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Conversation
Highlights

 

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 Shariq Siddiqui, co-founder and CEO of Veeve, a shopper engagement platform that has raised over $10 million in funding.

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • Veeve’s smart shopping carts use computer vision to automatically recognize items placed inside, create a running total, and recommend nearby deals, enabling a seamless “just walk out” experience.
  • As an outsider to the retail industry, Shariq questioned the scalability of Amazon Go’s model and developed a more cost-effective solution by retrofitting existing carts with IoT devices.
  • Veeve evolved its offering to include a snap-on module for retailers that don’t sell by weight, reducing hardware costs by 90% and accelerating sales cycles.
  • By positioning Veeve as a “retail operating system,” Shariq aims to help retailers gain e-commerce-like insights into in-store behavior, traffic patterns, and inventory management.
  • To navigate complex enterprise sales, Veeve leverages VC relationships for warm intros, tailors pitches to specific buyer personas, and leads with a “wedge” product that minimizes integration requirements.
  • Veeve’s long-term vision is to build a plug-and-play platform for retailers to deploy various IoT devices and access a unified dashboard to monitor store performance across locations.

Actionable
Takeaways

Question Incumbent Models to Uncover Opportunities:

By critically examining Amazon Go's approach, Shariq identified scalability challenges and devised a more flexible, cost-effective alternative. Founders should scrutinize industry leaders' strategies to spot gaps and potential improvements they can exploit to differentiate their offerings.

Iterate Your Product to Expand Your Addressable Market:

Veeve's shift from a ground-up smart cart to a modular add-on dramatically reduced costs and opened up new retail segments. Founders should continuously assess their product architecture and explore variations that can unlock additional customer segments without compromising core functionality.

Frame Your Solution as a Platform, Not a Point Solution:

Shariq positions Veeve as a "retail operating system" that can integrate multiple data streams and enable future IoT deployments. By painting a broader vision for their technology, founders can elevate their value proposition beyond a narrow point solution and increase stickiness with customers.

Develop a "Wedge" Product to Accelerate Sales Cycles:

To overcome hurdles in enterprise sales, Veeve created a simplified offering that minimized integration requirements and enabled faster piloting. Founders selling to large organizations should devise a "wedge" product that delivers standalone value and greases the skids for broader adoption.

Leverage Investors as Bridges to Key Accounts:

Shariq purposefully sought out VCs with retail portfolios and connections to shorten his sales cycle. Founders should view investors as not just sources of capital, but as strategic partners who can provide warm intros and lend credibility to their ventures.

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