Pear Commerce

UP073: Pear Commerce // creating a win-win-win for consumers, brands, and retailers

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Eric Martell 0:00
We would like to provide you full transparency through the entire purchase funnel, we can tell you how many people click the ads, but that also how many people added the item to the cart. And how many people purchased at what retailers I mean, that’s an incredibly powerful value proposition to brands.

Jay Clouse 0:14
The startup investment landscape is changing, and world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them, talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to upside.

Eric Hornung 0:41
Hello, hello. Hello, and welcome to the Upside podcast. First podcast finding upside outside of Silicon Valley. I’m Eric Hornung, and I’m accompanied by my co host, Mr. platform partnership himself. Jay Clouse, what’s going on, man?

Jay Clouse 0:59
Which platform did I partner with.

Eric Hornung 1:00
Look, historically you’ve been an anti- platform partnership guy. You’ve been. I can build this on my own. And recently, you started doing a LinkedIn newsletter. You’re taking off, Jay. You’re joining the rocketship.

Jay Clouse 1:14
This is true. I have found that for several years, I really focused on building my own distribution systems, which is very frustrating and difficult. They’ve recently come around to realize that if you work alongside and through existing distribution platforms, it can do great things for you and the goals that you have yourself so on LinkedIn with LinkedIn newsletter, recently put my Freelancing School courses on their new discover platform. I’m learning a lot about SEO, Eric. It’s time to become friends with the googs.

Eric Hornung 1:48
What’s a goog?

Jay Clouse 1:49
Google. Friends with Google.

Eric Hornung 1:51
Oh, you and Google are on a first four letter basis.

Jay Clouse 1:54
Yes, I’m becoming friends with the googs as what I’m saying. It’s important to become friends with the googs if you want people to find organically through search. And let me tell you, SEO, not rocket science by any means there’s actually quite a bit of learning that I had to do. It all makes good sense, but it’s very learnable, very learnable the actual doing of the thing is not fun. It’s like my least favorite type of writing, and the most important writing that I could be doing right now.

Eric Hornung 2:21
Is it tedious writing, or is it just like buzzworthy writing?

Jay Clouse 2:24
Ah, it’s tedious. It’s very analytical, like you find exactly the keyword phrases that you want to use or you want to compete for. And then you have to do like very detailed research for the like first 7 to 10 results for what’s already ranking for that keyword phrase. And then you literally break down some of the component parts of those including the number of words per piece, the number of headers, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and then you kind of average them together and you have like this playbook of okay, if I want to compete for this, it needs to be this many words ish. You’d have this many headers ish. And I need to have the keyword phrase in the title in the first line of the first paragraph like it’s all these little boxes to tick, which takes a lot of the creativity out of the writing. You could also argue that it’s a constraint that makes you more creative in a way. But it’s definitely less free flowing in more structured and analytical.

Eric Hornung 3:23
There’s this concept out there that SEO makes Google stronger and better, because it’s a bunch of individual creators trying to make Google better, essentially. But as you’re as you’re walking through that, I can’t help but think is, is this actually good for the person who goes on Google that everybody’s trying to do this one exact thing?

Jay Clouse 3:44
I think, yes. I mean, Google, their Northstar is always going to be we want to give you the best answer to your question first. Like they’re getting better at natural language processing and breaking things down to be you know how well Is this received by the person that actually land on this page? So even though all those things that is ran through are still mechanically, some of the ways you can be sure to work within their algorithms and their their ranking, there are so many more factors that people just aren’t actually aware of. And Google is continuing to get better to get the best piece of content that actually answer this question gives people a good experience. So I do think it’s better for people at the end of day.

Eric Hornung 4:24
You really are playing nicely with the googs. That was.

Jay Clouse 4:26
Becoming friends of the googs.

Eric Hornung 4:28
Yeah, that was you could snip that and just send it right over to Larry and Sergey.

Jay Clouse 4:34
Hey, if you want to win, you got to play nice with the people who are already winning. And that is a model that our guest today is figuring out himself. Today we’re talking with Eric Martell, the founder of Pear Commerce. Pear Commerce enables CPG companies to drive real transactions from existing national ads and retailers to build their online channel with new customers and repeat purchases. And speaking of win, win, win he says customers get the products they want from where they want them, when they want them. Retailers, CPG companies, customers all win. Pear Commerce is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Eric is a venture partner at Generator. He was the managing director of Generator Minnesota until September 2018. At which point you went through the Brandery in Cincinnati, and I got connected to him. But the company was founded in just 2018. And they’ve raised just over a million dollars from the Brandery and some angel investors.

Eric Hornung 5:30
Jay, does this does this count as part of the e-commerce blitz?

Jay Clouse 5:34
E-commerce and retail blitz?

Eric Hornung 5:36

Jay Clouse 5:37
I would say no, it’s it’s part of a growing trend of CPG on the podcast here, Eric. And you know what they say?

Eric Hornung 5:44
When there’s a trend in CPG it’s gotta be for me.

Jay Clouse 5:48
Not a bad ad lib. I was gonna say good things come in consumer packages.

Eric Hornung 5:52
Oh, that’s pretty nice.

Jay Clouse 5:54
Not bad, right? Also an ad lib. If you have any bad puns listener about what they say about CBG you can tweet at us @upsideFM, or email us Hello@upside.FM. But we’ll get into the interview with Eric right after this. Eric, let’s pretend that you’re going to take initiative and start a company, you following?

Eric Hornung 6:12
Ah, never done that.

Jay Clouse 6:13
All right, well, you helped start the up company here. So a little concerned.

Eric Hornung 6:18
Just kidding Jay, of course I, let’s, let’s pretend let’s go down your hypothetical path.

Jay Clouse 6:22
And let’s pretend that you are trying to find some of the most talented engineers to help you get that company started. How many engineers do you think you know?

Eric Hornung 6:30
Not enough.

Jay Clouse 6:32
Not enough. And that’s why I would recommend you work with our friends over at Integrity Power Search. Integrity Power Search is the number one full stack high growth startup recruiting firm between the coasts. they partner with venture capitalists, private equity groups, and CEOs, like you Eric, to build amazing teams, the world’s most disrupting companies. If I’m hiring if I’m trying to find good engineers, I’m not going to rely on my small group of connections. I’m going to go to a group like Integrity Power Search who has thousands and thousands of potential connections, potential hires for my company.

Eric Hornung 7:03
That sounds like enough to me.

