We’re always impressed by entrepreneurs who manage to build sizeable companies without outside capital. Read how Cleverbridge has maneuvered to $40 million in revenue and doesn’t want to deal with venture capital and private equity.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background?
Christian Blume: I was born in Cologne, Germany. I moved over to the US when I was seven years old. I stayed for two years in Detroit. Then, I moved back to Germany again for a couple of years. When I was 15, I moved to London and did my International Baccalaureate over there. Then I moved back to Germany again and did my apprenticeship as a car mechanic. I then went to study Economics and went to an asset management company based out of Frankfurt, which was addressing high net worth individuals who needed investment opportunities. >>>
This interview delves into a somewhat obscure aspect of e-commerce: margin optimization through non-core product recommendations. Quite an interesting subject in its own right.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some context about yourself as well as the company.
Bob Dufour: My background is in a couple of different disciplines—statistics and analytics, direct marketing, and psychology. That’s my background and that’s how I put these all together in a company like Fusion, which was started in 2007. Our go-to market strategy is in digital optimization. What do I mean by that? We were formed in 2007 and had our launch with our first client in November of 2007. What we did at that point was we were this intermediary company that sat in between companies that had products to sell through a digital media and distributors that had customers interacting through a digital media. We sat in the middle and did real-time recommendations and real-time optimization. That was how we got started. >>>
The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce recently reported the fourth quarter retail e-commerce sales for the US. E-commerce sales during the quarter are estimated to have grown 2.3% over the year to $79.6 billion and accounted for 6.7% of total retail sales. For the full year 2014, e-commerce sales increased 15% to $304.9 billion and accounted for 6.5% of retail sales compared to 5.8% in 2013. Billion Dollar Unicorn club member JustFab.com is a fast-growing member among e-tailing vendors.
Borderfree provides tools to help move e-commerce to its next phase: going global. Read on!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you a little bit as well as all your different e-commerce-related experience so we can set the context for the conversation.
Brian Dhatt: I’m the CTO at Borderfree. That means I’m responsible for our product and product strategy. We are based in New York City and we have offices around the world in Dublin, Ireland as well as in Tel Aviv, Israel. From a path perspective, I came from Gilt Groupe. I led product, engineering, and creatives for Gilt City.
Prior to that, I co-founded POPSUGAR, which is a content commerce company based in San Francisco. We founded that back in 2006 and we were Sequoia-funded. >>>
Price personalization has been touted as the holy grail of e-commerce. This conversation brings to light the state of the union in the domain of price optimization, price intelligence, and price personalization.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by setting some context for our audience of what Profitero does and what your background is.
Keith Anderson: Profitero was founded in 2010 in Dublin, Ireland by former IBM and Google software engineers. Sometimes people ask why the company was founded in Ireland and not in Silicon Valley. Dublin has established itself as a European technology hub. Our founders live there. We’re backed by Polaris Partners, which has offices both in Boston as well as in Dublin where we’re headquartered. We now have offices in Dublin, London, Boston, San Diego, Belarus, and Minsk. We’ll shortly open offices in Asia and other parts of Latin America this year. >>>
The phenomenon of Billion Dollar Unicorn companies is not restricted to the American markets. There are several companies in emerging markets as well that are joining the club. One such company is China-based group buying site Meituan. According to Chinese research firm EnfoDesk, the group buying market in China was estimated to have grown 44% q-o-q to RMB 22.96 billion (~$3.74 billion) for the quarter ended September 2014.
Mass customization has been the holy grail of the fashion industry ever since the Internet was born. Jodie Fox discusses why mass customization is so hard, and how her company is scaling a business that offers custom shoes.
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 background?
Jodie Fox: I was born in a small country town in Australia. I was raised by a Sicilian mother and an Australian father. I was the first person in my family to go to university. Both my parents came from very humble backgrounds and worked really hard so that my sister and I could have a good education. It was very challenging to decide what I wanted to study. I was torn between my more artistic side and my more academic side. >>>
Till a few years ago, flash sales sites were the darlings of e-commerce. But soon, as the fad passed, so did their valuation. One of the recent sites to have fallen off the plank is Zulily (Nasdaq: ZU). The Billion Dollar Unicorn club member went public a little over a year ago in a rather successful IPO. But the tables have turned since and the company has seen its valuation crash as the company continues to miss the market’s expected financial metrics.