Q: What Adrich is and how did you found the company?
A: We are a IOP-AI software startup where we double up connected smart product labels. Brands such as food and beverage and cosmetics have a lot of data upon getting into the retail store, but once the product leaves the store there is no information on where the product is being used. We close the information gap through connective smart labels. As a B2B startup, we sell the data and insight to the brands seeking this usage. Our mission is to bring data driven product management into the consumer products world. It really started with my background, I was a product management with at a high tech company. I found that in the tech world you can really see where your products are being used. You can see who is seeing your website, when where and how often. In the consumer product world that data is really missing. Being in product management, I know the value of that data and how it makes better products for your consumers, and we really wanted to bring that concept into consumer product circles.
Q: Why Pittsburgh? What resources helped you in form the company?
A: It really started at my time at CMU. I knew I always wanted to do entrepreneurship and it was really just a matter of when. I was working this as a side hobby, and I had a full time corporate job. Then I got into AlphaLab Gear, which was one of the top accelerators in the country, and at that time point I took a leap of faith and I quit my day job and started to do this full time. Since then, it’s been an amazing journey. AlphaLab helped with many resources such as, helping us tie up our supply chain partners, and mentoring where people actually teaching you how to set up a real business – that helped me a lot. Also, the community here is so tight knit in Pittsburgh – the one good thing is that everyone knows everyone. So that really close knit community has really helped. As much as I can I try to give back to the community.
It goes without saying that we have a lot of talent with the local universities, which helps us access talent, which is much more difficult in other communities. The biggest thing is that the operational costs are much much lower in Pittsburgh. If we were in Silicon Valley, we would have office space there, and it’s so expensive that you would probably just be fundraising all the time instead of actually operating your business. That has been one of the biggest advantages of PIttsburgh, you can be real and you build a really really strong business.
Q:I know that you already working with couple of local business, how did you connect with them?
A: Maggie’s Farm Rum was a cold call, I just went out to their distillery. We also work with Boyd & Blair, which is another local business. I pretty much just knocked on their doors. They were very supportive, which is a cool thing about the ecosystem here. In fact, they adopted our technology before it was even enabled, it was this big box that used to go on bottles. Other connections to local businesses were made through my time at AlphaLab Gear.
Q: Do you have any broad advice for new entrepreneurs that want to succeed here in Pittsburgh?
A: I would say, first identify if there is a market and a need for your idea. Paying customers is always a very good sign because that means you are solving a real problem. Getting your first paycheck from a customer is a big step, but then you want the customer to fall in love with the product to make them a repeat customer, and that’s the point where you can make a credible business. A lot of times customers will pay you the first time, it might not cost them too much, but the repeatable business, happens on the reorder. Even if you can get one or two that fall in love with the product, it is better business case than having ten or eleven one time customers. That’s the biggest advice I can give to new entrepreneurs. This is what I wish I knew earlier. This also helps with funding because you can tell investors that look I figured out the market, I have customers who love it, I now need capital infusion to increase sales.
Q: Is there anything you could tell the readers about Adrich’s plans for 2018 and beyond?
A: Yes, it will be a very exciting year for us. We will be delivering to the largest food manufacturing company in the country, based in Chicago. We also have a contract with one of our talent partners, who is partnering with us to take their technology to market. We have also gone national. We started small in Pittsburgh, but now we are in Atlanta, Chicago, and the West Coast. The business is growing and 2018 will be very exciting. Hopefully, we will have even more demand and interest, and have a very solid standalone business this year.
Learn more about Adrich here.