Jay Clouse 7:05
Sounds like enough. Sounds like you’re going to find the best talent when you can dip into a larger pool. They’ve executed more than 600 searches successfully, and they’re on track for more than 200 in 2019 alone, their clients have collectively raised over $2.5 billion with a B, Eric in venture capital funding and counting. So if you guys want to learn more about Integrity Power Search, go to upside.FM/integrity to get started with their team. This episode is sponsored by RIMS. RIMS is a global organization dedicated to the profession of risk management. For nearly 60 years RIMS has delivered the latest strategies and resources that allow risk professionals to grow innovate and succeed in any business. RIMS works with industry leaders to produce content and online training that business professionals turn to. Topics include business continuity, cyber risk, risk management techniques, the fundamentals of insurance, and more. There’s also a private members only site where people can discuss sensitive issues and get honest answers. In that members only site members have been leaning on each other as we all navigate the global pandemic. If you’re concerned about the safety of your employees and the sustainability of your organization, you need the resources and connections that RIMS provides. Learn more at That’s a And you can save 25% off a year long membership.

Eric, welcome to the show.

Eric Martell 8:38
Glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me guys.

Eric Hornung 8:41
Always great to have another Eric with a C on the podcast.

Eric Martell 8:44
The C is for cool.

Eric Hornung 8:47
The C is for cool. Oh man, I’m gonna use that. Eric on upside. We like to start with a background of the founders. So can you tell us about the history of you, Eric?

Eric Martell 8:57
Yeah, absolutely. So I have now been kind of exploring the world of entrepreneurship for about a decade, which is, you know, kind of an amazing coincidence in and of itself because as a kid I didn’t grow up as like the guy who was doing the lemonade stands at the quarter would you know you’re six years old. I never was one of the people who walked around and said, Hey, I want to start by my own business when I grow up. But my first startup kind of more happened to me that was exactly like hashed out of a masterplan. Back when I was a student at the University of Wisconsin, I had a really, really bad experience ordering food online from a local sub restaurant. The quality of the website they were using to accept orders online was just absolutely horrible. And it probably bored more out of frustration and overpaying for miscalculations on the item totals. We actually and when I say we, myself and my college roommates approached them and asked if we could build them a higher quality online ordering solution. So that sub restaurant agreed to that and over the course of the next decade or so, the company still around that grew into a company called Eat Street, which today works with 15,000 restaurants nationwide, in all 50 states raised about 50 million in venture capital. And it’s still based in Madison, Wisconsin, where we went to school. So if it wasn’t for having a really, really bad ordering experience from a local restaurants, I’d probably be sitting at a desk somewhere working for I don’t know, Target, epic something. Yeah, epic. Exactly. You know, really kind of grateful that inspiration struck at the right moment, and obviously super grateful to my first startup experience. I was there for eight years left at the end of 2016 and joined a startup accelerator called Generator. That’s also what I moved from Madison, Wisconsin, to the Twin Cities helped to open an office. I know Adam Shows been on the podcast. Joe Curious has been on the podcast. So you know, there’s plenty of references to generator in the past, but was really proud to be on that team, which really kind of amounted to supporting startups in any way that I possibly could honestly leading more or less a 12 week startup bootcamp, I did that a couple times, and then really kind of got inspired enough by the entrepreneurs that I was working with. And I always knew that my first startup was by no means going to be my last so got the call of the wild about 18 months ago, went ahead and started Pear Commerce, actually, with one of my co founders for my first venture as well. So it’s fun to get the band back together and be jamming on a totally new concept.

Jay Clouse 11:29
How did you guys go from hey, restaurant, can we please fix your website so we can order sandwiches. To, all right, let’s go ahead and raise $50 million of venture capital.

Eric Martell 11:40
Incrementally, to say the least, it was not something I think until maybe year two that we even necessarily expected to be kind of a career move. We started that business while we were in college. We were still taking classes at the time. None of us really necessarily right off the bat thought that we were going to turn this website into something that would be self sustaining as a business. In fact, really probably the underlying motivation for all three of us was like, you know, build something that gets to just enough scale that we could put it on our resume, and maybe that’ll help us get a job with Google someday. We were, you know, kind of pleasantly surprised at the way that our took off one of the really seminal moments that kind of set us on the road to probably raising capital and really tried to grow the business as a startup was a promotion that we did with a local restaurant in Madison, where we were actually giving out free General Tso’s chicken. If you ordered on the website, and those days, we had 300 to 400 college students who are claiming their free chicken. I mean, giving away free food to college kids, it’s not a very difficult thing to actually do. But that just kind of, you know, exploded the business in a way that after that the trajectory was to sort of set that 20% month over month growth for years and years in a row. And during that time, then we were obviously able to attract the interest of investors along the way.

Jay Clouse 12:26
But being not being the kid with the lemonade stand and not saying I wanted to be an entrepreneur, how did you react to that? When did you start to say like, Alright, I guess I’ll do it.

Eric Martell 13:06
I think I got pretty hooked actually pretty early, the whole concept of kind of working for yourself and building towards something that you had equity in both in terms of, you know, obviously financial equity, but also just like, you know, pride in ownership and self actualization. I never knew that that was like, I guess, you know, to be a little poetic about it, the missing piece of my life. But as soon as I discovered that, I mean, there was certainly no going back. So the rest has been kind of history after that.

Eric Hornung 13:33
Tell us about your co founders in that venture. And this next venture?

Eric Martell 13:37
Absolutely. So my two co-founders at Eat Street, Matt Howard, who is still there as the CEO, Alex Wyler, who is my co founder here at Pear Commerce as well. Matt’s background actually was perfectly suited to going after restaurants when we had the idea to get Eat Street started. The one thing that Alex and I recognized. Alex is a software developer That’s my background as well. The one thing that we recognized was that both of us were pretty painfully shy at the time and not necessarily ready to just go out and start knocking on restaurant doors and getting yelled at by restaurant owners. Matt was actually working that summer between I think it was our sophomore or junior year of college, as a car salesman. He didn’t want to go back and move in with his parents again during the summer. So he had managed to lock down this sales gig at a local car dealership, and Madison was actually leaving the entire dealership for sales that summer. So there were these, you know, kind of gray haired guys who had been selling cars for 30 years. And this like, you know, kid was actually selling more cars than anybody else at the dealership. And Matt, being one of my really good friends to I was like, holy crap, you know, this guy really sells stuff effectively. And likewise, I mean, is is a great friend and somebody that I want to start a company with that was, you know, kind of where Matt came at it was and, you know, again, he’s still at that home of that company, Alex and I have known each other because we’re both from Milwaukee and then both major in computer science, the University of Wisconsin, Alex, one of the most talented software developers that I’ve ever met, we had studied together in classes, we had worked in internships together. And it had, you know, become very good personal friends, as well, as somebody that I do that I kind of, you know, would love to start a company with. So he was another really natural choice. And again, I mean, through kind of the crazy ups and downs of the last decade. It’s awesome to be back into working with Alex again, as we build out our new business. And, you know, our message to Matt has always been that the doors open, but he’s got a pretty big enterprise that he’s rising, running right now. So I don’t think he’s walking away from that anytime soon.

