Posted by: Leila Chreiteh
Posted on 05/20/2021
Out of 150+ applications and fierce competition from the six early-stage tech startup finalists from across the Southeast, here’s the pitch that won City Shoppe the title of OutPitch 2021 Champion:
As the virtual applause faded, we caught up with CEO and co-founder Ash Cintas and the OutPitch 2021 judges to dig deeper into how City Shoppe out pitched the competition and what this win means for Ash and her team.
Why were you inspired to build City Shoppe?
As a former small business owner, I was frustrated with the lack of support and platforms for small business owners (SMBs) to manage and compete against the pay-to-play of eCommerce. My business was too grown to be on Etsy but too small to make a dent on Amazon. Why wasn’t there an option for small-to-medium-sized businesses to fit in?
As a conscious consumer, the rabbit hole of search engines and social media made it impossible for me to find the brands or retailers I aligned with, and I didn’t want to or have the time to spend hours searching. I thought to myself: Why does local shopping have to be limited to my physical proximity in a digital world? Why can’t I shop local value-driven brands from around the country, all from one site?
”City Shoppe has demonstrated impressive traction in solving acute pain points for small business owners. Their timing and trends have remained aligned in spite of challenges like the pandemic, focusing on loyalty to local businesses in every iteration of developing their robust solution. Plus, Ash is a strong founder with domain expertise! “ – Ariana Desiree Thacker, Guest Judge from Conscience VC
What keeps you and your team at City Shoppe going on hard days?
What keeps us going is the community and support we are building for small businesses that have notoriously been left out to bring their products worldwide. It brings excitement and reassurance that the City Shoppe team is creating a life-changing experience and company when a seller on City Shoppe gets their first sale from a customer halfway across the country, who usually would have never known about them and their products.
“Personally, I am always looking for more ways to shop locally and by impact, but I have struggled to find great makers and products. City Shoppe clearly helps solve the needs of so many small business owners by connecting consumers to the products they want more than ever.
As a founder, Ash has the right set of experiences and vision for building a company like City Shoppe. Plus, the founding team’s demonstrated ability to execute quickly and their solution’s early traction is something we always look for when investing in early-stage startups. We are super excited to welcome Ash to the Outlander family!” – Leura Craig, Judge from Outlander VC
Why do you want to work with Outlander VC?
What drew me to Outlander and their OutPitch competition was their team’s vision. They could see our idea for a different world of e-commerce created by the collective of small businesses, which not only employ most of the US workforce but they’re also the hearts and souls of our communities. From the beginning, Outlander’s in-depth analysis of our market showed authentic engagement and belief.
Being a Southern woman at heart, growing up in Virginia and North Carolina, and now building our HQ in Austin, I knew the Outlander’s intentionality and passion for funding underrepresented founders in the Southeast made them the perfect fit to work with. Winning OutPitch, I look forward to the Outlander team’s guidance, mentorship, and support to help push City Shoppe to the next level.
“Many small businesses don’t have the resources or experience to effectively manage their digital commerce. City Shoppe is helping fill that gap via services and technology. The team has a deep understanding of the problem and relevant experience that qualifies them to solve this problem. They’ve executed quickly during uncertain times and early metrics indicate they’re creating value for the small businesses and consumers they serve.” – Jermaine Brown, Judge from Outlander VC
What is the long-term vision for City Shoppe?
City Shop’s long-term vision is to redefine what it means to buy and sell online (instead of our current siloed and fragmented platforms) by building a digital community of shared resources, engagement, and connection for businesses and consumers globally.
Nine months ago, our team of seven came together to change the way the world shops local and to give small businesses a fighting chance to succeed in eCommerce. I want to spotlight and thank the City Shoppe team for their tireless work, passion, and belief in what we are building. The fun has just begun!
Thank you again to all six of our OutPitch 2021 finalists, who made our judges’ decision incredibly difficult by representing the most innovative early-stage tech startups across the Southeast. Watch all six finalists’ live pitch and Q&A here:
Thank you to our brilliant panel of VC judges, including Ariana Desiree Thacker from Conscience VC and Jermaine Brown and Leura Craig from Outlander VC, for your thoughtful questions for each finalist, as well as Paige Craig for a lively and insightful Q&A with our OutPitch 2021 audience. #TeamCockroach
And thank you to our audience of 200+ investors and founders for tuning in from around the globe to cheer on our innovative OutPitch 2021 finalists.
Until next time, keep hunting and stay outlandish!
Leila is a communications strategist and tech enthusiast who believes in investing in a better, more progressive future.
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