:28:41.960 --> 00:28:47.240 Yeah, because I think that it has its own sort of place. But 421 00:28:47.519 --> 00:28:52.319 certainly, like if someone's in the market for a mattress or something and they're 422 00:28:52.359 --> 00:28:56.559 thinking about the channels they can go to. You know, currently Minoan's not 423 00:28:56.640 --> 00:29:00.079 a place where like, Oh, you, you're interested in sleeping on like 424 00:29:00.079 --> 00:29:03.000 a casper mattress. Well, we work with a you know, hotel. 425 00:29:03.000 --> 00:29:06.920 We were to the hotel and Whitefish Montana. If you want to fly out 426 00:29:06.960 --> 00:29:08.359 there and sleep on it, you know, for a few nights see if 427 00:29:08.359 --> 00:29:15.119 you really like it, are are network isn't at the size where that's convenient. 428 00:29:15.680 --> 00:29:19.640 Yet now, when you get to the point where you have millions and 429 00:29:19.759 --> 00:29:27.480 millions of native real world shoppable experiences, let's say like in Manhattan there's six 430 00:29:27.559 --> 00:29:32.880 hundred thousand shoppable experience is powered by Minoan. We know the exact product, 431 00:29:32.920 --> 00:29:37.160 the inventory, where they're sitting. You can envision a world where someone could 432 00:29:37.160 --> 00:29:41.279 go to Minoan and say, like Hey, I'm really interested in checking out 433 00:29:41.359 --> 00:29:45.759 a dice and hair dryer and before I spend the four hundred bucks online or 434 00:29:45.799 --> 00:29:48.359 go to a store and like look at a box of one, I kind 435 00:29:48.400 --> 00:29:51.680 of want to try it out myself. Eman. No, it could say, 436 00:29:51.680 --> 00:29:53.359 okay, well, we have, you know, we have a hundred 437 00:29:53.359 --> 00:29:57.079 locations within Manhattan where there's a dice and hair drivailable. Actually, these six 438 00:29:57.119 --> 00:30:00.480 are within a five minute walk. You know. Do you want to go 439 00:30:00.599 --> 00:30:06.519 and before you buy it online or where you just go and spend money? 440 00:30:06.559 --> 00:30:08.039 Do you want to go and invest a little bit of time to see how 441 00:30:08.039 --> 00:30:11.920 you like it and try it out first, you know, before you pull 442 00:30:11.960 --> 00:30:15.279 the trigger on a purchase, in that world where Mino and really becomes the 443 00:30:15.359 --> 00:30:22.200 everywhere store, where you're lighting up all these dormant show rooms and empowering these 444 00:30:22.319 --> 00:30:26.240 these types of experiences. Then I then I start to look at sort of 445 00:30:26.279 --> 00:30:32.359 what the stores are doing as destinations, maybe as competitive but you know, 446 00:30:32.400 --> 00:30:36.319 I'm in like I'm talking about, you know, ten year from now, 447 00:30:36.519 --> 00:30:38.480 hopefully sooner, but you know, we got a lot of stuff that we 448 00:30:38.519 --> 00:30:44.519 got to figure out and now, before we we get there, what are 449 00:30:44.720 --> 00:30:48.440 right now, within obviously needed retail, what you're doing? What are the 450 00:30:48.480 --> 00:30:53.200 different points of engagement that you're measuring? So we're looking at on the sort 451 00:30:53.240 --> 00:30:57.319 of shoppable experiences side, because we do really have two parts of the business. 