Most people in the country think everyone in Los Angeles is in the entertainment business. For close to a decade, the two of us held strong as part of the non-entertainment cohort in Los Angeles, making our living in the consumer products business instead. Yet with the increasing convergence of technology, consumer companies, and media, it turns out we are in the business after all, in this case quite literally.
Without knowing much about how television really operated, these are the three reasons we decided to join Nicole Lapin on Hatched, a nationally-televised, yet emerging TV show fresh off its pilot season.
ONE : Hatched offers national exposure for consumer brands
More people seem to know Mark Cuban from his TV presence rather than for his entrepreneurial success. While our goal is not to be famous (though owning the Mavs wouldn't be bad), shows like Shark Tank have taken a great initial step, proving television continues to be a dominant medium to showcase consumer products. Having built and sold our own consumer company, we know how much hustle goes into growing. We talked often about how much easier it would have been to pitch millions of people on television rather than one person at a time, door to door. Not having the luxury of leveraging national media, both because we were selling liquor and because we couldn't afford it in our early days, we took the slower and more guerrilla route. Still recovering from the exhaustion of working to get our product in front of consumers, the producers of Hatched fortuitously found us and it clicked. This is what we needed. This is what every consumer brand needs. With Hatched, we now are able to offer emerging consumer brands national exposure (each brand is featured on network television and only one brand per episode) in addition to a suite of other opportunities.
TWO: Hatched provides economies of scale
Most early stage brands can't afford top digital agencies. We couldn't. Very few emerging companies spend enough on Facebook or Google to receive a dedicated account representative, ensuring campaigns are optimized. We sure didn't. Yet with Hatched, instead of investing in one company's digital growth, we're able to approach service providers, from Facebook to digital agencies like Hawke Media or MuteSix, with the power of a collective, receiving outsized attention and support, all because of economies of scale created by the show. The same holds true for non-digital. For instance we spent countless meetings trying to get in front of high-volume retailers when we were running VEEV. With Hatched, economies of scale afford us attention and, in cases such as the HSN, even partnerships. As we see often in great technology companies, the opportunities only increase with the size of the platform.
THREE: Hatched is the perfect complement to our platform at M13
A week after selling VEEV Spirits, we formed M13 to focus on investing and brand development in the consumer and technology space. From the outset, the idea has been to provide more than capital. Constantly reflecting on what we needed when we were starting out, and what would have further accelerated the growth of some of our early investments like Warby Parker, Birchbox, and Bonobos, we began creating a platform. Just a few months in, we're bringing together various pieces of the puzzle - influencers, experienced advisors, digital agencies, and most recently, Hatched, to form a powerful growth engine, supporting brands. All of this, we hope, will allow us to be a trampoline for early stage companies, rather than a shark tank.
There is a convergence of technology, consumer, and media companies taking place right now. To play well in one of those spaces, it's becoming a necessity to play in the other two. Trying things, iterating, and building upon our learnings (whether success or failure) has been key to our evolution as professionals and is baked into M13. We'll see how it goes here. Hatched Season 2 airs this Saturday, September 17th, check your local listings.