An E-Commerce Revolution with Infinite Possibilities

As a mom with little time outside of childcare, I want shopping to be as painless and efficient as possible.  I don’t dare waste time in malls.

I would like to buy a Kettler Kiddi-o Air Tire Tricycle. It is sold by a multitude of websites including eBay, Amazon, Walmart.com, and so forth. After searching two hours for the best price and comparing shipping costs and coupon codes, eBay won the sale with a price of $89.99. Now I really don’t want to spend that much, but that was the best price I could find.

Brian Grega and Anthony Sanchez, veterans of sales and marketing, are coming to my rescue. Shortly after Christmas 2011, they began to discuss how they have spent their careers figuring out buyers, trying to be better guessers of who will buy what when.

Here’s the conversation that changed everything:

Sanchez, “I wish there was a way to know when someone wants to buy something so we don’t have to spend so much time and money marketing to them.”

Grega, “Why can’t we have that?”

Within the few minutes of that interaction, these guys had started the ball rolling on what would shatter the existing models of today’s online marketplace and start an e-commerce revolution with infinite possibilities in today’s environment and technology.

What started in that brief exchange between Sanchez and Grega, quickly took form as the only C2B (consumer to business) online shopping model in e-commerce, Infinite Buyer. They created a site where the buyer arrives with a specific product in mind and makes an offer for it to registered sellers. Venders, in turn, respond with an acceptance, counter, or refusal of the customer’s price. In this simple exchange, Infinite Buyer has revolutionized the online market in a radical shift of power to the buyer.  Both the buyer and seller save time and money in an unprecedented way with this model.

Infinite Buyer entered a market saturated with successful online stores like Amazon and eBay. How it can contend with such formidable forces? It doesn’t have to. These big guys serve the general, uneducated shoppers at the wide mouth of a shopping funnel whereas Infinite Buyer captures the decided buyer at the narrow end of that same funnel.

Grega likes to say, “The little red book of selling will tell you that people do not like to be sold, but they love to buy.” This statement is the best testament for Infinite Buyer’s goal – create a place where buyers have the power to guide the market and sellers enjoy the profits without as much of the usual expense of earning them. Imagine that you wake in the morning with a purchase in mind and can simply enter the item on Infinite Buyer with an offer to sellers within your budget. Then you go about your day fulfilling other responsibilities and return later to find which sellers have accepted your price. Finally, you can complete the transaction quickly, wasting almost no time shopping.
Sanchez puts it this way, “There’s no more waiting for the right seller offer to pass in front of you, no more waiting for a summer sale. Everyday everything is on sale at the exact price you want.”

While the control currently lies mostly with Infinite Buyer’s consumers, sellers still reap many benefits. Without the expense of sales and marketing teams, they get feedback as to what buyers want and what they are willing to pay. And while the beginnings of Infinite Buyer focus on the consumer, the future holds many exciting possibilities for sellers. Grega and Sanchez envision capturing more and more of the funnel described earlier, moving up a bit, if you will. For example, the site will eventually allow sellers to post items for offer. When buyers use Infinite Buyer to pursue specific items, they can also submit an offer on other items sellers have displayed.

Grega, CEO of Infinite Buyer, spent the majority of his 30-year career at high tech Silicon Valley start-ups. He’s an expert at market development, sales operations, marketing, and industry pioneering activities. Sanchez, CMO of Infinite Buyer, is a former Fortune 500 Marketing Executive with 25 years of experience in marketing strategy, digital marketing, branding, website development, and entrepreneurial pursuits. He was one of Silicon Valley’s first web marketing professionals at Oracle. So you’ve got two of California’s Silicon Valley business gurus forging the way with an exciting new company in Colorado’s “Silicon Summit.”

Besides Grega and Sanchez, Infinite Buyer’s team includes experienced advisors on the Board of Directors and field experts on the Board of Advisors, such as Skip McGrath, eBay’s only endorsed Online Sales Coach. There are also technical experts and highly skilled architects in product development.

The niche Infinite Buyer has filled in the marketplace and its leadership combined to earn the company a finalist pitching spot in Denver’s Angel Capital Summit, hosted this week by Rockies Venture Club. Infinite Buyer will join many other Colorado start-ups in a quest for funding.

