Blitzscaling Session 7 Notes

Mariam Naficy - Stanford University CS183C

Felipe Besson / @fmbesson

Mariam Naficy - First Business

  • Eve.com: Comestic online retailer (1998)
  • Co-founder with 28 years old
  • 120 people in first 6 months
  • Raised U$ 26mi after 1 year and a half
  • Purchased by Sephora in 2000
  • Difficulties:
    • 20% of her time managing the board
    • Many competitors

2007: Founder of Minted.com

  • Marketplace of independent artirts who develop art, stationery or home decor projects
  • Reached break-even on 2012
  • Raised U$ 90mi last funding round
  • Big and high engaged commnunity!

How Minted works ?

  1. Minted Platform publishes "competitions" where independent artists can participate by sending their work
  2. People (anyone) vote
  3. The winner project is sold on Minted, and the creator earns a commission for each purchase

Steps to Blitzscaling

  • Change from financing only projects of great brands to focus on independent community artists
  • Change from stationery to art to different markets: art and home decor (listened to the community desires!)
  • Supply chain remained similar even addressing other markets

Minted Platform stack

Based on the book Platform Scale: How an emerging business model helps startups build large empires with minimum investment by Sangeet Choudary, we may classify Minted as:

Network-Marketplace Community

  • Physical events like trade shows attract many artists and consumers
  • Minted hired a community manager to grow the community
  • Focus on producers !!!
  • Share with community top sellers (who make more money) was a disaster =[
  • Share personal and brand growth promotes learning and motivation =]
  • Never be in a rush to change policies

Data-driven acts

  • Intese focus on Analytics
  • Never change key metrics too often (historic matters)
  • Community votes have different weights (algorithms defined the weights)
  • Simple models were develop to predict votes (important to launch competitions)

First days

  • Company was Revenue-growth oriented
  • Her main activities: acquiring capital, working on product development an hiring
  • Low Burn-Rate: She and her partner accumulated many VP roles (no expensive executives were hired)

Management today

  • Decentralized management but never stop checking metric dashboards
  • Keep the team small for agility and communication (127 people)
  • Most employes came from the community but hire people for areas they were not expert (HR, finances)
  • Do not grow up a culture like "dont let people make mistakes"

Blitzscaling Session 7: Mariam Naficy (full video)