Alli Schaper of The Multiverse on creating the world’s first highly-curated marketplace for functional mushrooms
Describe your business in a few words?
The Multiverse is the world’s first highly-curated marketplace for functional mushrooms. We are an education-first brand, focused on empowering humans to take control of their mental and physical well-being through the fantastic powers of the fungi kingdom. Our mission is to make functional mushrooms sexy, accessible, and cool and serve as an ally to the amazing work underway in the booming psychedelics space (being used to cure everything from treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, anxiety, addictions, etc.) Underneath of The Multiverse, we’re also creating our own functional mushroom CPG brand, SuperMush, launching Summer 2021. Want to learn more? Step into The Multiverse at yourmultiverse.com.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I started my first company, Zigii, to solve my own problem of staying healthy while constantly traveling in my previous life as a corporate road warrior. I always say that Zigii was born from a combo of my woes with the healthcare system, passion for wellness, and career as a management consultant. Traveling was taking a toll on my body, and my passion for wellness led me to start Zigii. As the business grew, my passion for community building led me to simultaneously cofound M.E.S.H. a dinner series to bring together awesome humans in my network. My passion for psychedelics and mushrooms allowed me to combine all of my interests into one adventure with The Multiverse. I truly believe mushrooms and fungi can save the world, they are already disrupting every single industry from fashion to supplements to mental health. I can’t wait to contribute to this space and help elevate the best brands and thought leaders through the mushroom ecosystem and community we are creating with The Multiverse and SuperMush.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
My background is a bit random, but every aspect of my experience to date has given me invaluable tools for my current venture. I got my CPA and Masters in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin, then went into corporate consulting. I did everything under the sun, but spent a good amount of time analyzing the American healthcare system and helping stand up an internal innovation hub and venture capital arm at my firm. Someone once told me there’s no greater training for startup life than corporate America, and I couldn’t agree more.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes and no. Before starting my first company, I wouldn’t have necessarily self-identified as an entrepreneur. However, upon reflection, I realize I’ve had entrepreneurial adventures and tendencies from a young age. I’ve been spinning up and executing strange business concepts since I was a kid, starting with a dog walking business at age 10.
I’ve always been passionate about seeking unique experiences, community building, and creating the autonomy to design my life. When I broke away from the golden handcuffs of corporate life, the decision point came down to the fact that I wanted to independently decide what to do with the time I’ve been blessed with on this planet, create something that fueled my passions, and truly make a positive impact on peoples’ lives.
I’m a quote junkie, and I remember “be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire” being top of mind during the time I started my first company. The unknown and financial risk of entrepreneurship is so minimal in comparison to the upside of being the CEO of your life and your time. The biggest reward was getting to dive into the mix of an epic entrepreneurial community filled with the incredible lifelong friends I’ve met along the way…best decision I’ve ever made.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
The Multiverse is a community based brand. We are focused on building our company being education-first and community-first. We just went live at the beginning of January with our marketplace marketing through Facebook and Instagram Ads with a great response thus far. We have some awesome in-person activations in the works in LA when things open up this Summer. Our product line, SuperMush, is not yet launched, but in the same vein of The Multiverse we are planning to leverage our amazing community of investors and influencers to spread the word about the brand.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
SuperMush – the brand is inspired by the music, culture, and most iconic bands of the 60s and 70s and I can’t wait to get it out into the world!
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Everything took a lot longer than expected and the in-person magic of working with a team was definitely missed. That being said, the need for creating community was highlighted by the isolation that so many people felt during the pandemic. Events and overall community building IRL and online as a focal point of our initiatives was definitely brought to the forefront in a really positive way.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Launching our in-house brand SuperMush, building out our marketplace, and building community around both the functional mushroom and psychedelics space.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Create more than you consume.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Above all else, surround yourself with the right people that are strong in their values, mission-aligned with what you want to create, and lead with love and kindness. Destination happiness doesn’t exist, enjoy the journey–the struggles are where the magic is, and it’s all happening for you.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Good conversations with epic people, and returning to some of my favorite quotes and mantras. One that always zaps me back into perspective:
“In the end, enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do. You’re sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you’re going to be here, be happy and enjoy the experience.” – Michael A. Singer
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I strongly believe if you take care of the inside, the outside will follow. Burnout is real, and to build something sustainable I know that I have to take care of myself and live in balance. Ice baths, saunas, beach walks, friends dinners, journaling, movement, and the highest quality food are priorities to make myself the most effective and happy version of myself in the world.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a triplet, and my aunt was a surrogate for my mom to have me.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
1. Know what you’re going to do tomorrow, and write it down every night before you go to sleep. My daily to do lists are my bible, and when I’m stressed, I make lists.
2. Workout. Movement is key to happiness, and my energy and mood is drastically different
3. Artist’s Way journaling (3 pages of free thought flow/stream of consciousness) in the morning and cold showers.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
To me, being an Entreprenista means being embodied in what you say and how you act, and as someone wiser than me once said: living on the line between dreaming and delusion :).