You never forget your first
Kalood was my first real venture into the world of entrepreneurship in early 2011. The premise was simple: Tell us what you like and we’ll tell you when it goes on sale. It was a model that we would describe as StumbleUpon for deals. Users could go onto our platform and rate potential deals. This provided valuable advertising analytics that could help businesses make informed decisions about promotions and more importantly, an avenue to get their message in front of consumers who actually want to be advertised to. With this business model, a newly launched website and a team of wide-eyed, savvy students we were ready to revolutionize the way that businesses connected with their customers.
I was involved in much of the on the ground sales and business development from the beginning. I met with business owners and general managers and signed up many of them to our platform. The challenge all along had been the dual-market problem where consumers didn’t want to sign up until we had a steady stream of businesses on board and conversely businesses didn’t see value until we had reached a critical mass of users. We tried out numerous revenue structures and plans before finally making our first big pivot. A little over a year into the startup we started to see the growth and success of Pinterest.
Pinterest for Deals
We recognized the potential of creating a service like Pinterest but specifically for deals. This way based off the people and types of things that you follow you could discover great deals on things you love in a simple and beautiful process. My role leading up to this point had switched to more of a management role and focused on marketing and business development. A number of changes occurred internally as well as continued struggles externally and I ended up moving on to other pursuits.
I still believe that this concept could be pulled off successfully but would need much more funding to really get it off the ground. These were some of the awards we won that helped us in the early days, legitimize the concept.
1st – BYU Business Plan Competition
1st – Nebraska Innovation Challenge
1st – U of Cincinnati Limo Pitch Competition
1st – Funding Universe Speed Pitch Competition
4th – Global VLIC (MOOT) – Best Presentation