#66: Robert Luo, CEO of Mi Terro
Robert Luo, CEO at Mi Terro, graduated from USC Marshall School of Business with a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration.
Robert started his first company when he was 20. It was during the time when he decided to take a gap year after my sophomore year in college. Robert’s company developed a mobile application called Ubi, which allowed users to send messages and videos with Bluetooth. It was a unique and stressful experience at the time. The company failed to deliver the app 5 times before the official launch, which resulted in $30,000 extra expenses. Luckily, after the official launch, the app gained 5000 users within the next 6 months. By the time I sold the company for $300,000, the app had over 10,000 users.
After returning to USC, Robert immediately began to draft ideas on how to start next. He eventually came up with two ideas. The first idea was starting a green fashion brand that creates sustainable and recyclable products to reduce fashion waste. After 14 months of research, customer discovery, design, and experimentation, they launched the product, Mi Terro CDS, to Kickstarter in February 2018. Mi Terro CDS is the world’s only bag made of recycled ocean plastics and cork. The campaign was a big success. We were fully funded within 22 hours and later concluded the campaign with 450% funded. Because of our great product and business model, they won $5000 for the USC New Venture Seed Competition. Robert is also running a green software company called Reo2. The Reo2 app rewards users for reducing carbon emission by planting trees on their behalf.
Robert Luo was a Forbes Under 30 Scholar and a candidate of the LA Business Journal’s “20 Entrepreneurs in Their 20s.”
Some of the Topics Covered in this Episode
- Drawing inspiration for entrepreneurship from his father
- Being inspired after reading an Elon Musk biography
- How Robert came up with the idea of his first company
- Challenges Robert had to face when searching for a developer for his mobile app
- The questions you are supposed to ask programmers
- Being rejected from the Apple App Store
- Things you need to consider if you want to build an app
- How WeChat helped his first company’s advertising
- Working 14 hours a day to build his company
- Selling the company in its fourteen month
- Returning to school after a 1 year gap
- How cork fabric can be a replacement for leather
- Making Mi Terro CDS the world’s first premium cork duffle suitcase
- Getting into designing products without any experience on design
- Doing business in China
- How long it took to get the first prototypes for Mi Terro CDS
- On using Kickstarter to get funding for Mi Terro and how he got 450% funded
- Robert’s Mi Terro team
- The plans of Mi Terro and how they’re getting involved with saving the environment
- Challenges Mi Terro has faced as it grows as a company
- Questions Robert asks before he hires a team member
Listen to all Episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast
About the Just Go Grind Podcast
Just Go Grind is a podcast started and hosted by Justin Gordon, a USC MBA in the class of 2020, that exists to help you launch and grow your business, supporting you along your entrepreneurial journey with new episodes each week featuring entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other go-getters.
On the show we discuss:
- How the entrepreneur started their company
- What strategies were used to get the initial customers
- How the entrepreneur built their team
- The best marketing and growth strategies for different businesses
- The biggest challenges the entrepreneur had to overcome
- Short term vs. long term thinking in a business
- The first things someone should think about before starting a business
- How the entrepreneur manages their time day-to-day
- The biggest lessons from their entrepreneurial journey
- And much, much more!