(Founder Office Hours With Josh Kopelman & Chris Dixon) Have-to-Have: Creating A Marketplace

Carla Holtze is the co-founder of Have-to-Have, which is officially launching later this week. She calls it “a digital shopping platform” that allows consumers “to save, share and shop for any product that they find across the web.” Carla signed-up for Founder Office Hours with Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon and First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman.

Her first question for Kopelman and Dixon revolved around establishing a marketplace: “Attracting users then would make me more attractive to the strategic partners… do I focus [on attracting users or] on really acquiring retailers who then bring with them the user base?

Kopelman is well versed in “the chicken and egg in supply and demand” problem while creating a marketplace having launched Half.com back in the day (which was acquired by eBay for $350 million). He told Holtze, “It sounds to me like you have a little bit of a benefit in which your consumers can get real utility and actually use the service even if the brands aren’t there.” Kopelman noted, “you can still satisfy the users and then use the users to bring the brands on board.” Dixon agreed. He told Holtze “the winning strategy” seemed to start with the “consumer side.”

Holtze also wanted advice heading into her seed round. Kopelman suggested Holtze distinguish her company from “the other players in the space.” Dixon picked up with “whether you like it or not, investors, the press, etc… they always end up sort of pegging you to something else … and so you might as well get ahead of it.” Kopelman finished by saying the current landscape for raising money should work to her advantage. “There are enough seed funds now that you might be able to sort of find one and let them be your anchor.”

Holtze lobbed one final question about creating exclusivity for her site. Kopelman noted that while creating a “velvet rope” worked in some cases, “the velvet rope only works when you have a product that people really love.”

Make sure to watch past episodes of Founder Office Hours featuring ProfitablyDispatch.ioScheditNapkin Labs and Madbrook Publishing.

Prior episodes of Founder Stories are here.