Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Tod Francis was recorded in September 2014.
Tod Francis, Managing Director at Shasta Ventures, starts with a discussion on the history of retail, all the way from shoe stores, to departmental stores, and back to specialty retail. This is followed by a similar overview of the history of e-commerce ranging from Amazon’s strategy to how specialty retail is translating into niche e-commerce, and how Tod is looking at investments in the category.
Sramana Mitra: I think the best question to start out with would be what do you see has happened to the e-commerce business since the 90’s? >>>
Entrepreneurs working on e-commerce startups face unique challenges today. You can learn more about the trends investors specializing in e-commerce startup financing are seeing by listening to the following 30-minute podcast interviews. These VCs and seed investors also discuss the key indicators they look for in the startups they invest in.
Daniel Gulati, Principal and Head of Seed Investment Practice at Comcast Ventures, discusses e-commerce startup trends and what can and cannot be venture financed at this stage, and why.
Excellent discussion on the e-commerce startup trends and what can and cannot be venture financed at this stage, and why.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as Comcast Ventures.
Daniel Gulati: I’m currently a Principal of Comcast Ventures based here in San Francisco. I focus 100% of my time on seed and early stage investments in consumer internet companies. About half of my work is in e-commerce and marketplaces. The other half is everything else within consumer Internet – digital media, social media, mobile. Prior to joining Comcast Ventures, I was actually on the operating side. >>>
Till a few years ago, no one would have thought that the hottest trend in e-commerce would be to buy mattresses online. People wanted to be able to feel the comfort of a mattress before they purchased it. But as e-commerce sweeps through our lives, some of these formerly-unthinkable categories are also becoming Internet friendly. The US mattress market is estimated to be a $15 billion industry. Till recently, online sales accounted for a mere 5% of the total sales in the industry, but analysts estimate that this year online mattress sales could account for more than 10% of the market.
Logistics is becoming a key battleground for e-commerce companies, especially with Amazon setting a sky-high bar. Devin discusses the trends and where his company adds value.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to FirstMile and yourself.
Devin Johnson: I’m the Founder and CEO of FirstMile. We’re based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sramana Mitra: What is FirstMile’s business? >>>
We’ve talked about niche, proprietary e-commerce brands and how entrepreneurs are building businesses around different concepts. Eric shares the story of Big Barker, a dog bed for large dogs.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Eric Shannon: I was born in Pennsylvania in a suburb about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I went to Temple University. I was a Finance major. After school, I moved to California and took a job in banking. I hated it and was terrible at it. I had a >>>
Can you still compete with Amazon in niche eCommerce?
You can, but the rules of the game have changed substantially.
Watch this inspiring 1 minute 33 seconds video and learn how:
This is a comprehensive discussion on the current state of the union in e-commerce with the CEO of one of the most popular platforms on which thousands of e-commerce sites are built. The outlook is somewhat scary with Amazon dominating at an alarming scale. But democratization is also on the horizon. Very interesting conversation, and a must-read for everyone who is involved in the e-commerce space.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing yourself as well as Magento.
Mark Lavelle: I’m the CEO of Magento Commerce. We are the largest global platform for digital commerce in the world. We recently spun out of eBay when eBay and PayPal split up about a year ago. >>>