Urbful is a local, online marketplace that promises delivery within hours. The company is seeking to change the existing model of ecommerce by hosting an environment where sellers do not have their sales data hedged against them, and buyers receive their orders within a matter of hours.
Urbful hosts products from a wide array of categories including: electronics, electronic accessories, local boutique goods and apparel, as well as eco-friendly essentials and day-to-day items. Today we hear from Urbful co-founder and CFO Peyton Sandoz, who tells us more about the company and their plan to bring the best that New York and the surrounding area has to offer to your door in 6 hours or less.
What was the funding process like?
It was full of constant networking events, pitching the idea to a local incubator and frequent emails to local area VCs. This process, of course, coincided with a constant and meticulous review of our business plan. Each time we targeted someone we knew we could pitch to, we wanted to make sure our business plan was iron-clad.
For one, we are pre-launch, set to go fully live in January. This means that all of the pitching and selling was based on a product that is essentially not ‘live’. That being said, we are also entering a world that is dominated by several well-established companies. To be a market disruptor in this context means the questions you receive about your financial model and general competitive strategy are going to be rigorously tested. We also experienced an overwhelming sentiment of doubt from many individuals. We were expecting that, however.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our business was born out of a simple idea. The little guy has put up with major market players’ policies and shortcomings for far too long. We wanted to propose the cavalier idea that we could dismantle eCommerce giants by being straight-forward and non-competitive, while providing an immediate and resolute service to buyers. However, the non-competitive element is a bit of a buzzword. It generally made most investors shutter. But we believe there is great opportunity in this. Small to medium sized businesses are getting undercut and pushed out of their own product offering and we believe that we have a system to combat that. We also guarantee that we can provide customers with delivery times in just a matter of hours, which is something very much pivotal in the NYC area.
In our journey to get funding, we really wanted to sell the fact that there is a great deal of opportunity for sellers, while at the same time there is major convenience factor for buyers.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
The amount of networking opportunities available in this city is endless. Go to every roundtable, every lunch and every startup fair you hear of in the 5 boroughs area. Keep in mind that along the way you will have to change some of your original ideas to appeal to investors. This was definitely one of the hardest parts for us: it’s hard to hear that one element of your idea you thought was the comparative advantage might not be as strong as you thought.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our expansion strategy is straight and to the point: We are aggressively expanding while sustainably scaling. As for the future, let’s just say Brooklyn is not the only borough in our future.