e44 Eli Packouz

44: Master of Crowdfunding, Eli Packouz, Explains His $2.5 million Dollar Kickstarter Campaign Success

In episode 44 of the First Customers podcast, I chat with the Eli Packouz, an inventor and crowd funding master. Eli created eight products over the last several years including his most recent and disruptive ‘Instafloss’. He shares the story of his exciting business adventures, how he recently raised $2.5 million from crowdfunding, and the strategies he used to get his first customers.

Highlights

  • Insights and best practices for crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
  • Raising $2.5 million in crowdfunding for ‘Instafloss’.
  • The inception of ‘Instafloss’: A device capable of flossing all your teeth in 10 seconds or less.
  • Manufacturing products in Mexico vs China.

Mentioned in This Episode

Show Transcript

Paris Vega:
Welcome to the first customers podcast everybody. I’m your host, Paris Vega. With us today is Eli Packouz, inventor of eight products. And the last product that he’s working on now has raised two and a half million in crowdfunding. And that product is called Instafloss. It’s a product that can floss all your teeth in 10 seconds or less, which sounds insane. And we’ll get to that product a little later on, but Ellie, welcome to the show.

Eli Packouz:
Thank you, glad to be here.

Paris Vega:
All right, so you’ve been involved with eight different products or you invented eight products. Let’s go back to your very first one and talk about how you got your very first customers.

Eli Packouz:
Right, so before I actually was in the dental space creating Instafloss, I got my start, I was in college and my brother was a musician and he wanted to, he was a guitarist specifically and he wanted a beat. However drummers are very hard to come by and drum sets are even harder to carry. So you know, we were looking into drum machines. but they were tabletop devices you needed to use your hands for. And of course, if you’re using your hands, you can’t use your guitar. And so we started asking musicians and they were like, if there was any hands-free drum machine. And they were like, no, but when you find one, let me know because I want to buy it. And so we knew that we had to pursue it because of how much influence we had. And so, We started posting, we started talking about stuff, and eventually we were on this music forum and we got a lot of feedback and a lot of things like, oh, I wanted to do X, I wanted to do Y. And we really engaged with this community. We had no intention of using them for marketing. We just wanted to make sure that we were crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s and listening to more experienced people wanting the product. Lots of information actually we didn’t even

Paris Vega:
So

Eli Packouz:
know

Paris Vega:
were

Eli Packouz:
at the

Paris Vega:
you

Eli Packouz:
time.

Paris Vega:
already proposing an idea for a product to the community at that point in the Reddit forums? Were you just… Okay.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, this was actually, this is actually wasn’t even Reddit at

Paris Vega:
Oh,

Eli Packouz:
the

Paris Vega:
okay.

Eli Packouz:
time. I’m not even sure if Reddit, how long has Reddit been

Paris Vega:
I don’t

Eli Packouz:
around?

Paris Vega:
know.

Eli Packouz:
I don’t, I don’t know either. But anyway, it was a, it was a, it was a musician

Paris Vega:
I got you.

Eli Packouz:
forum specifically. So we, so, so we were, we were engaging with this community and we got a lot of information from them. We didn’t really have any money at the time, but we managed to find an engineering firm that said that we could pay them when they completed the project rather than as they go, which we felt like something we could roll the dice

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
on. And then we launched on Kickstarter. And we did. the community that we were on in our forum actually made it blow up and it sort of went viral, took over and then we were able to use that money and we did some ads at the time and sort of snowballed it till we broke records for most money raised for a musical accessory.

Paris Vega:
And what platform was that?

Eli Packouz:
And that was Kickstarter.

Paris Vega:
Kickstarter. Wow.

Eli Packouz:
This was 2013, yeah.

Paris Vega:
That’s awesome.

Eli Packouz:
So. That was how I started my first company with my brother. We came out with multiple products after that. Now getting second customers and third customers is a little bit of a different story, but you know, our very first ones was just because we were asking some questions on a forum.

Paris Vega:
Wow. And did you sell anything before the Kickstarter launch or was it all was actually launched through Kickstarter?

Eli Packouz:
It was launched

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
through that product was launched through

Paris Vega:
Gotcha.

Eli Packouz:
Kickstarter and, um, you know, people give you money in advance

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
and then it took us, I think eight or nine months to deliver, uh, posts, launching on that campaign.

Paris Vega:
Interesting. And is there like a timeline or like a due date that you have to follow or anything when you use Kickstarter to launch something?

Eli Packouz:
Well, you have to give your estimates

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
and then almost no company ever meets their estimates. And the good ones manage to fulfill at some point. But you are required to give a monthly update.

Paris Vega:
Okay, gotcha. All right, and so from that product, what did you launch next?

Eli Packouz:
So then we went into a whole bunch of different arrays of musical space, mostly in pedals. We had, we came with the looper, we

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
came out with the cable organizing thing, we have also in the software space for beat creation and organization.

Paris Vega:
Was this all within

Eli Packouz:
But then

Paris Vega:
the same company?

Eli Packouz:
that was all in the same

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
company. me and my brother, we started, once we had the initial success, we were able to roll that into more products

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
and more customers and more channels, etc.

Paris Vega:
And so you’re kind of selling to the same audience, you know, staying in that niche of different music devices.

Eli Packouz:
Yes, yes, that was

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
all, you know, pro musicians, you know, super advanced

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
people.

Paris Vega:
That’s cool.

Eli Packouz:
But they know that is a super niche audience. And, you know, I’m a growth junkie and I’m always, you know, constantly thinking of new products. And in 2017, I just couldn’t get it out of my head, a device that could floss all your teeth for you. I was with my brother, we were late for our meeting and we were trying to floss and it was just taking forever. And then within like the next three weeks, like six different people came up to me and be like, Hey, you make products. Can you just make something that flosses my teeth for me? And I knew that was going to be, you know, like the biggest thing. because everybody has teeth, everybody ought to floss. They all know they should, nobody wants to, but they would if it was easy. So I started doing research. I started buying periodontal textbooks and reading like what is flossing? What is the size? I started downloading every scientific article I could find that was published on flossing. I started reading them all. And then eventually I had a concept of like, okay, I learned that water flossing is more effective than string flossing because water can remove more plaque, it can get deeper underneath the gum lines, it can clean 360 degrees around the tooth, the string can’t do. It can prevent gum recession, and gingivitis far better than string.

