Getting MerchantCircle Started: It starts with an Idea

The last few days have been really exciting and extremely busy. There have been meetings and interviews and many thoughtful wishes for a bright future. But. As we always do at MerchantCircle, we’re back to work with a sense of urgency.

As we whiteboard new ideas, begin to build new products, and work with our new colleagues from Reply!, we’ve also spend some time reminiscing. From coffee shop talks to VC pitches to moving into a real office space, the MerchantCircle story is one of passion, dedication and drive…  But it started out with a thought. And that meant hitting the pavement, talking to local business owners and vetting out this idea.

Over the week, I’ve looked back at old emails from the very beginning, and I’m happy to share an excerpt.

 Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 8:40 PM Subject: MerchantCircle 013105 Customer Findings We are all out doing more interviews this week.  One thing that I discovered from the walking around that we did together this that < 40 is a lot better than > 40 when it comes to a business owner who is doing this, the second was new business is a lot better than old business.  If we found 50 golf shops like we did with a new owner who knew what DSL was and was collecting 500 email addresses, a lot of interesting things could happen.  We also found a couple of very direct offline examples of people already doing something just like this. We are working on the design of another online survey but want to hold back until we get A/B test on product to show.

Here’s to continued growth!

About Ben T. Smith, IV

Founder of, investor in and advisor to technology and media companies
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