Jay Clouse 15:45
What pulled you out of Eat Street and towards Generator?

Eric Martell 15:48
I think, you know, for me, it always kind of comes down to the two things that I’m looking for every day on the job are basically personal development and then satisfaction and like enjoyment of what I’m doing. I mean, Eat Street was one of the best runs of my life and something that I’m always going to be grateful for. And obviously, I’m very good terms with the folks back there. But I think there was a point where the headcount had gotten to such a size where it was probably no longer my speed, you know, so that that personal enjoyment on a day to day basis had gone down just a little bit, just due to the fact that I think I have a lot more fun when it’s, you know, anywhere between 3 and 20 people in a room just kind of throwing solutions at a wall, then the headcount at the time that I left, the other piece being personal development, obviously, I was still learning stuff every day while I was there, but at the same time, I had a pretty good idea of what it’s like to run a food ordering company after having done it for seven or eight years. And when the opportunity to work with Generator came about, which would teach me kind of the other side of the table learning about startup investing, and give me an opportunity to work with a bunch of companies and learn from a bunch of companies that all their respective business models, it was a hard offer to pass up. So that’s kind of what led me to that next chapter.

Eric Hornung 17:00
How do you balance your proclivity to work in 3 to 20 person sized company and the company you’re building currently, which may scale past that?

Eric Martell 17:09
You know, I mean, I think it’s first of all a day by day thing. And second of all, people are never the same people over the course of years. You know, if I compare myself at the end of 2016, to myself today, I’m certainly you know, both aspiring to and planning on, you know, staying involved in sticking around and being a co founder of a company, even if you don’t get the cross over the 20 employee mark with 100 employee marker, you know, I mean, we’re really swinging for the fence on this one, as well. I think it was more, you know, kind of almost circumstantial to where my headspace was a couple years ago, which doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s I was where my headspace is going to be. So I guess, you if I think about like, where I’ve dedicated my time and effort to my daydreams, it’s getting to the point where that’s a problem with the first place like if we could scale pair to the point where all of a sudden it feels like it’s too big a company for me. I’ll have been very happy to have gotten there. And candidly, in our early stages that we’re at right now, we’re a long enough way away that, you know, I’m spending all my time with my head down trying to grow this thing.

Eric Hornung 18:11
Before we get into Pear one last question on Eat Street. How often do you find yourself comparing the current progress of Pear with the past progress? And then maybe nostalgic remembrances of Eat Street?

Eric Martell 18:24
So the answer is, I mean, obviously, it’s kind of hard not to. So I am, you know, kind of putting the businesses side by side in terms of their relative age and saying, how do we compare today to how we were doing about a decade ago at this so it’s, I’d say that the saving grace for a pair that kind of keeps me from going crazy that way, is the fact that Pear is very much a b2b company, whereas Eat Street is a marketplace, had restaurant partners, but also, you know, a large number of diners who are the people actually ordering food from us. And because that comparison is imperfect, I think it actually like takes a little bit of stress back off of my shoulders and Alex’s shoulders. Because we recognize that we’re building something that’s like, fundamentally so different than our previous company, that even if I tried really hard to make the comparisons kind of hard to. Which I think, yeah. Is it a lot of ways to saving grace? Because it’s not I was in the back of my mind as a result. Let’s talk about what happened while you’re at Generator that started to pull you towards this new opportunity. When did you start to open your eyes to starting another company? So the co founders are Generator. And Generator was the first investor to Eat Street I should say, so I’ve known Joe Troy, the co founders at Generator for almost as long as I’ve been building companies, and when I joined Generator, I came in with a very explicit disclaimer that the after two years or so, I was gonna go and probably started other companies. So it was more a question of what then it was a question of if or when. The genesis of Pear actually came from inspiration that I got from my girlfriend, who at the time was running marketing for a consumer packaged goods company in the Twin Cities and listening to her frustrations surrounding running digital ads, but having a product that was perishable, they make turkey sort of meat products like burger patties, broths, etc. Because those products are perishable. They didn’t sell them actually on their company website, you’d have to go into a grocery store to actually buy their product. So hearing her frustrations around, hey, we’re running Instagram ads, we’re getting a lot of eyeballs, a lot of impressions. We have no idea you know if basically those impressions are sticking with people if it’s actually giving us a lifted sales, when I heard that, I was like, Oh, this is such a cool problem. And I bet you it exists in such a large number of companies and product lines that if we can crack the nut on this, that’s a hell of an opportunity. So I think that that was you know, sort of the first domino to fall that got me to a point where once Alex and I came up with a couple ideas for creative solutions that it was like Okay, we got to go off to the races, we got to build something here.

Jay Clouse 19:58
In my experience of dating, sometimes when your girlfriend tells you a problem, she just wants you to say, I’m listening. And thank you for sharing that with me and that go and solve a billion dollar problem. When you when you started thinking about solutions for this, how did that go?

Eric Martell 20:29
I would say that my girlfriend was very patient with me, especially as I brought up a bunch of dumb ideas, and you are totally correct. I think the, you know, saving grace here was that her frustrations and challenges on this front were strictly professional frustrations and challenges. So I think, you know, she was willing to provide like a fair amount of feedback, and we never got into any quarters that way.

Jay Clouse 21:42
So tell me about tell me more about this problem.

Eric Martell 21:45

Jay Clouse 21:45
If this is such a painful problem for the companies that are spending a ton of money on Instagram, explain a little bit more why that’s still a problem and why that hasn’t already been solved.

Eric Martell 21:55
Yeah, so let’s use Pepsi and Coke is example companies. Pepsi and Coke You know, each have dozens of brands underneath their umbrellas. But we’ll talk about their flagship products, Pepsi and Coke themselves. And if you think about a 12 pack Pepsi, it’s pretty heavy, its bulky. And at the same time, it’s super inexpensive. I mean, it cost practically nothing. They make all their money by selling volume. And as a result of that, if you go to, you can’t buy Pepsi from Pepsi. And that’s because it’s a really, really difficult and expensive supply chain problem. If you were to buy 12 packs of Pepsi directly from PepsiCo, they would have to go to UPS or FedEx or they’d have to pull up Jeff Bezos have built out their own delivery infrastructure, which isn’t going to happen in order to get that product onto your front doorstep. You know, they can put up an e-commerce website that’s really easy, but actually, the physical process of getting the product into your hands is really, really difficult. When you’re selling a $3 item that weighs like 10 pallets. That same issue applies to any perishable goods. I mean, think about an ice cream company for instance, and trying to put a tub of ice cream, you know, in the mail to eat or try to get it into an individual consumers hands, you’re gonna have to pack that thing with dry ice, it’s gonna cost you, you know, 100 bucks to sell a product that’s worth like less than $10. Now, it’s really good fortune for us that this problem exists in an area where people spend such a tremendously large amount of money but Procter and Gamble, for instance, consumer packaged goods company, probably, you know, the largest one in the world, nearly all of their brands face this challenge, and they spend $15 billion a year on marketing, that whole issue of incredible adspend. But ads then that really does nothing more than build awareness because the supply chain to get the product into consumers hands just simply doesn’t exist, presented a heck of an opportunity for us to kind of try to bridge the gap and allow those digital ads to actually drive consumption as well as awareness of the products.

