Advice is not a new concept, but Identification Making its reach to in-demand experts through personalized one-on-one video calls.
The Los Angeles company was founded in 2020 by entrepreneur Rad Mobrem, who previously founded Lettuce, an operating system for small businesses that was acquired by Intuit in 2014.
When Mobrem was young, he had an opportunity with Kinko’s founder Paul Orphelia to turn his ear about being an entrepreneur.
“In 15 minutes, I learned nowhere else about being an entrepreneur,” Mobrem told Nerdshala. “I left my chat feeling inspired, and as I became an entrepreneur, Paul became a lifelong mentor.”
That conversation gave him the idea of Intro, whose mission is to provide access to people who are great at their craft. Mobrem says that most of these people share a common theme: They had access to someone who was also great. If everyone had access to that type of people, they could have that knowledge and act on that information.
Users create an account on the Intro website or app, currently available on iOS, and browse a marketplace of style, wellness, business, home, beauty and astrology experts. The company has already put together an expert list of stylist Rachel Zoe, interior designer Nate Berkus and dietitian Machel Cuenga.
On the expert side, the app offers a self-service model for scheduling, payments, and video calls. Experts can set and modify their own prices, manage availability, and decide how many sessions they want to offer and when.
Video sessions, which Mobrem calls “micro-consultations,” average 15 minutes to two hours, and can range in price from $30 to $200 for a 15-minute session, depending on the experts. Working with a high-caliber interior designer can run thousands of dollars, so to do a quick session on refreshing a room, “virtual access is powerful enough, and the value is incredible,” he said.
Instead of charging a membership fee from experts, intros earn money when they do, the company charges a commission of 30% for the call or 10% when the expert initiates the call through their booking tool.
To continue to democratize such access, the company made a $10 million seed investment led by Andreessen Horowitz. Joining the firm were Seven Seven Six, CAA founder Michael Ovitz, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, 23&Me CEO Anne Wojcicki, Kevin Durant, Tiffany Haddish and other strategic investors. The latest funding gives the company $12 million in total funding to date.
“The team at Intro is building a beautiful product in a market that is providing a direct line to some of the world’s leading voices and minds,” Andrew Chen, General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz, said in a written statement. “This platform has immense potential and is extensively deployed across multiple disciplines. It also creates opportunities for experts and creators to monetize their followers and diversify their revenue stream effectively. “
Intro is in beta mode, but it features 500 sessions in the first two months. Mobrem called the first clients after their sessions in person to learn about the experience. Many told him that as the conversation turned into advice, it was “shocking how much they were able to do in a short amount of time,” he said.
He plans to use the new funding to hire more people and recruit additional specialists. There are about 75 experts on the market so far, and he anticipates adding experts in the career and business categories, parenting and everyday advice such as how to buy your first home.
There are other startups going after service-based providers, but Mobrem sees what Intro is doing to become a new industry catalyzed by the global pandemic. He said he sees telemedicine as Intro’s closest competitor, similarly driven by the global pandemic, and enabling doctors to be more efficient with their existing patient base as well as open up their practice to additional patients, They said.
“Next, we’ll be off our to-do list,” Mobrem said. “We think we’ve already made the best product that’s easy to use, but we can always improve. We also want to get more experts, which we’ll do by helping them make more money, which means that consumers will eventually have greater access.”