What is OrderGroove?
“We power subscription commerce programs for brands and retailers to help them extend lifetime value of their most valuable customers.”
E-commerce subscription platforms are a significant part of online business now, but in 2008, convincing investors that a subscription commerce model would take off was a significant challenge. OrderGroove founder and CEO Greg Alvo turned to bootstrapping instead of dwelling on the lack of investors initially interested in the company and industry. Greg focused on building a great product and pleasing clients. This strategy resulted into turning one of his early clients into the company’s very first investor.
The startup world is flooded with ‘success stories’ of companies raising significant rounds of funding, but Greg warns against solely relying on raising money as a sign of success. “Raising money is just a means to an end. Too many entrepreneurs that I meet are enamored with the venture world and what they think raising money actually means. Raising money is just the start of your journey. Focus on building a great business and adding unprecedented value to clients… investors will come.” To date, OrderGroove has been able to raise over $10 million in venture capital funding, which only came after building a team and product that made the company successful and an industry leader.
How OrderGroove Came to Exist
As a competitive tennis player in Miami, Greg went through an unusually high number of snapped tennis strings. If he hadn’t remembered to order replacements from Tennis Warehouse Catalog (now online), he would have to make the trip to an expensive local pro shop. After spending an unnecessary amount of time and money at the pro shop, Greg considered the effectiveness of a subscription-based service that would automatically ship him replacement strings instead of forcing him to overspend at a local pro shop. After talking with a friend who also wanted a similar service for marathon running shoes, the idea for OrderGroove was born.
Bootstrapping OrderGroove was a key to their success, but it took a lot of passion and persistence from Greg and his team to get through the obstacles of having limited access to capital and resources. It would have been easy to give up or just wait to build the product until being able to convince investors of the potential before being able to prove it. “Don’t get discouraged when people don’t see it your way. If deep down, you truly believe that what you are providing is a valuable service and a big business, go with your gut. If we had listened to every investor, we’d be out of business.”