Jay Clouse 23:55
I want to get a little bit more detailed here. So I have all these cans of Pepsi. I have this ice cream. And since I can’t do it one off direct to consumer, I’m selling through grocery stores, right?

Eric Martell 24:06
That’s exactly it.

Jay Clouse 24:07
And so those retailers are making big bulk orders. And I’m spending money on advertisements as Pepsi. Because if those resellers don’t sell through their stock, they’re not going to buy again. Or how does that look?

Eric Martell 24:22
Yeah, as Pepsi or Procter and Gamble, or Coke or any of these big companies, the reason that you’re deploying large amounts of basically awareness dollars, kind of comes to, you know, that moment of truth, which is actually, you know, something that people talk about in this industry, when somebody’s walking down the aisle of the grocery store, where it’s like, okay, now I am in the soda section, am I going to sample you know, especially a lot of this money gets deployed against new product launches. Am I going to try like the orange flavor Diet Coke that just launched and it really I mean, it’s a it’s like an arms race between these different brands where everybody to put so much capital to try to get by and share of the consumers. And yet they’re not they’re actually at the point of purchase, that they need to build such a strong emotional connection or at least recognizability. That when somebody is just kind of idling around with the shopping cart, they say, yes, this is the product that I want to buy, or when they’re on instacart, for that matter, and filling out their shopping list. You know, there’s, you’ve got to not only make a strong enough impression, at the moment that somebody saw the ad that they resonate with, it was strong enough impression that that ad is to an extent, even subconsciously sticking with you 24 or 48 hours later, when you’re going to buy groceries.

Eric Hornung 25:37
Helped me understand this from the consumers perspective and their workflow. I shopped at Whole Foods. Maybe that’s a bad example for the grocery here, but let’s pretend like it all works. And I usually drink Michelob Ultras. So I saw a commercial. This is the traditional route. I saw a commercial for Michelob Ultra Gold. I was in Whole Foods I saw Michelob Ultra Gold, I tried it out. That’s kind of the situation you’re describing. How does that work with Pear? Like, when am I purchasing that? What am I seeing it? What am I clicking on?

Eric Martell 26:10
Right? I haven’t even explained exactly what we do. So I’m glad to transition into that. Before I do, actually, you have to try Michelob Golden Light at some point. It’s a beer that I guess for whatever reason really got its roots here in Minnesota and 95% of all mc golden light gets drank in the state of Minnesota, but they do sell it out of state. And it’s hard to know exactly why we ended up in this spot. But like if you’re driving through Minneapolis, St. Paul, you’ll see people billboards that say like Minnesota spirit, it’s like this weird Michelob brand that nobody else in the country knows about. But everybody.

Eric Hornung 26:47
What a great fact. We call them. We call them Ric Ultras down here in Ohio. We don’t actually, but I do. I love it.

Eric Martell 26:56
So for this example, let’s imagine again that you’re on Instagram and you see an ad Michelob Golden Light the Minnesota beer and you see that ad and it says, Hey, you can buy this beer potentially at a discount so click here or tap here I should say. Whereas that ad in the past would have taken you to, which had never been to, I’m willing to bet is a website with a lot of content, but very little actually interesting information. Like if you want to read the nutrition facts about your beer, like go nuts, but you know, that’s going to be basically a data on the internet where nothing should ever done it and instead, you’re taken to a landing page, our product, which is going to list off all of your local and national retailers that sell Mc golden, so it’s going to say, you know, hey, you can get it from Kroger, you can get it from Total Wine, you can get it from Whole Foods, you know, to your example. Now, at that point, if you click on any of those links, we have an integration in with the retailer that’s going to get the item added directly to the shopping cart. If the retailer wants to incentivize you as a shopper to click on their retailers opposed to the other ones on the list, they could add an incentive to like, maybe get three bucks off a 12 pack or something along those lines. Basically, what we’re doing is taking this ad, which, for lack of a better word, describe it was static, didn’t really lead anywhere that actually could result in a purchase. And instead, you know, bridge the gap between, you know, a database that we have about 6100 retailers at this point, whose product pages we can link to, and very often get the item into the shopping cart, and actually allow a consumer to, you know, impulse engage with the ad and potentially go ahead and make that purchase right on the spot.

Eric Hornung 28:38
So when I’m making that purchase, let’s say I buy the Michelob Golden. Is that getting shipped to me or am I picking it up at the store? Am I going about my normal workflow of grocery shopping and I just pick it up and I can when I check out? It’s free? Like how does?

Eric Martell 28:53
Yeah, really good question. So yeah, that was kind of the Eureka moment for us actually was like, hey, it’s really hard for Michelob to get to product into your hands. But there’s a grocery store or liquor store that’s like let’s say, you know, probably less than a mile away that may have home delivery or curbside pickup. So if we can, you know, link in with their e commerce, we can basically allow a consumer to shop the way that they might shop digitally anyways, or help bring them into the digital age and actually get them to place their first online grocery order. Really, at that point, you know, it’s between the consumer and the retailer as far as how they get their food or, or beer in this case, like, it could be a drop off if the retailer is offering home delivery, it could be an in store pickup, but our whole you know, kind of mission is to allow people to, you know, fill a shopping cart on the internet, make a buy, and then at that point, it’s really kind of consumer preference and retailer preference that, you know, dictates exactly how you’re going to get it, be it you know, go at a target and picking up on the curbside or getting something dropped off directly on your doorstep you know using the local grocery store. As basically the means with which to get that product to you.

Eric Hornung 30:02
How do you deal with non normal demand cycles? So right now we’re sitting here in a pandemic, and if there was an ad on Pear Commerce for toilet paper, it would be very hard to have that person buy and Phil Are you guys integrated with the stock or like let’s say you have a very successful ad for will go back to Mc golden and every Kroger in Minneapolis runs out of runs out of Mc golden, how does that work that people aren’t they don’t feel like they’re paying for something and not get something?

