Sramana Mitra: Who was your first client and how did you get that client?
Gurman Hundal: We went down the route of working with media agencies who represented the clients. Our first clients came from big agency groups like Publicist Media. Our first big advertisers were the likes of the Weight Watchers, Honda, British Airways, and O2. It started with some of the big UK brands but it was coming through their agencies.
Sramana Mitra: You were subcontracting with them? What were the terms of how you worked with these big agencies?
Gurman Hundal: We were just their media supplier. They would say, “We’ve got a million dollars of budget from a client. We’re going to give you $100,000.” This is campaign by campaign. >>>
After the announcement of Brexit last quarter, many were worried about the performance of Europe-based companies. Recently reported second quarter results by ERP leader SAP (NYSE: SAP) appear to have put those concerns to rest. After delivering rather lack luster results in the first quarter, SAP delivered very strong second quarter results that sent the stock soaring to 52-week high levels.
Sramana Mitra: Besides this bank deal, was there any other strategic moves that you made that helped you accelerate?
Chris Folayan: There are many ways you can look at competitors. Who are our competitors? Competitors came to us in different forms and fashion. There were the brick-and-mortar stores and online stores that have a limited number of resources. We looked at all of these competitors and tried to figure out how we can differentiate ourselves. What is our USP? We ended up coming up with something that I think sets us apart. We ran with it really hard. We had the ability to bring stuff into the country in the cheapest and the fastest way, and we have the most diverse selection. Providing those three benefits and throwing that out to the public and letting them know that you can look at all of these competitors, but none of them can give them the three things we can was an important strategic move. >>>
Sramana Mitra: What year was this when you decided to start Media IQ?
Gurman Hundal: We launched in October 2010.
Sramana Mitra: What was the idea? What did you think you were going to do with Media IQ at that time?
Gurman Hundal: When you run online ads, you are actually sitting on a lot of data and learning a lot about your client’s business. Clients were just judging the effectiveness of advertising. If they invested $10,000 into a campaign, do they get an ROI of $100,000 in sales? We were confident we could always deliver results better than the rest of the market. >>>
Sramana Mitra: How much money did you raise?
Chris Folayan: We don’t disclose the details, but it was a seed round.
Sramana Mitra: When was this?
Chris Folayan: This was four years ago.
Sramana Mitra: So 2012.
Chris Folayan: Yes. >>>
Recent economic results point to an economic downturn in China. Its economy grew 6.7% over the year during the second quarter, the same rate at which it had grown in the first quarter. But growth rate has fallen from the 7% level it had touched a year ago and 7.9% back in 2013. Despite the worries about the economy, China’s e-commerce leader Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) doesn’t appear to be much bothered.
Adam Schwartz: We don’t really know what to expect. Even if you’re a $4 million company, you’re still not that big. You don’t know how far this is going to grow. Are we going to grow 100% again or is it not going to scale that way? We’re just going three months at a time and just reinvesting profits into the business. We’re staying profitable and tight, and trying to use the same lessons we learned through BustedTees in terms of building something that is sustainable.
We could certainly take venture money. We could have taken it for BustedTees and we have been in a great position in TeePublic to take money. I’m an operating partner for a venture firm. Josh is a partner at a venture firm. We just feel like we want to do this in a different way. We were profitable in 2015 and we continue to invest. >>>
In Vision India 2020, there is a project called Oishi. It’s a gift e-commerce brand that has specialized capabilities for tracking occasions for gift giving, what gift was given to whom for what occasion, etc. It also has excellent merchandising such that consumers can buy unique gifts that are truly differentiated. You can read the chapter here, India’s Stylish Online Gift Retailer.
Positioned as a high-end online gift retailer, Oishi offered a unique portfolio of merchandise catering to busy, professional, but still style- and taste-conscious, women. We served as personal shoppers for this demographic, saving one of their scarcest resources: time.