After 12 years of retail focused PE/VC and 3 years of retail ecomm entrepreneurial experience I co-founded an Indian based online mattress business in Mumbai. Interested to know if anyone has had a similar experience and how they approached a new product launch in a new market. Clearly, the online mattress business has come a long way in the US in the past 3 years. It all started with Casper (which my co-founder used to cover as an Investment banker, when they were trying to raise capital / go public) and the trend was followed by Helix, Tuft & Needles, Leesa, Purple, Saatva, GhostBed, Avocado and many more. They all positioned themselves slightly different from each other to carve out their own niche, cut out the middleman and marketed both offline and online to drive consumers to buy online. Casper is the biggest, but most of them have been growing rapidly. Other countries have seen a similar trend – Australia (LazyBed, Koala), UK and Europe.
After being let go my co-founder moved back to India and discussed a difficult mattress buying experience that his mom had in Pune. Anyone that is familiar with India knows that there are strong underlying growth economics and a rapidly expanding consumer class. We decided to take everything that we learned to launch Wink & Nod (www.winknod.in) / @winkandnodsleep . Wink & Nod is set to become India’s coolest and most socially conscious mattress brand as we seek to partner with local NGO and charities to donate mattress and sleep supplies to those affected by poverty and natural disasters.
My general questions:
- what types of networks did you use to hire key talent
- what type of digital marketing strategies did you use to launch the brand
- anything that you learned in your home country that applied to a foreign market
Appreciate the insight from other founders and investors
I would suggest Facebook as your paid marketing platform. Many US companies avoid it due to the click farm problem that sprang up a few years back on organic campaigns. But with the ads platform, you can circumvent that both with targeting and with ad optimization. Costs are still crazy low in that region due to hesitancy on the US side, so I would strongly encourage you to give it a go.
It's a long set of answers. We launched in the US and then moved to India after 7 yrs. We could do a call so that I could answer your questions