Eric Martell 30:32
Yeah, I mean, the short answer to that is that we are integrated with the in and out of stocks, the ads will automatically trigger themselves off if there’s no way that we can get this product to consumers hands. Obviously right now is a super interesting time to be talking about this because our earlier retailer partners and candidly just about all of them at this place, are booked out super hard advance. In fact, I was just able for the first time you know in a month and a half to place an Amazon Fresh order myself to actually get some stuff delivered to my house, but obviously, all of our retailers be they Amazon or your neighborhood grocery store hit that, like hit with this tidal wave of demand, which has made, you know, just like cards on the table resulted us actually, you know, tackling the majority of our advertising because it’s better for us to kind of wait for the demand to smooth out and have people try to buy stuff online and have like a debt. I mean, that’s a terrible experience, you know, and reflects negatively negatively on our brands that reflects negatively on our retailers. So we basically kind of, you know, pulled back on that for the time being, we’re already seeing retailers be far more able to answer consumer demand. So we think that we’re going to be back to business as usual over the next couple of weeks. But as a very tactical level, we also have down to the minute toggling of whether or not these ads are able to you know service specific products or if we are retailers are out of them. And if we have no retailers that could service them, then the ads themselves stop running on Facebook or Instagram or wherever they were running.

Jay Clouse 32:02
I want to talk a little bit about the model, because it seems obvious to me that the brands themselves are probably the customer or at least a customer. How does it work with retailers? Do you kind of pull them on the platform based on what you can find online? Or are they having to create an account so they can do things like incentivize the shopper to pick their retail stuff?

Eric Martell 32:25
The onboarding process on both sides is really easy. And actually, you know, we do have two customers. It’s a lot like youth street in that way that I’d say that if Alex and I have kind of a specialty It is like bridging the gap between like two different parties for a mutual when the brands actually are not even the paying customers. We go to brands that basically say hey, you had this really, you know, candidly, like kind of lame setup to your online advertising in the past. You were taking people back to the brand website. There’s really just nothing there for consumers. We would like to provide you full transparency through the entire purchase funnel, we can tell you how many people clicked the ads, but that also how many people added the item to the cart. And how many people purchased at what retailers. I mean, that’s an incredibly powerful value proposition to brands. But our opportunity then is if we can get brands to start running advertisements that run through our landing pages are store pickers. Then we basically have the ability to go to the retailer themselves and say, Hey, we have all this traffic that’s being provided by Procter and Gamble. We want to send you business your way resulting in new account registrations and new actual purchases on your e commerce website. In order to work with us, you know, we’re basically modeling out like pay per click advertising plan. Now, the eureka moments actually, for us came a while ago when I was on Facebook and I saw two ads in a row. One was for target and one was for Swiffer and Swiffers Procter and Gamble product. Procter and Gamble is a huge percentage. It’s got to be like 30% of targets overall sales are profit products. And the Swiffer ad was taking you to, which is a bunch of, you know, smiling models, mopping, and really not a whole lot else in terms of interesting content and target, you know, would love to sell bar. So I first thought it was like, Hey, you know, bridging that gap, we could actually help save everybody efficiency and money because we can, you know, give Procter and Gamble a much better call to action off of their ads. And then in the case of Target, we could sell them traffic at a less expensive rate than that Facebook ad that they’re running right now. So if they’re paying, you know, Facebook an average of say, $25 to $50, for a new account registration, we can price out our pay per click advertising to the retailer to be more like $10 for do account acquisition. And so even though we’re going to retailers and say, yes, you know, to list with us, you have to pay us, we’re actually saying you have to pay us but you can actually have like the most efficient pay per click advertising solution relative to if you were running ads direct on Facebook, Instagram, etc. So we’re saving retailers money and we’re making this free for CBG’s. And at the same time since we’re basically reselling traffic that we get for free, we get to take the difference between what retailers are willing to pay for it. And the free traffic, you know, that obviously cost us nothing coming off of the branded advertisement.

Eric Hornung 35:16
How do you think about the industry that you’re selling into them because you have like the big dogs in retail, you have Kroger, Target, WalMart, Amazon now, and then you have like a very small regional group, and then a lot of little bodegas and mom and pop type retail shops. So who are you selling to in that group have those kind of three categories?

Eric Martell 35:42
I would say, to get started, we’re kind of going after the middle group that you’re talking about. So the nice thing about our technology is, even if we don’t have a formal partnership with Kroger yet, I can link to a Kroger product page for Swiffer and if that’s going to help us kind of gain credibility gain scale in these early days. I mean, of course, we’re going to do that. But we’re mostly approaching our local grocers, but not the bodegas the ones, you know, maybe with anywhere between 20 and 200 locations and saying, hey, we’ll list next to Kroger list next to Target listed next to Walmart and Amazon. And the opportunity here for you is that if you integrate more tightly with us, you can do things like incentivize shoppers to click on your likes, as opposed to clicking on the other retailer likes. So we’re kind of trying to actually give your regional grocer like a significant leg up in terms of being competitive. Because right now, for instance, if you wanted to order your groceries online, chances are you’re gonna start on either Google or you go straight to Amazon, you’re gonna search for order groceries online, in which case Kroger, Target, Walmart, Amazon, they’re going to be the first results or you’re just gonna think, Okay, I’m going straight to Amazon. In this particular case, if you catch up person at the moment that they’re willing to make that transition from being a physical grocery store shopper to somebody who’s going to place that First off, I’d order and you’re incentivizing that off of an advertisement that a brand is running. And you actually capture that traffic because you’ve, you know, hit the consumer with the correct message, be that incentive to place your order with, you know, my retailer, we’re actually providing them an opportunity to, you know, maintain or grow their market share from their in store shopping to their digital shopping, as people increasingly make that transition, instead of just like naturally kind of bleeding off market share as people go to Google or go to Amazon to find the solution for how they’re going to order their groceries online for the first time.

Eric Hornung 37:34
What percentage of that middle tier that target audience who have doesn’t have a curbside pickup or delivery option

Eric Martell 37:44
In increasingly small percentage, so we have a list of the Top 100 at grocery retailers in the country, we kind of you know, say that that category number two starts with number six on down so there’s only like five really, really big ones. And then of those, you know six to number 100. It’s like 85% of them have online ordering at this point. There are a couple, you know, really noteworthy holdouts Trader Joe’s, for instance. I mean, they’re they’re staying away from this and really kind of doubling down on that strategy. But for the most part when consumer behavior is shifting as dramatically as it is towards online ordering, it’s kind of something you can’t afford not to do at this point as a retailer.

Jay Clouse 38:24
You mentioned that this is kind of an alternative to or a more efficient CPC type campaign for these retailers. How is that priced? Is it on an auction basis, like CPC often is or what’s what’s your pitch to retailers to get them to invest their dollars there.

