RALEIGH – When international investment banker Thad Beversdorf told his friends and family he was going to walk away from that lucrative career to launch a startup in the retail space, they suggested he should “buy a sports car” and he would get over it. But Beversdorf had decided he wanted to know if his success in that arena had been a fluke, or if he could “create another successful career on another path.”
Besides, Beversdorf told WRAL TechWire, he was on a mission. In his mid-40s, he felt he would either stay in banking for the rest of his life or do something else. “I saw income disparity and the wealth gap every day. I was in the front lines of that running a large trading group based in London. I thought there was a better system.”
So, he founded Raleigh-based Indie Goodz, a retail web site focused on selling independent products from pet supplies to household goods. He raised a friends and family round, launched in 2017, and is beginning to look for venture backing in the $1 million to $2 million range.
Indie Goodz is already in nearly 70 cities coast to coast.
“It’s products are from every nook and cranny, every indie around the country/ The goal is to have a selection broad enough to compete with the Big Box stores,” Beversdorf said.
That’s not an easy task, he notes.
“It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, starting a marketplace from scratch. You have to convince sellers to come to a marketplace with no customers. So the cost of acquisition is high in the beginning.” The company has customers now, and its hemp-based and personal care products are “All the rage at this point and showing up in our numbers,” said Beversdorf.
“If I didn’t believe in what I was doing, if I wasn’t passionate about it, I would have tossed in the towel long ago, especially considering the life I had.”
The company would like to expand its apparel line, but as he points out, “Certain sectors were devastated by outsourced manufacturing. Finding good quality apparel made in the U.S. is difficult. But the direction we’re going in will create a larger pool of products for ous to source from.”
Indie Goodz is working on a blockchain integration that Beversdorf hopes will sustain a microeconomy promoting widespread prosperity. Without disclosing too many details, he said, “It’s a pretty unique thing. It creates a better system of commerce and can drive expansion of this economy of indie goods and brands.”
It will involve, in addition to the benefits of accurate tracking it provides, creating a micro-investment system with monetary incentives around “Expansion of our top line,” said Beversdorf.
The company has eight employees and outsources work to vendors.
Raised in Canada, Beversdorf said he made friends in the Raleigh area while an investment banker. “Coming to Raleigh was a personal decision,” he said. “I have a large number of friends in this area. I had the luxury of choosing where I wanted to be. And I love the city and the state. There’s a great talent pool here. And it’s nice to have ten months of good weather.”