Who says SaaS is not sexy? TradeGecko has big plans
By Benjamin Cher May 31, 2016
- Entering new markets, hiring new people, expanding offerings
- Despite more international outlook, Singapore remains core
BUSINESS-to-business (B2B) startups, especially Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) players, are not considered sexy in South-East Asia, where consumer services dominate.
Don’t tell that to SaaS startup TradeGecko’s newly-minted marketing vice president Jaime Ng (pic above).
“We are definitely very exciting; our last round of Series A [funding], US$6.5 million – that is considerably big for a Singapore startup,” she says, speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore recently.
According to Ng, as a B2B startup, TradeGecko has a very different focus than a B2C (business-to-consumer) player.
“We look at customer growth and a monetisation pipeline, we measure our revenue and customer growth, and tailor our product to different vertical sectors,” she says.
With the Series A boost, TradeGecko has expanded its team and will continue to do so. “At last count we were at 63 people – we are continuously expanding,” she says.
The company is opening an office in Toronto to reach out to customers in North America, and setting up a presence in Melbourne.
“We see ourselves as a startup with a startup culture, but we also see ourselves growing into a business and expanding it with offices regionally and globally,” says Ng.
Entering the spirits realm
TradeGecko has announced its entry into the beer, wine and spirits sector, which is “gaining a bit of traction,” according to Ng.
“We see Australia and New Zealand as a great market for us – within these countries, a lot of the wineries and spirits distributors don’t have a specific product that caters for their inventory management.
“Globally, we have customers who use us from a distributor standpoint, and they are also in the beverage industry, so we saw an opportunity to make a change and dive deep into their vertical,” she adds.
This has required the company’s product and development team to gear up its platform to cater to the beverage sector.
“That said, we see TradeGecko as an OS (operating system) – it’s an engine that powers the online inventory management system for business owners,” says Ng.
“Within that, we see opportunities for us to integrate with other partners, and also cater to certain sectors … and allow them to use our platform above and beyond what general customers use it for,” she adds.
All this means the company has to be enabled to operate in different environments.
“First of all, our customer skew may change, we are going to have a bigger presence in the United States,” says Ng.
It also plans to grow out the Australian market, where small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are “more tech-savvy and more keenly interested in a solution like TradeGecko,” she says, adding that the company would focus on using partners there.
Despite its more international focus now, Singapore will remain its headquarters. There is also some measure of national pride in this decision.
“Our founders are rooted here, we believe we can build a global company out of Singapore and that’s what we set out to do,” says Ng.
Indeed, the startup hopes to make Singapore synonymous with TradeGecko. “We will love to have that,” she adds.
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