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Building an SMB SaaS Business: Stitch Labs CEO Brandon Levey (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Apr 19th 2015

Sramana Mitra: What turn did the product take?

Brandon Levey: From a positioning standpoint, we had evolved to a real SMB solution. We would now position it much more as a multi-channel inventory order management solution for SMBs. The way that I like to think of the solution at the lowest layer is the management layer. It’s a small scale ERP for SMB. On top of that is an automation layer where we automate a lot of these business processes that are traditionally manual. On top of that, we started building out our intelligence layer.

Sramana Mitra: You were working with e-commerce merchants as well or just brick-and-mortar? Where was your sweet spot?

Brandon Levey: We’ve never just focused on one. That’s a very important part of what we do. What we like to say is we take a holistic approach to commerce. What that means is any way you can sell a physical good, we want to be a part of it. We want to be that underlying layer that makesit all possible. What’s important about that is if you’re selling a shirt and you’ve got one shirt left, all of the other ways of selling should be aware of that in real-time. For that reason, we have a bigger responsibility to build a system that can track every channel at all times. We think of inventory management pretty much how a bank may think of account balances. It’s something that has to work every time in real-time.

Sramana Mitra: When it comes to the ecosystem around retail technologies, how do you play with players like Shopify? Are these players that you interact with?

Brandon Levey: We play very nicely. We have some great relationships with a number of companies. We’ve got some integrations. Right now, we integrate with 13 or 14 sales channels including Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magento, eBay. Integrating with those channels is not a black and white thing. Integrating with Amazon for example, is many different layers. We handle about 80% of them today and we’ll continue to add more.

When Square integrated with us, we were the first inventory partners to integrate with them. When they added inventory into their tool, it made our integration stronger. What’s really important when we go back to the thesis of what’s happening here is we believe that commerce is changing for SMBs. The way it is changing is those businesses are no longer choosing how they sell. The customers are demanding it.

For example, if I were selling a T-shirt 10 years ago, I might say, “That’s a great shirt. Where do you sell it?” You’ll say, “I’ve got a store down the street. You can come by or I can ship it to you.” Nowadays, people like shopping on Amazon. I’ll say, “You sell that shirt on Amazon, right?” If you say no, you’ll lose my business. That’s true for every channel. For that reason, SMBs are moving to more channels because they have to. As they move to those channels that increases their market opportunity. Every SMB that sells more is good for any software business.

For all of those reasons, there’s an alignment and incentive to enable customers that are using Shopify, eBay, or Amazon to also facilitate their transactions on the other channels as well as provide the underlying business operations such as things like purchase orders and other solutions along those lines. At Stitch, we play very nicely with our partners because we provide the underlying framework.

Sramana Mitra: What else is interesting in your story that you’d like to share?

Brandon Levey: I’d say there are two components. It’s very interesting being part of a fast-growing startup. We’re just under 50 people. Now we have billions of dollars of transactions going through Stitch each year. We’re adding one new order every second. Even on this phone call, substantial amounts of customer transactions are coming in through our system.

The other thing is something that’s been very important to us from the beginning and that continues to be important for us is that we are a company that is truly very committed to our values. It’s something that has helped us build a great culture. Those are things that we take pride in because they’re very deliberate. It’s not something that happens accidentally. The key lesson for me is finding that my role is less about the day-to-day operations but more on how we can keep building the business while we build our product and customer base. That will be the next stage on our journey.

Sramana Mitra: Great! It was great talking to you. Good luck.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Building an SMB SaaS Business: Stitch Labs CEO Brandon Levey
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