452 00:30:57.319 --> 00:31:00.720 There's one part of the business where we're selling products into the spaces, 453 00:31:00.720 --> 00:31:04.480 which is sort of standard furnishing and procurement. On the shoppable space aside, 454 00:31:04.640 --> 00:31:07.799 we are really looking at, you know, at the very top of the 455 00:31:07.799 --> 00:31:14.200 funnel of all the spaces we've signed, how many guests are flowing through those 456 00:31:14.200 --> 00:31:18.480 spaces. You know, those are almost like eligible visits you know. Then 457 00:31:18.559 --> 00:31:22.480 the click below that is how many of those convert to actually visit urs where 458 00:31:22.519 --> 00:31:26.039 they go into the shop? You know, they scan the Qr Code, 459 00:31:26.079 --> 00:31:29.480 they click on the email that talks about the shoppability, they go into the 460 00:31:29.480 --> 00:31:33.519 experience, they engage. And then the level below that, I think you 461 00:31:33.519 --> 00:31:36.359 know, for us that we're looking at is just conversion. So how many 462 00:31:36.400 --> 00:31:40.559 of those are actually ordering and checking out? There's lots of other thing. 463 00:31:40.559 --> 00:31:44.400 I mean the Nice thing about my cofounder, show bit, who's the technical 464 00:31:44.519 --> 00:31:49.440 side of of the duo, has built a career around building events based infrastructures 465 00:31:49.640 --> 00:31:55.559 with large retailers and and you know, setting the right events to understand consumer 466 00:31:55.640 --> 00:31:57.640 behavior and went to measure and so looking a lot of stuff like how much 467 00:31:57.599 --> 00:32:01.440 times they spend on a brand page, when they click into an item page 468 00:32:01.440 --> 00:32:05.839 to the engage with a video, do they do they leave a review? 469 00:32:05.839 --> 00:32:08.400 DO THEY DO XYZ? But right now we're just kind of looking at eligible 470 00:32:08.519 --> 00:32:15.319 visitors or guests, visits, the next run down and then customers, the 471 00:32:15.400 --> 00:32:20.000 wrung below that. You have an amazing group of investor partners. What was 472 00:32:20.039 --> 00:32:24.319 it like fundraising and raising venture capital and what was maybe almost mean obviously you've 473 00:32:24.319 --> 00:32:29.839 brought on tremendous partners, but what we're maybe some of the challenges to it 474 00:32:29.880 --> 00:32:32.839 was a great learning experience. I mean I think I went into this sort 475 00:32:32.880 --> 00:32:37.079 of naively being like Oh, fundraisings like dating, you know, it's like 476 00:32:37.079 --> 00:32:39.440 well, like we'll talk, we'll see, like if you like me, 477 00:32:39.480 --> 00:32:43.319 do I like you, maybe we'll have a second date. And I think 478 00:32:43.400 --> 00:32:45.720 my what I realized early on is it's not like that at all. Its 479 00:32:45.759 --> 00:32:50.880 sales. Mean it's really solution selling, and so I think, like most 480 00:32:50.880 --> 00:32:52.440 founder me and other founders I've talked about this experience, like when I first 481 00:32:52.440 --> 00:32:58.160 started pitching thirty minute meeting, I'm spending like twenty five of those minutes like 482 00:32:58.240 --> 00:33:01.200 talking about Minoan and the Asian and what we believe in, why this is 483 00:33:01.240 --> 00:33:06.720 the future, and then you're leaving like five minutes at the end for questions, 484 00:33:06.839 --> 00:33:08.720 which I think that's just how I thought you're supposed to do it. 485 00:33:08.759 --> 00:33:13.519 But when anyone who's worked in sales, my I my first job actually went 486 00:33:13.559 --> 00:33:15.319 before I went to jet I was working in sales. The first one of 487 00:33:15.319 --> 00:33:20.920 the early things you learn is that the best salespeople are actually really good listeners. 