Paris Vega:
Enter.

Eli Packouz:
However, the problem with water flossers is that they take even longer than string. And the number one complaint about flossing is that it takes too long.

Paris Vega:
All right.

Eli Packouz:
So, they take the number one complaint and make it worse. So it’s like, okay, what can we do if we can make the number one complaint better? So my concept was instead of just one manual jet that you have to trace your gum line to do multiple jets that engulf multiple areas of your mouth that move from one side to the other. And then we can floss everything with 100% coverage, 100% accuracy in 10 seconds.

Paris Vega:
Okay, that makes sense.

Eli Packouz:
And that’s what I knew that I had to start a second company.

Paris Vega:
Okay, so that was a little out of the music niche, a little broader. Okay. So what’s the new company?

Eli Packouz:
So the new company, the DBA is Instafloss.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
And in 2017, when I started it, I knew I needed… So like, you know, I’m a very, I’m a technical product manufacturing guy, but I needed expertise on my side to make up for my gaps to make sure, just like when we were going to the forum in the beginning, making sure that like, Hey, pro musicians, is there anything that we need to know? I need to know that like, okay, yeah, I’ve read probably every study published on falsing in the last 50 years, but You know, I need to make sure that there’s nothing I’m missing. So I partnered with Dr. Ralph Roud and Dr. Anna Mascarenhas. Dr. Anna Mascarenhas is the chair of the American Contental Association Council of Scientific Affairs. And so I would show them my schematics and Dr. Mascarenhas gave a plan of how to test it to make sure that it was actually effective, because if you floss in. You could floss in zero seconds if you don’t care about the results. So it’s only a 10 second floss if you’re actually getting good results. So

Paris Vega:
Thank you.

Eli Packouz:
we started flossing, we actually started flossing pigs at first. Eventually we graduated to humans.

Paris Vega:
Really.

Eli Packouz:
And I’m proud to say that after five years of research and development, we created a product that can floss your teeth better than the group who are manually doing it.

Paris Vega:
Wow. Okay. So, and I’m guessing, so you built several products under the other company. Seems like that company was probably successful. So that gave you the funds to pour into this deep type of research, right?

Eli Packouz:
the five years of R&D.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, that’s a lot, right? But I guess you have to have that amount of time just to get actual data, you know, enough to make claims that you’re trying to make here.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, there’s a lot that goes into

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
it. Way more than you would think, and way more than any music tech product.

Paris Vega:
Right, right. Okay. So what is, because that’s kind of a new angle that we, I don’t know if we’ve talked about much, what does it cost even to do like a research study? Like what’s that rough? I know it depends on

Eli Packouz:
I

Paris Vega:
what

Eli Packouz:
mean,

Paris Vega:
you’re

Eli Packouz:
well,

Paris Vega:
doing, but

Eli Packouz:
yeah, so it really depends on what you’re

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
doing. That’s like, that’s really, that’s really tough to say. Because, you know, what are you looking for? How large is the magnitude? The more subtle of a thing you’re looking for, the more people you’re going to need to be able to parse that, you know. apart. If you’re trying to see if, let’s say, you’re developing a vaccine and you want to know, does this cause a problem in like one out of a hundred thousand people, because it’s a drug, that’s very different, especially since even if you have a hundred thousand people, there’s no guarantee you’re going to have one and that’s going to be statistically

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
representative of whether that’s one or two. So it’s a very, very different situation. The other thing that makes it complicated is whether or not you’re doing it in house or whether you’re doing third party. Now, if you’re going to presenting to, you know, investors or You know, the consumer, you definitely want it done third party and that could be super expensive, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars just for like a trial with 30 people. But if you’re doing in house stuff because you’re making iterations on your You’re engineering, right? Well, so you’re doing some engineering prototypes and you want to know, okay, do I need to go in this direction with the prototype or that direction with the prototype? Then you don’t need to do a third party study. You could do an in-house study. That’s significantly cheaper. It’s as cheap as you can manage to make it yourself.

Paris Vega:
Okay. So how many people did you end up including in your studies?

Eli Packouz:
So indeed, so people, 30.

Paris Vega:
or pigs to start with.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And the thing is that gave us enough data to know that we’re actually reducing periodontal pockets, we’re reducing plaque, we’re doing all the things that we’re supposed to do.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
But we still had to then manufacture it, which costs, like, yes, I had a business, but from before that enabled me to do the research.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
but. It didn’t enable me to go to market. And the molds alone were like a million dollars to create the molds for the device, let alone to create the actual device. So that required more funds than I actually had spare. So I actually returned to crowdfunding again to funnel that. And this time, it wasn’t just based off of a forum, And because we wanted, because with a crowdfunding campaign, success breeds success, failure breeds failure. If you don’t make a big splash on day one, you’re going to be bumped to the bottom of the rankings. No one’s going to find you. You’re not going to get any traction. You know, you want to be at the top of the list, then so people can find you and keep you at the top of the list,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
right? You want to keep that ball rolling. So it’s very important that on the first day, you actually open with a lot of orders. So. In order to do that, we spent time building a mailing list. And one of the big problems with mailing lists is that if you don’t have high engagement rates, Google tends to punish you. They put you in the promotions tab. And even if you’re sending people emails, it doesn’t really help you unless they’re reading them, unless they’re engaged. So we had a rule that we would never let any email go unresponded. So if we were, we would write stuff So when a person signed up, we’d like, thank you for signing up. You know, we’re trying to solve your problem with flossing. What do you hate most about flossing? You know, open up with a question. A lot of people would respond. And then we would respond back to them. And then if they would respond back to us, we would not let it go. And what this does is it shows Google that you are an engaging, you know, this is not spam, this is not promotion. And what we would then do is we would post blogs with our updates and ask for specific feedback from our community. And this got more engagement and more back and forth and people feel like they’re involved. They are involved.

Paris Vega:
but.

Eli Packouz:
We actually have taken, you know, their, their suggestions into account. And it gets you out of the promotions. And then when we launched, we had a incredibly high engagement rate and we raised two and a half million dollars in pre-orders.

Paris Vega:
awesome.

