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Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Shaily Garg, CEO and Founder of Global Fair, a building materials procurement platform that leverages technology to streamline cross-border transactions, and has raised $22 million in funding.

Key topics discussed in this episode:

  • Shaily’s background as a civil engineer from a small quartz manufacturing family in India and her experience working at P&G before starting Global Fair.
  • The influence of books like “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss and “The Voltage Effect” by John A. List on Shaily’s approach to negotiation and turning ideas into successful ventures.
  • Global Fair’s mission to make cross-border building materials procurement as hassle-free as buying from a next-door neighbor, focusing on the US market and sourcing from India and Vietnam.
  • The company’s evolution from a multi-category marketplace to a managed marketplace specializing in construction materials, with a focus on quality control, guarantees, and warranties.
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on highlighting the need for technology-driven solutions in the construction supply chain and enabling Global Fair’s rapid growth.
  • The importance of agility and pivoting quickly to find the right business model, customer segment, and product-market fit, resulting in 98% customer retention and 110% month-on-month growth.


Embrace Agility and Experimentation:

Global Fair's success can be attributed to its willingness to pivot and experiment with different models and categories until finding the right fit. Founders should remain open to change and continuously test their assumptions to identify the most sustainable and scalable approach.

Focus on Supply and Quality Control:

In a cross-border marketplace, the key differentiator is the ability to ensure consistent quality and reliability. By owning and controlling the supply chain, implementing rigorous quality checks, and offering guarantees and warranties, Global Fair built trust and loyalty among its customers.

Target the Right Customer Segment:

Rather than trying to serve everyone, Global Fair focused on large-scale multifamily and commercial hospitality contractors who could benefit the most from its end-to-end procurement solution. Founders should identify and prioritize the customer segments that align best with their value proposition and growth potential.

Invest in Storytelling Skills:

Shaily emphasizes the importance of storytelling in fundraising, especially in the early stages when investors bet on the team and idea. Founders should hone their storytelling skills, tailoring their pitch to the audience and highlighting the key points that resonate with their vision and market opportunity.

Be Close to Your Customers:

One of Shaily's biggest learnings is the value of being in the customer's market from day one. By relocating to the US early on, Global Fair could better understand the needs and challenges of its target customers, enabling faster iteration and growth. Founders should prioritize customer proximity and immerse themselves in the market they serve.

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