Interview with Francesco Grillo, Co-Founder and CEO at Steel Available
In 50 words or less tell us about your business.
Steel available is an online marketplace for steel products. We make sourcing easier, faster and transparent for heavy industries around the world.
By building trust, Steel Available matches specific requirements of our clients with the expertise of our pre-qualified suppliers, and available stocks worldwide, making deals happen! We aim to push digital transformation to this market!
What’s the founder’s background?
For the last 10 years, Francesco has been managing industrial companies focused on delivering the most efficient and safest technologies for clean energy, both downstream and upstream, to the Asian consumers and companies.
Having spent 10 years in Asia, Francesco has developed cross-cultural sensitivity and a clear understanding of the key dynamics of doing business in Asia, as well as the impact of China globally.
With those two qualities, combined with a deep knowledge of the heavy industries, he wanted to create a way to simplify the supply chain process and make it super-productive for all related stakeholders! He is now based in HK.
Tell us about Steel Industry in HK/Asia/Internationally.
The steel industry is a market worth US$980 B a year and 68% of the production is in Asia Pacific which is a significant growth compare to 11% in 1960. The whole industry employs around 8 million people around the world that is more than Hong Kong population. Moreover, all renewable energies rely on steel meaning that our future relies on steel.
For us, Hong Kong is the right choice to settle because we are in the middle of the market and close to new projects in Asia. The dynamism of HK’s ecosystem is driving us through the collaborative business approach and digitalization trend.
What’s the most challenging thing about building your business?
Being recognized as game changer in a conservative market such as heavy industries is an exciting challenge! Currently in two accelerator programs, blueprint sponsored by Swire and Startup Next powered by Techstars, already dealing with our clients and suppliers, our biggest challenge is definitely time management. Everyday we prioritize and everyday we are getting caught by time. Our team is growing but finding talents in HK can be a challenge too!
What was your most memorable moment so far?
The validation phase is the most exciting part. We are used to learning from any type of feedback, and we value any suggestion. Last week one important client gave us an enthusiastic feedback: “The world of e- and digital. Fast, accurate, reliable and above all what the big EPC expects”.
In 5 years from now: How did your startup change the world?
We aim to build a community-based network of experts and a trust-based sourcing platform, accessible to small enterprises and big corporations. In 5 years, we can see our clients having learner structures and faster ROI.
What do you think of the startup scene in Hong Kong?
The startup scene is growing everyday in HK and we can see valuables events, panels, networking, conference, pitching contest ect almost everyday. It is becoming hard to choose the best activities to attend or organize. So many exciting stuff are happening, and we love how startups share problems and solutions and grow together. We learn something new everyday!