Continuing with our Bootstrapping Using Services theme, FullBottle is an interesting social media marketing venture that taps into the reach and engagement capacity of influencers to attract customers.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of circumstances?
Reed Berglund: I was born in Manhattan and then moved to Los Angeles. I grew up in Los Angeles. I have a mixed European background and both my father and mother worked in media.
Sramana Mitra: What about school? Did you do all of it in Los Angeles?
Reed Berglund: I did middle school and high school in Los Angeles. Then I went on to play college basketball as the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and studied there for two and a half years. At that point, I decided that I will not be going to the NBA. I was interested in pursuing a career overseas in Europe or any other part of the world. I quickly transferred to University of California, San Diego.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do after you graduated?
Reed Berglund: I did several internships within the media production world in Los Angeles. I moved back to Los Angeles and I was working as a writer’s assistant on an old network called UPN. From there, I started going further on to the monetization of media where I was working in CBS sales as well as radio ad sales, and finally digital ad sales.
Sramana Mitra: What year does that bring us up to?
Reed Berglund: That would bring us up to 2006.
Sramana Mitra: What happened next?
Reed Berglund: I got my first taste of the startup world. I joined a company called GoFish. This was just after YouTube had just sucked the oxygen out of the room and blown all user-generated video content. GoFish was one of those sites. Their initial business model was predicated on curating and managing user-generated video content on the web. From that, we had to pivot quickly. Needless to say, the lion’s share of revenue that was being created was advertising, and specifically advertising within the youth market because so much of the video that was being created was interesting to teens. We built a youth entertainment network of game publishers and video publishers for us to compete directly in the advertising world.
Sramana Mitra: What year did you start that one?
Reed Berglund: That was at the end of 2006 and ran through 2009. We built that, and then we pivoted the company to an advertising engagement model as we were raising money at the end of 2009. That didn’t turn out to be successful.