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Why it was worth fighting for

It’s really easy for me to come out of the last 3 or 4 months with nothing but negative views on what happened, and why it ended up where it did. But the reality is that I was in the situation that I was because I strongly believed in something that – honestly – would have made the impact that I wanted to make in the world.

You often hear about founder-market fit as a key factor for early stage investors. Does a founder have passion for a market? Does a founder understand the market? Has the founder lived the market?

While I was never a barista nor owned a coffee shop or QSR, I quickly found myself obsessed with the ecosystem that makes inventory possible at small shops. It’s this incredible intersection of small shops depending on other small shops depending on small logistics groups glued together by paper, physical keys distributed between routes, and the occasional Google Sheet to come in and save the day. And this industry (though not necessarily this basic version of it) represents billions of dollars spent daily across the US.

As I dug into the people – the coffee shop owner, the bakery owner, the guy with a warehouse, the guy with a truck trying to build his own business – I fell in love with how we could help them. This is a relatively forgotten group. Too fragmented to make traditional SaaS LTV/CAC work. Hard to pin down, and commit to the change management necessary to see progress. And yet – by finding the right set of tools to connect them – there was a world of opportunity in making their lives better, and making money along the way.

And with the amount of goods exchanging hands daily, and the money that represents being exchanged weekly or monthly, there was no question as to the size of the market. It’s big.

And so through a lot of just bizarre, frustrating, and debilitating circumstances, I pushed forward. The business identified a big problem; it identified how to solve the problem. We were starting to figure out how to make the financials work well enough for a Series A/B company. In January of 2019 (even though we had no funding yet secured, and were on the verge of running out of cash), I felt like we had it all figured out.

Published in Building Odeko

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