Eli Packouz:
So we’re able to use that to start the molds and to start getting production. And I’m talking to you right now from Guadalajara, Mexico, where we’re manufacturing and we just shipped our first units last week.

Paris Vega:
That’s awesome. Okay. So yeah, I hear that a lot of manufacturing is moving to Mexico for years. It seemed like everybody thought everything was made in China and then a lot of issues, maybe partly pandemic supply chain. I know there’s been manufacturing in Mexico, but it seems like that’s even more of a push now because it’s like, hey, if we can keep it on the same continent, there might be some usefulness there.

Eli Packouz:
There are many advantages,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
which I’m happy to get into if anyone’s a manufacturer nerd.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, that’s cool. All right. And so did you have to raise any other additional investment or bring on any investors or partners to get this?

Eli Packouz:
Yes,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
yes, we’ve raised, in addition to the two and a half million pre-orders, we’ve raised 1.3 million in funding from different sources at different times, not all at once. And it was necessary because it’s been a five year process. The molds alone cost

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
a million. To build the devices are very you know, expensive. So it was a very capital intensive process. And, you know, I don’t know exactly how well I would have fared if this was my first company,

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
uh, instead of my second, uh, you know, definitely you’ve learned a lot, still learning a lot,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
but, um.

Paris Vega:
Can you talk a little bit about selling to the investors? Because that’s kind of like a type of customer

Eli Packouz:
Mm.

Paris Vega:
in itself, you know.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, that’s a whole can of worms. It’s a very different sell.

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Eli Packouz:
The investors are people who will put money into your business as long as you can guarantee that you don’t need it.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
My advice would be that if you can avoid it, not because taking investment is in of itself bad. but because the more you can do without the investment, the stronger position you’re going to be in, and which is how you should be thinking anyway, because if someone’s going to give you money, I want to know that you’re a person who can take that money and really make it stretch, really do something with it. You’re not just relying on the cushion. But, so. for our very first investors, they were super skeptical and we were like, hey, just come into the office and try the prototype. And they’re like, okay, fine, fine. I’ll do that. I’m curious enough to check it out. And as soon as they tried it, that’s when I could just see the light in their eyes, like, okay, they’re going to invest. So definitely it helps. if you already have your product, if at least a prototype of your product.

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
Now granted, this was not the version that we had done a lot of scientific testing on because we needed the money to get there, but we had the basic build down and the basic pressures down. And honestly, we actually didn’t really change much other than being able to make it more compact and less manufacturable. But the fundamentals were there for the prototype. And… they enjoyed the feeling, they felt clean, and they’re like, okay, this, because a lot of times when you tell someone something that’s seemingly revolutionary, you’re like, oh, we could floss all of your teeth in 10 seconds, they’re like, no way. Yeah, if I do a really lazy job, I’ll do it in 10 seconds, you know? It’s almost a negative, because you say something so positive, the only way they can make sense of that

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
is if it’s crappy.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
Because otherwise, why hasn’t anyone done

Paris Vega:
Yeah,

Eli Packouz:
it?

Paris Vega:
we’ll wash

Eli Packouz:
So.

Paris Vega:
your car in 10 seconds. It’s like, well, probably not, you know?

Eli Packouz:
Exactly.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, yeah.

Eli Packouz:
They’re like, oh, okay. Yeah. You know, uh, you know, probably a lot. And honestly, I would, I would be in the same mindset. Like if somebody came to me and it’s like, Oh, I have a workout machine

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
that, you know, can, you know, build muscle as much as you were doing an hour and 10 seconds. That’d be like, yeah, right.

Paris Vega:
cry.

Eli Packouz:
Like this is probably total crap. Um, and in most cases years, you’re probably right. You know, investors are people and probably the number one thing you have to understand about them is that they get hundreds of emails a day. If you’re in there, you know, the ratio of people who want money to people who have money and are willing to invest it

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
is tremendous. So, so they’re very skeptical and anything you can do to get ahead of that, any traction you can show that you’ve made, like honestly do as much as you can to be able to leave as little as possible to the imagination of the investor because they’re Because when they’re imagining stuff, they’re just going to imagine all the bad stuff. So you have to get ahead of that.

Paris Vega:
Okay. And you didn’t have the study data yet when the investors, but you had a prototype that they could try.

Eli Packouz:
So we had a prototype and I had very compelling reasons to argue from a scientific perspective why the prototype was going to do well in the studies. And those reasons were that each individual jet of the prototype was the equivalent of a product that’s on the market and for which there’s 50 years of scientific data. So I said, OK, you see this one jet in the device. This one jet is equivalent of this jet. And here’s 50 years worth of scientific studies on this jet. So now this jet from these last 50 years, you had to manually trace. You can see in our device that we do it automatically, and we get 100% of the gum line and the tooth area. So therefore, here’s a pile of data on teeth sizes, gum line differentials. And here’s. our device. So you can look at this data, you can see that we cover over 98% of the population. You can see that in the device, you can see that it covers 100% of the area. And for each individual jet, you can see that there’s 50 years worth of data that these jets are more effective than string. So yes, we need to do human trials. But like, if you’re going to human trials, like not really sure of how it’s going to go, you know, you probably need to do some more research beforehand because otherwise it’s going to be a very expensive research

Paris Vega:
I got

Eli Packouz:
process.

Paris Vega:
you. So you shouldn’t necessarily do a trial if it’s purely for discovery. Like from a business

Eli Packouz:
Hmm

Paris Vega:
sense, you, you want to have a good idea that you’re on the right track before you just go blowing money on a bunch of studies to, to be your kind of own source

Eli Packouz:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
of

Eli Packouz:
yeah,

Paris Vega:
that

Eli Packouz:
absolutely,

Paris Vega:
makes sense.

Eli Packouz:
absolutely.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. Okay. That seems like something that you could like, that you could sell the dentist or something. You know what I mean? It seems like, Hey, you got to come to the dentist’s office to get your dang pressure wash of your teeth. or something. OK, so this is a consumer level device, though.

Eli Packouz:
This is a consumer device, yes,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
for daily at-home use. Now, there’s no reason you can’t use it in the dental office. But if we were to invent a toothbrush that did something similar, why would we? There’s a lot more people than dentists.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, yeah.

Eli Packouz:
And also like flossing your teeth once every six months is not as effective as doing it every day.

