A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 280 is a discussion with Eric Villines, the Head of Global Communications for Anker Innovations.
Eric Villines is the Global Head of Communications for Anker Innovations. Anker is one of the most successful brands to be started on the Amazon platform. In this broad ranging interview, we discuss the origin story of Anker, their evolution from early Amazon FBA seller to Global Omni-channel brand. Eric covers their incubator, Anker Innovation, and their Amazon FBA consulting service OceanWing. We also discuss his recent book, Get Funded!: The Startup Entrepreneur’s Guide to Seriously Successful Fundraising.
Episode 280 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Wednesday. November 17th, 2021.
[0:00] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 280 being recorded on Wednesday November 17th 2021 I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I’m here with your co-host Scot Wingo.
[0:15] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason Scott show listeners Jason is a fellow Gadget addict one of our favorite brands that we love from
consumer perspective is Anchor and then we also spend a lot of time here on the show talking about anchor because it’s a very interesting brand that is one of the few that we call kind of
digitally native Amazon born so today on the show we are very excited to welcome
Eric villines he is the head of Global Communications at anchor and is based out of Sunny Seattle Eric welcome to the show.
[0:50] Thanks for having me we’ve also been having about two months of rain so we’re living up to our our cliche.
[0:59] That for the last two months that might have sounded bad but being here in Chicago I have a feeling that rain is about to start looking pretty good to me.
[1:07] Yeah means known cold and wind.
[1:09] Exactly all of the above although it’s been pretty mild so far.
Eric before we jump into all the anchor discussions we always like to get sort of a brief background about our guests and maybe you could tell us what your role is an anchor.
[1:25] Sure so I run Global Communications at anchor Innovations which is essentially a fancy way of saying public relations.
Which in time it’s sort of corporate Communications you could be crisis Corporate social responsibility and then obviously the most exciting part of what I do which would be product PR dealing with the media on reviews and,
I’m getting the word out of on the cool gadgets we.
[1:51] That’s awesome so does that mean you have one of everything.
[1:55] I have two of everything.
It’s a funny story I’ve worked in consumer electronics for a long time and I remember Steven Yang who hired me personally for the role,
I remember I was in China and I said I want to make sure that I’ve got budget to give everyone on my team,
you know one of the products and he giggled and I’m absolutely serious,
we all have to you know live it and breathe it and love it and know the good and the bad aspects of all of our products because we’re talking with the media all the time so I kind of.
I’m kind of insistent that everyone on my team has the products and then the other part is we all we can never run out of battery that’s like that’s like a major faux pas here,
if I ever hear the words even coming out of my own mouth that my phone is almost out of juice that’s super bad as a charging company.
[2:45] That does seem off brand I am I have a little bit of a fetish for your products and the thing I’ve noticed is every time I have a family gathering I get completely cleaned out.
[2:57] Oh yeah there is.
[2:58] So I yeah I didn’t realize you were in such a replenishment category but it’s ended up being one for me.
[3:04] It’s funny because I started out an entertainment before I came into consumer electronics and one of the first things I did here because I’m just using my own family Dynamics as I have three children.
And my wife of course is involved in this as well and we steal each other’s cables constantly and then we lie to each other,
about you know and it’s gotten so bad that people take you know colored Sharpies and all sorts of things but we had done a survey,
on you know what are some of the most irritating things that happen in the family and this came in like is a top four.
People stealing each other’s charging components and then lying about it so it’s a national issue that we just haven’t spent enough time talking about.
[3:48] Yeah we’ll have to dedicate a whole nother show to solving that problem one last product related question do you have a favorite anchor products.
[3:57] Well gosh I so we have these new cables that you said fetish I don’t want to take it too far but it’s.
It’s the material that’s made out of is reminds me of certain things and that Dominion but it’s a super soft latex like,
cable that seems to never because of the material it seems to never not up.
And that’s one of my favorite things and they come in all these super cool colors and that’s really new for us we’ve always offered two colors a beautiful white and the Beautiful Black Version,
and so this year we started getting into more colors and that’s been really exciting because that’s a really easy way to distinguish your product from say your son’s
because you can have different colors but the material it’s really nice I keep them in my bag I’ve got him for all my products.
