SuperDisty supplies the software that helps online retailers to source products, writes Trish Dromey
WHILE online retailers across the globe have been working on ways of making online shopping easier for consumers, Dublin start-up SuperDisty has been working on software which makes it easier for manufacturers and distributors to supply those online retailers.
“Online shopping has opened up huge opportunities for suppliers but also created huge difficulties for them since they have to meet demanding rules and regulations set by online retailers. Their difficulties are increased by the fact that each online retailer has different requirements,” reveals SuperDisty CEO and founder Elaine Ralph.
In 2015, her company launched on the market with a software product designed to allow manufacturers and distributors to sell directly to online retailers such as Amazon, Google, and eBay. “Our cloud portal sits between our customers’ internal system and that of the online retailer and manages the new business processes,” explains Ms Ralph.
She says SuperDisty’s software is more comprehensive than existing products on the market and expects this to give the company a competitive edge as it develops sales internationally.
Now selling to seven Irish companies which use it to manage global transactions, the company has recently signed its first export customer. “Last year our software was used to manage €10m worth of business for customers selling into nine European countries. This year we plan to take on new clients in the UK and Germany.”
SuperDisty’s software was originally developed as an in-house product for Memory Bank, an IT distribution company set up in 1995 by Ms Ralph and her business partner Gay Nolan.
Having successfully used the software to grow sales for Memory Bank, Ms Ralph identified an opportunity to set up a separate company to commercialise the software.
Establishing SuperDisty (short for Super Distribution) at the Synergy Centre in Tallaght in early 2015, she took on one developer and set out to verify that the software which worked so well for the online selling of IT products, could work equally well in other areas.
She started out by offering free 90-day trials to large Irish distribution companies and by enrolling in the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Programme for start-ups.
“I’d been running a distribution company for 22 years, but running a software company was a different ball game and I availed of all the support on offer,” she says.
The majority of the companies that signed up for the trial went on to become paying customers, which meant SuperDisty began generating revenue very quickly. “We charge a transaction fee for each sale made through our portal. Our selling point is that, since it doesn’t involve upfront costs, this is a cost-effective way for customers to grow their business.”
During 2015 and 2016, SuperDisty worked on enhancing the software and creating a single portal which provides customers with access to a range of online retailers including Amazon Europe, and Lazada in East Asia and will soon include eBay and Alibaba.
By the end of last year the company was ready to begin selling internationally. Ms Ralph raised €225,000 in an Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme and secured matching funding from Enterprise Ireland as part of the High Potential Start Up programme.
“This allowed us to increase our staff size to six. We are still recruiting and plan to double our headcount within 12 months,” she says. During 2016, SuperDisty began negotiations with a large UK-owned distribution company which has operations across multiple industries in the UK, Ireland, France, and Spain. “We have now signed contracts and are rolling out the solution. This is our first export customer and out biggest project to date,” says Ms Ralph. SuperDisty is now focusing on companies supplying consumer products. This year the company aims to see its software used to manage €20m worth of business for clients. By 2019, Ms Ralph expects SuperDisty to have expanded into the US and to have grown turnover to €3m.
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