Sramana Mitra: Why do I need to have a real estate agent with me? If I’m doing this on Trulia, for example, the listing should have all this information available right there. I can figure out the five properties that I’m interested in.
Josh Koppel: I completely agree with that. I think the same thing with the car. I agree that a lot of people are learning about what they want online. I think that people are mostly wanting to have a physical experience with something that is a big purchase like a car or a home.
Sramana Mitra: Eventually. Earlier to buy a house, you’d drive around all summer long. Every weekend, you’re going around with your agents to look at properties. I don’t think that’s necessary.
Josh Koppel: I completely agree with that, but I still think that at the end, the final experience is going to be one that has some human interaction.
Sramana Mitra: The house, yes. With the car, I’m very comfortable without seeing the car.
Josh Koppel: So you’re a BMW person. What if you’re researching online and you’re like, “This Audi is something to see. I’m excited. Am I really going to switch brands? Am I going to go there?” How are you going to make that decision without stepping into a dealership?
Sramana Mitra: Probably true. I think the question that you’re raising is, “How often do people switch brands, and how often do people stick with brands?” I’ve been driving BMW for four cars. That’s probably 10 years.
Josh Koppel: Just so I know, which BMW should I buy?
Sramana Mitra: You look at what’s available and so forth in terms of what’s happening with the newer models. I’m just doing this thought experiment with you on how we buy high-ticket items.
Josh Koppel: I’m asking you personally what I should buy.
Sramana Mitra: I don’t think that’s an appropriate question for this interview because I’m not in the business of advising people on what cars to buy. I don’t have any idea who you are. I don’t know your budget. How can I advise you on what car to buy? But there’s a very interesting company called beepi.com. I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
Josh Koppel: No.
Sramana Mitra: It’s a highly overfunded company. It’s one of those companies that I’m not sure if it’s going to make it because it’s so overfunded. By the way, the broker I use in Palo Alto is called hammerauto.com. The guy has been buying cars for our entire family for years. The HammerAuto is a boutique thing. It’s not one of these large-scale, heavily-funded Internet services, but beepi.com is trying to do that at a much larger scale for all consumers.
I have not really used Beepi but I think that’s their whole mission—to make the whole process as seamless as possible because everybody hates car dealerships. In terms of trends, this is where it’s going.
Josh Koppel: I think that there’s a great opportunity in the ability to create a secondary assistant across many different types of things. We’re talking about automobiles. Whether you’re going into a clothing store or you’re talking about very expensive art, I think you’re really seeing the use of tablets and interactive experiences as an assistant to the experience.
Sramana Mitra: I agree with that. The thing that I’m concluding from this discussion is if I were you, I would consider the trends that we just discussed. I imagine that your technology probably has other ways of being packaged to enable some of these other trends.
Josh Koppel: It does. It also works on the web and it also can be shared with you. I can, very easily, send you an interactive content bundle at your house that you can experience. There’s no waiting and there’s no delay.
Sramana Mitra: What is an interactive content bundle?
Josh Koppel: It’s just like an app.
Sramana Mitra: It’s an app that I download through the AppStore?
Josh Koppel: Through ScrollMotion.
Sramana Mitra: On that, I’m with you. Your technology is the way this kind of extensive free research of buying decisions before people engage in human interactions or engage in driving around is how it’s made it possible.
Josh Koppel: It’s a lot of serious conversations. It’s also a health conversation. We did an app for another big pharmaceutical company. It’s all about doctors talking to patients about the maladies of the eyes. I’m about to have a very difficult conversation with you about the fact that you’re going to lose your sight. I’m going to explain it to you by showing you how an eye works. These are the types of conversations that the addition of extra information might make a complex story understandable and a difficult conversation very useful.
Sramana Mitra: Very good. Thank you for your time.