Malomo CEO talks new business and growth plans in Indiana
Malomo emerged from stealth in early April of this year with over $600,000 in funding. The company, launched by Sticksnleaves co-founders Yaw Aning and Anthony Smith and headquartered in Fountain Square, works with companies and brands to turn shipment tracking notifications into branded marketing opportunities.
Partnerships with major shipping carriers like UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service are already setting up the company for some big successes. Key players from the Indiana tech community are also getting involved early on: the founders of One Click Ventures and Formstack invested in the stealth round alongside High Alpha and Hyde Park Ventures.
We spoke with Malomo CEO Aning on the business of Malomo and how the company plans to grow in the Indiana tech ecosystem.
Malomo helps ecommerce brands generate more revenue and loyalty by turning their shipment tracking experience into a brand marketing channel. Customers are most excited right after hitting the buy button—and check shipment tracking 3.1 times on average as they await delivery. A brand shipping 10k packages a month could earn 30k brand impressions with Malomo’s shipment marketing platform.
What made you and your co-founder decide to move into this new venture? What excites you most about this field?
Anthony [Smith], my co-founder, and I have always been excited about creating delightful consumer experiences with software. This idea gave us a chance to combine many things we were passionate about.
We’re excited about this industry because people are becoming very comfortable buying anything and everything online. Nearly 15% of all retail sales happen online, and that number is growing rapidly. While everyone talks about Amazon, there is a large and growing number of direct-to-consumer brands launching every day disrupting every category: Dollar Shave Club for shaving, Away for luggage, Casper for mattresses, Glossier for makeup, Warby Parker for glasses, the list goes on and on. We’re excited to help direct-to-consumer brands build better relationships at the most volatile moment in the customer journey: the shipping experience.
How has your career path prepared you for this new undertaking?
At Sticksnleaves, we worked with several consumer brands to create experiences that involved logistics and tracking. We worked with brands like CoatChex, Double Map, Tyner Pond Farms, Cluster Truck, The Borrowed Boutique, and many others to create digital experiences that delighted their customers by tracking items they purchased that were in transit to them. These experiences helped us really understand how to make Malomo work.
What does the market look like for your product?
Our ideal client is a an SMB ecommerce brand that is selling directly to consumers and usually not through a marketplace like Amazon or eBay. They’re usually using an ecommerce platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or Magento. There are approximately 4.5 million stores globally across these 4 platforms.
The brands we typically work with are generating between $2 million and $250 million in annual revenue and are shipping products globally. In addition, global ecommerce sales topped $4 trillion in 2018, growing at an astounding 10% a year annually.
What can the typical user expect from your service? How will they engage with the branded material provided to them?
Because each brand has complete control to design the tracking page and notification emails how they want, users engage differently based on the campaign. For example, our client Made In Cookware uses its tracking page to share recipes, videos from top chefs with tips and tricks, and instructions on how to care for their new purchase. Another client, Summersalt, promotes their best swimwear products as well as articles from their travel magazine.
Brands use this channel to showcase their culture, promote new products they’re launching, ask for referrals, prime customers to share their new purchase on social media, offer support in the event something goes wrong, share videos and other types of media content, and the list goes on and on.
When we talked about Sticknsleaves late last year, we talked about why you chose to bootstrap your company. What led you to make a different decision with Malomo?
Anthony and I could have funded the business through Sticksnleaves, but we ultimately made the decision to bring on investors because we wanted to surround ourselves with the smartest people we knew to increase our chances of success. We ended up raising twice as much as we had planned because we wanted each investor’s expertise way more than their capital.
How are you expecting to use your new capital as your company emerges from stealth mode?
Most of the investment is going into product development and customer acquisition. It’s important for us to keep innovating in this space as the ecommerce market is moving incredibly fast.
You have some Indiana entrepreneurial heavy hitters joining your team as advisors and investors. What about Malomo has been resonating well with them?
The investors and advisors that we’re working with have built businesses serving the ecommerce space, so they know how difficult is to create exceptional customer experiences that customers love. Many of our investors are also ex-Exact Target leaders, and they know first-hand the power of email marketing, especially in the consumer space. I think they saw the growth in the ecommerce market plus an experienced software team paired with a novel idea, and they were really excited about that combination.
What kinds of companies will find the greatest value from the product, and what type of value will they unlock?
The ideal brands we work with are shipping anywhere between 2,500 and 500,000 monthly shipments. They typically have a strong mission or purpose for why their product exists. With Malomo, they use shipment marketing to reinforce that purpose with customers to create long-term brand affinity, which in turn creates a loyal customer that buys from them again and again.
How are you planning to engage the local tech community through Malomo?
We think Indy’s the perfect place to build this company because there’s a lot of talent here in the martech and email marketing space. We’re excited to find great talent in the community to work with, and programs like the Orr Fellowship and TechPoint’s talent programs will be incredibly important for us. There are also other companies and leaders in the ecommerce space who’ve been great advisors and connectors for us, like Josh Owens at SupplyKick. We plan to build a strong ecommerce community here.
What does success in 2019 look like?
While we have a lot of goals for this year, first and foremost, we’re measuring success by building a product customers can’t live without. We hope to be serving dozens of customers and tracking hundreds of thousands of shipments by the end of the year.