Those are really cool we launched a new line of Mag go products which we have a desk version which allows you to,
put your phone against and it’ll you know magnetically charged it but the battery is removable so you can actually bring it with you,
so it serves two purposes and I keep that like in the kitchen so when I’m cooking and I have my recipes but then I can grab it and go.
So those are really cool but I mean man we launch new products every day so you ask me next week I’m going to tell you something completely different.
[5:23] Yeah this is an unsolicited but my favorite is there’s a little Hub you guys have for the Macbook so I can just plug in one USB C and I’ve got this thing I’m looking at it now it looks like a mutated octopus with with 800 things,
poking out of it that I no longer have to plug into my MacBook so you’re you’re saving me a lot of ports which I really appreciate.
[5:40] Yeah as they move to usb-c only but you still had a myriad of other things you needed to connect to it.
[5:47] Yeah well now the magsafe is a now they’re back yeah they decided they’re giving you guys too much Martin said so now they now they have like they’re like oh man when you need to add more stuff you know.
[5:57] Well I’ve talked to a lot of pro users and they’re really excited to see the HDMI cable come back it’s just a you know it’s a strong connection that cables is still different.
And sometimes it’s a huge hassle putting a hub attached to the computer and then attaching your HDMI cable and everything else to it.
[6:16] Yeah absolutely especially when you’re traveling and you’re popping into someone else’s conference room you’d never have that one little cable,
so we obviously we talked a lot about anchor on the show and we can just kind of stopped fan blowing on the on the user side would love to hear kind of your view of the founding story of anchor,
you know we kind of classify it as you heard is this kind of like Amazon born would love to know how you guys tell that story.
[6:43] Yeah I mean it’s you know I had relatives that move during the Dust Bowl and move to Pasadena and built.
You know a chain of gas stations and it’s this true Americana story but he what’s interesting is I think Steven Yang story is very similar it is that
that’s story of an idea and perseverance and building and Global brand that.
People have in their purses and backpacks even if they don’t know it’s anchor there’s a strong probability that it is and that’s that’s one is exciting the others a branding dilemma.
But Stephen was a senior engineer in California at Google and he had he was trying to find a new battery for his Toshiba laptop.
[7:32] And as he was looking online including Amazon and the Toshiba websites he realized he had sort of two choices you either going to buy the one from Toshiba that was super expensive,
for take a chance,
on all of these other versions white-label versions and unknown brands on Amazon and and purchase one from their sort of buyer beware.
And he kind of had a light bulb moment and thought you know this is this is ridiculous like who are the people that are putting these online how they’ve been tested how can I know that,
what I’m buying is going to work with my laptop and you know give me a year of battery life.
Long story short he moved back to China with his wife who was then his fiance he took a small loan from his mom.
And he started anchor and in the beginning what Stephen did was go around to different factories and and Developers,
and with his engineers and they went and tested all these batteries so in the beginning it was a white label play was him finding and filtering through.
[8:38] I’ll just say it a lot of garbage and trying to find the absolute best,
alternatives to all of these laptop batteries and they started selling those through Amazon and that was the first point was the easiest place for them and selling specifically and exclusively to the United States.
A year later it was a massive success beyond anything that he had ever imagined,
and the next logical step was to take that concept and move it into mobility and start looking at mobile phones and chargers and portable batteries and all these things that were at the time,
really starting to come out but the big difference when he went into Mobility is the idea was we need to get as fast out of,
the white labeling as we can because we have some ideas that even these these smaller factories and people that were producing,
can are doing that we can find ways to make it better,
so that sort of unearth the world of you know contract manufacturing where they’re Engineers were developing and designing,
you know the specifics and then Contracting manufacturers to develop those products and the rest as they say is history.
Ironically today we are celebrating our 10-year anniversary actually last month.
[9:58] And that’s a pretty big deal so we went from a guy and his wife.
And a little mama money from his mom to a you know a multibillion-dollar company.
With multiple Brands and over 3,000 employees all around the world.
So in addition to charging which is still a huge huge part of our,
DNA we’ve developed a number of Brands subsequently over the last three to four years everything from robotic vacuums and future robotic products,
to home security high-end true wireless headsets.
