Bindo is a cloud-based Point-of-Sale (POS) system which boasts an intuitive cash register that is able to facilitate multiple types of payments and transactions, as well as an intelligent inventory system that can assist merchants manage sales across multiple locations.
In 2015, Bindo will be releasing Bindo Marketplace: a consumer app that aggregates all merchants and products using Bindo POS onto one platform. This will allow consumers to make online purchases from their favorite neighborhood stores, and get their orders delivered directly to their doors.
Tell us about the history of your company and how you’ve got to this point?
Jason started trading all kinds of consumer electronics on eBay and Amazon in college and found that the biggest hassle while selling and shopping online was shipping. Shipping goods always ended up being tedious and expensive. He wondered why there wasn’t a local platform that could streamline sales and fulfillment – hence coming up with the idea of indexing the inventories of local businesses.
With Bindo, smaller neighbourhood merchants are able to operate their businesses more efficiently; leaving them more time to develop and nurture the relationships they have within their local communities and customers. Furthermore, by creating the Bindo Marketplace, we are opening up Bindo merchants to a whole new set of consumers who otherwise would have never discovered their stores.
Tell us about your team. Did you have all the expertise you needed to launch this product or did you have to outsource any of the components?
Bindo has two co-founders and is backed by a team of 35 in-house engineers, product designers, UX designers, business development, sales and marketing professionals.
The first Co-Founder is 30-year-old Jason Ngan, originally from Hong Kong, and is the Head Product Architect for Bindo. He comes from a physics and electrical engineering background. Before Bindo, he built high-frequency trading platforms for hedge funds, and gained experience building mission-critical scalable infrastructure
Jason’s partner, Brad Lauster, 38, is Bindo’s second Co-Founder and CEO. He ensures Bindo’s customer/user experience is second to none. Before Bindo, he worked at Intel, was an early employee of Linkedin, and also previously led Stanford University’s UX Practice.
What was the development process like? How long did it take? Did you launch the product in stages, or was the full product developed for the initial launch?
The company was initially built around the Bindo Marketplace. However, we found that there was still a looming gap between online and offline inventory synchronization, and that there was no one predominant POS system on the market that we could integrate with and be able to efficiently move everything from the stores to the marketplace. At this point, we had to pivot. We decided it wasn’t a scalable venture at the time, so we shut down the Marketplace idea temporarily and built the Bindo POS from scratch. In 2013, we launched a private beta for the Bindo POS and have since signed up over 1,000 stores. Our product team continues to add more features to the Bindo POS system everyday and we also built the product to be heavily customizable for any large enterprises seeking bespoke POS solutions. At the same time, we also understand the growing need to launch the Bindo Marketplace so targeting to have that sometime later in 2015.
What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced getting started?
The hardest challenge was getting our first few customers to use the system. Nobody likes to be the ‘guinea pig’ with new technology – especially in the Point of Sale business. POS systems are the heart of any brick and mortar store business, so it’s pretty mission-critical software. The other challenge was simply building features fast enough despite our team being significantly smaller than our competitors’. However, we listened closely to feedback from our first merchants and were smart about prioritizing the most important features. Now, we’ve pretty much got to a point where we’ve built as good a solution (if not better) than our competitors in the span of 1.5 years vs 5 years.
Did you raise funds to launch Bindo or was it self funded?
Bindo was initially funded with personal savings and with help from families. One of our very first merchants liked our product so much that he also became one of our first angel investors. This was a wine and liquor storeowner in Texas who really hated his existing POS system. We found each other by chance, he stumbled upon our merely 3-month old system, fell in love with our product, and subsequently our vision for Bindo.
As of the Spring of 2014, we raised a round of seed funding, the details of which were covered in this a TechCrunch article.
What’s next for Bindo?
We will be rolling out Bindo Marketplace in New York City and Hong Kong very shortly. The Bindo Marketplace will be a revolutionary concept that allows consumers to simply scan a barcode and find exactly which store is stocking which product. Consumers can even order directly from the app, and have their orders delivered within the hour (on-demand delivery). It is our hope that the development of the Bindo Marketplace will help to strengthen local communities of customers and merchants alike – no one left behind.