How Too Many Bad Nights of Sleep Inspired This Entrepreneur to Launch His Dream Business
A conversation about the launch and growth of mattress and bedding company Molecule.
Founded in 2017, MOLECULE is a digitally-native mattress and bedding brand whose mission is to provide people with "recovery sleep" to enhance performance. Michael Phelps, Russell Wilson, and Alex Morgan are among its high-profile ambassadors. I had the pleasure of interviewing Albert Oh, founder and CEO of MOLECULE, and we pulled back the sheets to find out how he brought his dream business to life.
Why did you decide to start a mattress company?
As an athlete and serial entrepreneur, I have always wanted to perform at peak performance — for my family, my work colleagues, my friends, and my own health, and sleep is absolutely critical to that. I realized the item I spent 1/3 of my life on wasn't cutting it for me, so I decided we could build a team to create something better.
What was your business background before you launched?
I've always been an entrepreneur. I've launched both technology B2B and B2C products, a proprietary touch interface company that later sold to Google and Verifone (acquired), a licensing network backed by Khosla, and a few others.
What separates do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
We knew we needed to have a great product and thus partnered early on with sleep scientists from Cornell University and a few sleep doctors. We learned that the average person moves 77 times per night, with the majority of that movement being attributable to heat build-up. We also saw the detriment of heat buildup in another group: bedridden hospital patients. These patients often develop bedsores, and the solution in hospitals is to install fans under the mattresses to keep air flowing. This was the "aha moment." We needed a mattress and bedding portfolio that had maximum heat dissipation and airflow and one that was supremely comfortable and supportive for our bodies. Our patent-pending top mattress layer offers this through the use of a proprietary foam and form factor.
You were recently acquired by FXI. What went into that decision-making?
We have highly respected FXI from the early days of working with them, as they have been our mattress supplier. They have unparalleled access to thousands of foam blends, many of which are proprietary, and a nationwide footprint that allows us to reach 97% of all US customers within 48 hours. So we are confident that their IP and distribution, combined with a world-class retail sales team, will propel MOLECULE to be a brand with longevity for decades to come.
What do you credit with your success in growing your business?
The driving force behind MOLECULE's banner 2021 was finding the optimal mix of digital/DTC business and wholesale partners to create a true omnichannel strategy. We also have an incredible team here at MOLECULE. It's a small but very mighty, teamwork-oriented and goal-driven group.
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