To replace the phone calls, emails and faxes that still often serve as ordering channels for wholesalers, start-up OrderCast has developed a solution that starts… from a Google Spreadsheet. A simplistic approach that has attracted some foreign investors, including Xavier Niel’s fund.
Fax orders! As surprising as it may seem to technology and web enthusiasts, the use of this type of device remains a reality in a whole series of companies. And especially in wholesalers. Anyway, that’s what Ayoud Assaban, a young digital entrepreneur, discovered when he joined his father’s company SA Assaban, a haberdashery wholesaler, after having tried to revolutionize driving school with his start-up Benjago, then managing the Belgian branch of the Family company.
Fax orders! As surprising as it may seem to tech and web enthusiasts, the use of this type of device remains a reality across a range of companies. And especially in wholesalers. Anyway, that’s what Ayoud Assaban, a young digital entrepreneur, discovered when he joined his father’s company SA Assaban, a haberdashery wholesaler, after having tried to revolutionize driving school with his start-up Benjago, then managing the Belgian company “In the midst of the Covid crisis, business literally exploded for my father’s company”, recalls Ayoub Assaban. No wonder we sell rubber bands to professionals that can be used to make mouth masks. Interest ? “We received all orders by email or fax and had to recode all these orders, continues the young entrepreneur. At cruising speed, when we get a few orders a day, it’s playable. record more than 200 daily.” This was the trigger for Ayoub Assaban, who then set out to find an efficient and flexible solution capable of bridging these “archaic” requests and the company’s ERP systems. . ” We had an old ERP, a solution that no one wanted to change. In general, in this type of case, the CEO who doesn’t want to rush employees but still wants to find a solution turns to IT service providers to develop a bespoke solution… And this is where everyone falls into the trap: trying to connect the unconnectable. It’s long, tedious and expensive…” Ayoub Assaban doesn’t think so. It’s not necessary to develop a complete solution for an active B to B wholesaler who, in essence, only records a few (large) orders a day. “In Assaban, we are talking about six or seven orders a day, with many lines and a very high average basket”, explains the businessman. In terms of flow, on the other hand, it is very little. It is not enough to develop a connector for the ‘ERP’ This is how he had the idea that would give rise 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 a Google spreadsheet. a simple interface from which customers can place orders. A command that generates a file that will be used as is or imported into the company’s ERP, if any. This solution is very simple. And certainly not completely complete. But the founders fully assume.” He meets 80% of wholesalers’ needs, specifies Ayoub Assaban. payments. That must change. On the other hand, what we will never do is design and graphics for the order pages. Just as we will not develop specific functionality upon request from certain wholesalers.” OrderCast wants to position itself as a software as a service (SaaS), applicable to a maximum of different wholesalers. Our business model is also modeled on SaaS with your monthly subscription. that our start-up does not charge installation costs and determines a price tailored to the needs of the client company and its activities. 8,000 euros per month”, specifies the co-founder of OrderCast. Dear ? “We don’t charge installation fees and these fees pay themselves quickly when you know that 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 “Hand coding takes time and carries the risk of errors. It’s clearly not profitable.” Of course, OrderCast isn’t the only player in the niche. For example, Mangeto, the creator of commercial websites, offers this type of solution, but it usually requires the use of specialized agencies for its implementation. Other integrated solutions also exist. But OrderCast mostly depends on the simplicity of its approach. A positioning that visibly attracted a number of investors. OrderCast, which currently employs five people, recently raised €3 million from international venture capitalists, including Hoxton Ventures (an early investor in Deliveroo), Epic Games, Verissimo Ventures and Kima Ventures, the fund owned by Frenchman Xavier Niel. Investors that Ayoub Assaban managed to reach thanks to the network he developed when he was in charge of the Belgian branch of the French incubator The Family. With exclusively non-Belgian shareholders, OrderCast will establish its company in London. However, there are still some hurdles that the young tech company will have to overcome. Starting with the sometimes very long sales cycles (six months) with wholesalers: “one of the biggest obstacles to expansion”, admits Ayoub Assaban. And then, the inadequacy of the solution for certain wholesalers: those who work in perishable products or in the cold chain. “In these cases, the activity requires hyper-frequent changes to the Google Sheet file grouping the products, admits the founder. So by solving one problem, we create another. We therefore thought of excluding wholesalers from these sectors. that Europe has no less than 1.8 million wholesalers, according to Ayoub Assaban, “including not far from the 20% that are not digitized.” A solid playground for the young shoot that, today, only has a small handful of European customers… but hopes to reach 1 million euros in turnover within a year.