Smart Home Entertainment pet products baby socks I mean like you know smart baby socks I mean just like the whole gamut.
[10:45] And the sort of the common line through all of this is that Steven and his team are constantly looking for areas within an emerging or establish consumer electronics area where they can bring value.
And you know usually we might come in and the play might be okay we’re going to come up with a really great product that’s going to be,
a little lower cost and that gets our foothold and then the the long-term strategy is then to LeapFrog over the competitors with something truly innovative.
And this is kind of a phenomenon that’s worked really really well.
For Stephen and his engineers and the marketing teams and all of our sales people around the world.
[11:28] Did he have an industrial design background hurry just had the pain and kind of cheeses and created the company from there.
[11:37] Well he’s a Hitman he’s a True Blood engineer so I mean he’s he’s right at that right at the hardware level and into coding and all of that so the industrial design.
Was not his core competency so bringing in people that that could fill in,
those areas and ultimately well they say 10 years later we brought color right but of course then we had great devices that worked really well but we’re but when we look at industrial design,
I would say that you know that’s what’s going to propel us over the next 10 years with with the Thinker charging.
[12:14] Yeah it’s been the you know I really like kind of the functional but still kind of modern kind of vibe you guys have with your products it’s really nice is he still with the company is you still still involved.
[12:27] Yeah yeah I mean I talked to him regularly he is very approachable.
It’s interesting because he shares his office with two other people at the company and it’s kind of this kitchen table set up he doesn’t have a private office,
because there’s so much collaboration and you look around the company we’re all like that even though I’m in Seattle,
and in my office I do the same thing with my team we just take some long tables and we connect them up and everyone just sits on them because it’s like jazz we’re just constantly.
You know coming up with ideas and talking and it’s just more efficient.
[13:06] I do want a Lobby by the way I feel like you have some cool colors now you have like a like a lavender and a mint but what you really need is like a retailgeek blue I think would be.
[13:18] Retailgeek blue yeah.
[13:20] Yeah I could send you the PMS colors at that.
[13:22] Okay yeah send me the Pantone colors yeah the,
yeah I mean we I would think the colors are sort of muted so they’re they’re a joke they don’t offend anyone so they’re not they’re not super striking their kind of muted across the color spectrum but so far they’ve been.
They’ve been received really really well there’s there’s an old joke and consumer electronics that people are always screaming for color.
And then when you look at the sales and you find it’s the white and black that sell the most.
So it’s like you need to have the color but in the end most people end up choosing the the kind of safer black and white.
[14:05] Yeah now I actually I’ll be honest the style of the colors fine and actually think they are attractive kind of pastel colors but the it’s just nice to have a diversity because I actually have a system like I have one color for my USBC cables.
[14:20] One color for my lightning cables so that I can you know quickly distinguish them in my back.
[14:24] You’re not messing around man.
[14:27] I have a little I have a problem.
So I it’s funny in the early days of these kind of digitally native direct to Consumer Brands there used to be this religious battle there were companies that were like.
And the path to the customer through Amazon we’re going to sell this stuff on Amazon and I would characterize anchor as the poster child for the most successful brand that was born.
By primarily making themselves available on Amazon and selling through Amazon’s traffic.
But for every company like that there was another company that’s like that’s crazy Amazon is going to steal your customer and knock you off and they’re all these you know potential,
downfalls to Amazon and you know we should own the customer ourselves and we should have our own website and so increasingly that became the Shopify contingency and so it used to be,
you know a company was either an Amazon company or a Shopify company.
And more recently I feel like the increasingly the answer is not or it’s and that.
You know the consumers on Amazon so you need to be on Amazon but you also do have consumers that want to buy direct and you should have your own website and.
My proof point for that is I want to say in the last year or so anchor has launched its own Shopify site so I now can shop anchor on Amazon but also on your own direct website is that like.
[15:54] Like you got did you guys have debates and conversations about that and was that a very overt decision or is it just something where you just swept up a Shopify side at some point and you really still think of yourself as an Amazon only company.
[16:07] Well there’s a lot to unpack I’m going to I’m going to try to I’m going to try to find the question in that statement,
the first of all we started definitely start on Amazon and one of the things I would argue about Amazon is that it is direct,
so whether you’re selling on your website you know or you’re selling on Amazon you’re ultimately.
