Episode 73
September 28, 2021

Coffee at Scale

with Michael Mayer, Co-Founder and CEO of Bottomless

About this episode

Michael Mayer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bottomless, the first smart coffee subscription. They help you build a custom coffee subscription, ship you a simple Wi-Fi scale to store your coffee on, and then send you your next bag of coffee in perfect time, never arriving too soon or too late. In this episode, Michael shares with us his entrepreneurial journey from growing up in Oregon as a triplet with dreams of becoming an inventor like his uncle, to studying engineering and economics in college, to landing a job at Nike and experiencing challenges as a consumer with his wife around restocking their home, which led to the idea for Bottomless. He talks with us about how they applied to YCombinator three times until finally being accepted, how his anonymous Twitter account helped him build relationships with investors and raise over $6.8M, and how he's grown the business to over two million in revenue.

This episode is sponsored by

In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • What life was like as an entrepreneurial kid and triplet in Portland, Oregon, and what aspirations he had even back then
  • How a pivot in college became helpful later in his career, what he learned from his time at Nike, and how he came up with the idea for Bottomless
  • Why Michael quit his job and jumped in to building out the concept and getting Bottomless off the ground, and what that experience was like for him and his Co-Founder
  • What is so unique about the Bottomless system and how it is a truly customized way to never run out of high-quality coffee
  • Why it took three times of applying to YCombinator before they were accepted in, why that is a good lesson for others wanting to apply, and what valuable lessons he learned there
  • What fundraising was like and why the first round was a total bust, but a valuable lesson that he offers to others who are ready to raise funds and want to succeed
  • How he has grown as a leader, what he’s learned from mistakes, and what it’s like to be a husband and wife founding team
  • What’s next in the near and far future with Bottomless and what further advice Michael has for aspiring entrepreneurs, Founders, and/or operators

To Find Out More:

Bottomless.com

Quotes:

“One day we just thought, OK, how do you actually find out how much people have all the time? Just had this epiphany that weight is a source of truth for how much people have. And if you could just record that in a regular interval, you could actually solve the reordering problem for people.”

“We actually are looking at your patterns and sort of dynamically figuring out essentially when we should order, so the likelihood of you running out is fairly low.”

“The way that the actual coffee product works has evolved with contact with customers over the years.”

“Trying to impress them with a bunch of clever writing is not as impressive as sticking to something and just sort of making progress on it over the long run because then they know you  really are serious about building a company around this.”

“It was always just focusing on the problem in front of you and just trying to continually grow. And so that was a very valuable thing, and I saw people sort of transform their way of doing things from sort of a very sort of business plan, sort of what I might call pseudo entrepreneurial mindset to a very sort of hustle-oriented mindset.”

“Make something, try to get people on it. If they don't want it, ask why and make something else. And then once you have people, try to grow it. If you can't grow, it solves a problem.”

“If you're an early employee at a company that has gone nuts and IPOd, or you're a previous Founder that has found some success, like, yeah, sure, you can start something and just get funding right off the bat. But generally, the other people have really done a lot of work to prove what they're doing to get that sort of fundraising, even today in this fundraising environment.”

“In particular with the type of company that we're doing, that's really sort of building something novel from scratch and having to do a lot of new things, it just requires a lot of focus. We have to be three times smarter and also work three times harder. And I think having your Co-Founder also be your spouse is a massive advantage.”

“Our real goal is to figure out how to automatically replenish everything intelligently using sensors rather than people having to do it manually and try to store this information in their head.” 

“It's just the way that restocking is done broadly is broken and it's broken in commercial settings, it's broken households, and it's even broken into some industrial settings.”

“I find it immensely gratifying to work very hard on something that I think is ultimately going to be very impactful for the world. It may sound crazy, but I legitimately think we're going to inspire a whole new type of technology.”

Read the transcript

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