488 00:33:20.680 --> 00:33:23.200 They're not always the talkers, in fact rarely are they. The talkers 489 00:33:23.240 --> 00:33:28.880 are the ones who who are really efficient at getting the value prop out in 490 00:33:28.880 --> 00:33:31.200 the first five minutes of the call and then the twenty five minutes after that 491 00:33:31.279 --> 00:33:36.640 out of this chess match of objection handling, driving to next steps, understanding 492 00:33:36.640 --> 00:33:40.680 perception and and so my journey and fundraising was sort of like I was like, 493 00:33:40.680 --> 00:33:43.799 wait a minute, this is sales. I need to like go back 494 00:33:43.839 --> 00:33:46.680 into like the sales part of my brain and and start thinking about it's like 495 00:33:46.759 --> 00:33:50.920 driving, scarcity, you know, all these things that are just part of 496 00:33:50.960 --> 00:33:54.519 human nature, social proof. It's just part of that part of that game. 497 00:33:54.559 --> 00:34:01.839 But my experience was initially not great and then I think we really obviously 498 00:34:01.880 --> 00:34:06.880 the business picked up some traction, which as helps and and sort of like 499 00:34:06.960 --> 00:34:08.840 found my I guess voice, so to speak, in the way that I 500 00:34:08.840 --> 00:34:13.360 want to do proch these meetings and we're very happy with how, you know 501 00:34:13.440 --> 00:34:15.920 this, the seed round panned out. Whenever I talk to founders, I'm 502 00:34:15.960 --> 00:34:20.760 like you should really try and get to your pitch, quote unquote pitch, 503 00:34:20.760 --> 00:34:24.280 as quickly as possible. Yeah, because it's like that's not the important part, 504 00:34:24.320 --> 00:34:28.480 the important part, is getting their reaction. What do they dig into 505 00:34:28.519 --> 00:34:32.840 and and answering those questions, because what I didn't realize is that that person 506 00:34:32.960 --> 00:34:37.440 then goes into a meeting with their partners and then they need to pitch the 507 00:34:37.519 --> 00:34:40.159 idea and they're going to get all sorts of questions and if they haven't had 508 00:34:40.159 --> 00:34:44.440 a chance to ask you those questions, get your answers, like they're definitely 509 00:34:44.519 --> 00:34:46.559 not going to do a better job than you know you would. What happened 510 00:34:46.599 --> 00:34:50.119 to me, and which happens to a lot of founders, is you think 511 00:34:50.159 --> 00:34:52.519 you have a good pitch man. I feel so good. I talked for 512 00:34:52.639 --> 00:34:55.920 thirty minutes straight, whatever. I feel really good about that pitch, and 513 00:34:55.960 --> 00:35:00.360 then you get feedback and it's like, you know, we we passed because 514 00:35:00.599 --> 00:35:05.000 of, you know, the Tam or defensibility or you know, there's lots 515 00:35:05.039 --> 00:35:07.920 of lots of in the in the latter of proof, lots of things that 516 00:35:07.280 --> 00:35:12.039 investor needs to believe to make that bet. And you'll be like, wait 517 00:35:12.079 --> 00:35:14.159 a minute, didn't even talk about that, like why? I can, 518 00:35:14.280 --> 00:35:15.519 let me talk about that, but it's too late. You know, the 519 00:35:15.519 --> 00:35:21.440 meeting happened. Once that meeting happens if the partners don't agree, like if 520 00:35:21.440 --> 00:35:22.880 they say no, my experience, it's like okay, on to the next 521 00:35:22.920 --> 00:35:27.920 one in the list. And Yeah, and so the conversational element of really 522 00:35:28.360 --> 00:35:32.440 I mean conversation, it's also like fact finding, like dig in. Yeah, 523 00:35:32.519 --> 00:35:36.679 why wouldn't they invest? What concerns do they have? Like really use 524 00:35:36.800 --> 00:35:43.000 that time to D risk your business in their eyes so that they can't think, 525 00:35:43.000 --> 00:35:45.000 you know, it's like, I can't think of any more reasons why 526 00:35:45.000 --> 00:35:49.800 this wouldn't you know, this wouldn't work. I think that became very helpful 527 00:35:49.840 --> 00:35:52.639 to me and when we started having a lot