Paris Vega:
For sure.

Eli Packouz:
So I highly recommend you do use it daily so therefore you’re not going to go to the dentist every day.

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
So therefore it makes more sense to do it on the consumer level.

Paris Vega:
And you said you had a doctor who partnered up with you with, or a dentist who partnered up with you to help

Eli Packouz:
Two doctors,

Paris Vega:
two doctors.

Eli Packouz:
yes.

Paris Vega:
Okay. So do you see it as something where dentists are supportive and want their clients or is it like, Hey, they’re taking away business. They’re not going to need as much dental work with the Insta floss.

Eli Packouz:
So I mean, I definitely have heard that accusation many times, that like, oh, dentists hate this one weird trick. However, I’ve never met a dentist who’s actually expressed that to me. Maybe they hold that view privately.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
But every dentist I’ve ever talked to is actually, when I mention the device, they’re actually like, Yes, finally, something people will actually do, because I tell people to floss, and they’re like, yes,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
I will, or I do, but they don’t. Actually, there’s two major problems with the consumer flossing habits. The bigger one is that they don’t floss enough. 70% of Americans regularly skip flossing. And the number one reason they give is that it takes too long. So if you’re a dentist and you’re trying to get people to do it, you need to solve their pain points. Why aren’t they doing it? What can, what can? we do to solve that. That’s one of the areas that InstaFloss steps in. But the other one, which is a smaller percentage, but actually in my mind just conceptually way more frustrating, is that of those who floss, the vast majority are flossing incorrectly. You could look at the scientific studies where they take people and they put them into three groups. One group doesn’t floss. The second group flosses at home. And the third group comes into a dentist’s office every single day and is flossed by a dentist. The difference between the professional floss and the consumer floss is astounding. And so this gives us a pretty good indication that the majority of people, even if they’re putting in the effort, are not doing it correctly. They’re missing areas, they’re doing bad technique. You know, they’re not. you know, many, many issues. And that could also perhaps be part of the feedback loop where people are like, oh, well, there’s no difference when I floss or when I don’t floss, or why should I do it? And so we were trying to address both of those head on. Number one is why don’t you do it in the first place? And when you do it, why don’t you do it right? And of every dentist I’ve talked to who understands how we’ve accomplished this, they’re actually pretty excited because… you know, maybe this is crazy, but I think they actually want what’s best for their patients.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, yeah. I think that’s probably true in most industries where even though there, there’ll be bad, like representations in the media or claims that are made that, that most professionals want what’s best for their clients. So that seems

Eli Packouz:
I’m sure there’s, you know, scumbags

Paris Vega:
for sure.

Eli Packouz:
out there. And, you know, even if it’s one out of 100,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
that’s still like so many that

Paris Vega:
video.

Eli Packouz:
could that there could be articles and YouTube videos

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
and, you know, on. So

Paris Vega:
Like give it out.

Eli Packouz:
I just don’t have the data.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
I have no idea.

Paris Vega:
Give it out candy at the end of the dinner session. Here. Suck on this hard candy now that you’ve had your teeth cleaned. OK, cool. Let’s see. Is it insta floss dot com?

Eli Packouz:
That’s correct. Like an instant floss insta floss.com or Instagram, but insta floss.

Paris Vega:
to share my screen with those watching on YouTube or Spotify. Any listeners, you can switch over to there to see the product actually here and anybody who’s not watching. I just want you to want you to know that our brother, Ellie, here has some big, bright white teeth on display. So he’s advertising the effectiveness, I think, of InstaFloss in person here.

Eli Packouz:
Thank you, I appreciate that.

Paris Vega:
You use it yourself, you’re using the product.

Eli Packouz:
Yes, yes, I do. I do actually, in the very beginning, before we even did human studies, I was using it on myself so often that my gums started to hurt because what is more, what is, it’s very rare. So like, it’s

Paris Vega:
crazy.

Eli Packouz:
very common for people to underfloss. It’s relatively rare for people to overfloss, but I was doing so many experiments on it that, I was doing the equivalence, because every 10 seconds with Instafloss is the equivalent of two minutes with a regular floss.

Paris Vega:
Whoa.

Eli Packouz:
So if I’m doing it for three minutes a day, that’s 180 seconds. That’s 36 minutes of flossing. That’s

Paris Vega:
You’d be

Eli Packouz:
nuts. That’s crazy

Paris Vega:
bleeding.

Eli Packouz:
to floss for 30. And sometimes I do it for six minutes. That’s over an hour of flossing a day. So I started getting soreness and problems. I went to the dentist, he’s like, you’re overflossing, you need to stop this. So it actually influenced the product design, because one thing, I didn’t think that overflossing was ever going to be a problem. So what we built into it was after 10 seconds, it does an auto shut off and blinks a light

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
at you. So at least you know that was a full floss. Now, we can’t stop you from doing this forever. But we could at least inform you that was enough.

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Eli Packouz:
And if you choose to do it 36 times in a row, at least I hope the lawyers would agree to it. At that point, it’s on

Paris Vega:
Right,

Eli Packouz:
you.

Paris Vega:
right. Okay, that’s really cool. I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t seen the actual product yet. So now looking at the site that clarifies what you’re talking about. So you do manually like you move it around your mouth, similar to how you’d move a toothbrush around your mouth and the water sprays

Eli Packouz:
So

Paris Vega:
out.

Eli Packouz:
you move it from one side to the other,

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
but because of the way that it’s

Paris Vega:
Oh, it does top

Eli Packouz:
shaped.

Paris Vega:
and bottom.

Eli Packouz:
So

Paris Vega:
I see, I see.

Eli Packouz:
it does top, bottom, front, and back.

Paris Vega:
Bye.

Eli Packouz:
So it does four quadrants at once. And the advantages here is that water jets are actually most effective at a 90 degree angle. And if you’re manually aiming that, that’s really difficult, especially on the inside of your mouth. Like

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
you try to go on the inside

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
and get it at 90 degree angles, practically impossible. And that’s actually where we saw the most improvement in our studies because that’s really hard to do manually. And that’s where people mess up the most is the gum line on the inside, the tongue side of their

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
mouth. So. This does four quadrants at once at the 90 degree angle. And another problem people have is they’ll skip over areas. But when you move this from one side to the other, the jets, because there’s so many jets, they assure that no area is missed. So you don’t miss areas, and it’s always done at the 90 degree angle.

