An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Ossie Cohen, the co-founder and CEO of PICKL, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of PICKL – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
I’ve been in the natural products industry supporting many #1 national premium wellness, beauty, and grocery brands found in Whole Foods, Kroger, Target, and more. I love the brands, retailers, and shoppers.
After winning 16 awards and brands saying: “How do we bottle and clone you? We love what you do in SoCal – how can we have you in Texas, Florida, NY?”, I initially taught myself how to build a prototype and created a technology automating the support process for all 5000+ brands in the natural sector.
PICKL was born!
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Balancing the chicken and egg problem ala Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Doordash, etc. Patiently growing the brands and shoppers from CA to multiple states to national, all while simultaneously getting constant feedback to scale and improve the platform.
What does the future hold for PICKL?
72% of the world has a camera in their pocket, while consumers want to connect on phones and brands need to optimize in-store experiences. 1st party data is king while 3rd party data is no longer viable because Google and Facebook cut it out.
40% of society is embracing gig work & instant cashout as companies cut costs, and getting in-store data is cumbersome. The market for retail data is transforming from slow and expensive to instantaneous, crowd-sourced, and ubiquitous.
We anticipate future expansion into alcohol, restaurants, bars, airports, insurance, due diligence, private equity, M&A, etc.
PICKL’s patent pending system takes less than 5 min to complete and anyone can do it. By engaging everyday shoppers, we get data fast while introducing them to new products and stores. Fast store checks + shopper engagement.
People all over the world shop. People all over the world create products and work in stores. PICKL represents that ecosystem of the world.
We will have 100M shoppers globally. Join us.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Long Beach?
Long Beach is extremely supportive of tech startups. The DLBA (downtown alliance) introduces plus includes you in the ecosystem to find ways to benefit everyone. The University Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship are a great resource for engaging mentorship. There isn’t a strong investment community here but that’s fine because we can get funding anywhere across the globe. The SBDC provides non-stop support for grants, loans, and do everything they can to get you any funding. The best part is Pacific Gateway, who we partner with to provide jobs to underrepresented talent in high school and college. Amazing untapped talent.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
The psychology of the leader will determine the outcome of the company.