Matt Warren of Veeqo
Matt Warren founded high-growth Swansea-based software start-up Veeqo after growing frustrated with how much time he was spending working on his own ecommerce site.
At the age of just 13, Matt Warren setup a national fishing competition so he could make enough money to buy a new fishing rod.
For Matt and those that knew him, this was an early sign of things to come. He was always destined to be an entrepreneur.
Having launched his own online store Jura Watches in 2007, he sold it off to one of the UK’s largest jewellery retailers in 2015. But not without a plan B.
Just three years before selling the business, Matt had another idea, born from his frustrations whilst launching Jura’s ecommerce store.
When the store went live, Matt found himself spending more and more time working on the online side of the business and drifting away from his key tasks.
This was what inspired him to launch Veeqo, a tech start-up which prides itself on making it easier for ecommerce businesses of all sizes to manage their entire online retail operation, whilst still being able to manage all other aspects of the business.
He recalls: “Having spent 12 years in ecommerce I was frustrated that while I was trying to focus on selling, I was constantly spending time in operational issues. So much so that my ability to sell more across other sales channels was hampered because I simply couldn’t link all my systems together.
“This was what inspired me to launch Veeqo, software that helps online retailers increase their sales. It helps ecommerce retailers 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 seamlessly, 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.”
Although he had been running Jura for 12 years prior to launching Veeqo, Matt was quickly set to discover that running a software business was quite different to running a retail business.
“My first year in business definitely wasn’t what I’d describe as easy,” he adds, “but I was a lot more carefree than the 4th year! I dreamed about having 100 paying customers - I just wasn't sure how we would get there.
“When you’re launching a software product, the hardest thing is to persuade those first 10 customers to come onboard to what was frankly inferior platform at the time to its competitors. It was hard to hear from customers that we didn't have certain features, and that we were miles away from having feature parity with our competitors.”
Another issue has been finding the right staff and financing the business through tough times, as he points out: “Another challenge has been finding ambitious and talented people, every year that passes. I realise that finding the very best is key if we are going to be the best.
“Also, we’ve had to make sure we haven’t run out of money. There were a few occasions in the early years where we got to having nothing in the bank while in the middle of trying to raise more money.”
These minor setbacks didn’t stop Veeqo however and once those first 10 customers bought into the idea, Matt saw the business rocket. “The difference with Veeqo is that you can run your entire ecommerce business from a single app,” he said. “We’ve also built it so that it’s so easy to use, you don't need any training before using it.
“Our platform is all-in-one, so all you need to manage and grow your online retail business is Veeqo. Unlike our competitors, where you need to use different software for shipping compared to inventory.”
It has now been four years since Matt launched Veeqo and the company has grown from a simple idea to a business boasting a seven-figure annual turnover, employing 35 members of staff and over 500 customers spread across the globe. Right from its base in Swansea.
And it doesn’t stop there. Having raised over £1.2m from crowdfunding and attracting hundreds of investors to invest in the company, Matt has ambitious plans for the future. He concluded: “Since raising Series A funding of £1.2m on the crowdfunding platform Seedrs, we have two main objectives at Veeqo.
“Firstly, we plan to dominate the UK market. We already have a really strong footprint in the UK, and over the next 12-18 months will 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 later in 2017, and will also further expand our reach in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand and beyond.”
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