Paris Vega:
So it’s, is it looks like four jets on the front and then three jets in the back of the teeth on both top

Eli Packouz:
approximately.

Paris Vega:
and bottom. Okay. Cool. Yeah, you see how that would really, but it’s not uncomfortable as far as like the, the amount of pressure or water.

Eli Packouz:
The pressure is adjustable.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
So the idea is that if it hurts, it’s too high for you at the moment. You should

Paris Vega:
No.

Eli Packouz:
do it to the point, you know, I think that the maximum pressure that you can handle comfortably is probably your best bet.

Paris Vega:
Okay. Interesting. So is that part of the testing? Well, you had to figure out it’s like, Oh, we’re blasting holes in people’s gums. We got to lower the pressure or yo, that’s not even taking dirt off. We got to raise the pressure.

Eli Packouz:
Well, actually, luckily, that was a part of the last 50 years of research

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
done on the manual devices is we there’s some good data out there as terms of what is the maximum pressure the gums can withstand,

Paris Vega:
I like it.

Eli Packouz:
how much pressure is needed to remove plaque and to disturb the biofilm underneath the gum line to improve the health of your gums.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
So. We were actually able to piggyback off of that research. There’s so many studies out there regarding water flossing. The issue is that they require manual aiming, which is very time consuming, and most people don’t do it right.

Paris Vega:
So the, I guess the, maybe one of the main competitors that you’re kind of replacing is that like, I’ve heard of that like Waterpik brand, that kind of thing

Eli Packouz:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
where it’s that single stream, kind of think that’s what you’re talking about when you’re saying the manually aimed.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, they are a major brand

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
for doing the manual tracing, the time consuming

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
manual tracing.

Paris Vega:
And this, you just go across all your teeth back and forth. And is it like one big sweep or are you just going back and forth?

Eli Packouz:
Just one

Paris Vega:
Just

Eli Packouz:
sweep,

Paris Vega:
one.

Eli Packouz:
just

Paris Vega:
OK.

Eli Packouz:
one sweep. You don’t have to go back and forth. You just go one time in 10 seconds and you’re done.

Paris Vega:
Wow.

Eli Packouz:
So it’s 12 times faster

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
and considerably, depending on your use, how you use the manual version can cover, make sure you don’t miss any areas and do it correctly.

Paris Vega:
Okay. All right. And this almost seems like it’s one of those where it kind of sells itself once you invest in, you know, all the technology and then all these nice visualizations that you have on the website that clearly explains. But this doesn’t replace regular brushing, right? Is this in addition to

Eli Packouz:
This is not, this is for flossing.

Paris Vega:
specifically

Eli Packouz:
This is not for

Paris Vega:
just,

Eli Packouz:
brushing.

Paris Vega:
okay. So after you brush

Eli Packouz:
Yeah.

Paris Vega:
a little 10 second insta floss and you’re good.

Eli Packouz:
I’d recommend flossing before you brush, just so that way the toothpaste can get to areas they

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
may have difficulty otherwise.

Paris Vega:
Really?

Eli Packouz:
But, you know, that, just if I’m going, look, as long as you do it, you’re miles ahead of other people.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, we need to get Ellie Packhouse’s

Eli Packouz:
But if I’m…

Paris Vega:
teeth regimen here documented.

Eli Packouz:
But if I’m going to recommend one over another, which is a question that we get, there is a marginal benefit to flossing before crushing.

Paris Vega:
Really? Interesting. Okay. Let’s try that out. That makes sense though. Getting all the good benefits of the toothpaste into the… Okay. All right. So getting the website together and all that, you were saying you have to hit with a splash on the different platforms, Kickstarter.

Eli Packouz:
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega:
And it seems like, is this how you’ve launched all your products? You ended up doing it through Kickstarter each time just to take the advantage?

Eli Packouz:
No, no, just

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
the first one, the first one of my first company and the first one for Instafloss.

Paris Vega:
Really? So you just use your existing target audience for your following products for your last company?

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, you’re kind of in a different stage. I know some people who, even as their company matures, they continuously

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
launch on Kickstarter. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve avoided it just because it’s a lot more effort to sell on Kickstarter than it is on Amazon or on an

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
e-commerce site. Like, if you have product available. The amount of effort you have to do to get a sale is so much less. Like people think like, oh yeah, I’ll do a Kickstarter. It’ll be easy. Like no. It would be. Take however hard it is to sell something when you have inventory, and then try telling people that like, hey, this is going to be three years until you get it, and you might not even get

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
it, and there’s not one single review out there, and no one’s ever had it but you, and we have an early stage prototype, we’re not really sure how it’s going to look in the end.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
Try to see how quickly that kills your sales. It’s really difficult, really difficult to do the Kickstarter route. But… If you do it, there’s a number of advantages, which is that you can get your money earlier, which you can use to develop and so you can get to market when you otherwise wouldn’t have. And I think that if you can succeed there, you can succeed almost anywhere.

Paris Vega:
Gotcha. Okay, so it’s a good litmus test to know whether or not something’s gonna be successful on the wider market.

Eli Packouz:
Are people passionate enough to give their money to you a year in advance? If not, you know, maybe you have the wrong product.

Paris Vega:
Hmm. Okay. And so if you’re starting, so that makes sense why you waited for a new product to go back to Kickstarter, because that kind of helps prove the new idea. Whereas if you had that after the new product, then you’ve got an existing customer base and you know that you can sell more products to them. All right.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, I mean, it makes a lot more sense financially on like a dollar per dollar basis, where if you could just make your product and then have it available on Amazon, you’ll make a lot more money

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
than trying to convince people. Cause you know, that your, your conversion rate is going to be so much lower. Um, but if you don’t have the money to go on Amazon and make your product, you know, you have to do what you have to

Paris Vega:
Gotcha.

Eli Packouz:
do.

Paris Vega:
And so you can just email out to your existing email list. For example, if you come out with another accessory or whatever for InstaFloss, you just hit up your email list and put it on your store or whatever. And there it is.

Eli Packouz:
We could hit up our email list or, you know, if we’re already making money, like we’re on the market with one product, we can use the money from that first product to develop a second product. We don’t have to tell anyone about it until it’s actually ready.