Eric Martell 38:39
At this point, the pricing model and I mean, I should, you know, kind of clause this whole thing out. We’re a pretty early stage company. So asked me two weeks ago asked me in two weeks that you’re probably going to get three different answers. But at this point, our pricing model is basically tied directly to KPIs and performance around the retailers that we’re working with. So we typically collect a fee, when a new account is registered at that when a transaction is placed. So even comparing it to like Pay Per Click marketing, we’ve tried to model it out in such a way where it’s like, Hey, we could bring you a million clicks. But that’s not going to do anything for you guys. So therefore, we’re not going to make you pay for it. We’re going to tie this in directly with the metrics that you care the most about, which is like, you know, new accounts registered or transactions that are actually placed.

Jay Clouse 39:25
So can you talk to me a little bit about what go to market has looked like to this point and how that will continue to grow? Because it seems like there are just a lot of parties here that you have to get lined up and onboard. And even if it is simple, it just seems like a lot of people you have to get circled around at once.

Eric Martell 39:40
Yeah, my gosh, I was saying that when it came to deciding to do restaurants on the street, we would walk in with a 12 pack of beer, maybe it was MC golden, and a two page contract and you know, 15 minutes later we’d walk out to the beer would be gone like we’d have left that but we’d have a signature on the contract and you know, you rinse and repeat Keep that sales process 15,000 times in a row and you have yourself an online food ordering marketplace. This is obviously a dramatically different kind of sales cycle. And it has been a tremendous learning experience for me and Alex, you know, along the way, obviously, even the smaller retailers that we’re talking to, you know, probably sell a billion dollars plus of groceries every single year. So that’s not the kind of conversation where, you know, I mean, you just strike up something and 15 minutes later, you have a commitment enterprise selling has been in its own way, you know, very much a kind of, you know, learning experience for us. What’s more, obviously, having marketplace, the first question that the CPG is asked is, you know, what retailers you guys working with? And then likewise, when we talk to a retailer, they say, you know, what brands are going to be sending us traffic, our way of kind of kickstart in that process, and I mentioned it very briefly earlier, is actually you know, just like basically scraping five product pages for certain retailers to basically see it out to market. So even if we don’t have like a formal working relationship with Kroger, we can send you to the Kroger page for Diet Coke or Swiffer or whatever. And then we use that to go to the CPG and say, Hey, you know, we can make your ad shoppable at any city in the United States, because there’s either Kroger, there’s a Walmart, there’s a Target or Amazon services. And so just by having like product pages for those for, it’s already intrinsically better than sending somebody just back to That’s kind of how we’ve gotten the flywheel going. And once you have that kind of advertising budget that’s thrown behind it’s part of this is like, it’s something that I’ve actually witnessed, because we’ve kind of cracked that nut. And we’ve been experiencing some pretty awesome growth recently. And a lot of it is still, you know, kind of dreams and aspirations as an early stage company, but it’s our expectation that retailers will look at this and say, you know, wow, if you have that kind of traffic that you’re generating off of branded advertisements, this is an opportunity that we really can’t pass and since you guys are less expensive, What Mark Zuckerberg is charging us to run ads directly on his platforms. This is also like super positive for Ito the growth of our own retail chain. Yeah, it’s been, you know, an incredible learning experience of kind of understanding the ins and outs of intricacies of this business, which is far more complicated, I think, than we ever expected it to be. We’ve grown the team to have a really, really solid business development person who comes with this background. I’d say, you know, I mean, every day I’m still learning and surprised at something, you know, new that happens. It’s a lot of bumping into walls until you find the perfect fit. And then after that, you know, something really kind of magical happens and you’re off to the races.

Jay Clouse 42:39
Have you been in market long enough to have some big experiments play out to see if your assumptions worked out? And if the experience for retailer brand everybody involved was what you expected?

Eric Martell 42:51
Yes, with an asterisk. I mean, I think that we expect the results to you know, be even more compelling going forward in the next couple of months that have just like a lot more case studies I would reference are first, you know, kind of pilot that we ran, we worked with a grocer that’s in the top 40 in the United States. And we worked with a cereal brand. And in conjunction of those two, we were able to with the incentives that that retailer was added to make them the destination of choice for the shopper, we were able to account for 30% of the new account registrations for that retailer. So when you look at a retailer selling again, a billion dollars with food every single year, and the fact that they’re investing heavily into e commerce and looking at you know, the fact that we were 30% of all growth in that category for them, Alex, that progressively jumping up and down, we saw those results. Now it’s just like taking back case study and getting nine more of them, you know, talk to me again at the end of the summer and knock on what will happen.

Eric Hornung 43:51
What’s been the most challenging part about finding a champion in these retailers.

Eric Martell 43:53
The most challenging parts again comes from the fact that. Well, first of all, I’ll call it out straight up. Like I’ve, I’ve raised money and been involved at startups in a variety of roles. But like, I don’t even consider myself to be a natural salesperson necessarily. Like that’s not my background. It’s not Alex’s background. So we’re grateful for, you know, our new business development team member to help us out in those regards. But like, for B, it’s having the, I guess, discipline to send off 100 LinkedIn messages knowing that 99 of that will go on answered or will fall upon death, deaf ears. It’s also the discipline of even though in my mind, it’s like, Hey, we have a solution that’s going to be really great for you guys, being open to consistent and constant feedback in ways that we can be more valuable so that we can reposition this such that that original LinkedIn, reach out, you know, really says something that’s exciting enough that somebody takes a beating. You know, I’d say that, you know, we went from shooting, you know, one out of 1000 down to you know, maybe now, one out of 50 people already responding to us. So, you know, the message continues to evolve. And that’s just basically like being willing to be a learner, you know, every day and like, you know, reframe assumptions that you thought were totally core to the bedrock of the business. And then also just the daily grind of, you know, selling, selling, selling, selling, I’d say that those two things, you know, probably are the most mentally taxing. But it’s also cool. I mean, it’s exciting every time we do land debating. It’s it’s an exciting moment for us.

Jay Clouse 45:28
How do you think about raising capital for this company, you and your co founder have been through Eat Street, then you spent time at Generator I imagine you have a pretty good Rolodex of people that you could go and have some pretty serious conversations with pretty quickly. How are you thinking about going that path for this business?

