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This week, Roxana Saidi launched Táche, a brand of pistachio milk she first began working on in the kitchen of a studio apartment in 2015. With pistachios sourced from fourth-generation farmers in the middle east, Táche sets itself apart as a more environmentally friendly option than almond milk and a healthier option than oat milk. Earlier this year, Táche raised a $1.1 million pre-seed round with backing from investors like Gary Hirshberg, the co-founder and former CEO of Stonyfield Farm.

But launching a new brand in 2020 is no easy feat.

Here, Saidi shares her playbook for fundraising, navigating a complex supply chain, and launching a CPG brand in the middle of a pandemic. …


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Sunday CEO Coulter Lewis

In 2017, Coulter Lewis bought his first home. It was in Boulder, Colorado, and it had a big backyard for his young children and dog. But homeownership had a learning curve. Lewis found himself shopping for products he’d never considered before, things like fertilizer and weed killer. He was struck by how unhealthy it all seemed.

“It felt so wrong,” Lewis says, remembering a trip to his local hardware store. “You can smell it from 50 yards away. It’s just sacks of industrial chemicals. …


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On July 26, 2019, Marty Bell tweeted, “Did we just drop the hottest website on the interweb?” The thumbnail showed the edge of a palm tree. And a vintage car. It was pink. It was pixelated. The URL was enticing: Poolside.FM.

“It was the most clickable thing ever,” Bell says with a laugh. In minutes, it took off.

“That got picked up by all the big names in tech,” Bell says. “I had Tweetdeck open with a search for Poolside.FM and mentions were non-stop, all day. It was wild.”

Poolside.FM is an online radio station. It’s also a one-way ticket to 1987. Summery pop music curated from Soundcloud and YouTube streams over video clips from 80s infomercials. Every pixel is designed to invoke the analog joys of a pre-iPhone era: There is a text only chat room. Windows within Poolside are closed by clicking a tiny martini glass. …


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In 2016, Burrow CEO Stephen Kuhl told Y Combinator his plan to sell furniture online.

Buying a sofa shouldn’t require driving to a store, he said. It shouldn’t require finding friends to heldp carry the sofa up the stairs. Furniture should be sold direct-to-consumer. It should come as modular pieces in lightweight boxes. It should be easy to disassemble and reassemble, in case you need to move.

Four years later — as Americans remain advised to stay at home — that plan couldn’t be more prescient.

“This has rapidly expedited the shift from retail to e-comm in the furniture industry, and that’s something that we’re benefiting from,” Kuhl says today. “Our company is literally built for this. Our stuff is delivered via UPS Ground Shipping. You don’t have to interact with a human being when it arrives. …


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In 2014, Yelitsa Jean-Charles posted a question on Facebook: “To any of my Black female Facebook friends, can you share your experience with dolls as a child? Did dolls influence you in any way? Do you believe that there is a lack of positive representation for young Black girls?”

The answer was a resounding “Yes.”

Every store sold blue-eyed, blonde Barbies. But where were the other options?

Today, Jean-Charles is the CEO of Healthy Roots Dolls. It’s her mission to answer that question. …


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It’s hot. You can’t go to the beach. You can’t go to the neighborhood swimming pool. You can’t post stylish photos of a Carribean vacation.

So what can you do? Bring the vacation to your own backyard.

That’s what thousands of customers did when they ordered Minnidip pools this summer. Minnidip, which has been in business and self-funded since 2017, saw an explosion of direct-to-consumer sales for its adult-sized kiddie pools, beach balls, coolers and more in 2020.

By August of 2019, Minnidip sold over 100,000 products online and through retailers like Target, Bloomingdales, and QVC, according to Fortune. But this summer, sales spiked: Target doubled their inventory from 2019 and sold-out by early August, Minnidip Founder Emily Vaca says. …


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Joshua Brau and Micah Fredman launched Ipsa Provisions in February 2020. Brau, a former brand director at Blue Apron and Chipotle, and Fredman, a former cook at Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park, developed a menu of frozen, locally-sourced meals that could be popped in the oven at dinnertime.

Ipsa quickly accumulated hundreds of customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, growing without any paid marketing.

Then — just four weeks after launch — New Yorkers were ordered to shelter in place.

“It was scary first and foremost,” Brau says. …


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Carolyn Treasure’s resume is enough to make anyone question their own life decisions: Treasure graduated from Harvard Medical School, completed three years of residency as a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and studied for a Masters in Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

Today, Treasure is CEO of her own company, a skincare startup called Peachy. Peachy sells prescription retinoids, mineral sunscreen, and preventative Botox. “The second I started medical school I got this influx of questions on what to do to treat and prevent facial wrinkles,” Treasure says. “More than anything else.”

“Healthcare is very risk-averse,” she continues. “You’re not very much rewarded for thinking outside the box, or thinking through things differently. It wasn’t until that interdisciplinary experience at HBS when I realized the market opportunity and had the inspiration, confidence, and mentorship to actually start Peachy.” …


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On Thursday, June 4th, something unusual happened in Silicon Valley.

It could have been commonplace: A group of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs gathered on a webinar. Each gave a 10-minute presentation. The VC firms were prominent; Greycroft, Google Ventures, and Bessemer. The entrepreneurs were exceptional; One founder raised a total of $96 million in venture funding.

But this wasn’t a typical panel. There were no pitch decks. There were no pie charts. There were no bar graphs. Instead, there were stories. …


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Slice CEO Ilir Sela

Slice CEO Ilir Sela knows a lot about pizza. Nearly 30 of his extended family members own pizza shops. His father and grandfather bought a pizza shop in Manhattan in the 1970s on 75th street. His uncle owned a pizza shop in Brooklyn. Sela spent weekends at his best friend’s pizza shop on Long Island.

“It’s a really difficult business to operate,” Sela says. “It’s grueling hours. Owners show up at 9:00 AM to start preparing, and then they don’t leave until 10:00 or 11:00 PM. That’s often seven days a week.”

Sela built Slice — a platform that provides software and economies of scale to 13,000 independent pizza shops — to give small business owners a fighting chance. …

About

Ali Montag

Ali Montag, Head of Community at Rho Business Banking.

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