Jack Abraham has had the entrepreneur bug since an early age. His father began the general public firm comScore and he was amazed on the strategy of taking an thought and constructing it into a strong firm.
At solely 23 Jack is on an identical path with Milo.com. He attended the Wharton School of Business on the University of Pennsylvania which he left early for Palo Alto. It was there that he and a pal started scheming enterprise concepts within the buying business. Before lengthy Milo.com was shifting from a bit of paper to a actuality.
What is your background/story earlier than you began Milo.com? Previous jobs? Career path?
I fell in love with the concept of entrepreneurship at an early age once I watched my father begin comScore. I cherished the truth that he may take a powerful thought, rent a few pushed and proficient individuals, and rework the concept into an organization that employs lots of and ultimately goes public.
My want to be my very own boss was coupled with my curiosity in knowledge so I wrote software program that crawled and analyzed arbitrage alternatives on eBay and traded merchandise in real-time when such alternatives have been recognized. My eBay arbitrage firm was printing cash earlier than it was shut down by PayPal.
I even have earlier expertise serving to develop behavioral concentrating on campaigns for Microsoft and Drugstore.com.
First off may you clarify Milo.com? What is it and who’s it for?
Milo.com is the free Web website that permits consumers to analysis on-line and purchase native – offering one of the best of each worlds. Milo.com brings customers real-time stock and availability data and primarily combines some great benefits of an Amazon-like expertise with the flexibility to contact, really feel and get merchandise now at a neighborhood retailer.
Milo.com is helpful for anybody who’s pissed off by the doubtless unfavourable points of each on-line and offline buying. Online buying means delivery prices, ready occasions and an incapacity to actually take a look at the product before you purchase. Buying in-store is commonly sophisticated by low stock ranges and quite a lot of costs throughout retailers. Milo.com solves this drawback by permitting customers to analysis on-line and verify native costs and availability to discover the product they need and have the choice to purchase it now in a neighborhood retailer.
Could you clarify the story behind Milo.com? Where the concept got here from, the way you made the leap into it, what the early days have been like?
I observed a variety of innovation was taking place in social networking and video on the net however no person was innovating in buying. It was nonetheless very Web 1.0. I noticed that it was a profitable house and in addition extraordinarily helpful for customers so I left Wharton early to come out to Palo Alto – it’s the place all the massive know-how firms have been constructed. I recruited a pal to include me, rented an condominium off University Avenue and began constructing. We labored and lived within the condominium, attempting out completely different concepts.
I knew I needed to do one thing in buying as a result of no person was being revolutionary within the house. I had a number of completely different concepts (cellular apps, internet browser choices) earlier than I noticed the potential of focusing solely on native buying. Nobody was doing native properly and it made sense for companies and customers to have a neighborhood buying vacation spot since over 95% of purchases are nonetheless executed in native shops.
I met a variety of entrepreneurs early on who have been actually useful for each private recommendation and enterprise technique. I used to be launched to Keith Rabois (Slide) and linked to Jawed Karim (co-founder of YouTube) and Kevin Hartz (Xoom, Eventbrite). They turned mentors and helped us hone in on our worth and make the mandatory changes to our thought. Milo turned the vacation spot for consumers who did analysis on-line however purchased in-store.
About a yr later, I noticed 165 University Avenue for lease. I knew I had to have the house. It’s the identical constructing that housed Google, PayPal, Danger, and Logitech. We moved in and have grown from 2 to 10 workers since then. Milo.com, which began out as an thought in an condominium, now has over 1 million distinctive guests!
While operating Milo.com have you ever had any main setbacks? If so may you clarify it?
One of essentially the most troublesome issues for us has been scaling to sustain with the immense progress that we’ve skilled. A little bit over a yr in the past, we had about 2000 guests monthly on our website. Now we’ve got greater than one million and we’ve got to sustain with that demand by each growing our website velocity and including new forms of shops that fulfill customers’ requests. We’re working to embody a number of extra attire retailers and hope to additionally enhance our penetration into specialty shops.
Why do suppose it discovering it native is so vital? Isn’t Amazon adequate?
Amazon is nice for a lot of issues – particularly laborious to discover specialty gadgets that you simply don’t thoughts ready for. But for a lot of different issues – cumbersome dwelling gadgets, scorching new video video games, attire, costly TVs – individuals favor in-store shopping for. They don’t need to ship a giant or fragile merchandise as a result of it’s not solely price prohibitive but additionally dangerous, they don’t need to look ahead to a brand new sport as a result of they need to play it now, they usually need to contact and really feel gadgets which have quite a lot of matches or a excessive price ticket. Milo.com helps all of these consumers by combining one of the best of the net and offline buying worlds in a single easy-to-use Web website.
“70% traffic growth month-over-month since launch in December 2008” is in your website. Why do suppose the location is seeing such fast progress? Any secret advertising and marketing methods you have got to share?
All of our progress to-date has been natural. The solely massive secret is giving individuals what they need. Research exhibits that nearly 90 % of consumers analysis on-line earlier than shopping for in-store and there hasn’t actually been one good spot that permits them to do this. Milo.com has change into that vacation spot.
Milo.com has a formidable checklist of buyers and advisors. What have you ever discovered about pitching to buyers? Are there any do’s and dont’s?
Learn to promote. As an entrepreneur you continuously have to promote your self, your thought, your group, your product, your traction and your imaginative and prescient. Come ready. Create a fantastic pitch deck and be sure to are promoting one thing sustainable. I might extremely suggest religiously studying and pondering laborious about Sequoia’s “Elements of Sustainable Companies” and information to writing a marketing strategy. Both could be discovered at http://www.sequoiacap.com/ideas.
Build credibility. Surround your self with nice advisors, rent nice individuals and get introductions from extremely trusted sources.
What would you say to a younger entrepreneur who’s contemplating elevating capital? Is there proper or fallacious time to do it?
Not actually. I might say to by no means increase cash once you want it. Always have a minimum of 1-2 years of money within the financial institution. Good occasions to increase capital are in periods of fast progress or when you eradicate substantial key funding dangers (idea, group, product, know-how, market, distribution, monetization).
Start with angels. The extra revered/linked the angels you get entangled the better it is going to be for you to increase enterprise in a while. Don’t waste your time with VCs till you have got a product constructed with nice traction. Even with good introductions and a fantastic thought VCs most likely gained’t put money into you since you’re younger and unproven. Prove your self first!
What would you say has been the largest think about your success not simply with Milo.com however total?
The continuous drive and problem to enhance might be the largest issue. I thrive on being inventive and actually fascinated with what would make each Milo.com and our society higher, what providers would enhance our high quality of life and the way I can push the frontier of what we expect is feasible.
Care to brag in any respect? User numbers? Sales numbers? Big achievements? Press?
We’re extraordinarily happy with our visitors progress. Our first anniversary noticed 70% visitors progress month over month and we hit our objective of 1 million distinctive month-to-month customers in December. Big achievements for us additionally embody getting our Series A in a difficult economic system and having all the unique angel buyers reinvest within the spherical, which was extraordinarily oversubscribed. We’ve additionally seen numerous curiosity from the press and have been profiled in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Reuters to identify a number of. For a full checklist of press protection, you possibly can go to http://milo.com/press
What are your subsequent steps? Either enterprise or private.
Our subsequent step is to proceed fulfilling our mission of bringing each product on each shelf of each retailer on the planet onto Milo.com. We’re now beginning to onboard regional retailers as well as to nationwide ones and look to proceed shifting down this path till we’ve got the mother and pop shops on Main Street.