Sam Beattie and Beth Mackinnon have created onesub – a platform that enables shoppers to easily manage subscriptions from different retailers. onesub placed second in Soda’s recent seed grant, winning $2,000 to help their startup grow. We asked co-founder Sam a few questions about onesub and their journey to get here.
How did the idea for onesub come about?
We were running a subscription-based retail business of our own selling home essentials - everything from toilet paper to dishwashing liquid to toothpaste. We wanted to be the food-free food box, but we were struggling to find a subscription app that suited our needs so we decided to build one.
Tell us about onesub...
onesub is a platform that will allow shoppers to get repeat deliveries of their favourite consumable products. It'll alleviate mental load, enable better budgeting and save time. Plus, it'll enable Kiwis to support brands they love. It's easy to adjust quantities, skip, pause and cancel. And you only need to remember one log in.
It'll help retailers turn one-off shoppers into loyal customers. They'll be able to manage their cashflow and inventory forecasting. Plus, having recurring revenue and selling direct to their customers, rather than selling wholesale, will have a huge impact on their bottom line.
What stage is your business currently at?
We're currently in the build phase and are hoping to launch an early version within the first few months of 2022.
What has been your biggest entrepreneurial challenge so far?
Our biggest challenge so far has been the development of the first iteration of our platform. We agree with the conventional wisdom that start-ups should bootstrap to a place where they can show market validation prior to gaining the funding to build a product that can achieve market fit. However, you can find yourself in a chicken and egg scenario when validating your idea requires development of technology that you can't afford without funding.
Who or what inspires you?
The people around us. We have a huge, supportive network of family, friends, colleagues and mentors. We've had a heap of support to date - from lawyer friends reading documents to partners chiming in during brand brainstorms. We wouldn't be here without them, and we wholeheartedly intend to pay it forward and support the start-up community.
What has been your biggest learning on this journey?
Every time we have stumbled - e.g. a failed sales pitch - we learned to view it as a data point in calculating the probability of success. If you work out that your probability of success on a sales pitch is 1:10 then it becomes easier to not get caught up in nine consecutive failed pitches.
What advice would you give other start-ups?
Don't create a solution in search of a problem. Make sure you're building something people need and someone will pay for. Make sure you can articulate the problem you're solving. Ensure customer empathy is at the heart of everything you do.
What is your goal for onesub?
We just want to build a product that our customers (both retailers and shoppers alike) are delighted to use and create a business that our people are proud to be a part of.