A Q&A with Lettuce co-founder and CEO Raad Mobrem. The Venice, California-based company was founded in 2011 and raised $2.1 million in Seed funding in mid-October. Investors include CrossCut Ventures, 500 Startups, Launchpad LA, Baroda Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, Double M Capital and other Angels.
SUB: Please describe Lettuce and your value proposition.
Mobrem: Lettuce is a simple and beautiful order management system that enables small businesses to capture, process, and fulfill orders anywhere, in real-time. Whether you are taking a wholesale order through our iPad-based point of sale app or a consumer order through your ecommerce platform, Lettuce completely automates the entire process by integrating with popular back-office systems such as Quickbooks or Salesforce.com.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Mobrem: We are really targeting the wholesale and ecommerce world. Basically, any small-to-medium sized brand that sells physical goods should use Lettuce.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Mobrem: Netsuite—even though they go after enterprise sized clients—and Pen & Paper. We want to digitalize all offline orders and automate the entire process.
SUB: What differentiates Lettuce from the competition?
Mobrem: Design and UX. We work very hard to make our product very simple for the end user. There are a lot of products out there that may be functional, but are overly complicated and unintuitive. This creates extra hassle for the companies that use these products. We know that the most precious resource a business has is its time and we do not want to waste it.
In addition, employees spend a good chunk of their day staring at the computer and running the business. We want to make our applications look gorgeous and bring a sense of joy to the end user. This is especially difficult since we are dealing with business software, but we are changing things around in the industry.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Mobrem: We started getting serious about Lettuce in early 2011. We created Lettuce as an internally developed application for our previous wholesale business because we had a huge problem managing and processing orders. After using it at trade shows, other companies begged us to let them use it and they were willing to pay big bucks. So we did a lot more research, found out that Lettuce was medicine for these businesses, and decided to go all in. It’s been a fun ride so far and very exciting.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Lettuce? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Mobrem: When I went to my first trade show to perform market validation on the idea of Lettuce, I spoke with this woman who was fulfilling and processing orders with her team of eight staff. I could just see the frustration in her face and at that moment, I knew we had something. That was when we decided to transform Lettuce from an internal product to a scalable and customizable platform.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Mobrem: Lettuce is a pun on words—as in ‘let us’ do it for you. We want to do the hard work so that the companies using our products don’t have to.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Mobrem: Managing a team and creating processes. It is tough, but also very rewarding at the same time.
SUB: You recently raised $2.1 million in Seed funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Mobrem: Vegas—could you imagine! We are going to hire the best talent of all time and develop the best products of all time. Those are our two biggest expenses.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise outside funding?
Mobrem: We want to be a large company that can really make a difference and to do that, we need fast growth. Money helps get the best of the best to make that dream into a reality.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Mobrem: SaaS model, per user per month. Average seat will cost around $40. You’ll be saving more money on paper alone—which is amazing.
SUB: What are your goals for Lettuce over the next year or so?
Mobrem: Grow and to have every user with our product in love with it—how amazing would that be.
Lettuce – www.lettuceapps.com