Portland-based startup Your Brandlive formally launched today, announcing a new video social commerce platform designed to help make the retailer-customer relationship more personal.
Essentially, Your Brandlive is a project of Cascade Web Development, connecting online retailers with online shoppers through live video chat. One sales person is able to communicate with hundreds of customers at once.
“The Your Brandlive platform helps to solve the biggest obstacle for online shoppers — being unable to ask questions,” the company says.
GeekWire had the chance to catch up with Fritz Brumder, Your Brandlive’s 34-year-old CEO, for the latest installment of Startup Spotlight:
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Remember QVC? We make it easy for brands and retailers to do the same thing online, all on their own with nothing more than a laptop and web cam. One sales person can communicate with hundreds of shoppers at one time.”
Inspiration hit us when: “A friend in NYC opened a retail store. I wanted to check it out so we got on Skype. He started showing me product, I asked questions, and I was ready to buy. We see a very clear vision for video-based retail sales online.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap for the first two years. It was important to us that we only built product that customers wanted and would pay for. Once we had significant traction, we raised a seed round. Now we have the attention of the VC community. We are working on a big market and the right VC can help us get there.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Customers think Brandlive is fun. The combination of live video, chat interaction and real time e-commerce makes it easy for brands to engage consumers and close sales.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Keep it simple on the product side. Then go to big customers and sell them your vision.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Time management. Pick a few things and do them really well.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos. Own the market out of the gate with a big vision for how people shop online.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “When we have over 1,000 retailers, you will know our name, trust me.”
Rivals should fear us because: “Building simple product is much harder than featured product. We have the special sauce. A lot of people have tried something similar. The timing was not right and they were not able to get the brands we have.”
We are truly unique because: “See above.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Funding — raising other people’s money is often harder than selling to customers. I like starting with the customer ’til you have something massive, then sell to the investor.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Don’t raise money ’til you really have market validation.”