Brady's Take: Episode 1

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 17:12

Brady Forrest, one half of the duo that runs Bazillion Dollar Club's accelerator and a successful investor himself, shares his thoughts on Vango and everything that happened in the first episode:

Episode 1:

Vango is the first episode of the Bazillion Dollar Club. They're trying to make an art marketplace for everyone. In this episode we see them trying to raise money to keep the company going and growing. Along the way they face a number of common startup issues. As I can see from their billboard in SF they're using their funding to get new users:

What challenges did they face?

Building the Marketplace
Vango is a two-sided marketplace. They are trying to bring together art-buyers and artists while making money on the transaction. Right now they have to make sure that they have artists that their users want to buy from, but because they don't have that many users is it really worth it to the artists? They might be better off listing on Etsy or their own site. Someday, if Vango gets big then it will be obvious to artists that Vango is the place to be, but that's not the case right now.  

When Google first launched the Android App Store they offered developers up to $50K for each app. Once Android was a major platform Google dropped that offer. Right now, Vango needs to figure out how to make their platform attractive - that means making artists money. Hopefully that billboard starts bringing in art-hungry users.

Keeping Employees
Mo was right to watch out for herself and her bank account. Doing a startup is a gamble - it can pay-off well ( ala Twitter | However, if you're not at the helm it's hard (and not necessarily smart) to put yourself in debt for someone else.

That Pitch
That was probably Ethan's last Demo Day (with Vango anyway), but it's not the last time Ethan will have to pitch. If Vango is successful Ethan's going to have to speak at tech conferences and user conferences. Ethan is going to have to keep working on this. Events are a mainstay for lots of tech companies.

The Site Going Down
Vango needs to hire more devs. Having your site go down in the middle of a big promotion costs money. It's pretty amazing that Win has built and maintained their app & site singlehandedly, but if they are going to start selling millions of dollars of art then they need a full team.

Now that Vango has taken VC money ($2.2M! - quite a bit more since the show was filmed | they'll have to start growing. That'll require the team to double in size. Their artist community will have to grow. Vango is just at the beginning of their journey.