Grega and Sanchez see funding as a vehicle for supporting Infinite Buyer’s viral growth potential. Once monies are received, they will exercise their marketing expertise and put many features into place that will guarantee a rapid increase in the user community, platform development, and the creation of a mobile app. Additionally, funding will focus on creating loyal customers by utilizing data acquired through transactions for augmenting features and options. Grega and Sanchez envision tens of millions of buyers within 3-5 years and tens of thousands of sellers by then. The funding amount they seek now ($400K) is relatively low considering their playing field, but they say it is enough to carry them through the impending viral growth period that will, in turn, lead to enough revenue for independence.

As with any start-up, there are issues to address. Infinite Buyer faces an imminent viral growth period, one that will surely entail the need for a lot of customer support. Once a transaction is complete, there are shipping and handling, quality assurance, and other processes to ensure. Also, there are worries that buyers won’t be loyal if they aren’t experiencing successful transactions, and current sellers, in turn, expressed concern about buyers being bottom feeders. Sellers also want anonymity for brand quality assurance.

Grega and Sanchez, in their business wisdom, have addressed these issues up front. Part of the funding they seek will go to developing customer support needs and toward analyzing data to provide buyers with guidance for successful purchases. Furthermore, current data already shows that buyers are offering reasonable amounts consistently and sellers are satisfied with revenues from the site. Infinite Buyer also rates buyers based on offer and purchasing records, so sellers can have more confidence in transactions. Also, sellers’ names are not publicized, only buyers know the source of an item.

Because of its radical C2B nature, Infinite Buyer stands alone. There is a huge $250 billion e-commerce market in the US, projected to expand to $330 billion in the next five years, so it there is plenty of space for Infinite Buyer to fit without posing a nuisance. Besides, the big guys have no incentive to switch their successful models nor risk established relationships to compete in an untested market.

Interestingly, therein lies the true challenge to Infinite Buyer. Grega and Sanchez recognize their obligation to shareholders is to build this niche in the market so well that when Infinite Buyer becomes large enough to constitute a nuisance to the titans, it will have enough revenue and customers to be acquired rather than squashed.

Back to me. I’ve cancelled my purchase from eBay for the Kettler Kiddi-o Air Tire Tricycle. I’m going to offer $50 for it on Infinite Buyer. Then I’m going to bed because I don’t have to spend any more time on it. I’m sure a seller will be waiting for me in the morning…

 

Stacy Gregg is an educator, runner, reader, and mom to two energetic pre-schoolers. She joined the Rockies Venture Club at the end of 2012 to support the communications side of the organization.

RVC Academy: Seed Stage Education

Ed note: These classes have already occurred. Please contact nicole@rockiesventureclub.org to request a class to be run again.

RVC Academy – Seed Stage Investment Education

We have two high-quality classes on the calendar in the next two weeks as we prepare for the Angel Capital Summit.

 


Follow RVC Classes on Twitter #RVCacademy


Register for Angel Capital Summit 2013

Due Diligence (9 more seats have been added!)

by Thought Leader: Lauren Costantini, Ph.D. from CID4

When: Feb 25, 4-6pm

Where: Shift Workspaces, 383 Corona Street, Denver

Investors,

  • Ask the right questions to uncover the risks that could jeopardize your investment.
  • Learn to devote a short 10-20 hours of due diligence and discover what you need to make a smart decision.

Entrepreneurs,

  • Empower your deal by gathering your due diligence materials before investors even ask for them.
  • Close your deal faster by supporting your lead investor.

Taught by Lauren Costantini, Ph.D. from CID4. CID4 is a not-for-profit organization committed to Economic Development Through Innovation Advancement in the life sciences industries, by providing investment capital and management assistance. Lauren also serves on a number of Advisory and Executive Boards for early stage companies.

 


Vetting Exit StrategiesRegister for Angel Capital Summit 2013

by Thought Leader: Tom Caltrider, Managing Director, Corporate Development Capital, LLC

When: March 4, 9-11am

Where: Holland and Hart Office: 555 17th St #3200 Denver

Stephen Covey, in his very popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People gave as his second habit:

Begin with the End in Mind

Whether you are an angel investing in a new company or a founder who is pitching to angels, it is important to your personal net worth to figure out what the End or the Exit will be for this venture. Investors and Founders will enjoy an in depth discussion on exit strategies as they relate to companies that are seeking seed stage capital.

