Mouth is about food. Indie food. Artisanal food. As well as tasty gifts. The company’s goal is to help you discover and get the best, most delicious and most interesting indie food products, and to help indie makers grow their businesses. To do this, they search the country for the best products, buy in bulk, then photograph, warehouse, market, package and ship them directly to customers. All that hard work and curation paid off: they’ve just raised $1.5 million in Series A funding from Vocap Ventures, VegasTechFund and angel investors Joanne Wilson and Jason Calacanis.
Today we hear from Craig Kanarick, Mouth’s Founder and CEO and Co-Founder and former Chief Strategic Officer of the seminal digital agency, Razorfish, who is no stranger to raising capital, whose trials and insights come straight from the successful serial entrepreneur’s mouth.
This isn’t your first time at the carnival. What were the biggest differentiators between founding a Web 1.0 company and a Web 2.0 company?
The biggest difference between companies now and companies back in the first internet era is that now there is a real audience for the products and services being offered. Back in the late ’90′s, there just weren’t enough people using the technology for those companies to be profitable. Now, there are millions of people using digital tech and the internet, so that’s different. This isn’t a new technology or a revolution: it’s scale.
What was the funding process like?
The funding process was, predictably, complicated. It’s like any other process of finding the right match, be it dating or trying to find a place to live. There are so many variables that finding the right people who wanted to fund us and whom we wanted to be in business with took a lot of time and a lot of meetings. It’s never easy.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge that I faced raising money was managing my time. Raising money took a lot of time – time that I would have rather spent doing other things at the company. Fundraising isn’t on my list of favorite CEO activities, but the beauty and pain of a startup is that everyone needs to do jobs they don’t like. It was difficult, however, to try and balance my desire to “run the company” and raise capital at the same time.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
You’d really have to ask my investors why they chose to invest, but I’d venture to say that it’s because our business is solid, and the management team is a very experienced one.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I always hesitate to give advice to companies – each one is so different.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Over the near term, our team is going to be expanding our product selection to continue to offer the widest selection of excellent indie foods. We’ll be adding more categories. We’ll also be doing some marketing.