Eric Martell 45:46
We have raised about $1.1 million. One of the things Alex and I said when we started this business off was that we didn’t want to have to raise a lot of money for consumer acquisition. Being a pure b2b play where our customers are the brands of the retailers. We don’t have to spend anything I could see your acquisition. But if you look at like where Eat Streets 50 million has gone, a very large percentage has gone dedicated to acquiring new diners one by one through pay per click advertising. And that was a game that, you know, kind of ironically, because we’re helping support other people on pay per click advertising, it was something that we ourselves didn’t want to pursue this next time around, just because it is so darn expensive. And you know, there’s always going to be somebody else who’s like raising money, and it turns into an arms race. So we were looking for a business that had low cost of acquisition costs, at least relative to the size and value of whatever that customer was going to be. And a business that therefore probably didn’t need a lot of capital, like stand up on its own and most of the infused capital would be just expanding out our sales pipeline as opposed to, you know, necessarily like, I don’t know, the intrinsic survival at the business itself. The comparison that I like to make and this is one of the things that keeps me up at night because I get so excited is for us to turn on a new digital ad that sends more traffic our way off of a brand. It doesn’t take any kind of incremental cost for us whatsoever. And if we can continue to capture larger and larger buckets of money on our brand side, what we’re kind of building in a weird comparison is like in Instacart, where we have digital ads running, and then that actually leads to do people registering accounts and placing transactions. Instacart raised almost $2 billion. They raised that money from Sequoia and you know, a bunch of other kind of blue chip VCs. We look at this and say, Hey, if we could capture billions of dollars with the Procter and Gamble’s ad spend, and triage that into the local retailer shopping carts, we’re basically building Instacart. But instead of Sequoia, our VC who’s not taking equity is P and G. And they’re the ones who are actually pumping the money into the ads, which is where you know instacart has spent all this money anyways. And we can kind of integrate The spoils of building a similar business to that, but the need for actually going out and diluting ourselves like raising giant equity rounds is not nearly at least as mandatory to success as it would be, you know, with our previous company like eat Street and anybody who really has to do a lot of aggressive Pay Per Click marketing.

Eric Hornung 48:19
So when are you moving to Cincinnati?

Eric Martell 48:22
I actually went through the Brandery I spent, as you know, five months in Cincinnati about a year ago. I, prior to this whole quarantine thing was going to Cincinnati practically a monthly basis. So it’s huge fans of the place. That being said, Minnesota, if you can pass the winters is a totally magical place to live. And we have Target’s and General Mills in our backyard. So we’ve got some pretty great local potential customers as well.

Jay Clouse 48:50
Awesome well, Eric, if people want to follow Pear Commerce after the show, where should they go?

Eric Martell 48:55
I would say go to That’s a good place to start. We’re on Twitter. @pearcommerce and then of course, you know if you want to talk to me directly by email is Eric with a C for cool

Eric Hornung 49:10
And one follow up question on that if anyone here works in the CPG industry who’s listening? What kind of people should they connect with internally to talk with you?

Eric Martell 49:29
Yeah, so we like talking to people who are on the e commerce team of brands we enjoy, you know, people who are on the shopper marketing side of the business, but completely candidly, if you work for a branded you feel like this is still like a little bit outside of your wheelhouse. It’s still love to talk and get your feedback or see if there’s anybody else in your organization that would be excited about this. So if you work for a brand, please if in doubt, reach out like I would love to talk.

Jay Clouse 49:49
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All right, Eric. We just spoke with with Eric of Pear Commerce, where do you want to start our deal memo?

Eric Hornung 51:03
I just had like an instant visualization of that spider man looking at Spider Man meme.

Jay Clouse 51:10
I haven’t seen it.

Eric Hornung 51:11

Jay Clouse 51:11
I haven’t seen it

Eric Hornung 51:12
You haven’t seen. It’s literally two spider man just pointing at each other like, Hey

Jay Clouse 51:17
Hold on. Let me ask the goog about this. My good friend googs, where did that originate from?

Eric Hornung 51:20
I don’t know. I just I just know it’s a thing whenever like, Alright, this is this has gone on too far. I thought you would have known what I was talking about. So here we go. We’re going to twist back into your question, Jay, we’re going to get off of the spider man looking at Spider Man meme. And we’re gonna dive into CPG. We know it’s a big space. It’s a huge space. Some of the largest companies in the world are in this space, Procter and Gamble and they’re doing billions and billions of dollars. You have Unilever, they’re doing billions and billions of dollars. You have Kellogg and billions and billions, billions and billions and billions of dollars. This is a big space. It is consumer grocery is consumer household goods, it is the thing that every household across America buys. So we’re looking at a big market. We know that going in. I think when you put it in the three buckets we have here, it’s definitely in that big, big bucket. And when it’s ever in that big, big bucket, I feel like getting a specific number pretty much becomes more game of fluff your ego than material benefit. So I’m saying big, big bucket here for the industry, Jay.

Jay Clouse 52:27
v, and then billions and billions of dollars. Yeah, we didn’t get a ton of numbers here. What Eric did tell us was that this service is actually free for the CPG companies, the brands of the world. It is paid for by the retailers within the Pear Commerce app, almost as an alternative to Google AdSense as a way to advertise their goods that are in their actual stores to the customers who are in proximity looking for it right now. And some of the compelling numbers that we did get from it. Eric was that in their pilot Pear Commerce accounted for 30% of new accounts to retailers, which is a big number. Another big number.

Eric Hornung 53:09
Yeah, we’re getting a lot of big numbers here. Obviously that’s huge value prop for those retailers. I like that the retailer only pays when they get a new signup. I like that. The will they say it’s less expensive than pay per click, we’ll see how that boils out as more pilots come down the down the pipe or down the pike.

Jay Clouse 53:29
I believe it’s pike. I’ve looked this up several times. It’s been a talking point and a lot of conversations for me. And I’m almost certain that it’s down the pike. Let me Goog this too.

Eric Hornung 53:37
Oh my god. This is this episode sponsored by Google.

Jay Clouse 53:40
Well, listen, if my friend the googs has more answers than you, I’m going to talk to my friend the Googs on the deal mo instead of you.

Eric Hornung 53:46
Okay, that’s fine.

Jay Clouse 53:48
The phrase down the pike has been established to mean in the course of events, or more recently, in the future. Pike here is sort of short for Turnpike. The phrase refers metaphorically to something coming from further along the road recently has been mistaken as down the pipe, as Turnpike’s are relatively rare. And the phrase in the pipeline has a similar meaning referring to for things to come. So I guess that is to say, originated as down the pike as morphed into down the pipe. And not necessarily mistakenly, but because it is more relevant to contemporary culture,

Eric Hornung 54:27
And listeners, just as I’m expecting you are sticking around in this deal memo for that exact analysis. Let’s move further down the road of this deal, memo Jay. And let’s get to one other point that I like here, which is that because they’re saying it’s more expensive, and it’s because it’s more directly tied to outcomes, I think that’s a good thing for retailers. Because when you look at the Kroger’s, and Walmart’s and targets and really just retailers in general, those are very high volume low margin businesses. So anything they can do to eke out a few more basis points of profit margin is absolutely worth it.

Jay Clouse 55:06
I agree. What did you think about the fact that there are, and we asked us in the interview, just inherently more stakeholders in this whole ecosystem to get to play together? You know, you not only have to get the brand into the app, but you have to get the retailers to want to buy into the service. It just seems like a lot of people you have to sell on the service. But Eric did bring up that they can access some of the brand and retailer data mechanically, even before they have those conversations. So did you have any thoughts on that point?

