AlleyWatch the largest organization focused on NYC Tech, in partnership with Marketing Architects celebrates the work of these individuals that serve as a catalyst for nextgen commerce innovation within the NYC Tech ecosystem.

The NYC E-Commerce Influencers on AlleyWatch is presented by Marketing Architects. Please take a minute to learn more about how to unleash the power of TV Advertising for your business with a partner that invests in your success.

Marketing Architects

Marketing Architects is an advertising agency with a 22-year history of helping companies reach major milestones. By investing our own capital into each TV campaign, we disrupt the high costs and low accountability of traditional agencies to move performance brands forward and company growth upward. Fast-growing brands such as Touch of Modern, Brandless, Coursera, and Simple Habit work with us to drive high-impact business results from TV.


Liyia Wu


Global retail sales are being driven by the insatiable appetite of Chinese customers. In major shopping destinations from Rodeo Drive to 5th Avenue, retailers are staffed with sales representatives that can speak Mandarin and Cantonese to cater to this burgeoning demand. Providing access to merchandise to this customer base is the focal point of a growing number of retailers and brands that include not only the luxury houses but also growing emergent brands.
Bridging borders and leveraging technology is Liyia Wu, the Founder and CEO of Shopshops, an interactive live streaming shopping platform that connects Chinese consumers with American brands and boutiques. Shopshops hosts events that livestream from retail locations where consumers in China can ask questions about the product, ask to see different items in the store, and even ask to have the items tried on by the hosts. All this happens in real-time giving consumers the option to purchase with a few clicks. Think of it as a modern-day streaming version of QVC that's a highly-engaging and authentic consumer experience. Each broadcast has tens of thousands of viewers that are lining up to get access to the latest coveted fashion items that Wu and her team have carefully curated.
Wu, a native of Beijing and educated at Parsons, has built an expertise in cross-border consumer behavior. She founded the first department store in Beijing that carried US designers exclusively in 2008. Later, she launched her own fashion line as well. The Chinese have long employed the concept of "daigou", which translates to "buying on behalf" - a popular way of Chinese consumers to obtain items that are purchased by someone else overseas. Recognizing the technology could make this process more efficient, Wu launched Shopshops in 2015.
Last year, the company did over 2000 interactive streaming events and each event on the average earns the boutique or retailer anywhere from $8000 per event with ShopShops taking a commission of anywhere from 15%-25% per sale. There is no upfront cost for the retailer and events are hosted outside of normal business hours to ensure their no disruption to the boutique's normal operations.
Cross-border e-e-commerce sales originating from China accounted for more than $100B in 2017 and Alibaba has extremely active in the space. Investors have taken notice, also. Shopshops has raised a total of $20.1M in funding and is backed by prominent investors that include GGV Capital, Founder Collective, Union Square Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Third Kind Venture Capital, and TCG Capital.

Stephen Kuhl


Anyone who has experienced a move in New York knows what a pain point it can be to have transition furniture that may or may not fit your new digs. Ikea partially solved this by offering cheap affordable furniture items that were essentially disposable because the quality didn't always ensure that your furniture would survive a move. But at a certain point in life for New Yorkers, Ikea furniture should no longer be a viable option. Stephen Kuhl, Cofounder and CEO of Burrow, set out to offer a line of modular, customizable furniture that is aesthetically pleasing without breaking the bank that can handle the most difficult of all moves.
Founded in 2016, Burrow currently offers a line of couches and other seating options that can be customized in terms of appearance and size, with plans to expand to other areas of the furniture market. All of Burrow's products are shipped to a customer's door in modular boxes, which saves a tremendous amount on shipping and these savings are passed on to the consumer - not to mention there's no standard retail market up from all the players in the conventional furniture supply chain. The couches can be assembled AND taken apart in minutes - something that has not been available in an industry that hasn't benefitted from any innovation in years.
Under Kuhl's direction, the company has moved its manufacturing from Mexico to the US and plans to open up more manufacturing facilities. The company operates two offline locations - one in Soho and another in Chicago where consumers can try out and sit on the couches. Backed by some prominent venture firms and angels that include Y Combinator, NEA, Cyrus Massoumi, and Justin Kan, Burrow is redefining what it means to own furniture.

