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Startup Spotlight #179: Orderlion
Orderlion was founded in 2018 by Stefan Strohmer (CEO) and Patrick Schubert (CTO) to make the global food supply chain more sustainable by helping food suppliers to digitize their key business process
Author’s Note: Apologies for the delay in today’s article!
Orderlion was founded in 2018 by Stefan Strohmer (CEO) and Patrick Schubert (CTO) to make the global food supply chain more sustainable by helping food suppliers to digitize their key business processess. The two co-founders raised about $2M seed funding in 2020 and have since grown the team to 10 people. The startup’s product is currently being used by customers in 4 countries (DACH market & UK). With a total transaction volume of $65M and recent monthly growth of over 40%, Orderlion has seen strong early adoption despite the COVID-19 crisis that continues to severely impact the global food industry. Orderlion is the third venture that Stefan Strohmer and Patrick Schubert co-founded together, combining 10 years of knowledge and expertise gained from their previous B2B consulting agency that was already focused on the food supply chain. After living and working in Europe as well as in the US, they saw how food suppliers all over the world are struggling to properly digitize their business processes to stay competitive and reduce food loss and decided to tackle this challenge.
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Startup Spotlight: Orderlion
Problem: As every single person on our planet has to eat, the food supply chain is one of the world’s largest industries - but most suppliers and wholesalers along the food supply chain still heavily rely on old technology like fax and answering machines to handle the orders from their B2B customers every day. Manually processing thousands of orders this way is grossly inefficient, leads to errors, causes food loss, and also reduces upselling potential.
Market: Food is sourced all over the world, getting exported, imported, and transported to reach supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, and subsequently end consumers: In total, the food supply chain moves $2 trillion of goods every year. In the US and Europe alone, about ½ million food & beverage suppliers are doing daily deliveries to serve hospitality businesses and stock the shelves of grocery stores.
Solution: With Orderlion, food suppliers and wholesalers can easily launch their own ordering app that allows their customers - mostly restaurants, bars, and hotels - to do their daily ordering in only a matter of seconds. Our platform allows suppliers to process all their orders digitally, saving them countless hours every day while also connecting them even closer to their customers by equipping them with tools for sales automation, upselling, and customer service.
Team: Our approach of product leadership made my co-founder Patrick and I focus early on hiring strong engineering, product, and sales talent from all over the world. We are currently a 10-person team with a remote-first culture and experience from renowned growth companies like Zalando or Groupon.
Strohmer: When working on a B2B product that is being used every day by lots of different customers, you are faced with a multitude of use cases. You constantly have to choose which ones are relevant. That’s why having a deep understanding of the industry you are serving is crucial. Thanks to having founded and run specialized consulting firms before, we had the chance to develop such an understanding before launching Orderlion. Ever since starting the company, it has allowed us to stay on course and focus on what makes our product unique. This also means saying no to a lot of edge-case requests and to fully trust in the vision we have for Orderlion. Despite customers knowing what they want, sometimes they lack the ability to see what they actually need to bring their business to the next level.
Strohmer: Having an excellent team is key to building a successful business. Finding the right talent can be very difficult and time-consuming though. It also means that at times, you need to wait for the right person and to keep looking for someone. It is better to “simply” leave the position open for longer than you thought. In the end, you can’t compromise on hiring quality talent.
Strohmer: Charge for your product from day one. When you sell your product for actual money, it becomes obvious very quickly whether the problem you are trying to solve is actually as big for the customer as you think it is. But you also have to be willing to change your product, your pricing, and even your business model in the early days as you don’t know what works best from the start. It is actually the right thing to stop working with paying customers if your revised product strategy doesn’t align anymore with their needs. When you’re fundraising though, don’t call it revenue - call it ‘monetization tests’. You don’t want your valuation to be based on a multiple of early, potentially low initial revenues.
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