Eric Hornung 55:40
Yeah, I think I mean, it’s a bit of a shadow for me. The industry itself is huge, and that’s a very great thing. But it’s also just old. So there’s a lot of structures in place and a lot of things happening behind the scenes and a lot of things that were built for, for a industry that was booming in the 50s and 60s that have stayed within the industry, so there’s more levels of bureaucracy and there’s more consolidation to on top of all of that, which means that you’re playing with bigger players who have deeply entrenched habits and sign offs and approvals. Like at a CPG company, they have sales departments. And when you think about like a startup sales is going out and finding new customers. Well, in the CPG world, there are no real new customers, you’ve been selling to Kroger for 100 years. So you’re gonna keep selling to Kroger. So sales is just more like internal sales. And I think the industry in general is just so mature that bringing innovation to it is just going to be hard.

Jay Clouse 56:36
Real maturity, something I know a lot about. Let’s turn our conversation over to Eric as a founder.

Eric Hornung 56:44
All right, how about you start on this one, give me your your hot takes.

Jay Clouse 56:48
So what we didn’t touch on in our intro, but we learned in our interview before generator Eric was the co founder of eat Street, which powered more than 15,000 restaurants nationwide. Fed millions of people, that company had an exit. So he’s got a little bit of pedigree, if you want to use that when when judging him as a founder, I think his experience with eat street as well as being around a ton of different founders through generator and being within generator, you, you get excited about somebody who has that much experience in the startup realm, starting a new company, in a space like this, where you are working with big mature companies, I think that plays a really strong role in his ability to make this company move forward. This is something that not a lot of people could dream up as an idea, which, you know, we talked about how big of a pain This is to measure effectiveness of ads for big consumer brands. There could be a lot of people who may come up with a solution. But being able to actually execute on that and work with some of these big companies and find a way in, I think takes a little bit more of a or you’re definitely benefited by being more of a seasoned entrepreneur, which Eric is so to me, that was all positive.

Eric Hornung 58:00
He has a great name. So that’s also a positive. But yeah, I would agree with everything that you kind of laid out there. Obviously, when you’re going to go disrupt or cause change in a very old industry, you have to be, you can’t be struggling with the concept of being an entrepreneur as well. So he definitely demonstrated his ability to be an entrepreneur be around entrepreneurs and focus on the problem. Yeah, I don’t have any shadows about Eric as a founder.

Jay Clouse 58:27
And not only Eric, but his, one of his co founders at eat street is also a co founder here at pear commerce. So just having that history between two people who have proven that they can work together and build a technical solution, doing it again, another positive so I don’t think we need to spend much more time talking about Eric as a founder, that to me, checks all the boxes.

Eric Hornung 58:50
Alright, so Jay, what do you want to see in the next six to 18 months for Pear Commerce.

Jay Clouse 58:57
I’m going to take the Netflix angle here and say I want to see more pilots.

Eric Hornung 59:02
Oh, no, he took mine.

Jay Clouse 59:04
Ah, but also that’s pretty good. More I was gonna go with like American Airlines at first.

Eric Hornung 59:09
Yeah, that would have been nice too. Or you could have done like a stovetop,

Jay Clouse 59:13

Eric Hornung 59:14
Copilot burner.

Jay Clouse 59:16
But yeah, I want to say some more pilots. It seems like you know, the pilot, they had had great results. Can you replicate that? How many times does that ever get saturated? We need to see some length of time here to see that these pilots then renew and continue renewing. It’s just early on in terms of being in market and the solution makes theoretical sense. It seems like they’re having good results. So to me really the the big question mark is okay, let’s see if it continues to be real and play out. We’re sitting in a very unique time here with COVID-19 and retailers. You know, ecommerce retailers having a heyday and a lot of retailers probably really struggling So, if pare commerce can make it through this, it seems like they’re probably going to be in a pretty good position. But you have any other answers outside of pilots, Eric?

Eric Hornung 1:00:08
Yeah, I guess I’d want to hear more. So I mean, we talked about how there’s all of these parties that you have to get on board. And you get to start with the retailers and the brands and all that. But then this only works if consumers are making and flowing through from hitting buy now to actually buying right. So for me, I want to see how that consumer journey develops over the next 18 months, how it goes from what currently exists to iterating on the data that they receive and feedback that they receive and how seamless that process gets and how they can be able to use that as a huge value indicator for their discussions with retailers and brands.

Jay Clouse 1:00:52
All right, dear listener, it’s your turn. Let us know what you think about Pear Commerce and this opportunity. You can tweet at us at upside FM Or email us Otherwise, I’ll talk to you next week. That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening. We’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s guests. So shoot us an email at or find us on Twitter at upside FM. We’ll be back here next week at the same time talking to another founder and our quest to find upside outside of Silicon Valley. If you or someone you know would make a good guest for our show, please email us or find us on Twitter and let us know. And if you love our show, please leave us a review on iTunes. It goes a long way in helping us spread the word and continue to help bring high quality guests to the show. Eric and I decided there were a couple things we wanted to share with you at the end of the podcast. And so here we go. Eric Hornung and Jay Clouse are the founding parties of the upside podcast. At the time of this recording. We do not own equity or other financial interest in the companies which appear on this show. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinion and do not reflect the opinions of Duffin Phelps LLC and its affiliates on your collective LLC and its affiliates or any entity which employ us. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. We have not considered your specific financial situation nor provided any investment advice on this show. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.

Interview begins: 8:38
Debrief begins: 51:03

Today we’re talking with Eric Martell, the founder of Pear Commerce. Pear Commerce enables CPG companies to drive real transactions from existing national ads and retailers to build their online channel with new customers and repeat purchases.

Pear Commerce is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Eric is a venture partner at Generator. He was the managing director of Generator Minnesota until September 2018.

Eric’s foray into startups happened in 2009 when he co-founded EatStreet with Alex Wyler. Eric collaborated with Alex to build early iterations of EatStreet’s product and various tech-enabled marketing tools and strategies. Eric eventually transitioned to lead the company’s data-driven efforts to make EatStreet’s marketing, sales, and operations as efficient as possible.

Key points:

  • Deciding to become an entrepreneur (12:26)
  • Balance Proclivity (17:00)
  • Consumer perspective and workflow (25:37)
  • Dealing with non-normal demand cycles (30:02)
  • CPC type campaign (38:24)

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This episode is sponsored by Integrity Power Search, the #1 full-stack high growth startup recruiting firm between the coasts. They partner with venture capitalists, private equity groups, and CEOs to build amazing teams for the world’s most disrupting companies.

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