Careers at Tradeshift
Tradeshift’s mission is to connect the world's buyers and suppliers on one cloud platform.
Christian Lanng, Gert Sylvest, and Mikkel Hippe Brun all had backgrounds as entrepreneurs. Lanng sold his first business at age 19; Sylvest co-founded Avanade, a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture; and Brun co-founded a company in his first year of college. They all met while working for the Danish government. The Danish National IT and Telecom Agency requested that they build an e-invoice network. They ended up creating something more ambitious – EasyTrade, billed as the first open-source trade platform in the world. It went on to be used by 95% of Danish businesses.
The team was inspired by the platform’s ability to connect businesses in Europe. Consequently, it set about trying to create one that could connect companies across the world. To obtain assistance with the process, the men recruited coders and engineers worldwide who were open to helping develop their idea in exchange for shares. In 2009, after six months and work with teams on three continents, they unveiled the first iteration of Tradeshift – a Web-based platform connecting businesses and suppliers. It enhanced basic processes such as workflow, invoicing, and supplier financing.
Tradeshift quickly gained notice and popularity. By the end of 2010, it was being used in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North and South America. By 2011, its active user base grew to 190 countries, and it was available in five languages. PayPal got wind of the product and decided to invest, enabling the team to move into their first office. This was followed by several successful rounds of funding, including $24 million in 2011, $130 million in 2014, and $20 million in 2016. The company’s roster of clients became prestigious, growing to include the UK National Health Service and the French government. Tradeshift now has over 800,000 users and 200+ employees in seven countries.
Benefits at Tradeshift
Business model of Tradeshift
Tradeshift has a multi-sided business model, with two interdependent customer segments that are both needed in order to operate:
- Enterprises: Businesses that need and seek supplies for their operations
- Suppliers: Vendors that offer supplies for businesses and seek customers
Tradeshift offers five primary value propositions: price, accessibility, convenience, performance, and brand/status.
The company makes usage of the service free for suppliers, regardless of the size of orders.
The company makes its platform available on phones and tablets, enabling on-the-go access.
The company’s platform includes a dashboard providing real-time information updates, a convenience that facilitates more informed supply chain decisions and quicker financial forecasts.
The company allows users to send documents faster and more efficiently, and helps suppliers receive payments up to five times more quickly.
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. Its platform manages billions of dollars in transactions per month, and the firm saw 250% growth in 2015 alone. It has a number of high-profile clients, including Archer Daniels Midland, KLM, LinkedIn, CBRE Group, and National Health Service. It has also won several prestigious honors. These include the Europas award for “Best Business or Enterprise Startup“ in Europe and The Circulars‘ “Digital Disruptor“ award.
Tradeshift’s main channel is its direct sales team, through which it acquires most of its customers. The company also promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and attendance at various conferences and summits.
Tradeshift’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website features a “Support Center” with help guides and answers to common questions. It also provides a “Resource Center” with reports, case studies, videos, and webinars. That said, there is a community component in the form of a forum where customers can connect with each other. There is also a personal service element in the form of phone, e-mail, and live chat support.
Tradeshift’s business model entails maintaining a robust common platform between two parties: enterprises and suppliers. The platform includes the company’s website and mobile app.
Tradeshift maintains the “Tradeshift Partner Program”, through which it works with like-minded companies to market its products. Through the initiative it offers training on its products as well as sales and marketing support. The program has two main categories:
Distribution Partner – Tradeshift collaborates with individuals and companies to drive joint sales opportunities and revenue. Types of partners include complementary solution providers, consulting firms, referral relationships, and business process outsourcing (BPO) providers.
App Partner – Tradeshift works with developers and technology providers so they can build apps on its open platform that enhance the supplier-buyer relationship.
The Partner Program consists of three levels that provide different levels of training and sales/marketing support: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Specific partners range from startups to large organizations, and include Wipro, Quyntess, HP, Amazon, Xerox, PayPal, Deloitte, and HSBC.
Tradeshift’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which connects its buyer and supplier customers. It also depends on its human resources in the form of its engineering, sales/marketing, and customer service staff. Lastly, as a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $174 million from six investors as of March 2016.
Tradeshift 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 expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and customer support/operations.
Tradeshift has one revenue stream: the fees it charges to enterprises for use of its platform. The company offers a variety of paid packages, but does not make pricing information public – the sales team must be contacted directly.
info: Christian earned a Bachelor‘s degree in Sociology from Aalborg Universitet and a Master’s degree from Københavns Universitet. He previously served as Head of Service-Oriented Infrastructure at the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency.
info: Gert received his education at the University of Copenhagen. He previously served as VP, Platform & Technology at Tradeshift and held consulting positions at Avanade and Accenture. He has many years of technical experience.
info: Peter earned a B.A. in Finance from Nijenrode University and an MBA from the University of San Francisco. He previously served as CFO of Sharethrough, Piczo, bCODE, and ON24. He has held management roles at DHL, Impell, and Ceridian.
info: John earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an MBA at Purdue University. He previously served as Head of Marketing for the Asia-Pacific for LinkedIn and VP of Marketing and Alliances at Parallels.
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