Careers at Lesara
Lesara’s mission is to bring in-demand merchandise to people all over the world.
Roman Kirsch had a passion for entrepreneurship. He started his first business at age 15, a souvenir shop. He later attended famed German business school WHU, which hosted guest speakers from the corporate world, and was inspired by the Internet entrepreneurs who shared their stories. After graduating, he launched his own startup, an online design firm called Casacanda.
Casacanda was a success, attracting funding and rapidly achieving 250,000 memberships and millions in revenues. However, in 2012 Kirsch decided to sell the company to online retailer Fab in order to expand his footprint. He became CEO of Fab Europe, overseeing its operations in 28 countries. However, within a year he felt restless, and left the company to explore ideas for a new venture.
He settled on an online business that would offer more options than the established offline chains in Germany and Europe at the time. Specifically, he wanted to launch an Internet-only discount retailer. Along with Matthias Wilrich and Robin Müller, he founded Lesara in 2013. They were able to obtain a seven-figure seed investment from various venture capitalists and angel investors.
Lesara aimed to compete with Amazon, the dominant force in the online discount space. Specifically, it planned to limit product selection to no more than a specified number of items at a time to simplify the buying experience – an attractive feature for many shoppers. It also intended to focus on the emotional aspects of online shopping. The firm now operates in several countries.
Business model of Lesara
Lesara has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its service at any consumer seeking discount merchandise online. That said, a significant portion of its customers are women age 35-40 who have families.
There is also a multi-sided market component of its business model. Approximately 90% of its product line-up is manufactured for the company. However, 10% comes from brand manufacturers, meaning that the company also provides a platform between consumers and other brands.
Lesara offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, pricing, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a broad range of options and making them widely available. It uses a data-driven process (“agile retail”) to identify the latest international trends in its product categories, trends not obvious to other retailers. Once it identifies an emerging trend, it can contact its manufacturers and have a relevant product on the market within 7-21 days. It ships its products to 23 countries in Europe and maintains versions of its website in five different languages.
The company provides a pricing value proposition. It skips intermediaries to work directly with manufacturers, enabling it to save on costs and pass those savings onto customers. Through its “Best Price Guarantee”, it offers discounts of up to 80% on its items on a daily basis. If customers find a product it sells for a lower price elsewhere, it will refund the difference.
The company offers convenience by making usage of its service easy for customers. Customers are given the right to return their products within 30 days of delivery free of charge.
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. Its website attracts over four million unique visitors each month, providing access to an inventory of over 50,000 products. It has also won a number of honors, including the Tech5 2015 award for “Fastest-Growing Tech Startup in Europe.“
Lesara’s main channel is its website, through which it acquires all of its customers. The company promotes its offering through its social media pages and participation in conferences.
Lesara’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature.
Customers utilize the service through its website while having limited interaction with employees. The site provides detailed answers to frequently asked questions.
That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Lesara’s business model entails designing and developing its products for its customers.
Lesara maintains relationships with third-party manufacturers worldwide who produce the products it designs and develops.
Lesara’s main resources are its human resources, who include the fashion and product experts that design and develop its offerings and the customer service personnel who provide support.
As a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $23.8 million from 12 investors as of September 2015.
Lesara has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions.
Its biggest cost driver is likely transaction expenses, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of product development and customer support/operations, both fixed expenses.
Lesara has two revenue streams:
- Product Sales - Revenues it generates through the sales of its products on its website.
- Commissions - Revenues it generates through fees charged to third-party merchants for selling their branded products on its website.
info: Roman earned a B.Sc. in Business Administration at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and an M.Sc. at the London School of Economics. He previously served as the CEO of Fab Continental Europe and as the Founder and CEO of Casacanda.
info: Matthias earned a degree in Business Administration at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. He previously served as a Management Consultant at Hanwha and as a Senior Consultant at Accenture and Capgemini.
info: Robin earned a degree in Computer Science at Technische Universität Dresden. He previously served as the CTO of Flightright and Mysportgroup, the Lead Web Developer at PlayAll, and as a Consultant at Braindust Media.
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