Get to know ACE startup founders & find out what drives them!
The ACE-List: We are proud and excited to introduce our awesome startup founders. The ACE-List is a regular installment where startup teams from the ACE Incubation Program introduce themselves and share a little insight into their startup journey!
Industry: Platform / Retail
Founded in: 2018
Meet the founders!
Nancy is the founder and CEO, who has been in Retail Sales Management and Business Development for over 14 years working with National Retailers in the Food & Beverage industry in North America, such as Walmart, Costco and CVS.
After 6 years in Canada, Nancy moved back to the Netherlands and started working as Key Account Manager for Unilever and L’Oréal where she managed some of the country’s largest accounts such as Albert Heijn, Etos and Makro. She later joined a product design Start-up in the Consumer Electronics Industry, where she worked with retailers through distributor partnerships in 12 countries within the EMEA region.
Pierre is the CTO and he has over 12 years of experience in the information technology and telecommunications industries working for Fortune 500 companies in North America and Europe. He has an expertise in complex software solution deployments and cloud infrastructures.
Tradesnest scales innovative companies in new markets faster.
How did you come up with your startup idea?
The idea came up when Nancy joined a start-up company where her task was to get the company’s new product innovations on retailers’ shelves and that proved to be a huge challenge. Retailer buyers don’t have time to sit down with smaller players, even if their product is successful and won many innovation awards.
Retailers preferred to work with local distributors that could present several new products in one meeting, saving them lots of time and energy. Moreover, distributors can reduce shipping time, as the products are available in their local warehouse, and they can handle product returns. For smaller players, the only option to list their products at the retailers is to find a distributor with whom they can partner. Unfortunately, finding a distributor can be as challenging as finding a retail buyer.
We tried many ways to find distributors from cold calling, trade associations and trade shows, but it was either inefficient, very time consuming or very expensive. There had to be a better solution for brands to connect with distributors. A solution that would help companies save a lot of time and money. This is how Tradesnest idea came to life.
What is your company’s unique proposition?
We are the no.1 global platform that brings together quality Consumer Electronic Brands and Distributors. Tradesnest enables long lasting and successful business relationships through a B2B platform where brands and distributors can meet and perform transactions taking advantage of an escrow system that provides security to both parties. Our team also guides the brands and distributors with any help they might need regarding sales strategy, negotiation and contracts.
What has been your ACE moment?
I knew from experience the problem was significant from the brands point of view to find a quality trusted distributor with whom you can build a long-term partnership.
I was less aware of how the experience was on the distributor’s side, who, also, attended many trade shows every year hunting for new innovations to present to their retail clients.
My “ACE” moment occurred when interviewing multiple distributors who repeatedly told me how tiring it was for them to go from one trade show to another hoping to discover new innovations. They had enough of visiting tens of trade shows per year where they would be spending long days walking from booth to booth.
How has your academic background benefited you in running a company?
Understanding the pain brands feel searching for the right distributors to enter in new markets is something we have experienced first-hand for many years. That experience benefits us when having discussions with companies facing the same challenge and wishing there was a solution out there like Tradesnest.
These companies know that we understand their difficulty and trust that our knowledge of the entire ecosystem gives them an advantage to grow on an international level successfully.
How did the pandemic (positively or negatively) affect you in the past year?
Generally, the effect of the pandemic for Tradesnest has been positive as global trade shows are cancelled and more companies are seeking for new and better ways to find their distributor business partners. It is the same situation for distributors, who are also looking for new and innovative products to present to their retail buyers.
How did the ACE incubation program contribute to your growth?
ACE program’s greatest assets are the people, the ACE team, coaches and mentors that guide us in making the right decision moving forward with the company. Moreover, being part of ACE opened our mind to new approaches, gave us access to a wide range of valuable resources and helped us strengthening our business idea.
What is the best advice you could give someone who wants to start their own business?
Do your research, find quickly a way to confirm if this idea is viable. If yes, go for it with all your heart and soul (and join an incubator in the process). Otherwise, refine it or start again with a new idea!
What are your next steps for the new year?
Onboarding our clients and network on our platform and help innovative Startups and SME’s grow their business internationally. We are currently focussing on onboarding Consumer Electronic brands and distributors and then move horizontally to other industries like Food & Beverage and Beauty & Personal Care, where we are already receiving inquiries for.
At the same time, we want to offer a 360-degree solution for the brands and distributors by making all transactions, shipping, contract set up as easily as possible through the Tradesnest platform.
How can someone who is interested in you or your startup contact you?
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