Little back story. 5 years into an online nutrition coaching company. We’ve helped about 40,000 people, make 7 figures a year (profit around 100-200k per month), are releasing our web based application in a few weeks and I’m thinking of the next steps. Marketing (we haven’t even done it yet), sales, retention tactics, etc
This all happened just by doing a good job and we’ve been a little spoiled by the amount of customers coming in but now I’m wondering what we can do if we really put our focus on growth. I haven’t considered funding until recently and it’s probably because I’m a bit naive. I’ve bootstrapped the entire business from day one and have money saved so I’m not sure if I should toss a lot of my own money in, take outside funding only, take funding with resources, and expertise, or just keep cruising.
My questions are if I were to look for funding and explore conversations where do I begin? We had an offer that came to us about 18 months ago that I turned down, which I can explore again, but I’m curious from ground zero. If we were to take funding or look for investors I want to make sure we align with our vision.
I’m already financially secure but my goal would be to create a larger nest egg, still be involved heavily , and potentially retain majority if not a decent part of the business. Of course I’m open to all scenarios that make sense, though. I just know not doing this is kind of a selfish move because there are people out there that need us and going it alone (with our small internal team) is taking longer than it needs to.
Streaming video has become a huge part of our lives, whether it’s watching your favorite shows on Netflix or getting live TV through Hulu or YouTube or checking out your favorite gamers on Twitch. But streaming is trickling into other facets of our lives, too, whether it’s fitness or the move from physical events to virtual ones.
The next frontier? For Popshop Live, it’s shopping.
Popshop Live is an e-commerce platform that uses streaming video to let sellers both connect with their shoppers and sell their wares in a new way. The company has today announced the close of a $ 3 million funding round, led by Floodgate and Abstract Ventures, with participation from Long Journey Ventures, Cyan and Scott Banister, Shrug Capital, Backend Capital and Halogen Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to $ 4.5 million.
Founded by Danielle Li, Popshop Live is a reimagining of the Home Shopping Network, or QVC, for the year 2020. Individual sellers, or established brands and stores, can get on the platform to create and host their own shows. The product also integrates with Shopify to help sellers manage their inventory and POS during the show without any additional hassle.
Popshop Live provides sellers with a playbook for best practices on running their own show. Sellers also get access to gamification features, show templates, real-time performance stats and metrics reports to give them a complete picture of how their show is performing across a wide range of data points.
Japan LA, one of the biggest stores on the platform, did more sales on Popshop Live than its offline and online sales combined on an average Saturday before the pandemic. Popshop Live told TechCrunch that Japan LA did $ 17,000 in sales with more than 1,500 individual checkouts in a single show. The company has even started reserving a portion of its inventory specifically for sale via Popshop.
“What I love most about our Popshop Live shows is that, with the live videos and interactive features, I’m able to respond to customers’ requests in real time, such as adding any products that the audience sees in the show on the fly,” said Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of Japan LA. “I also love that I’m able to bring the same energy as helping customers in person, but to hundreds of people at once.”
She added that Japan LA is considering setting up a dedicated studio space for Popshop Live shows.
Sellers can share the link to their show on their social platforms or on their website and direct shoppers to the platform. Once users are on the platform they can browse other shows that they might be interested in.
Cyan Banister, an investor in the platform, also started her own show to sell stuff she had sitting around in her house. She chose to give the profits to charity and matched all sales through her show. In total, she sold $ 8,000 worth of stuff, and with the matching, gave $ 16,000 to charities.
I asked Banister if the pandemic, which has stalled offline retail sales significantly, had any impact on her decision to invest in Popshop Live.
“No,” said Banister concisely. “What Danielle is building can shine in or out of a pandemic. It might have been harder to get customers on board, so in a pandemic she benefits from that in that all of these stores need a way to sell their products.”
Banister added that it goes beyond giving businesses a new way to sell their products, as both sellers and shoppers are finding a community within Popshop Live.
The Popshop Live team consists of 17 people, with 70% people of color and 40% women.
The app is currently invite-only and available on iOS. However, readers can download the app here using the code “TECH20.”
I have finally made my first “real” hire.
A young sales rep, 23-24yo, motivated, ambitious. He currently works for the largest multinational in my vertical as a business development (a sales rep with no reportees).
He will help me part-time, while keeping his 9-5.
He looks like a humble fella, yet self confident.
But he asked me if he can get the title of VP Global Sales.
I don’t know how to react. I don’t want to kill his enthusiasm because it’s going to help him work harder and stay motivated.
On the other side, it’s a 2 people startup really, he is pretty young and inexperienced, and giving him such title I’m afraid that might affect my startup credibility.
Also, what if I hire someone with greater experience on top of him some time in the future?
What would you do?
The Colombian trucking and logistics services startup Liftit has raised $ 22.5 million in a new round of funding to capitalize on its newfound traction in markets across Latin America as responses to the COVID-19 epidemic bring changes to the industry across the region.
“We’re focusing on the five countries that we’re already in,” says Liftit chief executive Brian York.
The company recently hired a head of operations for Mexico and a head of operations for Brazil as it looks to double down on its success in both regions.
Funding for the round was led by Cambridge Capital and included investments from the new Latin American-focused firm H20 Capital along with AC Ventures, the venture arm of the second-largest Coca-Cola bottler in LatAm; 10x Capital, Banyan Tree Ventures, Alpha4 Ventures, the lingerie brand Leonisa; and Mexico’s largest long-haul trucking company, Grupo Transportes Monterrey. Individual investor Jason Radisson, the former chief operating officer of the on-demand ride hailing startup 99, also invested.
The new capital comes on top of Liftit’s $ 14.3 million Series A from some of the region’s top local investors. Firms like Monashees, Jaguar Ventures and NXTP Ventures all joined the International Finance Corp. in financing the company previously and all returned to back the company again with its new funding.
Investors likely responded to the company’s strong performance in its core markets. Already profitable in Chile and Colombia, Liftit expects to reach profitability across all of its operations before the end of the year. That’s despite the global pandemic.
Of the 220 contracts the company had with shippers, half of them went to zero and the other half spiked significantly, York said. While Liftit’s major Colombian customer stumbled, new business, like Walmart, saw huge spikes in deliveries and usage.
“Managing truck drivers is incredibly difficult, and trucking, in our opinion, is not on-demand,” said York. “At the end of the day the trucking market in all of Latin America is a majority of independent owners. They’re not looking for on-demand work… they’re looking for full-time work.”
Less than 1% of the company’s deliveries come from on-demand orders; instead, it’s a service comprised of scheduled shipments with optimized routes and efficiencies that are bringing customers to Liftit’s virtual door.
“We do scheduled trucking delivery so we integrate with existing systems that shippers have and start planning how many trucks they’re going to need and the routes they’re going to take and … tee it up exactly what is going to happen regardless what the traffic conditions are so we have been able to reduce the delivery times for the trucks,” said York.