For less than $20 a month (shipping and handling included) you get six to eight hand-picked items, like energy gum, game-controller grips, posters, stickers and gift cards. Swag includes items like Captain America cologne and Super Mario energy drinks. Think the finer things in a gamer's life.
The Weekly sat down with Loot Crate's co-founder Matt Arevalo to discuss how the company started, where it's going and what exactly a “Loot Crate” is. Level up!
Tell me how Loot Crate began.
Loot Crate was developed and built during LA Startup Weekend July 20-22. We hadn't met before. My co-founder and business partner Chris Davis had the idea and it interested me and I came on board to make it happen. By the end of the weekend we had a working site, began taking subscribers and ended up being able to ship a box out to a couple of hundred people just three weeks later.
What are some of the quirkiest products that go into each box?
In October we had Zombie Jerky, which was teriyaki jerky that was colored green to look like chunks of the undead. It actually went over very well.
What is your target demographic and how do you reach them?
While we do have some caffeinated items at times in our crates, we like to think we are appropriate for geeks and gamers of any age. From your child who has grown up with gaming as part of their life, to seasoned geek veterans who have decades of experience to retro franchises and more contemporary brands today. From the very start we developed a strong community, which we call Looters, who participate in contests, trivia and who engage with us via Facebook, Google+ hangouts, Twitter, Instagram and more. Additionally, we have partnered with influencers in geek and gaming video utilizing connections I have in the YouTube community, gaming companies and tech PR. This has given us an advantage where we have created demand as our community sees individuals and brands they respect and trust.
How do you see Loot Crate filling a void in the gaming e-commerce market? Did you model if off of Birchbox/Dollar Shave?
Typical subscription boxes these days pack in a lot of samples. Easy to do for things like beauty or food. While we also have some food items, we also pack the crates with full size items like shirts, gadgets and accessories.
How are you funded? Are you seeking investments?
We have not received any external funding, as the business was profitable from the beginning. We have kept lean and have grown our subscriber base by ten times since that July weekend. We're keeping every opportunity open.
What are some numbers you can share in terms of sales and units moved?
We now are proud to have thousands of subscribers and over ten times growth since our first month with heavy growth each month as we refine, adjust and partner with new influencers and networks.
Give a little professional background on you and your partner.
[Chris Davis and I] are both experienced entrepreneurs with a focus on the technology and gaming industry. I come from an operations and social campaign campaign background where I've worked with global brands like EA, Microsoft and T-Mobile on successful interactive initiatives. Chris co-founded Gamer Food.
How do you see Loot Crate fit into the larger “Silicon Beach,” L.A. tech scene?
L.A. has an amazing collection of advisors, entrepreneurs [and] developers, [who are] important to our specific marketing. As the online video capital of the world, we have the ability to tap into the creative minds and resources of influential stars in the web in the gaming and geek genres. Our community trusts and respects them and since we are authentically geeks and gamers ourselves, it's all a very good fit.