10 Jan IU Angel Network Invests In Unique Automated Sampling Startup, Showdrop
Chicago, Ill. — The IU Angel Network, an investment vehicle of IU Ventures has recently invested in Showdrop, a groundbreaking automated sampling startup transforming the way consumers experience products and brands through its innovative smart sampling kiosk technology and accompanying data platform.
Showdrop is taking the concept of IRL sampling to new heights, providing brands with a dynamic platform to engage with consumers while offering customers an exciting way to discover and try new products. Showdrop was founded by IU Alumnus, Alex Segura, who had a passion for international development and majored in Economics from The College of Arts and Sciences. His love for learning guided him to continue his studies at Harvard University where Segura obtained a PhD while studying the drivers of economic growth in emerging markets.
During his research in Ethiopia, Segura witnessed entrepreneurs building something extraordinary out of nothing, inspiring him to explore the possibilities of creating a business himself. After completing his PhD, he honed his business acumen by working as a consultant at BCG and at several startups. Through his experience working with several startups in the e-commerce space, where he played a pivotal role in developing retail strategy, learning about customer behavior, and identifying gaps in the market, that the concept of Showdrop crystallized.
Segura explained, “As a consumer, I often encountered products that looked intriguing but lacked a way to test or sample them. This led me to consider the pain points in the retail industry and how we could offer a better solution.”
Showdrop’s initial focus was on big-ticket home goods, but Segura and his team quickly adapted their strategy based on consumer feedback and market trends. Gradually, they evolved their approach to address the pain points in consumable products, especially in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector. CPG brands often grapple with the challenge of effectively sampling their products to consumers, at scale.
“We thought, ‘How can we do this better’?” Segura said.
This led the team to repurpose vending machines into something much fancier. They introduced sophisticated software that could control the number of samples, monitor inventory in real time, and make the entire experience more dynamic. They also can collect valuable customer data while offering consumers a seamless and engaging way to try CPG products from their favorite brands as well as discover new brands.
“Showdrop’s smart sampling kiosks provide both emerging and established CPG brands with the opportunity to put their products into consumers’ hands in a way that is truly unique. Showdrop meets consumers where they are and provides them with engaging, educational sampling experiences. It is exciting to see the innovation they are bringing to product sampling, and we are thrilled to get to support them in their journey,” Kate Evinger, the Associate Director of the IU Angel Network and Senior Analyst for IU Ventures mentioned.
Showdrop officially launched its first generation of smart sampling kiosks in October 2022. CPG brands are seizing the opportunity to engage with customers on a whole new level, delivering memorable product discovery experiences. For more information about Showdrop and its innovative retail sampling solutions, please visit www.showdrop.com.
Showdrop is building a new and better way for CPG brands to drive growth via product sampling. Through their network of smart sampling kiosks (placed in ideal locations like fitness centers, grocery stores, and large office/residential buildings), and the rich data collected on their growing pool of users, Showdrop gives brands a far easier and more effective way to get products into the hands of their target audience to drive awareness, trial, lead-gen, customer acquisition, and more.
Alex Segura, PhD