[16:29] Selling direct through the Amazon platform and you’re engaging with your customers and your you know you’re dealing with customer service and all the things you would normally do
so I think Amazon has been a great partner and it is it continues to be definitely a big part of our DNA.
But as we evolved into different regions around the world you know that there are different channels,
that in our sort of different stages of development but the omni-channel approach meaning,
you know in our case Amazon which is always a big part of us our own website which is great for Branding and direct connection and through our Retail Partners because in the United States were sold everywhere we’re sold at you know Best Buy Walmart Target,
Etc you can go to medium art overseas,
so we don’t see ourselves as just a single Channel we definitely are see ourselves is an omni-channel but I think you know Amazon is provide us an incredible platform to launch on,
the ability the ability I think for a person that has a great product looking to sell something and any part of the world where Amazon is is so convenient and so easy.
[17:41] And you know the financial Commitment if you’re just starting out and you’re Distributing your products the platform has evolved its improved.
And it’s ultimately pretty easy to get going on the platform without you know a tremendous amount of financial backing.
[18:02] Yep and it is interesting because you have you know been a heavy practitioner on the platform from the early days in it does feel like it’s evolved a lot.
From your guys’s perspective do you still feel like there’s a.
Competitive advantage in knowing the platform better than other sellers like it feels like there’s a lot of levers to pull now and I mean you know different companies with different levels of sophistication in their Amazon presents.
Why does everybody learning all the best practices now and they’re sort of parody or do you feel like you guys can still kind of win more than your fair share of eyeballs on Amazon.
[18:38] I mean we we’ve been doing this for you know for 10 years now and so they’re the they’re the tools and there’s the Instinct and then there’s the the lessons learned from the billions of mistakes that we’ve made,
along the way and I don’t know those things are those things are harder to I think grass for people that are just coming into the space so I think we absolutely have an advantage,
but you know I mean I think it’s not magic it takes a lot of work and a lot of patience,
and a lot of observation,
you know if you’re putting a listing on Amazon and you’re putting that listing in Italy or France or the UK or whatever,
you know simply Translating that listing into the local language is just the bare minimum I mean you’re dealing with customer service and being able to communicate.
With customers being able to deliver products on time being able to answer their questions be able to take returns and then that’s you know even before you’ve really thought about marketing because there are.
[19:44] Something like nine million sellers on Amazon right now and that is a huge ocean,
just filled and filled with Fish And you are you’re battling against the the those eyeballs every day.
Organic search or even direct search you’re going to you know if you go up and look for toothpaste I mean you know,
in the search engine you’re going to see a myriad of players in there including you know ones that are common Brands to others that seem interesting and what’s going to draw the eyeball away from the common brand that everyone knows too,
the new brand what’s going to make the consumer just try and reach out a discover you and take that extra effort so everyone going on to any platform,
that may deal with a bunch of Brands is dealing with you know millions of competitors and it stopped.
[20:39] I think getting set up on the platform and getting started is easy but that’s that’s you know that’s step one,
but then you got to get people seeing your listings and you got to get people reading your listings and you got to get people putting stuff in their shopping cart and clicking the shopping cart and,
fulfilling and then you know being there at the end of that process to give them great customer service in every language,
where you’re selling that product because if you can’t do that and that last part is critical,
you’re going to get bad reviews and people don’t buy products with two and sometimes even three star ratings when you’re dealing with you know consumer electronics they’re looking for four and five.
So you could have the greatest product in the world but you could have a lot of mad consumers out there where you haven’t done right by them and they’re not going to give you some great star ratings and you can pretty much.
You know kiss your Prosperity goodbye.
[21:33] Yeah I sometimes describe it as a.
A darwinian meritocracy that like you know if you think about old school if you sell a product to Walmart and they give you shelf space and you screw up and run out of stock,
you lose all the sales while you’re out of stock but the day you restock your back on the Shelf your kind of entitled to that that shelf position.
The duration of a program but you have to earn that visibility in the front of the Amazon shelf what every minute through a wide variety of best practices and if you screw up,
you fall off that shelf and when you get back in stock you don’t get your spot back you got to climb back up the hill.
