👊🏽 Special Edition: Ganas and I invested in Ask Alex!
This is a special edition of Lolita's Newsletter, monthly newsletter of curated actionable insights and resources for 20,000 underestimated founders, funders, and friends.
Hi all! I’m so excited to share with you that Ganas Ventures and I joined the Ask Alex family, and so can you!
🏃🏽♀️💨 Catch up.
Last March, we launched Ganas Ventures. Since then, we invested in Latitud’s seed round, co-led by a16z/NFX, Around’s seed round led by Leap Global Partners, Shappi’s seed round led by Sixers Innovation Lab, Leadsales’s pre-seed round led by Ulu Ventures, Masa’s seed alongside DCG, Papaya’s pre-seed round led by Chingona Ventures, and Storybook’s seed round alongside Magma Partners and others. We’ve also raised capital from unicorn founders and LP/VC thought leaders, and Ganas and I were featured on the Nasdaq Tower for our leadership in equity within the startup-VC ecosystem! Now, we’re excited to announce our latest investment into Ask Alex!
Ganas Ventures and I, alongside Village Global, Goodwater Capital, Trousdale Ventures, A16z Scout Fund, and others, have invested in Ask Alex's Pre-Seed round. Their advisory team includes industry experts like Mack Tilling, a serial entrepreneur and former President, CIO, and VP of Strategic Partnerships at Gordon Food Service.
Ask Alex. Ask Alex empowers brick-and-mortar businesses, including restaurants and retail, by leveraging AI and SMS to enhance customer understanding and engagement. With the US retail market valued at $4 trillion annually, Ask Alex is targeting the significant $800 billion opportunity in the brick-and-mortar sector.
🦄 👊🏽 Ask Alex investment TL;DR.
There’s a lot to love about Ask Alex. They…
are visionary founders with market-startup-fit
are creating a brick-and-mortar customer engagement solution that’s needed but has been ignored
have a business model that has produced multiple-billion dollar companies in other verticals
built a manual MVP that generated $500K ARR
are hustlers and have already signed a well-known large enterprise relationship
Team. The Ask Alex team is a powerhouse of co-founders, each bringing unique expertise and accomplishments to the table. Bryan Pollard, Co-founder and Product Manager, has a strong track record from Route and Bird. Jordon Durst, Co-founder and CEO, combines finance and sales experience from Goldman Sachs and GE. The engineering team has built an incredible foundation and has a background in AI and Architecture from NVIDIA and also tenures at Route. Lastly, Mack Tilling, Co-founder and Chairman, brings extensive entrepreneurial experience, including successful business sales to Apple and Nielsen.
Traction. While the company is at the pre-seed stage, they have already started building a customer base and have closed deals with customers and initiated successful initiatives, such as the "Thursday club" with over 3,000 loyal patrons. Their customers, thanks to Ask Alex, are, on average, seeing a 35% increase in second-time visits, 1,000s of new customers, and generating 22% more in monthly revenue.
Market. Brick-and-mortar accounts for 80% of the $4T retail space, overshadowing the 20% held by e-commerce. These businesses form the backbone of the US economy, yet they have been overlooked in terms of software innovation. Ask Alex is starting its journey by targeting the restaurant industry, which presents a massive $800B market opportunity. Within this market, the focus is on Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) and multi-location restaurants, representing a total addressable market (TAM) of $530B.
Catalyzing the future of customer engagement. Ask Alex is revolutionizing the way customers are digitized in a community-driven space that has historically lacked comprehensive knowledge of its customer base. Today, brick-and-mortar operators often have no idea who their customers truly are - they are reduced to mere customer numbers. But Ask Alex's transformative product changes that by giving each consumer a genuine identity and profile, enabling businesses to engage with them in the most personalized and community-driven way possible. No longer will customers be faceless entities; they will be recognized as individuals like you, with unique preferences for dishes, drinks, and experiences. Ask Alex believes that the future lies in community-driven, personalized service through text, where every customer is valued, and their needs are catered to with precision.
Community-driven. The community is what defines Ask Alex. It encompasses cherished memories like post-game Subway lunches, enjoyable movie outings with friends, and family shopping trips to the local outlet mall. Brick-and-mortar businesses serve as the foundation of our communities, facilitating deeper connections than we often realize. Whether it's a restaurant, store, concert, or sporting event, these in-person experiences foster meaningful connections and establish a sense of belonging. Ask Alex empowers these brick-and-mortar businesses, enabling operators to truly understand and engage with customers while nurturing a shared community among like-minded individuals who appreciate similar tastes, preferences, and experiences. Ask Alex’s competitive edge lies in the strength of its community-driven approach, enhanced by network effects. As customers have positive in-person experiences, they naturally share their contact information with friends, leading to more transactions and a continuous positive feedback loop.
Roadmap. Ask Alex has a straightforward medium-term goal: to bring on as many multi-unit brick & mortar businesses as possible and provide significant revenue uplift. . But they have bigger plans in mind. They want to revolutionize the way we all communicate with businesses, particularly in the brick-and-mortar world. Imagine them being the go-to platform that handles every aspect of brick-and-mortar operations. They'll build strong relationships between businesses and consumers, capturing transactions, offering loyalty programs, integrating APIs, and providing analytical add-ons. In a nutshell, they aim to own the entire journey of brick-and-mortar commerce, from engaging customers at the top of the funnel to completing transactions and everything in between. It all starts with customer engagement, and that's where Ask Alex envisions making a lasting impact.
😇🚀 You can also join the Ask Alex family.
Disclaimer: Ganas Ventures is a 506c fund that allows us to publicly solicit for our raise. All are welcome to apply to become an LP; however, commitments to Ganas Ventures will only be accepted by accredited investors.