Paris Vega:
right

Eli Packouz:
And then we could just go on Amazon or start advertising and saying two-day shipping or something like that. And that’s much easier than saying like, hey, we have a concept for a product that will be available in a few years.

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
You know, would you like to give us money now?

Paris Vega:
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Are there any types of issues people might have who can’t use your product? Any kind of like oral conditions or whatever?

Eli Packouz:
So if you have significant ulcers on your gums…

Paris Vega:
Oh, okay.

Eli Packouz:
You need to talk to your dental provider about that because you’re going to actually need to very carefully avoid that. If you have stitches, if you’ve

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
had jaw surgery and your jaw is wired shut,

Paris Vega:
Hmm.

Eli Packouz:
then you can’t fit the device

Paris Vega:
Sure.

Eli Packouz:
in your mouth. And you can’t fit almost anything in your

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
mouth. Actually, you have to like eat through a straw. And actually what they do for those cases is they use a very strong antibiotic oral rinse. But it’s effective, it saves people’s teeth while they’re recovering from jaw surgery. So situations like that where if you believe that you are in any significantly abnormal situation, then you should talk to your dental

Paris Vega:
Sure.

Eli Packouz:
provider. You may need more specialized equipment for a more specialized case. However, Instafloss will probably cover 98% of people.

Paris Vega:
What about people with braces? Does it, is it wide enough to cover?

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, braces are no

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
problem actually, that’s one of the advantages, because the water jets can get through and around, brackets no problem. Saves a lot of time actually, they’re a prime candidate for wanting flossing to go faster.

Paris Vega:
because they’ve got way more nooks and crannies in there to deal with.

Eli Packouz:
Mm-hmm. They needed more too.

Paris Vega:
Okay, because you have more places for things to get stuck, right?

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, high notes.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, really. Okay. And so now you’ve got your pre-orders and you said you built up an email list first for this one.

Eli Packouz:
Yes.

Paris Vega:
What other strategy strategies are you using now to get more customers now that you’re kind of in the process of shipping the product? What’s that plan to keep getting more customers?

Eli Packouz:
So actually right now we’re not advertising because we have a backlog of Instafloss

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
orders that we have to fulfill first. Once we fulfill those and then have inventory. We don’t wanna start our advertising campaign until we have inventory and can do two-day shipping because it’s just so much harder

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
to say like, hey, order now, get it in 12 weeks, you know?

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
And it’s going to influence the type of people that you’re advertising to, because it’s a different demographic of people who don’t care versus people who are, you know, your more typical customer. And we don’t want that to influence being like, oh, we have it in our head that these sort of advertisements work and these sort of advertisements don’t work, when in reality, that’s very audience specific. So we want to wait until we have a regular audience. So that should be soon because we’re wrapping up production right now as we speak. Actually, I don’t know when this will be published, so maybe by the time this is published. But so the next step is video, especially. one minute video, the sort of bite-sized stuff

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Eli Packouz:
is really where it’s at right now. And that’s going to be, it’s like so, so time consuming. We have to treat videos like skittles, you know, this would be like a new one popping every

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
minute. But that’s how you pull people in right now on so many platforms. Also influencer

Paris Vega:
Okay,

Eli Packouz:
marketing,

Paris Vega:
I was gonna ask.

Eli Packouz:
we’ve identified a number of people, we’re always identifying more people. who could potentially influence their audiences. However, where that’s just for like the e-commerce, pushing it, getting it to market, make an initial burst of sales. But long-term, there’s a much more long-term strategy, but where most of our conversions probably will come is people who go to the dentist and they don’t floss enough and the dentist needs

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
to know about our product and needs to recommend it. So on our timeline of… you know, going to market is dental outreach and talking to dental providers and providing them with the product and then, you know, giving them a discount so they can sell to their, directly there at their office.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
Actually, we’re in talk with some dental providers right now who are very excited to receive their units.

Paris Vega:
That’s awesome.

Eli Packouz:
And… So that’s a whole thing. It’s an expensive process because you have to educate so many people

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
before you start seeing a trickle of results.

Paris Vega:
So that seems like,

Eli Packouz:
But it’s important.

Paris Vega:
right. It’s more like a lead gen campaign. It seems like trying to get dentists interested and so you’re putting ads out there just to get some, some kind of warm leads to come in.

Eli Packouz:
Exactly, or we’d work through an agency that, you know, visits dentists and goes to lunch with them and tells them about all the new stuff, which of course is money up front. So it is a very lead gen thing. And in order to afford that, we need to be able to, you know, be pulling money in from the e-commerce and then reinvesting it in the dental education program. So it all ties together.

Paris Vega:
Okay. And are you trying to get into any like big box kind of stores to where people can just go to Walmart or Target or whatever and just buy it off the shelf?

Eli Packouz:
So eventually that is how you reach the most people, but we’re not doing that initially. And I would caution anyone who is in a similar situation to also hold off on that initially, because once you’re in stores. it is very hard to modify anything. Cause you have contracts, contracts last for a certain period of time. And so if you want to modify anything, you’re like, oh, we were doing an experimentation on the color of the box. And we found out that this color outperforms the other color. Well, once you have retail contracts, you can’t change that. You can’t modify anything. And so you want to make sure that you know exactly, well, you want to scale something good, you

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
know, get it 100% right and then

Paris Vega:
Do

Eli Packouz:
scale

Paris Vega:
you want to optimize

Eli Packouz:
it,

Paris Vega:
it?

Eli Packouz:
rather than scaling it and then trying to change You know, if you’re going to copy paste something, make sure that you’ve got that one thing right. So we’re doing a lot of AP testing or we will be doing a lot of AP testing on e-commerce, messages to dentists, so on, and then we’re going to use that to influence the retail stores. And the thing is the retail stores also have the lowest margin. So if you’re going to be a bottleneck in production, you want to be selling where you have the highest margin. So there’s multiple reasons to only go to big box retail when you are truly ready for it,

Paris Vega:
Mm-hmm.

Eli Packouz:
when you’ve already done all your A.B. testing, when you’ve already ironed out every bottleneck in the production process so that way you can scale smoothly. Like if you’re trying to fulfill a Costco order and then you have bottlenecks in production, now Costco’s mad at you and you haven’t fulfilled to anyone in e-commerce, you’re in trouble.

