🚀 On Branding, Marketplaces & Digital Commerce — Origins #1
Welcome to this first newsletter issue! As a tech investor with Nordic early stage venture capital firm Industrifonden, I’m looking particularly at scalable startups within digital commerce, consumerization of the enterprise and marketplaces. Through this monthly(ish) newsletter (subscribe here!) I will curate insights and analyses that have an impact on this space. It also features a Q&A with an inspiring person in the sector, kicking off with Alexander Hjertstrom, CEO & co-founder of Airinum.
Our thoughts on the consumerization of the enterprise, differentiation in retail and why that mattered when we invested in Soundtrack Your Brand.
Investors and digital commerce brands have a complicated relationship. In this primer I walk through some common pitfalls and outline an investor’s starting point when evaluating a digital commerce startup
ICYMI: Great reads
Mobile 2.0 — Ben Evans, Andreessen Horowitz
Ben Evans argues that it is now time for Mobile 2.0 — a fundamental shift in how mobile is used, the impact of camera technology evolution and what happens when mobile first turns into mobile only.
The Hierarchy of Engagement, expanded — Sarah Tavel, Greylock Partners
Consumer tech investor Sarah Tavel has updated her very useful deck on engagement strategies for consumer companies, explaining her take on how to build enduring products.
Why our Superbowl Ad Failed — Cards Against Humanity
Love them or hate them, the team behind Cards Against Humanity (CAH) sure knows how to stay on brand. After their (in)famous Black Friday campaigns, the CAH team is back with a new viral story. A fake Super Bowl ad (featuring a potato) has turned into an instant guerilla marketing classic.
Network Effects — The Key to Ascending the Consumer-Internet Throne — Deepak Ravichandran, Jeff Lu and Roger Lee, Battery Ventures
A data-driven look on why Battery Ventures thinks network effects are even more important than commonly believed — and the launch of the Battery Network Effect Index to track performance of consumer-internet companies with a high level of built-in network effects.
It’s impossible to talk about network effects, marketplaces or viral components and not recommend this excellent deep dive. A year old, this slide deck and podcast episode are truly essential.
In this edition Alexander Hjertstrom, CEO & co-founder of fast-growing digital commerce brand Airinum (more on their story here) shares his top 5 lessons learned from building a brand in Southeast Asia:
- Anchor the brand in a story. We have noticed that more people actually tend to read about the story behind the brand before making a full judgment of it.
- Adapt content, but just enough. On the one hand, we’ve really tried to leverage our Scandinavian heritage and minimalist design, but on the other hand it needs some tweaks to speak to the local markets.
- Focus. Building a brand takes time and is very tough. For us, to get traction, we have really stuck to our strategy, which means turning down opportunities along the way. For example, many distributors give attractive offers with large volumes, exposure and even great payment terms. However, if it doesn’t sync with our strategy it’s a no-go.
- Time. Building upon the previous point, a brand can’t be rushed. It needs to have a clear target audience and grow from there. Similarly, keep a geographical focus to reach a compound effect.
- Don’t underestimate PR. Perhaps surprisingly, even small and novel brands can get into the biggest of media houses with a well-thought through press-kit. Make it easy for the journalist and chances are they will swallow the bait!
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Have a great week!