Kiwi-founded TradeGecko.com, a cloud-based inventory and sales company, announced on April 21 that it had raised US$6.5 million (NZ$8.5 million) after its latest round of fundraising. Led by NSI Ventures and Jungle Ventures, the inflow of cash follows the 1,100 per cent growth TradeGecko has experienced in the past year.
“We already have customers in over 100 countries, so the need for our product is world-wide,” says TradeGecko chief executive and co-founder Cameron Priest.
“We will be concentrating to bring a better product with better support for our customers. That’s why we will be opening offices in the US and Australia and creating way more integrations for our customers.”
Singapore-based TradeGecko was founded in January 2012, after Priest, his brother Bradley – who serves as TradeGecko’s CTO – and Carl Thompson thought they could improve the online inventory management process.
“It's a seedy business, dominated by Excel spreadsheets, manual ordering process, massive human errors, tonnes of returns due to bad ordering,” says Priest.
“Imagine just sourcing to find the suppliers that can sell you items at wholesale prices. Consumers love the convenience of walking into a wine shop and picking up a bottle. However, [if] your wine guy spends hundreds of hours, sourcing his wine, making calls, visiting his distributors, filling out purchase forms – it’s painful. Welcome to the underbelly of wholesale or business to business commerce. That retailer that you love so much down the street goes home at night and cries because they are concentrating on operations rather than growing their business.”
In late 2012, TradeGecko acquired US$650,000 (NZ$850,000) in seed funding, then, three years later, there are plans to further expand its workforce from a team of 60 to about 200 employees.
“The tipping point occurred when we connected Xero and Shopify to TradeGecko,” says Priest.
“With these integrations, we broke down the silos by having TradeGecko be one centralised platform.”
Despite Priest’s high praise for his company, TradeGecko is part of a crowded e-commerce field which includes Unleashed Software, Netsuite, DEAR Systems and Stitch Labs – all of which help connect suppliers with online retailers. Although TradeGecko is based in Singapore and has offices in Manila, Priest is quick to point out the company’s Kiwi roots.
“Although the company set its roots in Singapore, the NZ culture is still apparent every day in the office, which is very un-Singaporean,” says Priest.
For Kiwi start-ups to thrive, added Priest, they need to think internationally.“New Zealand is a fantastic place for talent, but to scale big NZ start-ups need to be thinking of international markets straight away,” he says.
“New Zealand start-ups will also get better valuations with oversea investors where the quantity of investment capital is immensely larger.”