Ron and Ricky have built a luxury mattress brand online. Learn how.
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?
Ricky Joshi: I’m from Columbus, Ohio and went to Dartmouth for undergraduate. I went on to get my MBA from Columbia. I dabbled in various entrepreneurial activities and worked in the agency world as an Internet guru in IPG. My big claim to fame was sourcing and leading our investment into Facebook in 2006. I managed a $10 million business development deal there. I ended up creating my own agency and becoming a co-founder of Saatva.
Sramana Mitra: Ron, are you a co-founder as well?
Ron Rudzin: I am.
Sramana Mitra: What is your background? Where do you come from?
Ron Rudzin: I was born in Queens, New York. I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug quite early on in my life. I went to NYU for a couple of months before I pursued my career with Jennifer Furniture Industries where I started investing in furniture stores when I was 20 years old. I then became the Senior Vice President of that company as it grew. I opened up 219 stores. I left at 37 to manage my own money and make my own investments and continue feeding the entrepreneurial bug in me. Then I set my sights on to e-commerce.
I knew that I wanted to be in the home furnishing space. In particular, we felt that luxury mattresses was the place I wanted to be. I knew that’s where we saw the right margins. I felt that people were going towards reading websites more than they ever had. i knew how to do it operationally. I understood national network of manufacturing and logistics. It was natural for me.
Sramana Mitra: How did the two of you meet?
Ron Rudzin: I was at a gathering with some friends. Somebody had asked me what I was doing with the Internet. I had started the concept of my luxury mattress company. I needed someone who could do the other end of what I do. That’s the brilliance of Internet marketing. This was seven years ago. When I was talking to a friend, he recommended that I talk to a friend of his. We got together and at that meeting, Ricky was also there. In that meeting, Ricky and our other founder Chris Brauer looked at each other and recognized that we were all speaking the same language. Within a few months, the other folks weeded out of it.
Sramana Mitra: What year was this?
Ron Rudzin: This is in 2010. What we were referring to there was throughout 2009.