Interview with Cameron Priest, co-founder & CEO of TradeGecko
TradeGecko makes inventory management software for wholesalers and retailers. In 50 words or less tell us about your business.
We started TradeGecko for the sole reason to assist small businesses, the makers and creators, and to this day, that purpose is still at the heart of everything we do. Our vision is to enable every small and medium commerce entrepreneur to build the business of their dreams. We see so many business owners where their business has taken over their lives and it’s gone from being a passion to a job. TradeGecko aims to change how business-to-business commerce is done by integrating your inventory system with your eCommerce stores and accounting software, addressing the real pain points of a growing business.
How/why did you get started with this business?
My co-founder, Carl, had a clothing company in NZ, Crowded Elevator if I remember the name correctly, this business went bust after a couple of years as he was struggling to run the business, get paid and design the clothes that made the whole business tick. We teamed up and tried to get a different business off the ground but there was no infrastructure for learning this stuff in New Zealand, so we jumped over from Auckland, NZ to join an incubator based here in Singapore, JFDI. We made the move for better access to international markets and easier access to capital, and also as a way to challenge ourselves with JFDI.
How did you spread the word to get customers in over 100 countries?
The first real push was working with a couple of other great SaaS products, Xero and Shopify. It was our partnerships with these two, much larger companies that drove the first couple of hundred customers. After that we invested a lot of resource in creating valuable content that help our customers solve the problems they faced day-to-day.
What do you enjoy most about this business?
The people, inside and out. Seriously I get to hire and work with some amazing people, and together we get to work with 10s of 1000s of small business owners, entrepreneurs, creators, inventors. And better yet we get to help those businesses and the people in them grow their dreams. We’ve worked with larger clients and enterprises before and they’re great for a whole bunch of other reasons. But entrepreneurial brands who are creating and scaling their businesses, be it boutique gin, or social cause companies that are really making an impact like http://www.givemetap.com/ - that’s what I love.
Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.
I’m responsible for the smooth running of our business so I’m involved in everything. Part of my responsibility is to spot and hire the talent that makes our operation possible, while engaging in business development opportunities and responding to the daily emails that flood my inbox. I also spend a lot of time thinking. I try and schedule this into my calendar as much as possible. So from 8am until 1pm I’m meeting free and working on whatever I have decided the top priorities for the week are.
What were the biggest challenges you faced building your startup?
In Asia, we’re still transiting to the cloud stage, while the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. have already moved past this. Regional awareness and education are very important, so our challenge lies in teaching the 80,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore about cloud-based order and inventory management software. And we also need to think about how to scale to support our customers globally.
Another challenge we’ve faced is in finding and retaining good talent. TradeGecko is a rapidly growing company, and as the number of employees surpass 100, we need to start helping every member of our team to map out their individual career paths. We want to ensure our employees are happy and can explore their full potential, finding people that have built the style and size of company that we’re trying to build is also difficult.
Ultimately, when a startup starts to become successful, it has to embark on the challenge of learning to become a company.
In 5 years from now: How did your startup change the world?
We will have helped a million commerce entrepreneurs build the business of their dreams. Additionally, we hopefully will have inspired dozens of other entrepreneurs to build global businesses from Singapore.
What do you think of Singapore’s Startup Scene?
Singapore’s startup scene is flourishing. The government is injecting lots of money into all sectors, and we saw the opportunity when the Singapore government decided to really invest in funding the technology scene. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars which is very little to a government, but it’s supporting hundreds of start-ups in Singapore. This investment kicked off the seed and Venture Capital industry in Singapore pretty substantially, and I think it’s great that they’re really, really trying to foster a technology economy in Singapore.
What are 3 things you want consumers to remember about your company?
- Anyone can be an entrepreneur, you just have to start. There are companies like ours to support it.
- If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well
Interview by Regina Larkö