Entrepreneurs aren’t born; they’re made. And Ulupreneur Remound Wright came from a family that fostered them. Remound grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father worked as an executive coach at an entrepreneurship incubator. In the summers, aside from playing sports, you could find him hanging around the office writing business plans as part of a program for kids at the accelerator.
Sports were Remound’s passion … basketball, football, baseball … he played them all. He excelled in football and earned an athletic scholarship to Stanford University. While there, he played in a Fiesta Bowl and three Rose Bowls (Stanford won two of them), led the team in touchdowns his final two seasons, and finished his career sixth all-time in rushing touchdowns for the university.
But Remound’s epiphany came off the field. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat were all minutes up the road. Being in Silicon Valley seemed like a natural progression from what he’d learned from his dad about entrepreneurship. He began taking design classes at the Stanford d.school and doing cognitive research in the Virtual Human Interaction Lab run by Jeremy Bailenson (now one of JUICE’s advisors). He became fascinated by the human brain’s response to immersive experiences. One of the football coaches was also studying immersive technology and began implementing VR for the team’s film study. Instead of watching plays from TV angles, they viewed them from field level – the first team in the world to do so.
After his final game, he wrote an open letter to Stanford University. Over 1 million people have read it, and Sports Illustrated picked it up. As a result, a former Clinton Administration official, Larry Irving, reached out and helped Remound get an internship at AT&T’s Palo Alto innovation lab, where he became an AR/VR creative technologist specializing in immersive storytelling.
His dream was always to write and direct films, but Remound saw an opportunity to create the future of storytelling using immersive mediums. He asked himself where a better storytelling experience would be valuable and landed upon e-commerce. He worked for four years at AT&T, where he met his co-founder Jerry Higgs. Remound had always wanted to start a company before he was 30, and he launched what would become JUICE at age 27.
We caught up with Remound to chat about JUICE.
What is JUICE?
Today, it’s like Shopify for immersive e-commerce; ultimately, Amazon will be the best public company comparison. Many brands lose revenue because their e-commerce customer experience isn’t as differentiated, engaging, or informative as it could be. JUICE is an augmented reality e-commerce platform that enables unparalleled immersive shopping experiences. We help brands captivate customers, increase sales, and decrease returns.
Why JUICE? Why now?
E-commerce is convenient but often feels more focused on buying than shopping. And it’s been that way for 20+ years. Technological advancements over the past decade have made our vision possible. We’re applying a discontinuous innovation to a familiar end-user application, and history tells us doing that positions us for success. It’s a great time to solve this problem because no one has figured it out yet. And I thought, why not me?
What would be your tips for other founders on fundraising?
My first advice is to find people who see the world similarly to how you do or are at least curious about how you see the world. Even if they don’t invest, those conversations are always beneficial.
My second piece of advice is to ensure that you assess investors while they’re assessing you. Learn to tell who’s legit and who’s bullshitting.
What have been your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge has been my inexperience and naivete because it’s led to inefficiency. This is my first startup, and I’m fascinated by how, if I went back to Day Zero, how much quicker I could get to this point. I can’t wait to start a second company and do everything better.
What are your dreams for JUICE?
JUICE is going to change the way the world shops online. But that’s just step one because it’ll be more than e-commerce enablement technology. It will be an operating system for all forms of immersive experience creation.