Paris Vega:
Right. How do you test something like box color without being in a physical store? Are you literally just saying like, hey, this box color we used in this ad? Kind of, you know what I mean? Like, you can

Eli Packouz:
That’s

Paris Vega:
add photography. OK. Got

Eli Packouz:
right,

Paris Vega:
you.

Eli Packouz:
right. So you could be in smaller stores before you go to retail stores. That would actually be the way to do it. But if you’re not, I wouldn’t really recommend trying to get the data in a different platform. But however, what you could do is you could see what do people care about most? Do they care about the fact that the floss is effective, that the floss is quick, that the floss is painless,

Paris Vega:
testing

Eli Packouz:
the fact

Paris Vega:
your

Eli Packouz:
that they’re

Paris Vega:
copywriting.

Eli Packouz:
going to look beautiful, or the fact. Exactly,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
or the fact that they’re going to be healthy. These are the things. And then you can see what converts people. And that can really influence your decision on what to experiment with on the box. And then you experiment on the box in a smaller store. And then you use those results to go into a bigger store.

Paris Vega:
That’s really cool. Yeah. I love like physical products and fascinated by the marketing, like manufacturing marketing and product marketing, cause it’s like you get to see how it flows throughout the entire supply chain and like, cause I spent a lot of time on the digital marketing side, the digital ads, and that’s cool to see how you’re taking that data and letting it influence what you’re doing on the physical packaging and product. That’s really neat.

Eli Packouz:
I mean, it’s a hybrid world, really.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, yeah. Okay, cool. Do you manufacture? Are you still part of the original music related company?

Eli Packouz:
Only on the board I spend as little time as possible.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. And did you guys manufacture everything in Mexico for that company as well?

Eli Packouz:
No, we manufactured everything in China, and this time I decided to go with Mexico

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
for a number of reasons. It was price equivalent. We were able to produce things quicker, and we were able to, because it’s close to the United States, we don’t have to go across oceans

Paris Vega:
All

Eli Packouz:
so

Paris Vega:
right.

Eli Packouz:
we can cut down on our production time.

Paris Vega:
Yeah, so the shipping cost is way cheaper, right?

Eli Packouz:
and the shipping time, which means that, let’s say you need to take out a loan to finance your inventory. If you’re not going to get your inventory, let’s say it takes you three months to make it, and if it takes you two months to ship it, you need a loan for five months. But if it takes you three months to make it and two weeks to ship it, because you can just put it on a truck and it’s right there to your main… market, then you don’t need a loan for as long. So it really cuts down

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
on your cashflow forecast requirements.

Paris Vega:
Okay. And is Mexico catching up like on the electronic side of manufacturing? Cause that’s what I’ve heard before. Like, you know, China’s just so optimized for certain types of electronics manufacturing, but I guess you’ve got some electronic components here in this device.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, I mean, actually, to be honest, even in my previous company, the most advanced electrical components came from the United States. We would order them from a factory in the United States, ship them to China, and have them assembled into larger electronic components. But because the United States is still the king in terms, I guess, and Taiwan, in terms of making especially

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
So for those parts, so we do have American made parts in the unit, also in the previous company, in all physical electrical units, we had American made parts. However, regarding the other, like the control boards and stuff like that, we’ve had no problem in Mexico. In fact, they’ve taken some… some looks at the designs of some designs that were engineered by our Chinese counterparts. They had quite a few modifications and improvements. Another thing is every engineer, I think this is pretty universal, is going to think that every other engineer’s work

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
needs improvement. That’s something you’re going to find no matter where you go. But yeah, no, it’s been a wonderful experience.

Paris Vega:
Now is it, I know there’s been a big push like in the news, like politically, the current administration talking about, Hey, more American made American sourced everything. From your perspective as a serial manufacturer and entrepreneur, how feasible do you think it is to actually like fully manufacture a product in the U S is it just going to always be, you got to lean on some of these other countries, is it possible to manufacture a device like yours in the US and have it within any kind of reasonable price range?

Eli Packouz:
Um, at the moment, no. If we were to try to make this device in the United States as the United States currently stands, then it would be at least three times more expensive, which means we would have to raise our prices significantly, which means we’d be serving a much smaller, much richer

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
population. You know, our device would only be able to be afforded by very rich people.

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
And you know, they exist, and I’m not saying

Paris Vega:
For sure.

Eli Packouz:
it wouldn’t be an invisible business move. However, yeah, so we can’t do that at the moment. Theoretically, there are things that could change that calculus.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
If automated technology really improves. you know, if the United States has a lot more immigration and, you know, there’s people who

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
are willing to work at different rates, you know, but, you know, oftentimes you get that as like hand in hand. It’s like in order to protect domestic workers, we need to both not allow foreign manufacturing and immigration. So it’s like, oh,

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
then there’s, it only leaves automation. And automation may catch up eventually, and then that should make it. equivalently cheap to manufacture anywhere.

Paris Vega:
Because the main lever is the cost of the human labor. That’s the main knob that needs to be turned one way or the other.

Eli Packouz:
it’s not the only thing, but it bleeds into everything else. Because it’s like, even if you get a comp- let’s say you get components and then you assemble them. Well, okay, these components were cheaper in China, but why were they cheaper in China?

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
And there’s multiple things that influence price. One is the hourly rate, but other things are like, you know, it- economies of scale or closeness to sourcing or shipping or things like that. However, those can all be modified and so what you’re left with as a large component is the cost of labor.

Paris Vega:
Okay. I’ve been listening to a lot of Peter Zayon, if you’re familiar with that guy, he talks about different advantages or disadvantages of different countries economically based on their geography and ability to ship and interact and do business with each other. And so he talked about how Mexico is growing and becoming a manufacturing powerhouse more and more, and that it’s more competitive with China. over these past 10 years or so, especially. So that’s interesting that you guys went from first manufacturing over there to now. Your next project.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, yeah, we’re part of the data

Paris Vega:
Yeah.

Eli Packouz:
of that switch.

Paris Vega:
That’s cool to see. All right, man. Well, this has

Eli Packouz:
There

Paris Vega:
been.

