Ten startups from Eindhoven have been honoured with the Gerard and Anton Award 2016. The jury of the awards thinks these ten have all it takes to follow the footsteps of Gerard and Anton Philips who, 125 years ago, formed the first truly successful startup in the region. Every day we highlight one of those startups. Today: Sendcloud
The new office still looks a bit empty. There’s noting more than some desks, computers and a screen with a direct connection to Munich. “Ok, it’s not finished yet, but then again it is very cool.”
Sendcloud reached the startup to watch top-10 and E52 is visiting its team.
The jury about Sendcloud:
Quiet but powerful. Born out of frustration, like so many other startups . SendCloud gives small webshops the opportunity to offer the same service as large companies.
Thanks to their plugins, Sendcloud makes sending packages quick and easy for webshops. Sabi Tolou – one of the three founders – leads us around. Since last May Sendcloud is housed in a new building, covering two complete floors of a building at the Insulindelaan in Eindhoven. The old office on the top floor of BounceSpace had become too small. The company operates in Germany with offices in Munich, Belgium is served from the Netherlands. Later this year, the startup expands to France. The objective is to be active in all large European e-commerce countries within two years. “And then we’ll head to the United States!”
It all started about 4 years ago. Sabi Tolou, Bas Smeulders and Rob van den Heuvel are working for a major telecom provider. There they notice the huge market for phone accessories. “It was like gold.” The three start their own shop for which they import everything as cheap as possible from China. “It was great to combine with our studies,” says Sabi Tolou. The shop is a success and the three get busier. “All three of us had our education, our job at the phone store as well as the webshop. Not any free time was left, you can imagine. Especially the logistics process was hell. Continuously moving mailing lists from our system into the system of the carrier, a terrible job.” Tolou rubs his hands through his hair and rocks in his chair, he is full of energy. “One day we were drinking beers on a terrace and started wondering how we could improve that process. It was just so frustrating because of all the time we spent on this. That’s when the idea of Sendcloud was born.”
How does it work?
“Internet shops that use our plugins get rid of the endless retyping of mailing lists. They have all their shipping labels in one click, which saves an incredible amount of time. And they don’t need to sign contracts with a carrier because we have already done that for them.” Tolou starts laughing. “You know, there are still companies that have hired people to do this full time. Come on, you would know ways to spend your time a lot more useful, wouldn’t you?”
But that’s not all, Tolou says. “In our first webshop, we missed feedback, we didn’t exactly know where our packages were about. We also received many inquiries from customers. They mailed or called where their orders were located, we couldn’t tell them. The plugins have an automatic feedback so that everyone knows exactly where the package is and when it will be delivered. Which is mutually convenient.”
The startup is growing fast, in 2015 the founders decide to expand the business to Germany. “This was too soon, we learned afterwards. But it was incredibly educational. In Germany you have to deal with a different business culture and the laws are different. We knew too little about the German transport market. Moreover, our German employees did not know how we wanted to work as a company. The solution is for them to get here to Eindhoven, so everyone in the team has the same goals in mind. In the mean time, we learned how the German market and legislation are regulated. This is the way we will also enter the other foreign markets.” Tolou gets up and walks to another room where a TV is hanging on the wall. “Look here, we have a constantly active live connection to Munich, we do not need to call in or anything. If something is going on and we need to discuss something then there is contact.”
“But the most important thing we have learned is that you should always act, even if you do not succeed. Yes, you fail, but you gained a new experience. Sure, it sounds so cliché but it’s really true. People sometimes have great ideas and are full of energy. But then they keep on lingering in the idea. To those people I keep saying: stop complaining, just go do it!”
Sendcloud will remain in Eindhoven?
Tolou starts laughing: “Of course we will settle all over the world, but our HQ will always be in Eindhoven.”