[22:10] Yeah yeah I mean especially now in today’s climate there’s a lot of.
Material shortages and other things and that’s been you know super painful for four people across every,
line of business not just consumer electronics and that very same thing you know you’re working hard to develop customer base and then,
you don’t have the materials to produce the products or the factories that you’re working with and then you can’t fulfill you been all this great marketing you brought everyone to your front door and then,
grab we don’t have any products,
and that’s it’s painful to see for especially you know entrepreneurs and people new to the game because they have brilliant ideas and great products and.
You know they’ve done an amazing job building word-of-mouth and it’s super sad to see that fail at that last step.
[23:03] For sure that actually is a great segue we’re recording this in mid-november double 11 day just happened Black Friday is next week.
As we sit here I think there’s something like ninety one container ships off the coast of Long Beach either a bunch of cool new anchor products like trapped in those boats what’s holiday looking like for you are you guys well well stocked and well positioned.
[23:30] I think we are with some things and we could be better and other things I mean again we have the advantage of having a lot of skus so we I would say it’s easier for us,
then than others and you know I can say from my perspective if I go out on a media to and September and I show a lot of really cool gadgets.
And then we reach the end of October and I’m like well crap so that isn’t coming we’re going to we’re going to delay that because of something it is what it is what we’re used to it.
But we have so many skus that you know we were Prime day or Black Friday or Cyber Monday or just basic Christmas shopping or Hanukkah shopping we’ve got something,
so we can adapt it will get past it.
[24:23] Yeah speaking of which I given that you’re in the consumer at Rackspace is CES ordinarily a big part of your marketing mix.
[24:32] I would say it is I think in the new world order it isn’t as important for us.
But we you know we’ve done Big Boost and we’ve done stuff and you know our sales teams of gone out there I think it’s wait and see.
This January we’ve done some some interviews with with media and I think we found that maybe forty percent of those that normally attend are coming,
the rest are waiting and seeing we didn’t do a booth this year I’ve also heard from our sales team that their counterparts at some of the retailers may not be coming in January as well.
So I don’t know is it going to be like a bad prom or nobody dances.
I think we’re going to have to wait and see I think maybe for many it’s going to be a real last minute decision.
[25:25] Yeah it’s interesting I’ve attended like 28 CES has and I’m not going and,
talking which I used to catch a flu at CES every single year so it’s the I’m not care.
I think Tom Clancy wrote a book where like the terrorist likes bedspread the biological Weapon by disseminating it at CES just for.
[25:47] Perfect yeah I think it’s you know I think people I think you have to have a vaccination card this time around to get in I think that’s what I’ve heard but yeah I mean from point A to Z you know your.
There’s a lot of airplanes.
[26:02] I’m kind of curious I think less people are going to but then the magic question is.
Does that kind of will they discover that the world didn’t end when they didn’t go and put your point like does that accelerate the changing World Order and CES becomes less important or you know is this just going to be a down year and next year they’ll be back to normal I think,
that’s going to be interesting to watch.
[26:22] Yeah I mean there’s CS is just the beginning you’ve got Mobile World Congress you’ve got aoife you’ve got you know as we move into next year and all of them are going to have to be making those tough decisions.
And then I think that the repercussions of companies that didn’t go in the world didn’t sink either going to be wondering you know what are these what’s the value of these trade shows.
To us as a business you know I think for us they’re valuable you know on the one end of the communication Spectrum it’s super beneficial to scale our pitching by having an enormous number of people from all around the world in ones.
But it’s also very noisy so you know you’re competing with a lot of large names.
And we’ve always been very Scrappy so we tend to do a lot of are moving and communication before CES.
And after CES or even entirely outside of the you know the wake of any of these trade shows.
So and that’s that’s generally how we’ve been successful.
[27:27] Brickell any other interesting holiday Trends or anything you guys noticed as we’ve kind of gone through covid and or kind of hopefully coming out the back side.
[27:37] Yeah I mean I you know not to sound boring but charging is always a big thing during the holidays people bought their new iPhones people are buying new MacBooks people are buying peripherals.
