Hi Chaney, please tell us about the man behind VendorMach.
I'm an entrepreneur with a strong penchant for risk. Born in Washington DC to Nigerian immigrant parents who worked in international development finance at the World Bank, I'm more right brained. In addition to London, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time living abroad in Berlin, Japan and Lagos and speak a number of languages, which defines how I view the world around me. We picked London to found VendorMach to feed off the inherent nature of innovation in the fintech capital of the world and we’ve just launched on Seedrs.
You are currently solving some of the biggest issues for many companies, who are keen to keep track of their supply chain. What was the driving force behind it?
I spent over ten years in large enterprise firms such as insurance companies and small and midsize firms. On the one hand you have these large enterprises, which can be anything from customer relationship management to payments management, these tend to be people/resource intensive and have complex legacy systems, which takes a lot of time. On the other hand you have smaller businesses, who are more agile and get things done faster, but are disadvantaged especially those partnering with larger firms. Getting paid early can be a battle. Having observed the insurance claims and payment timelines and reimbursement process, I wanted to create a more level playing field.
How did the business go from concept to launch?
We started small. Lucky enough I was an entrepreneur in residence at an accelerator in Berlin which gave me a launchpad with access to mentors and mindsetsto ease into entrepreneurship. From there, I reconnected with Peter, a former classmate who worked largely in third party security and aligned with the problem and that got us started.
What was the response like from your target audience?
The response has been overwhelming. We realised the major pain point that organisations face in managing complex third party relationships and continuously looking for savings opportunities to meet corporate mandates.
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not running VendorMach?
I like to run quite a lot these days and enjoy the adrenaline. It lets me decompress. Im also a sports junkie - soccer, indoor volleyball and tennis are my go-to activities.
Could you give me a quick breakdown of what VendorMach is and how it works?
VendorMach is a digital supply chain analytics platform powered by AI and the cloud. To work, we connect to enterprise client systems - such as SAP, or if still manual excel files or API. From there, their suppliers get matched on our database and from then on, they get a dashboard with key analytics, where they can monitor their suppliers for cost reduction opportunities, gain pricing benchmarks, monitor disruptions and gain savings opportunity by offering early payments incentives.
How did you fund it all in the beginning?
We bootstrapped for quite a while. Did some consulting which brought revenue as we built the technology. Had a friends and family round. Went through accelerators like startupbootcamp, sandbox and now on Seedrs equity crowdfunding.
What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs wanting to get into the tech industry?
Do it now, while you’re young - nurturing just student loans. There are less obstacles. It's much more difficult as you age - children, family, obligations.
What do you know now, that you wish you’d known when you first launched?
How long it takes to do anything. It's a long haul. We hear all these stories about x company raising 15M. That doesn't happen in weeks, it happens in years - experience, experiments, failure and relationships. Same with deals, they take a long time. We are always re-thinking how we approach sales to reduce the sales cycle.
What are your top tips on utilising a small team?
Allowing for a decentralised ownership structure so that team members are not in linear roles - more autonomy. Motivating team members to lead initiatives regardless of title. As a small team, our aim is to work fast and that means creating an environment where anyone can contribute and or lead to get things done.
How would you define being an entrepreneur?
I think it's about being nimble and having a backbone (not taking things too seriously). The ability to be malleable and take feedback and or adapt as environmental forces affect you.
What plans do you have for VendorMach over the next 12 months?
Over the next 12 months we intend to achieve more scale, significant capital, getting even more precise with our algorithms as it relates to analytics and our platform.