Successful angel deals result in a return on investment in 3-7 years. To get there, we need to begin with the end in mind.

This two hour Exit Planning session will discuss the following:

  • What is an exit?
  • What are your goals?
  • How to build an exit strategy?
  • Implementing the exit.

 

Crowdfunding in Colorado – Pitch Event

Location: American Mountaineering Center Theater, 710 Tenth Street Golden, CO 80401 (map)
Time: February 12, 5-7:30pm

Event Schedule

5:00-5:55 Networking Happy Hour
5:55-6:45 Updates on Crowdfunding Panel
6:45-7:30 Four great pitches

Crowdfunding Panel
Jonathan Benison, First Funder (Moderator)
Amy Bowler, Holland and Hart
David Milliken, Funding Launchpad
Gordon Nuttall, Couragent, Inc.

Register for Angel Capital Summit 2013

RVC presents a 3-D look at crowd funding. Our panel will start with the high level fundraising laws that are coming soon due to the Federal JOBS Act from Amy Bowler of Holland and Hart. We will also Learn about what funding portals are doing to prepare themselves for the coming crowdfunding revolution from David Milliken of Funding Launchpad. Finally, we will hear lessons learned from Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Couragent, a company that is currently fundraising using crowdfunding with an intrastate offering.

Pitches
P2Bi – A company that uses crowdfunding to raise money for factoring
Couragent – Maker of the FlipPad Scanner, and currently raising capital through crowdfunding
Tensegrity – A local company with a superior prosthetic foot raising capital for their go-to-market phase.
Crowdfunding Offerings – Their product ‘Mainstreet Crowd’ is a crowdfunding platform that focuses on local and regional offerings.

Please pre-register if possible.
$10 surcharge on door registrations.

CFOs updated on JOBS Act

CFO EVENT ON JOBS ACT – Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Guest Post by Chris Baron for Rockies Venture Club

The Denver Chief Financial Officers Group met at IMA, Inc. offices in LODO Tuesday to hear a presentation by attorney John Eckstein on the status of the JOBS Act.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was Act signed into law April 5th, 2012 by President
Obama to provide cost-effective access to capital for companies of all sizes. Finalization of the Act’s
details has been anticipated by both companies wanting to work in the space as well as by those
wanting to raise capital.

The measure would provide a new form of financing to small companies. Through crowd-funding, or the
sale of small amounts of stock to many individuals, companies could solicit equity investments through
the Internet or elsewhere, raising up to $1 million annually without being required to register the shares
for public trading with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Eckstein, of Fairfield and Woods, P.C., spoke to a filled room, and described the Act as, “the most
important deregulation in securities and finance since I became a lawyer.” “This proposal will allow
small businesses to go direct to general advertising and general solicitation, without any intermediary
whatsoever, and this is for businesses of any size, and it includes hedge funds and private capital.”

Typically crowd-funding attempts to raise capital for new projects and businesses by soliciting
contributions via three types of crowd-funding models: (1) Donations, Philanthropy and Sponsorship
where there is no expected financial return, (2) Lending and (3) Investment in exchange for equity, profit
or revenue sharing.

Eckstein provided a high level overview of the Act’s progress and status. The Act consists of 7 sections,
including Title II – Access to Capital for Job Creators; Title III – Crowd-Funding; Title IV – Small Company
and Capital Formation.

While elements of the Act have been solidifying, everyone is waiting to for the SEC to finalize the crowd-
funding section, expected sometime in 2014.

The main concerns in Congress and the SEC revolve around protecting investors. Eckstein joked that
Congress’s definition of the crowd-funding Act is “Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and
Unethical behavior.” “That’s Crowdfunding from the view of the SEC and Congress but that’s not how
the people in Boulder and the people at companies like Kickstarter think of it,” he said.

About the Crowdfunding Industry

In what is already a multi-billion dollar industry, the equity part is poised for significant growth upon
completion of legislation due to very tight capital markets and the publicity of project success stories on
platforms such as CircleUp and Kickstarter.