more success, when I made 528 00:35:52.639 --> 00:35:55.119 that pivot. No, that's great, it's great. I think that that 529 00:35:55.159 --> 00:36:00.400 was certainly will be helpful to some listeners who are fundraising. What's on book 530 00:36:00.440 --> 00:36:04.840 that inspired you personally? One that inspired you professionally? Personally, there's a 531 00:36:04.840 --> 00:36:07.840 book called why Buddhism is true. It's like it sounds like it's like a 532 00:36:07.840 --> 00:36:13.159 religious book, but it's not. It's really a book about evolutionary psychology and 533 00:36:13.440 --> 00:36:15.840 it's by Robert Wright and it just a very eye opening book about how, 534 00:36:15.880 --> 00:36:21.920 like our brain deludes us, you know, and sometimes we suffer an imagination 535 00:36:21.960 --> 00:36:24.960 more than we do in reality and I think really impactful for me and just 536 00:36:25.000 --> 00:36:29.880 sort of building like mental toughness and awareness and realizing that, like the way 537 00:36:29.920 --> 00:36:34.760 that I see the world and every interaction is very different than the way other 538 00:36:34.800 --> 00:36:37.639 people see it. And I like that book and I recommend it a lot. 539 00:36:37.639 --> 00:36:43.480 Professionally, you know Clayton Christensen, best known for the INNOVATOR's dilemma, 540 00:36:43.559 --> 00:36:47.280 which is great work of his. Before he passed away and fortunately he published 541 00:36:47.280 --> 00:36:52.159 a book called competing against luck, which is all about sort of jobs theory 542 00:36:52.159 --> 00:36:58.320 and how you should view your product, and he really pushes product innovators to 543 00:36:58.320 --> 00:37:04.199 think about like customers don't buy your product, they hire your product to solve 544 00:37:04.239 --> 00:37:07.000 a job, and so think about like what is the job to be done? 545 00:37:07.039 --> 00:37:10.039 And so that sort of professionally led me on a path of like, 546 00:37:10.280 --> 00:37:14.239 you know, what is the job to be done with like a speakers it? 547 00:37:14.280 --> 00:37:16.519 Well, the job to be done is to create a mood with music. 548 00:37:16.599 --> 00:37:19.800 You know, like what is the job to be done for a mattress? 549 00:37:19.840 --> 00:37:22.519 The job to be done is to deliver a good night's sleep. And 550 00:37:22.559 --> 00:37:25.239 all of a sudden I was like wait a minute, but like we don't 551 00:37:25.280 --> 00:37:30.039 let customers understand how good these products aren't solving the job to be done in 552 00:37:30.119 --> 00:37:34.920 any commerce or in stores. You know they can't. They can if they 553 00:37:34.960 --> 00:37:37.920 can actually use them themselves, which sort of, you know, part of 554 00:37:37.920 --> 00:37:43.519 what spurred me to really go out and again build minow and which is why 555 00:37:43.519 --> 00:37:46.360 I think that would be the professional one for me. Mark, thank you 556 00:37:46.400 --> 00:37:49.840 so much for your time. This is so much fun. Yeah, it's 557 00:37:49.920 --> 00:37:52.880 great, great chat with you and hope you're listeners are interested in what we're 558 00:37:52.920 --> 00:37:57.079 working on. And there you have it. It was great chatting with mark. 559 00:37:57.199 --> 00:37:59.480 I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did. If you 560 00:37:59.599 --> 00:38:01.400 enjoyed this episode, I love it if you'd read a review on the apple 561 00:38:01.440 --> 00:38:06.119 podcast. You're also welcome to follow me your host, Mike, on twitter 562 00:38:06.239 --> 00:38:09.639 at Mike Guelb, and also follow for episode announcements at Consumer VC. Thanks 563 00:38:09.639 --> 00:38:30.280 for listening, everyone,