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Covid-19 pandemic fuels surge in new business start-ups

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Rubin Stack, Founder of WorkWall, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss starting a business amid the pandemic and ways COVID-19 has aided in progress in the e-commerce space.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: Now, the number of entrepreneurs is booming as the pandemic fueled a surge of startups. And one of them includes our next guest who built a functional workspace desk. We're joined now by Rubin Stack, founder of WorkWall. We also have Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero joining us as well. So, Rubin, I want to know why you decided to start a business when the pandemic hit-- when so many other businesses are closing down.

RUBIN STACK: Yeah, thank you for having me on, first. I would say the idea first happened when-- I mean, I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. And I've wanted to create a business, and, in particular, one that addresses the problem, which there wasn't a solution. So when the pandemic hit, you had an influx of people that transitioned to working from home, but many were left working on kitchen counters and couches. So I saw a hole in the market in which it was providing a desk or a workspace that takes up a limited amount of space and still has a functional and chic element to it.

DANI ROMERO: And, Rubin, certainly the pandemic has changed the way that companies do business as well as consumers and what they buy. So how has this allowed you to progress in the e-commerce space?

RUBIN STACK: Yeah, it's really prompted and promulgated the idea and allowed it to succeed and be on the path it's on. At the start of the pandemic, you had companies offering working from home stipends-- so corporations like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Shopify, they were giving employees $1,000, $2,000 to be able to purchase a nice work-at-home setup. And that's been done by companies of all sizes.

So I see working from home as less of a fad and more of an ongoing trend as the proportion of companies continuing to maintain an element of working from home is just ongoing. So as companies hire additional resources, those employees are subject to receive a working from stipend. And in regards to e-commerce, right now WorkWall, the company is purely e-commerce. And over the last several years, the proportion of online furniture sales as a percentage of total furniture sales is rapidly growing. So WorkWall is really positioned well to capture these trends and solve a problem.

DANI ROMERO: And can you talk about some of the challenges you've had to face along the way, as well as like what are you currently facing now?

RUBIN STACK: Sure, yeah. So there's always a thrill of starting a business, but there's no shortage of challenges along the way. And COVID certainly created some additional ones. So at first, it was access to materials and supplies. You had a lumber shortage and a spike in pricing.

Now, we're at a point where it's beginning to recover, but there's one challenge goes away, two more seem to be created. So WorkWall is at a point where we're hyper-focused on growth, and our main objective is building brand awareness and recognition while simultaneously solving the issues that come along with scalability.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Hey, Rubin, I'm wondering if you could talk to us a little bit about how you found the seed money to start your business. Because it's my understanding that you're still an associate at a boutique advisory firm, so you're keeping that day job. But how were you able to even get the funding to do this?

RUBIN STACK: That's right, yeah. I've been working in investment banking for a few years, saved up money to be able to start the business, and will soon probably do a family and friends initial seed funding. But there was just some money that I had saved up and used that to start it.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right we're going to have to leave that there, Rubin Stack, founder of WorkWall, Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero, thank you both for joining us for this conversation.