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How to Focus on Building A Great Product with Maia Benson

Ninaad Acharya, Dan Coll, Maia Benson

Episode Description

For this episode of the eCom Logistics Podcast, we welcome Maia Benson, Partner and Managing Director at Forum Ventures. Today, she shares her journey as an entrepreneur and the different levels of investment Forum offers to founders.

She discusses her insights on how Shopify became the catalyst for reaching new markets in fast-growing segments, as well as the prospect of new tech helping create a new and affordable delivery promise that drives conversion. Maia also digs into the unit economics of parcels and the challenges of bringing them down.

Maia then discusses Amazon’s unique DNA, the obstacles that software-only solutions encounter today, and how focusing on creating a great product should be every SaaS company’s first principle, especially with the recent double-digit layoffs in the tech world.

ABOUT MAIA

Maia Benson is a Partner and Managing Director at Forum Ventures where she invests in and works with early-stage B2B SaaS founders from inception to scale. She has spent over 20 years founding, building, and scaling award-winning SaaS products and platforms for entrepreneurs and SMBs at places like LexisNexis, Pitney Bowes (SendPro platform/apps) and most recently at Shopify.

For over 5 years, she helped found, launch, and scale their shipping and fulfillment products from inception to 60%+ merchant adoption and $Bs of transportation spend. In addition to her venture work at Forum Ventures, Maia continues to angel invest and advise next-gen ecommerce and logistics tech founders.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 04:01 Starting entrepreneurship in SEO and eventually joining Forum Ventures
  • 08:46 Providing a spectrum of funding options and partnering with friends for success
  • 17:11 Shopify drove demand for tools that integrate legacy pieces in an evolving market
  • 22:25 Tech innovations challenge the idea that owned infrastructure is better
  • 31:49 With recent layoffs, companies should focus on building great product for and with customers

QUOTES

15:30 Asking for help and partnering are especially important in the logistics space – Maia: “I think founders with a DNA of asking for help are naturally outsize winners, period hard stop. And the advisors they can attract to support them in the journey and to unlock opportunities faster for them is really a reflection of them fundamentally understanding that DNA.”

24:40 Today’s environment is characterized by innovation and creating optionality – Maia: “We are in a state of innovation and fragmentation right now that is making the what, so the what strategy of I need a great, affordable delivery promise, that’s what I need, I need a delivery promise that drives conversion that I can afford at a unit economic level, period hard stop.”

“Does that mean it’s a space race to 1 or 2 day for everyone? No, that’s not what it means. But that is the end state and there has been so much exciting innovation and then the birth of so many different companies to empower that, that we’re now looking at a how that has optionality.”

Find out more about Maia in the links below:

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How to Reimagine the Future of Supply Chain
by Ninaad Acharya, Dan Coll and Shekar Natarajan
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