And you know around that time usually you know a couple of weeks later when they lost their cables already or you know they realize they won’t one for travel and they wanted to stay home and they want one in their home office and they want one in the kitchen,
so it’s always a good time for us in that category,
so charging definitely the other big part of our business right now is audio so our sound Core Audio brand,
we develop a super popular line of true wireless headphones the Liberty series,
and one of the things that makes it unique is we work with a bunch of grammy award-winning Engineers to help us tune them,
so they would come out of the box sounding like the mix that the engineers originally in planned versus over based or over traveled,
that’s been really really popular for us all around the world I mean as far as India hugely popular in the United States the UK Germany,
Emerging Markets that’s a big thing and then I’d say home security that’s been a big a big Boon for us we launched our home security brand yuffie about three years ago.
[28:59] And you know we’re developing a lot of unique products in that space that separate us from the rest for one we don’t we don’t use the cloud when you buy the product at your.
[29:12] All of the footage is captured on a secure SD card that’s integrated either into the base station or the independent products that you put outside the house.
Which is really cool and we have millions of users around the world right now,
using that product because they see it not only is protecting your security but also their privacy.
[29:32] You’ll see a lot of people do personal gifts to themselves during the holiday so a lot of those those big,
tend to be you know people in a house saying hey how about we get this for ourselves for Christmas,
and and we recently launched a super-smart robotic vacuum called the X8 it’s are you fee robotic vacuum.
That’s super smart so instead of bumping into walls and trying to figure things out at uses both Visual and Laser mapping.
And will actually draw up a map of your house that you can look at on your phone,
and see it’s how it’s found the most ingenious way of cleaning around chairs and couches and other things and making sure that it can do everything and then you can create zones,
I didn’t say well I just want to let stay away from the baby room because the baby’s sleeping but you can clean this Zone and that zone and this Zone.
That’s been really popular and we had been doing kind of lower in robotic vacuums until that point.
Entry level and this was one of our first push and super-premium summarize forleo some but that LeapFrog,
so in the beginning we might find Our Place coming in as as a lower-cost alternative that still is super quality,
and then with the X8 we’re doing the LeapFrog moment and trying to jump past the competition with the technology.
so one of the things we want to do is Pivot you guys have some other innovations that are not gadgets or charging or anything like that,
you guys launched a new division that both Jason and I were excited to learn more about called ocean wing.
My guess was it was drones but I think that’s wrong tell you tell us more about what ocean when you.
[31:24] Yeah so I say first with the title but when I first started working with anchor Innovations in the United States over four years now,
I was actually working for ocean Lee that was our that was how we presented our Corporation,
and the the story is that it was ocean Wing to essentially take our technology and fly across the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean and bring it to the United States.
So when the idea came up of developing a Consulting business,
under anchor Innovations the ocean Wing name came up again and simple it’s actually makes a hell of a lot more sense for this than it may have Hazard LLC in the United States when we were bringing anchored to the United States.
[32:14] But long story short we established in 2019 so we’ve been around awhile we have about 200 employees around the world.
And the long and the short of it is that we’re trying to take the the decade of experience that we’ve developed.
Again with all those mistakes along the way to become you know the 7 billion dollar,
consumer electronics company and give people an option to improve their business lines,
so that’s from the beginning to the end of the process and what we’re looking for is companies that have already gone in and let’s just say made their first 10 million,
and they’ve hit a wall.
[32:55] Because they haven’t been able to expand the business or scale either through supply chain issues through fulfillment customer service maybe the advertising has become,
complicated and convoluted because they’ve developed so many skus there’s just so many problems that when someone reaches a certain point and they want to get to that next 10 or 20 million dollars when they’re doing business,
it’s a different skill set,
you know what they’ve done is worked it to a certain point and they is try as they might they can’t get past that threshold and that’s where we come in,
so we’re developing essential overall Amazon selling and operations processes that could be digital marketing marketing insights,
advertising management helping them develop their Brand store and their product pages to customer service and relationship management which I mentioned earlier is.
Reticle to get those star ratings in a good place through good authentic communication with your customers in a great experience with the products.
