As e-commerce starts to swallow traditional retail for lunch, finding and buying what you want online isn't a real novelty anymore. In large part to Amazon, everyone has 'been there, done that'. But what if you could go to a site, get curated product recommendations, grab some marketing tips, place an order and, while you're at it, get the word out about your crowdfunding campaign or product

Yes, it really exists.

The Gadget Flow is a curated e-commerce marketplace that launched in 2012 out of Greece. They strive to bring the best of the best tech products to the market with a more personalized approach. Although serving as a showcase rather than a find-everything platform offers differentiation by itself, it's the crowdfunding highlights that give the site over-the-top appeal. Not only can you get recommendations about the top products already out there, but you can help support products that haven't even been released yet and stay at the forefront of the market, too.

Shoppers and entrepreneurs alike are thrilled at the combination--the site has worked with 6,000 companies so far, reaches 25 million people per month through its various channels and is now self-sustaining with a healthy 200% year-over-year growth rate.

Evan Varsamis, Gadget Flow's Founder & CEO, says the crowdfunding market is growing like crazy, both in quality and size.

"It's much better to do a crowdfunding campaign instead of paying hundreds of thousands in R&D," Varsamis explains. "We are seeing more and more big players jumping into the crowdfunding market. We've helped more than 4,000 campaigns since 2012 get the word out and get funded by introducing their products to our community."

Priceless insights from those who have been there

Of course, building Gadget Flow wasn't easy. The team started the site in the middle of a recession, so they all know from experience what it takes to bring a dream to fruition and make it work. These are the 'pro tips' he'd give to anybody going after success:

  • Understanding cash flow from the beginning is really crucial, especially if you are bootstrapping.
  • There is no such thing as overnight success. You need to put in the hours and work harder and smarter than your competitors. Period.
  • Don't hire new people until you have to.
  • Hire people that can scale with you.
  • Wear multiple hats so you know how your company works. I've been through design, coding marketing, onboarding, acquisition, and sales. It's really crucial to understand how things work from within, and it's much easier to manage your company this way.

Looking forward

Given Gadget Flow's success, the team has big plans going forward. Their AR feature, which will let you peruse showcased products in augmented reality via Apple's ARKit, is live on the iOS App Store. Their beta allowed users to experience products right from your mobile or desktop browsers, too -- pretty cool. They also plan to launch Gadget Flow Academy -- its podcast-based service will offer small businesses and entrepreneurs resources on how to scale their companies, partnering with leading creators, founders, and C-level executives. They've also announced a partnership with Make48 to amplify those winner's exposure by getting them on Gadget Flow and helping them scale. They're also the official sponsors of the crowdfunding convention in Vegas along with Microsoft.

Even though Gadget Flow is still growing and developing, it demonstrates a refreshing understanding of how to avoid overloading customers, provide authoritative content, and blur the line between sales, education, and industry disruption. Customers and business leaders finally are able to come together in one place.

And that, I would argue, is exactly how it should be.