“Ecommerce and social commerce is in the first inning, there are many more innings to go.” – Josh Berman
Look up the definition for “serial entrepreneur” and you may find Josh Berman’s name. Berman, who co-founded MySpace in 2004, then sold the company for $500 million, has cast his gaze yet again on the social media horizon and what did he see? Social commerce.
In an interview with Sprouter, a company that provides help and advice to startups, Berman said,”Similar to how I saw social networking arise with MySpace, I see similar trends happening today as shopping is becoming more and more exciting and is changing so quickly.”
The desire to integrate social and e-commerce led to the creation of his latest venture, social commerce company Beachmint, a site that partners with celebrities and designers to curate fashion collections. (We’ve covered Beachmint several times here at SCT.)
The company, launched in 2010, is rumored to be valued at $150 million, said the Sprouter piece.
Berman attributes the company’s success to “being at the right place at the right time.” While luck may have dealt Beachmint a winning hand, smart moves on Berman’s part didn’t hurt either. He cites four factors that made a significant contribution:
- Building a strong team, including co-founder Diego Berdakin;
- Letting customers serve as advocates;
- Leveraging other social networks where customers maintain a presence; and
- Keeping focused on priorities, rather than trying to be all things to all people.
“You get presented with beauty deals, and international growth, and a bunch of other things, but really you have to go back to what you’re trying to achieve and you can’t possibly do everything,” remarked Berman.
Berman’s eye on the future qualifies him as someone we refer to as a social commerce revolutionary. But it is his trail of web startups that include not only MySpace and Beachmint, but ecommerce companies ResponseBase and Xdrive Technologies, as well as his own startup incubator, Slingshot Labs, that may better qualify him as an “evolutionary.”
Based on his own experience, Berman offers two pieces of advice for other budding revolutionaries:
From the outset, build a great team – “Have teammates, don’t just keep all the equity … You’re working 12+ hours with your teammates, and that’s critical to have the right team.”
Pay attention to your customers – “They’re going to be your advocates, your early adopters, and if you have any question on what you’re building and why you just have to keep asking them because that input truly is the best way to execute a successful product launch.”