Leading a B2C to B2B pivot at Kooky while Transforming Partner Experience and Streamlining Product Processes

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The Client: Kooky

Scan. Drink. Drop.

Kooky gives consumers reusable coffee cups with a seamless drop-off into IoT-enabled collection boxes to promote environmental sustainability and reduce waste.

Pre-pivot to B2B, the business model worked as follows: customers can buy or rent a kooky cup, use it to get their drink, and then return it to one of the authorized drop-off locations after they are finished. Then, Kooky sterilizes and cleans the cup, and this is how the cycle closes.

The Kooky Cup has a digital chip that keeps track of how often it is used and keeps track of when it is dropped off, refilled, and used. Customers can monitor their usage and keep track of their environmental impact thanks to this information being stored in the cloud and accessible via a mobile app.

Pre-pivot, Kooky was operating in a B2B2C setup serving essentially 2 types of users:

  • B2B Customers (cafes, food chains, and universities) that order and track the inventory of the Kooky cups using the Partner Experience Platform
  • End-users using the Kooky App to scan their cups when in use return these cups to the authorized drop-off locations and track their deposit

The Mission: Interim Product Manager

The initial goal was to lead the Partner Portal product team and streamline processes. The products are a back-office panel for internal usage and partner-facing software where B2B partners would order and track their cups and insights.

The product team included 12 Devs, 1 Designer, and a Product Intern reporting to the Founder & CPO.

There were 4 different product areas: Consumer, Partner Portal, Operational & Hardware. We joined the Product Team to support the Founder & CPO and take over the Partner Portal.

After an initial 3-month engagement, Kooky extended the contract with Product People by an additional 2 months.

Our Main Quest: Lead Partner Experience Development 🚀

Launch: Onboarded Very Fast

Kooky had 12 engineers who were simultaneously working on the 4 main areas. The Partner Platform was working well, however, there was no dedicated Product Manager to manage the backlog and make sure the most impactful features are defined and prioritized. Furthermore, additional support for internal communication between the Sales & Customer Success teams and Engineering as well as towards stakeholders, was needed.

We jumped in quickly and provided a helping hand by identifying responsibilities and processes based on the mission's needs. We did all of that with low maintenance trying to keep the CPO out of this as much as possible, finding the input and resources for this elsewhere, and thus freeing up his time for other operational high-importance topics.

First Deliverables and Results

  1. Took over all the teams’ rituals (Daily, Weekly Planning, cross-team Weeklies, etc) freeing up CPO’s time
  2. Jump on ideation for the next focus features with the Design Lead and defined User Stories
  3. Streamlined communication between Product, Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, and Finance teams and provided structured documentation for processes and changes

Initiative 1 - Lead Partner Experience development 💡🖼️


  • Feature launch was slow due to required coordination between several departments (Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, Finance)
  • The engineering team was unhappy about the meeting structure being too long or not having a clear focus and thus friction in feature development
  • Lack of feature documentation and cluttered backlog didn’t allow to easily split work between team members
  • Low visibility of the Product and Engineering teams’ efforts which caused friction with other teams

What has been done:

  • Designed, refined, (de-)scoped features with Engineering, Design, Product and Operational team members
  • Streamlined communication channels between Product and operational teams, established a regular cadence of meetings with them, and created relevant documentation
  • Improved processes by
    • Establishing a Retrospective meeting to streamline collecting the team’s feedback on the processes
    • Improving meeting structure which resulted in a reduced number of overtime meetings
    • Cleaning and improving backlog structure
    • Creating Product Requirement Documents for big features
    • Coaching the team on the User Story writing, using backlog, meeting structure, and async communication
  • Improved company-wide visibility of Product and Engineering teams’ by establishing a Release Notes sharing process

Initiative 2 - Loyalty Program for Partners 💵


  • Partners struggled to see the value of Kooky for their business, beyond PR related to environmental impact. This was especially important given the overhead to educate Partners’ staff and end-users on how to use the Kooky system

What has been done:

  • We supported the ideation of the Loyalty Program in close collaboration with the Design Lead
    • The Loyalty Program aimed to bring more end-users back to the outlets leading to more returned users and thus higher revenue generated with Kooky.
  • We led the development of the Loyalty Program to increase retention of end-users to partners’ outlets, which ultimately will increase outlet Sales
  • 2 big features were led from ideation to implementation:
    • Back office Infrastructure change: We introduced the distinguishment between the “Paid Plan” and “Free Plan” to be added to a customer's profiles which would then unlock/block several functionalities and in this way enable partners to be added to premium features i.e. Loyalty Program
    • Reward set up for B2B2C customers: We set up the front- and backend for B2B2C customers (e.g. cafes, food chains, universities) to join the Loyalty program and add rewards to their outlet allowing them to give out free coffee as a reward to end-users who repeatedly use Kooky cups via Loyalty Program

Initiative 3 - B2B2C ⇒ B2B pivot 🔁


  • Due to an internal scope change, Kooky decided to pivot and focus on the B2B clients
  • The Kooky infrastructure did not meet the requirements for the new business model from both Engineering and Operations. Some of the required adjustments were:
    • Ability to set custom pricing plans and custom cup flows for individual B2B partners
    • Eliminating the need to use the B2C app for B2B partners to access the Cup Return Circle
    • Removing the ability to see and access Kooky infrastructure of B2B partners for regular B2C app end-users

What has been done:

  • Collected and documented requirements from multiple client-facing stakeholders and prepared User Stories tackling necessary adjustments
  • Advised the team on the next steps and priorities

Mini-Missions: Our Side Quests

As Interim Product Managers, we supported Kooky teams with multiple other missions:

  • Tracking plan for the website
    • Problem: after the pivot, the website didn’t provide adequate structure for the inbound Sales process and was overall confusing for the Partners
    • Solution: We streamlined the inbound Sales process by preparing the tracking plan for Google Analytics for the Kooky website
  • Ordering cups feature
    • Problem: the “Order cups” page was not intuitive
    • Solution: we led the Discovery session with the designer and prepared User Stories for the change
  • Referral banner feature
    • Problem: the existing referral feature had a confusing copy for referring partners and referees and tracking of who referred who wasn’t automated
    • Solution: We identified the way to integrate the Partner Platform with the CRM tool and prepared the tickets to add automation and improve copy

Mission Achievements: Delivered Outcomes

💡 Launched Loyalty Program for Partner by coordinating with the Operations’ teams
💡 Pivoted from the B2B2C to the B2B model and set up the team for success after the pivot
💡 Streamlined internal processes (feature development, meeting structure, documentation) and coached the team on supporting them and introducing further improvements

In the Client's Own Words

Space Crew of this Mission

Associate Management Consultant
Product Management Consultant
VP/Director/Head of Product

For Clients: When to Hire Us

You can hire us as an Interim/Freelance Product Manager or Product Owner

It takes, on average, three to nine months to find the right Product Manager to hire as a full-time employee. In the meantime, someone needs to fill in the void: drive cross-functional initiatives, decide what is worth building, and help the development team deliver the best outcomes.
If you're looking for a great Product Manager / Product Owner to join your team ASAP, Product People is a good plug-and-play solution to bridge the gap.