Interview: Matt Warren, CEO of Veeqo
Globally, ecommerce is worth trillions, and Swansea-based Veeqo is one of the tech start-ups revolutionising the industry. It’s a platform that helps online retailers increase their sales.
Serial entrepreneur Matt Warren set up the business in 2013 after struggling with the pains of running an internet retail store. He speaks to Tech Dragons about his company’s success and Welsh technology.
TD: Who are you and what does your business do?
MW: My name is Matt Warren and I’m the CEO & Founder of Veeqo, a software company designed to help online retailers increase their sales. Ecommerce retailers can save valuable time by managing their entire ecommerce operation from our single, cloud-based platform.
Veeqo handles orders from multiple sales channels, integrates directly with the world’s largest shipping couriers and allows you to carry out all your accounting requirements in just a few clicks.
All of this saves online retailers a huge amount of time to focus on what’s most important – growing their ecommerce business.
TD: Why did you set the business up?
MW: After spending 12 years running my own ecommerce business, I was continually finding my time being absorbed attending to various operational issues.
This was very frustrating as I wanted my attention to be on increasing sales. But figuring out how to sell across multiple channels without the operational headache was proving to be increasingly difficult.
I couldn’t find a solution that really gave me everything I wanted – so I created Veeqo!
TD: What problem is it solving?
MW: I know from personal experience that the more an ecommerce business grows, the more operational challenges arise. More and more time is invested in keeping everything running smoothly, with little being left over to work on further growth.
Veeqo solves this problem by allowing online retailers to manage everything all in one place. This means managing orders from any sales channel, updating business-wide inventory, completing shipping, reporting and accountancy can all be done in one platform.
Ultimately, this saves a monumental amount of time, energy and resources for ecommerce businesses and allows them to focus on the most important thing – growth.
TD: What makes your business unique?
MW: Our platform is a genuine all-in-one solution for ecommerce retailers. Everything you need to manage and grow your online retail business is inside Veeqo.
This is very different to our competitors, where you’re expected to use different software for the various parts of your business. With Veeqo, you can run your entire ecommerce business from a single app.
TD: How does the platform work?
MW: The platform works by communicating with various other websites and services you may use in order to aggregate all the information into one place.
We integrate with a multitude of sales channels and shopping carts as well as various shipping and accounting partners. All this can then be managed from inside Veeqo with many practices being automated and systemised to save huge amounts of time.
TD: What’s been your biggest success, and biggest obstacle?
MW: In terms of obstacles, we’ve definitely had our fair share at Veeqo. There were a few occasions during the early years where we had nothing in the bank while in the middle of trying to raise more funding.
Another obstacle has definitely been finding ambitious and talented people. I know if Veeqo is to be the best then we need the best people working for us. This can be challenging when not based in a major capital city, but I’m delighted we’ve managed to overcome this.
My biggest and proudest success, however, has to be what we’ve managed to achieve with Veeqo so far despite these obstacles. In the past four years, Veeqo has gone from a single idea to a seven figure global business with over 500 customers and a team of over 40 people working all over the world.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
MW: Firstly, we plan to have truly dominated the UK market. We already have a really strong footprint in the UK. But over the next 12-18 months we’ll be working hard to establish Veeqo as the most popular choice for UK-based ecommerce retailers.
Secondly, we are going to be expanding into new territories. We have plans to open an office in North America in 2018, and will also further expand our reach in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
TD: What do you think of Welsh tech?
MW: I’m extremely proud to be able to call Veeqo a Welsh tech startup. There are some fantastic Welsh tech businesses out there and it’s great to see even more coming through all the time.
We’ve recently attracted some world-class talent from all over the world to fill three senior roles at Veeqo. I don’t think this would have been possible just a few years ago. The more the industry thrives in Wales, the more innovation, jobs and high-level talent will be attracted.
TD: Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
MW: First of all, I’d say that it’s important to only work on something that really matters to you. Make sure it’s something you’re truly passionate about. Do that, and it won’t feel like work – it will feel like your mission.
Once you’ve found that thing, go for it with everything you have while accepting there will be setbacks and bumps in the road. Be brave, take risks and have no regrets about it.
I’d also mention how crucial it is to learn from someone who’s been there and done what you want to do. Go out and find a mentor who will help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone, regardless of how ‘big’ their reputation. You’ll be surprised how often people will say yes.