To replace the phone, e-mail and fax calls that often still serve as order channels for wholesalers, start-up OrderCast has developed a solution that starts … from a Google Sheet. A simplistic approach that has attracted several foreign investors, including Xavier Niel funds.
Orders by fax! Although this is surprising to technology and web enthusiasts, the use of this type of device remains a reality in a whole series of companies. And especially to wholesalers. In any case, this is what Ayoud Assaban, a young digital entrepreneur, discovered when he joined his father’s company, SA Assaban, a haberdashery wholesaler, after trying to change the driving school to his start-up Benjago, then ruled the Belgian. branch of The Family.
Orders by fax! Although this is surprising to technology and web enthusiasts, the use of this type of device remains a reality in a whole series of companies. And especially to wholesalers. In any case, this is what Ayoud Assaban, a young digital entrepreneur, discovered when he joined his father’s company, SA Assaban, a haberdashery wholesaler, after trying to change the driving school to his start-up Benjago, then ruled the Belgian. branch of The Family. “In the midst of the covid crisis, business literally exploded for my father’s company”, recalls Ayoub Assaban. No wonder when we sell rubber bands to professionals who can be used to make mouth masks. Concern ? “We receive all orders by e-mail or fax and we have to re-encode all these requests,” continued the young businessman. At cruising speed, when we receive several requests a day , it’s playable. But not at all when we record more than 200 every day. ” This was the trigger for Ayoub Assaban who then set out to find an efficient and flexible solution capable of bridging these “old-fashioned” requests and the company’s ERP systems. . “We had an old ERP, a solution that no one wanted to change. Generally, in this type of case, the CEO who doesn’t want to rush to employees but still wants to find a solution turns to IT service providers to develop. of a customized solution … And that’s where everyone falls into the trap: they’re trying to connect the disconnected. It’s long, tedious and expensive … ”Ayoub Assaban judges that he doesn’t. It is not necessary to develop a full solution. for a wholesaler active in B to B who, in essence, only registers a few (large) orders per day. “In Assaban, we’re talking about six or seven daily orders, with a lot of lines and a very high average basket, the trader explains. In terms of flow, on the other hand, it’s very small. Not enough to build a connector in the ‘ERP.’ This is how he came up with the idea to give birth to a real start-up: OrderCast, launched with his partner Borys Turii.The concept? Start with the most used tool: the Excel file, or more precisely Google Sheets. This file serves as the basis for a simple interface where customers can order.A command that generates a file that will then be used as is or imported into the company’s ERP, if it exists.The solution that it is very simple. And certainly not entirely complete. But fully assumed by the founders. “It meets 80% of the needs of wholesalers, refers to Ayoub Assaban. payments. It must change. On the other hand, what we will never do is create design and graphics for the order pages. As we do not develop specific functions at the request of certain wholesalers. “OrderCast wants to position itself as a software as a service (SaaS), which is appropriate for a maximum of different wholesalers. Our business model is also modeled on SaaS with its monthly subscription. Except that our start-up does not ask for installation costs and determines a customized price according to the needs of the client’s company and its activities. ”A wholesaler that has achieved 10 million euros in turnover and has approximately -about thirty employees will pay between 5,000 and 8,000 euros per month “, specified the co-founder of OrderCast. Expensive?” We do not charge setup fees and quickly pay these rates for their yourself when you know our system can replace the recoding tasks of four to five employees in certain situations. Some orders may exceed 250 lines of different items. L “Manual encoding takes time and contains the risk of mistakes. It’s clearly not profitable.” Of course, OrderCast isn’t the only player in the niche. For example, Mangeto, the creator of commercial sites, offers this type of solution, but generally requires the use of specialized agencies for its implementation. There are also other integrated solutions. But OrderCast relies more on the simplicity of its approach. A positioning that has obviously attracted a series of investors. OrderCast, which currently employs five people, recently raised 3 million euros from international venture capitalists including Hoxton Ventures (one of Deliveroo’s first investors), Epic Games, Verissimo Ventures and Kima Ventures, the Frenchman’s fund and Xavier Niel. Investors that Ayoub Assaban was able to approach thanks to the network he built when he was in charge of the Belgian branch of the French incubator The Family. Having exclusive non-Belgian shareholders, OrderCast will set up its company in London. However, there are still some hurdles that the young technological company needs to overcome. Starting with sometimes quite long sales cycles (six months) with wholesalers: “one of the biggest barriers to expansion”, Ayoub Assaban admits. And then, the lack of a solution for some wholesalers: those active in perishable products or the cold chain. “In these cases, the activity requires frequent changes to the Google Sheet file that groups the products, the founder admits. Therefore, by solving one problem, we create another. So we think that exclude wholesalers from these sectors. ”The fact remains that Europe has at least 1.8 million wholesalers, according to Ayoub Assaban,“ including not far from 20% that are not digitized ”. A solid playground for the young shoot that, today, only has a handful of European customers … but hopes to achieve 1 million euros in turnover within a year.