Here’s a great NY startup story for you. Tailor Brands launched last year with the idea to democratize branding by making it easy and affordable for anyone to be able to have a custom logo and branding.
They do it algorithmically.
We first wrote about them back in October, not long after their launch. Three months after they decided to pursue a funding round, it closed.
Of course, it’s never all quite as easy as it looks, but when you’ve got the goods – and the market – which it seems Tailor Brands does, considering that they’re already servicing customers in 35 countries across the world, things move quickly.
CEO Yali Saar talks about the funding, which was led, not surprisingly, by Tal Barnoach’s Disruptive Fund.
Tell us about your service.
Tailor Brands is an SMB branding platform currently servicing customers in over 35 countries across the world. It allows anyone to design logos, business cards and complete brand identities for their business, with zero effort and minimal coststotheir business. Our entire self-service design process is fueled by a sophisticated machine learning technology we developed to help over 80 million small business owners across the world compete with the larger players in their markets.
What inspired you to start the company?
We believe a brand identity is one of the most powerful weapons a small business owner can have. Regardless of the size of your team, or the amount of cash you have in the bank, good design will make customers trust you more. We felt that this sort of weapon shouldn’t only be in the hands of those who can afford huge marketing budgets. We realized that in order to democratize design we have to cut its costs, and our wacky idea of doing so was by trying to quantify and automate what was going on in our chief designer’s head.
How is it different?
For the past couple of years, most SMB services have gone from crowdsourcing to automation. A nice example is what Squarespace and Wix have done for website building. Despite the overall advancement, brand design has stayed behind. For obvious reasons, it was hard to automate design and keep it unique and, therefore, the market is still dominated by crowd-sourced solutions. As good as those are, our technology allows us to cut prices without comprising quality, offering small business owners a solution that actually helps set them apart from their competition. .
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are mainly working with SMB owners and freelancers right now.We estimate that there a few dozen million people that fit this description in English speaking countries.
What’s your business model?
We charge per design and we currently offer three packages. The basic one includes a logo design; the mid-tier includes logo design, business card design, letterhead design and a personal brand book. Our top tier includes all that I’ve mentioned, plus a Facebook and Twitter cover, email signatures and mailing list banners. Our goal is to release more services as the year progresses, thus allowing clients to expand their brand and ensure it is consistent across all platforms.
What was the funding process like?
Our funding process was relatively short and took three month from start to finish. However, it was still hard. You end up spending a lot of your time on raising capital rather than building your product. I think our main lesson was never to oversell. Don’t show people what you have; let them see it for themselves.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Keeping the balance betweenraising capital and working on the product. Raising capital is very time consuming job, and you have to remind yourself over and over that eventually your are raising capital for a product you’re building – and nobody is going to benefit if you end up spending a 100% of your time on getting funds
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Truthfully, you’ll have to check with them – but I think the combination of a huge market, a really interesting technology, and a team they liked. At the end of the day your team is a crucial factor in an investor’s funding decision.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are really focusing on cracking down our acquisition structure so we can continue and push as many awesome products by the end of the year. Our vision is to expand Tailor Brand’s capabilities so we could help your business in every aspect of branding; fromcurating your mobile application to designing t-shirts for your team.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Funding is a way to grow faster, not a way to survive. Find ways to turn revenue from day 1. Companies shouldn’t be closing down because they didn’t close a round of funding. We are startups, but first and foremost, we are running a business.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the same direction – just faster.
What’s your favorite Brooklyn craft beer?
Got to go with the classic Brooklyn Lager, followed by the Sixpoint Sweet Action.