Jack Abraham, Founder of Milo.com
Jack Abraham's ambition is really very simple: He wants Milo.com to track every product on every shelf of every (physical) store in real time. Making that happen is an entirely different story, of course. Or maybe not. Abraham has the pedigree for the job: he's the son of comScore founder Magid Abraham and was helping his father write code for the site before he was old enough to shave. Now, Abraham is charting his own path at Milo.com, with a staff of 14 and his pooch (cute alert) Milo, a Jack Russell Terrier. "We're helping people fetch a lot of information, so having a dog as a mascot made sense," says Abraham.
Abraham got the idea for Milo.com when he was working at comScore. "We had data that showed people were using the Internet to research products, but buying them more often offline than online," he says. "Everyone was innovating in social media, but no one doing anything in shopping. Amazon and eBay are Web 1.0."
So Abraham decided to address a common pain point for shoppers: the frustration with actually finding the products they've researched online in the real world. For instance, if I want that Flip UltraHD right away, I can visit Milo.com, enter my zip code, and the site will tell me that the Best Buy up the road has the camera in stock. Milo.com makes money when shoppers click through a link to visit a retailer's site, and earns a commission when users opt to pay for the product online and then pick it up at a nearby store.
To get the business off the ground, Abraham formed partnerships with major retailers including Target, Best Buy, Toys "R" Us, Nordstrom, and many others, who provide Milo.com with real time inventory and price data. There are now 50,000 stores and 2.8 million products on the site. The company just recently started reaching out to smaller, independent retailers as well.
In its first year, Milo.com saw monthly traffic increase by 70 percent, and the company's site now draws more than one million unique visitors a month. Abramson has raised $5 million from True Ventures and a variety of high-profile angel investors including Aaron Patzer (Mint.com), Katerina Fake (Flickr), Jawed Karim (YouTube), Kevin Hartz (Eventbrite), and Magid Abraham (Dad).
If his association with those successful entrepreneurs is portentious, so too is Milo.com's physical location. The company rents space in the same building where Google and PayPal got their start, and Abraham set up his desk to be in the same space where Google co-founder Sergey Brin once worked.
DONNA FENN is the author of Upstarts! How Gen-Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success, an exploration of the ways Gen Y is changing the entrepreneurial landscape.
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