Each week Business & Finance highlights an up-and-coming start-up, making waves in its industry. This week we speak to Freda McEnroe, CEO, Hubsku, a company simplifying e-commerce for small businesses.
What is it?
Irish people are spending €4bn per year on retail products online and this is still the fastest growth area of retail. Approx. 70% of this spend is with businesses outside of Ireland.
Setting up an online business to serve this need takes a lot of effort and money; you need access to a wide range of products at great prices, and an ability to manage and maintain that online offering. To succeed in eCommerce, you need to beat the odds because up to 80% of ecommerce businesses fail within 18 months.
Hubsku simplifies online selling by providing resellers with a fully stocked online shop in less than 5 minutes. HubSku is a platform that connects multiple product suppliers into a hub creating a virtual warehouse of products, that are available for resellers to sell.
With a simple click, the reseller can add selected product groups into the reseller shop, giving the reseller a professional online presence with thousands of products, all perfectly showcased and categorized. Stock availability is centrally controlled with products delivered directly to the end customer. Hubsku manages all the time-consuming operations of online selling, leaving the reseller free to focus on selling and marketing the products.
Who’s behind it?
HubSku was founded by Freda McEnroe, who has a background in IT and marketing, supported by Kamil Barski, platform architect and a team of web developers. Both founders have 10 years’ experience in software as a service, within the travel software sector. Travel was the first industry to connect the supply chain, eliminating the need for agents and tour operators to hold an allocation of hotel beds and other services. By connecting the supply chain, all parties got access to the same availability, allowing smaller operators with the correct software connections to compete with larger operators and provide a service to their local markets. HubSku replicates this “integrated model” for the physical product market sector, giving local and smaller businesses a real chance of competing with online retailers.
How is it funded?
HubSku was successful in the 2018 Female Entrepreneur Competitive Start Fund and received an investment of 50K from Enterprise Ireland. It is also trading in the petfood sector, providing animal rescues with online shops to sell pet food.
The HubSku model applies to any sector that is at least partially reliant on resellers to get the product to market and where e-commerce is a successful channel. The disruption potential is huge – you don’t need a physical presence to sell, you only need to have a customer base and a strong value proposition. HubSku aims to be the “go-to” point for any person or business who has an audience or customer base, and would like to increase their revenue by offering them appropriate products online. HubSku opens up a new and cost-effective way to get products viewed by customers, using the local retailer or advocate to spread the word via social media and their online communication channels.
HubSku is actively seeking partnerships with distributors/manufacturers who want to exploit the online route to market via a network of resellers. They are also able to license the software to interested parties.