CircleUp announced January 10th, 2013 that it had helped raise five food-related businesses raise over
$5 million. It combines the popularity surrounding small-production, high-quality products with the
momentum of crowd-funding. It’s an equity-based platform that enables accredited investors to make
direct investments in up-and-coming consumer products businesses.

Accredited versus non-accredited investors is something that those seeking capital need to be aware of,
as there are different requirements for different offerings.

On January 8th, 2013 Kickstarter, which focuses on creative projects from Games to Film and Music to
Fashion announced it’s Best of 2012, which highlighted $319 million raised for 18,000 projects and 2.2
million backers.

Perhaps the most publicized project to date was the Pebble watch, which raised over $10 million and is
scheduled to ship early this year after some delays. And earlier today, the world’s thinnest watch, the
anti-Pebble, has raised over $500,000, or 250 percent of its funding goal and the founders aren’t sure
how much they will eventually raise beyond their $200,000 initial goal. The watch is due to ship this
September.

It’s these kinds of numbers that have entrepreneurs excited by what will happen when the crowd-
funding provision of the JOBS Act is finalized. And as crowd-funding leaves narrow niches and becomes
available to businesses of various sizes and industries, it will provide a completely new space for
entrepreneurs and investors to meet.

Chris Baron is a guest reporter for Rockies Venture Club.

Innovating in Golden

Click on the pie chart to see who is coming to this event –>

 

 

Rockies Venture Club is the heart of private equity in Colorado. To honor the new partnership between RVC and City of Golden we are excited to hold our January Pitch and Networking Event in the American Mountaineering Center!

Event Schedule

5:00-5:55 Networking Happy Hour
5:55-6:45 Innovating in Golden, a panel including:Doug Coors9th Street Capital and Coors Tek
Dick Franklin – Director of CleanTech Open
Tom Stemple – Sold Original Wraps to 3M
6:45-7:30 Four great pitches:
Spiffit, Magpie Healthcare, Busylife Software, and Pairin.

Location

American Mountaineering Center
710 Tenth Street, Golden, CO 80401

Basic members only $25. Please pre-register if possible.
Registrations at the door are increased $10.


As always, the RVC Investor Forum meets around the Front Range on Thursday and Friday following our Tuesday Pitch Event.

 

Designing a Good Investment Deal

Upcoming Workshop: Designing a Good Investment Deal

When: January 28th, 4-6pm

Where: Holland and Hart’s Denver Office 555 Seventeenth Street, Suite 3200, Denver, CO

Cost: $149 for Non-Members

Register for the class

Lauren Ivison from Clear Creek Partners sees a lot of A and B Round deals. Whether you are an investor or a founder, her class will help you design a well crafted investment deal.

This class format will include discussion and will allow us to go over real life scenarios. If you have a deal in progress, feel free to bring specific questions.

Example questions that Lauren will answer
  • What are the most important Terms that can have an effect on future raises?
  • How do you balance what’s good for founders against what’s good for investors?
  • How can investors and founders avoid getting diluted in future rounds?

Lauren Ivison, thought leader for the workshop entitled “Designing Good Investment Deals”.

Impact Angel Investing Event

Rockies Venture Club has noticed a theme this year. All investors are looking for a strong ROI. Sometimes ROI stands for Return on Investment. Sometimes it stands for Return of Impact.

This month we will discuss social and ecological impact companies. Does a high return of impact preclude a high return on investment? Can impact companies do well for investors while they are doing good for the world?

Please Register for Impact Angel Investing

Space will be limited so register early!
Time: Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 5pm to 7:30pm
Location: Cooley Offices: 380 Interlocken Crescent, Broomfield, Suite 900

 

5:00-5:55 Networking Happy Hour
5:55-6:45 How to make profitable investments in social and environmental impact companies.
6:45-7:30 Four great impact investment pitches including:
Biovantage, Snugg Home, Hydrant Flush and Main Street Power

Angel Investor Forums:
As always, this event will be followed by investor
forums for accredited angel investors. If you have
been curious about learning about angel investing,
these meetings are for you.
Denver Tech Center Thursday 12/13 7:00 am
Boulder Friday 11/14 10:30am

 

 

To the right is the breakdown of attendees at the December 2012, Impact Angel Investing event. We are very pleased to bring a great mix of people together each month to get investment deals done.