Analysts estimate that today nearly 20%-30% of the traffic to US e-commerce sites comes from international IP addresses. The growing importance of international consumers is forcing US-based companies to expand their e-commerce options to global locations. Companies are exploring options of international shipping along with the ability to transact in multiple currencies. Recently-listed Borderfree is helping retailers with these decisions.
Last year, we launched a program called the 1M/1M Incubator-in-a-Box. Part of its goal has been to stimulate corporate innovation and intrapreneurship. It has exposed us to a broad range of technology companies and their innovation goals, strategies, and processes. While most of what we have learned is confidential, I will synthesize some trends we’re seeing in this domain.
Excerpt from my new book, From eCommerce To Web 3.0: How To Leverage The Evolution Of The Internet.
Back in 2007, even before the iPhone was launched, giving us a powerful computer in our pockets or handbags, I started outlining a vision for Web 3.0.
There are numerous definitions of Web 3.0 floating around. Tim Berners-Lee, a father of the World Wide Web, talks about the “Semantic Web,” a way that computers employ the meaning of words – not just pattern matching – along with logical rules to connect independent nuggets of data and so create more context for information. The formula that makes the most sense to me is this: Web 3.0 results from combining content, commerce, community and context, with personalization and vertical search. Or, to put it in a handy phrase: Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).
Here’s what it means.
Everything is moving to the cloud and hotels are no exception. Read on!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised?
Ric Leutwyler: I was born in Austin, Texas. I have moved 18 times in my life and career in the US. I have a double degree in both Marketing and Human Resources as I had interest in both areas. I started my career with AT&T before the divestiture. It was one of the largest companies in the world. I was involved with different parts of the organization during my time there. I think I was in eight different roles in eight and a half years. >>>
Jeff Lawson: Now what you’re seeing in Web 2.0 is this more vertically integrated approach where instead of just veneer on top of the existing industry, you actually have companies that are cutting all the way through the stack and existing industry to provide a better solution overall. Coming back to homes, I can now buy a home, end-to-end, using WebGen. I can even buy a Tesla e-commerce on their website. That’s the end-to-end experience of Tesla using software. Look at Airbnb. It’s actually getting me in the room that I’m going to be renting. Same thing goes for Uber. It’s actually the means and the entirety of the customer experience. That’s a fascinating trend. This is the next evolution of using software, the Internet, and technology to disrupt businesses. The first one was just the veneer on top. Now we’re cutting deep into actually providing the service as well, which is on the consumer side. >>>
Sramana: It sounds like you were showing substantial revenue by the time you finished your product and got your second round of financing.
Paulo Rosado: I did not take another round of financing until we were at the breakeven point. The original intention was to go to the market at the end of 2002 and get another $4 million to support sales and marketing. However the bubble burst, so all money closed up, especially in Europe. We had to change our business plan and tighten operations. Our primary market was telecoms and they stopped spending so we had to switch back to the enterprise.
I don’t know how we did it, but we managed to slowly overcome the burn rate until a point where we made it into the black. We started growing in the enterprise and that is the market that brought us to the breakeven point. Once we hit that point, we brought in our second round of financing. >>>
Sramana Mitra: How do you describe the value proposition of what you’re delivering to your customer base today?
John Sundberg: Generally speaking, most companies already think that they’re all messed up internally and it’s very hard for them to get something done. They already see the pain. What we do is we come in and say, “For these internal processes, we’ve got a system that is straightforward to create forms that people fill out and workflow processes are structured so that requests don’t get dropped. It is automated and you get visibility to it at all times. In a general sense, the average employee makes at least 10 requests a year. With our automated software, they save $10 per request. That’s savings of $100 per employee per year. If you take a look at a company with 5,000 employees, that’s savings of $500,000.” >>>
Entrepreneurs are invited to the 231st FREE online 1M/1M roundtable mentoring session on Thursday, September 25, 2014, at 8 a.m. PDT/11 a.m. EDT/8:30 p.m. India IST.
If you are a serious entrepreneur, register to “pitch” and sell your business idea to Sramana Mitra. You’ll gain straightforward feedback, advice on next steps, and she’ll answer any of your questions. Others can register to “attend” to watch, learn, and interact through the online chat.
Sramana Mitra: How big is your developer ecosystem? I imagine that part of your strategy is to unleash the whole creativity of the developer ecosystem on your platform.
Jeff Lawson: Yes, we have over 400,000 developers using our platform.
Sramana Mitra: Are these large companies? What’s the mix of that ecosystem?
In case you missed it, you can listen to the recording here:
You can find the dates and register for upcoming roundtables here.
Today’s roundtable kicked off with a great discussion with Jason Stoffer of Maveron. Maveron is a consumer-only venture capital firm that has had a successful track record of investing in e-commerce ventures ranging from eBay, Shutterfly, Groupon to the more recent Zulily. They also invest in education ventures.
In today’s discussion with Jason, some of the most interesting nuggets were around how the Internet has become the most cost-efficient channel to build brands (both retail and designer). We discussed some of Jason’s investments in fashion and beauty, and had a particularly interesting discussion around the importance of merchandising in building such businesses.
Finally, we discussed two of Jason’s education investments, and his investment thesis around education overall.