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What is Duffl's approach to LTV, payback periods, and LTV to CAC ratios given the four-year time frame of college attendance?

David Lin

Co-founder & CEO at Duffl

It is definitely right. Internally, we actually assume closer to three years, depending on when we acquire the customer, but again, I think strategy is about tradeoffs. Ikea doesn't make Italian handcrafted furniture, but they do something really, really well, and we think of ourselves in the same way.

We are going to be the best at acquiring customers cheaply. Partially, that’s because after three or four years, they're gone, but it's about becoming an integral part of their lives while they're here, where they're ordering from us multiple times a week every single week. That LTV number—I can give you a number, but I think it's kind of bullshit. How can you assume any of these factors, lifetime, frequency, cart size? If the product improves, all these metrics change.It doesn't stay consistent over the years for a startup. 

CAC is simply as low as possible, like under $10. How can you make it so most of the customers are just finding us through the product itself, through the viral features in the product, through free methods that we’ve experimented with and duplicated? Why not through the university itself? What if the university just blasted every single freshman with, “Download Duffl?” What if at the orientation they're like, "Hey, this is the library, and that's the Duffl store, and you should download that."

I think a lot can change in the future, especially when we're talking about four years, but the goal is to have LTV as high as possible and the CAC as well so the ratio is as high as possible.

Find this answer in David Lin, CEO of Duffl, on the economics of hyperlocal ultrafast delivery
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