[33:59] Obviously e-commerce and all the financial systems,
and then what we’re dealing with a lot these days is supply chain and Logistics management so you get yourself to a certain point and there’s a lot of people that are coming to us and that is the area,
where they’re really hurting the most and they need help they need help developing new contacts new supply chain partners,
for how do I deal with the issue if you’re dealing with something that might spoil like we’re dealing with a company that,
deals in collagen and when something spits on one of those tankers out in the middle of the ocean for too long when it arrives in the warehouse,
it’s past its fresh state so you’ve just lost all that inventory so each client is unique,
but with this kind of broad scope of things that we can help them with and we can help audit the business and hopefully help them transcend whatever’s keeping them from moving to that next 10 and 20 and 30 million dollars.
[34:59] Very interesting so going back to our earlier conversation this is sort of a way for other young young Brands to leverage all the expertise and skills you guys have have built-in staying on top of this ecosystem.
[35:14] Exactly it’s an opportunity for us to take what we’ve learned and apply it to that young brand I couldn’t have said it better myself.
[35:22] Yeah and it at this point is ocean Wing primarily focused with Amazon distribution or would they also leverage all the other distribution channels that you guys have expanded into.
[35:36] Yeah I mean I think I think our sweet spot is definitely FBA so specifically Amazon.
That is not to say that we can’t help them with other things like supply chain and Logistics but for us,
it’s a recipe and you know where we’ve had our success with the clients have come in or people that have been focused on Amazon and then we can kind of look at what they’re doing and we can evolve the recipe a little bit,
and and get it all the ingredients in place and help them be successful because they all work together,
so but I would say Amazon is definitely our primary focus right now at least dealing with businesses that are on Amazon that isn’t to say that these businesses are you
solely focused Amazon because they’re not but Amazon is a key Channel especially if they’re going globally and that’s where we come in.
[36:31] Got it and obviously over the last year there’s kind of been a lot of Buzz around these I’ll call them FB a roll ups where you know these,
these companies have raised a bunch of money and they go out and acquire Brands and aggregate them and try to help them with their Amazon presents and we you know we’ve followed thrash Co and perch and,
and all of those is,
is this kind of your version of that do you see your value prop being different than those other companies or is it just that you have.
Sort of more experience and and product scale than some of these companies.
[37:05] How to say this without sounding like it like it’s not a jerk but the again we this is what we do,
this is how we built our business so we can take.
The lessons learned the hard ones too and we can apply it to our clients and I think that alone is super unique that we’re a company that’s already done this and you know in spades,
and now we can apply those learnings to irregular company the other part of it is that most consultancies are focused on Consulting,
and but we’re a consultant that actually you know rolls up our sleeves and gets into the nitty-gritty of the business and helps and and and that’s really depending on the level of the contract or the engagement but you’re not only dealing company that can come in and,
say some pretty words and show you a powerpoint of what you should be doing,
but you know we’ve already done it and we can roll up our sleeves and get deep in there with you and help you do it or do it.
And then that last part in terms of supply chain and and Logistics and you know dealing with manufacturers around the world or suppliers and stuff I think that’s a definitely a secret sauce because of our relationships.
In China and around the world that we can bring to bear that others can’t.
[38:23] So I’d be remiss as the entrepreneur on the show if I noticed in your bio on LinkedIn you have written a book and it’s very much in my wheelhouse it’s called get funded
the startup entrepreneurs guide to seriously successful fundraising I wish I’d had this 20 years ago but I’m glad it exists now tell us tell us about this book and how it came to be.
[38:46] Well my writing partner John Biggs is a little bit of a media icon we’ve known each other for I think I took them on a media tour maybe 12 13 years ago and.
[38:58] We just became very good friends and our families have subsequently traveled the world with each other and we just kind of dig each other and we both have the same kind of sense of humor and sensibilities.
[39:10] A couple of years ago he reached out to me that he had been approached by McGraw-Hill to write this book,
and thought that I could help provide sort of the second part of the book so the book is broken out into two parts one is is about financing but written in such a way that whether you’re trying to develop a taco truck,
or you know a retail store or something else what are the different options out there from let’s say SBA Loans to even using cryptocurrency,
22 you know set up fundraising all the way down to the meetings and how you value the company how do you pitch people,
how do you put presentations together,
so very very very this is not this is for the person that was really starting out with very limited knowledge,
on the fundraising process and how do you present yourself at the end of the day so John really focus more on the fundraising side and I focus more on the presentation skills,
how to pitch how to talk how to prepare how to answer questions the technical aspects of doing a presentation when everything goes wrong.