Eli Packouz:
has to be people in there, you know, that when you see trends changing, those are real people

Paris Vega:
Yeah,

Eli Packouz:
and we’re part of those real people.

Paris Vega:
for sure. This has been really cool, man. I appreciate you sharing your time and your story with us. Maybe you could speak to one, you know, potential customers last pitch on, you know, why they should use your product, but also other entrepreneurs out there who are wanting to start a product, you know, who’ve got an idea, maybe a few little quick tips on how to go about pursuing that idea.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that’s number one, you want to make sure that you’re solving a real problem.

Paris Vega:
Mm.

Eli Packouz:
There are too many times when people give me their pitches that they’re really a product in search of a problem. rather than a problem in search of a solution. It’s just because understandably they want to make money, but they didn’t approach it from a problem solving lens primarily. So you have to make sure that people are really, they really want your product. Then I think you definitely need to. because there’s so many aspects to what it takes to go from the light bulb moment to actually Go into markets, you know that I can’t I can’t focus just on one because like okay after you get the light bulb moment You have to know. Okay does this actually does this actually work? Because you might have an idea that’s not feasible. So you have to build basic prototypes, and that will tell you a lot. Before you even pursue your idea, like, oh, I’m going to raise money, and I’m going to tell engineers to build this, be like, well, try making a basic version yourself, and see if it does what you think it will do. Maybe it behaves very differently. And that would influence your patents, because… The patents are from a mechanical perspective, not a conceptual perspective. You can’t say I’m patenting advice that solves this problem. You have to patent a mechanism. And if you start going through the patent process before you’ve actually figured out your mechanisms, there could be a lot of things that you’re either not patenting or patenting the wrong things. You’re not realizing the workarounds. So definitely get your prototype first. Like once you have a product, like, okay, I like this, it works. Then do your patent searches. if possible, you know, that may require money. So you may have to start raising money. Avoid it if you can, do it if you must. It’s better to have part of something than 100% of nothing.

Paris Vega:
Right.

Eli Packouz:
And then see if you can start developing it and going to market with it, you know, and for each one of those steps, I feel like you should read a book on every

Paris Vega:
I’m going

Eli Packouz:
step,

Paris Vega:
to go to bed.

Eli Packouz:
you know, you should like, you should read a book on like… to understand the context of the product that you’re making. What else is out there? To understand the niche that it’s in. You should read something on patents and how to go about it. You should read a book on raising capital. You should read a book on team building. You should read a book on going to market and marketing. And if you’re not willing to do that, then just don’t do this. It’s like…

Paris Vega:
Yeah. Can you recommend one of those books? You mentioned different types. Is there one maybe that stands out? I know that you talked about different parts of the process would

Eli Packouz:
Yeah,

Paris Vega:
require different insight.

Eli Packouz:
so I think the one that I think, and the reason I’m recommending this one is because I think that of all areas that I see entrepreneurs lacking the most intuitively, because people they tend to have an intuitive idea of how to make the product or intuitive idea of how to market the product, but I see so many people have zero idea about raising capital. And that makes sense because it’s not a natural thing. You know, there’s nothing about it that is at all, you know, intuitive or sensible. So, Venture Deals is a fantastic book that gives a nice overview. I forget the

Paris Vega:
Is

Eli Packouz:
author’s

Paris Vega:
that Brad

Eli Packouz:
name,

Paris Vega:
Feld?

Eli Packouz:
but I don’t

Paris Vega:
No,

Eli Packouz:
remember.

Paris Vega:
I can’t remember. I thought it was.

Eli Packouz:
But yeah, if you read Venture Deals, if you’ve had no experience with Raising Capital before.

Paris Vega:
Okay.

Eli Packouz:
Venture deals would give you a general overview so at least you know what you’re talking about

Paris Vega:
Yeah. I’ll

Eli Packouz:
Now you can make many mistakes thereafter

Paris Vega:
put a link in the show notes for anybody who wants to check that out. Um, that’s really good stuff. Man, you’ve got my dream job. You’ve built my dream job. I’ve been a long time fascination with coming up with some kind of product and been in some kind of thing. So I guess I’m a founder in search of a product and a market at the moment. So I’m very

Eli Packouz:
Hahaha

Paris Vega:
early in the stages. Uh, this has been really cool. Um, Honestly, I think that the whole story kind of pitches your product for you. But is there any last words about why you feel like people should run out and grab this thing? I’m already sold on it, man. I want to get this thing.

Eli Packouz:
I mean, look, just lost the ones you want to keep.

Paris Vega:
There you go. There it is.

Eli Packouz:
One thing I will say about the dream job though, is my great uncle is actually the inventor of the FlexiStraw.

Paris Vega:
The flexing straw,

Eli Packouz:
And

Paris Vega:
like the literal…

Eli Packouz:
yeah, the literal FlexiStraw, Joseph

Paris Vega:
Whoa.

Eli Packouz:
Friedman was my great uncle on my mother’s side. And the, sorry, on my father’s side. And My father would tell a story about, you know, asked, why did you become, he also, he invented a lot of other things too. You know, some of which was like a little ahead of his time trying to go, trying to do some like 3d film stuff in the twenties. But

Paris Vega:
and

Eli Packouz:
he asked him like, you know, why are you an inventor? And he’s like, well, it beats working. And as someone who started two companies trying to bring inventions to products, I mean, it’s, it’s a lot of, it’s a lot of working to beat working.

Paris Vega:
Right, right.

Eli Packouz:
But it doesn’t feel like work, so maybe that’s what he meant.

Paris Vega:
Yeah. I think that’s the story of a lot of entrepreneurs. They don’t want to have a typical boss, you know, a real job, quote unquote, want to have their own company, their own kind of autonomy. And then you get into starting a business like, oh, I have 20 jobs now. Okay. Cool.

Eli Packouz:
Yeah, exactly. Well, I mean, you also have a lot more bosses because every customer is your boss now.

Paris Vega:
Yeah,

Eli Packouz:
So

Paris Vega:
yeah,

Eli Packouz:
good luck.

Paris Vega:
yeah. Well, thanks so much for sharing your time with us, Ellie, and everybody listening. Go check this out. InstaFloss.com. I’m definitely going to check it out and we’ll see everybody next time on the first customers podcast.

Eli Packouz:
Thank you.

Paris Vega:
Later.


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