Zachariah Reitano


The rise of New York's innovation economy has been headlined by several category-leading direct-to-consumer companies that have been able to successfully scale. However, Ro is one of the first NYC holding companies that is doing it across several brands.
Zachariah Reitano, Cofounder and CEO, founded Ro with Rob Schutz and Saman Rahmanian as a health technology company that provides personalized healthcare. Since its founding in 2017, Ro has built three end-to-end verticals - Roman (treatment of male sexual dysfunction), Rory (women's healthcare), and Zero (smoking cessation).
In all three businesses, patients can quickly and affordably discuss their treatment options with a licensed physician and then have the prescribed treatment filled with a few clicks. Through the multiple brands, Ro can shrewdly take advantage of shared services and resources like medical expertise, customer service, fulfillment, and e-commerce infrastructure - not to mention the potential for future cross-marketing and data opportunities. For example, the company has already built it's a proprietary physician EMR, pharmacy software, and pharmacy fulfillment center.
With Reitano at the helm, Ro has been able to attract some of the best physicians in the world, ranging former US Surgeon Generals to Medical Program Directors at prestigious universities, to serve as medical advisors to help make healthcare more accessible through technology.
Ro has been able to raise $176.1M with marquis investors like BoxGroup, FirstMark, General Catalyst, Initialized Capital, Slow Ventures, and Torch Capital. As the D2C boom continues in New York, Ro is well-positioned to truly capitalize on economies of scale through its family of a category of leading healthcare brands that are redefining how we approach medical treatment.

Marketing Architects

Marketing Architects is an advertising agency with a 22-year history of helping companies reach major milestones. By investing our own capital into each TV campaign, we disrupt the high costs and low accountability of traditional agencies to move performance brands forward and company growth upward. Fast-growing brands such as Touch of Modern, Brandless, Coursera, and Simple Habit work with us to drive high-impact business results from TV.

Rodney Manzo


While most e-commerce companies that are making headlines are direct-to-consumer, front-of-the-house operations, there is an entire aspect of building a successful e-commerce business that often gets overlooked - the supply chain. In a world where Amazon will sell you virtually anything and ship it to you in two days, any brand that wants to make an impact needs to be fast and efficient. Rodney Manzo, the Founder and CEO of Anvyl, understands the importance of an evolving e-commerce supply chain better than anyone else.
Manzo has built more than 15 years of experience in supply chain management starting at his time in the Army to roles at Apple and Harry's. Manzo has built solutions that resulted in multimillion dollars savings and he is bringing that knowledge to modern brands that are focused on delivering solid customer experience through a managed and transparent supply chain. Launched in 2017, Anvyl is an end-to-end management tool and production hub that enables companies to optimize and manage all aspects of the supply chain.
E-commerce companies must be agile and capable of anticipating change from all the data-driven insights that are being religiously tracked, even when your supplier or manufacturing may be operating on a paper/pencil, fax machine, or simple spreadsheet model. Anvyl's platform was built with design in mind, make it easy to use for all relevant stakeholders. The company counts popular direct-to-consumer brands like hims, Swell, Lola, and Harry's as loyal customers where bloated solutions like SAP and Netsuite just don't make sense. The company has raised a total of $11.8M in funding and is backed by investors that include First Round Capital, Redpoint, Dan Rose, Kevin Ryan, Shan-Lyn Ma, and Ben Kaufman.
Direct-to-consumer founders in NYC and across the US can now rest assured that managing the supply chain is something that they can take off their plate thanks to Anvyl.

Eric Kinariwala


Not only are 7 out of 10 Americans taking prescription medication according to the Mayo Clinic, but also the per capita pharmaceutical spend in the US exceeds $1100 per annum. Serving this massive market is Capsule, the online pharmacy and delivery service that you'll recognize from the ubiquitous ads that are plastered all over the NYC subways and on the tops of thousands of NYC cabs.
Founder and CEO Eric Kinariwala founded Capsule in 2015 to leverage technology to rebuild the pharmacy industry. Starting his career at Bain Capital and Perry Capital, Kinariwala spent several years investing in the healthcare, retail, and technology spaces. But it was his personal experience with a headache and a corresponding trip to the pharmacy that led him to know the status quo was broken and he set out to redesign the pharmacy experience not only for the consumer but all stakeholders - doctors, hospitals, insurers, and manufacturers.
Today, your physician can electronically file a prescription and Capsule guarantees that you'll receive your medication delivered to you in under two hours in the city. The company's model allows consumers to chat with experienced pharmacists in person, by phone, SMS, chat, or email if you have any questions. The company is now expanding outside of the city to bring the customer-centric service nationwide.
Capsule is backed by investors that include TCV, Thrive Capital, Sound Ventures, Virgin Group, and Glade Brook Capital Partners and has raised $270M in funding over four rounds.

How to Use TV to Drive Your Acquisition

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