Obviously if I could if I could rewrite a whole section on this now since the book was published last year in September I probably be a whole section on how to pitch during covid because that was.
[40:35] That was definitely not it was not a reality when we were writing the book but it was definitely a reality by the time the book was published and I hope and we’ve heard,
the people the industry has adapted that investors and seed funders and people are hard at work and investing but,
for the person that might not have the background in this I still think the book for evaluating your company,
getting all your ducks in a row building your presentations and how to pitch is still very valuable.
[41:12] Very cool yet this kind of books I think they’re kind of Evergreen and it’s kind of a little snowball kind of effort so be patient it’ll it’ll catch up.
[41:22] I am curious it does feel like there’s a little bit of a disruption in the fundraising World why you know there for a long time there’s this kind of traditional VC path,
and obviously there’s still a lot of money that flows through that path but I feel like the the role of Angel Investors and sort of other untraditional fundraising.
Is becoming more common than it used to be like you guys try to cover that those kind of approaches in the book as well or is it mostly focused on on moving through Sandhill Road.
[41:52] Well it’s we wanted it in some ways to be the antithesis of Silicon Valley so for those people that are going down that road you know inevitably they’re going to partner up.
Let’s say at the app generation.
They’re going to partner up and kind of go down that road our book really tries to focus everything from the pros and cons of using your own credit card friends and family,
crowdfunding as I said SBA Loans if you’re a minority or women owned business looking at options they’re looking at.
Prices and options like through FedEx has a great program for entrepreneurs and trying to cover the whole gamut,
so we could make fundraising more reasonable and open to the entrepreneur is opposed to.
Yeah the tech bro going to Silicon Valley and looking for for someone’s bill.
[42:45] Awesome I had one follow-up on Ocean we just took kind of clarify it for listeners you guys are your kind of more in the agency side of things you’re not going out there and finding,
new brands that are also born on Amazon and acquiring of in kind of rolling them up like the thrashes of the world is do I have that right.
[43:04] We’re talking about anchor Innovations right.
[43:07] Yeah the ocean Wing synchronization set.
[43:12] Well on the ocean on the ocean Wing side it’s definitely consultative but I mean those things are going to evolve as the business comes in and I don’t know if you mean like Financial stakes and the business and stuff but.
I mean who knows right if if something came along that looked amazing and a great partnership I’m sure we would consider that.
On the anchor Innovation side I think you’ll be seeing and you know in the future probably incubator initiatives and things like that,
it would be to me it would be a personally exciting to get involved in as seeking out and finding you know exciting.
Developers all around the world we tend to be very myopic here and look at the United States as being,
where everything’s happening and I’d say you know maybe from apps and things like that might be true but when you’re looking at Innovation and medicine or innovation and Robotics or innovation and Farm Technology or whatever,
you really have to look outside and around the world and you’re going to find that Innovation and really unique an unassuming places.
So is is if we do get into more ink you know becoming more of a global incubator,
I would imagine in our direction would be all over the place and looking in places like India and Africa and you know wherever cool things are being developed.
[44:34] Cool so no almost boundless growth opportunities for you guys it sounds like an exciting time.
[44:44] Well this is certainly going to be a exciting and different holiday season and this is going to be a great place to leave this conversation because
it is happen again we’ve Perfectly Used up our allotted time,
But Eric we really appreciate your time and enjoyed hearing about anchoring some of the exciting new initiatives there.
[45:05] Thanks God and thanks Jason.
[45:07] Yeah if anyone wanted to follow you or you are you big on Tick-Tock or I said it’s usually or Twitter or LinkedIn or you publish their and then where should they go for some good the latest Anchor Information.
[45:22] Someone can connect with me on LinkedIn my focus to be quite Frank with you as I’m So Married to my work as I tend to focus my communication through work as opposed to myself.
I think it’s one of those things when you work in Communications you got to be careful about what use you say.
So mostly I’m just talking about my company in the things that we do.
[45:49] Awesome well we will put a link to your LinkedIn profile in there and certainly some links to Anchor and until next time happy commercing!
Leave a Reply