I can’t believe it’s been a year! The 2nd edition of SAP.iO Foundry powered by Techstars in Berlin is already half way through!
Being part of the program last year was indeed a pivotal moment in Greendeck’s journey. It was an accelerator in the true sense of the word — thrusting us in the right direction like a rocket launcher.
But before delving into that, I should give you some context about Greendeck.
Greendeck helps online fashion retailers and brands with dynamic pricing and competitive intelligence. This leads to higher revenue and better margins.
Pricing is hard. And pricing is very important. It has a crucial role on a company’s sales, revenue, bottomline, brand image and a ton of other aspects.
One of the key challenges for our customers was to keep track of competitor’s prices and be able to quickly respond to any price changes. This was an incredibly difficult process where products are unique and are not standardised, for instance the fashion and lifestyle industry. With millions of products online, trying to do this manually is not even an option!
This is where AI comes to the rescue. We use NLP and Image recognition to automatically discover attributes of the product, thereby making the data standardised, clean and searchable.
So here begin the musings, written in a Q&A form (I find it much easier to read this way!), reflecting upon our learnings, milestones and overall experience of the program.
Q. What has been your biggest learnings/takeaway from the program?
Oh, there’s been tremendous learning for us in the program. The philosophy of ‘constantly keep experimenting’ is very important. It has helped us to explore and identify what’s right for our business — be it our pitch, distribution channel, value proposition and so may other things.
Another huge takeaway has been the SAP.iO and Techstars network that has opened up for us. Potential customers, mentors, investors, they’re all just an email away! In fact, that’s how we got our first client!
Q. What kind of acceleration did you experience through the program?
We’ve made this mistake in the past where we created a product that no one really wanted. So instead of product development, we spent time talking to clients and mentors. We created a hypothesis about the problem, conceptualised a product, narrowed down on the exact problem, and then designed the product that we need to solve this problem.
The idea we had in mind initially was met with a lot of resistance. It required too much integration of our platform with the client’s systems. After thorough evaluation with mentors and retailers, we found a low touch entry point for our product.
Now there is zero integration required, and we are able to show our customers value from the very start.
Q. So where are you now?
We didn’t have much traction when we entered the program last year, but now we’re working with really big companies across Europe, including Casper, intu, SPAR group and Beiersdorf!
Q. Tell me more about your technology?
We use NLP and Image recognition to automatically discover attributes of the products that we crawl online, making a database of standardised, clean and searchable products. We have a database of over 10 million products, spanning 500+ retailers and 9,000+ brands globally. This large amount of data has enabled us to create machine learning models of extremely high accuracy.
Using these models, we create a visual map of all products in the market and identify accurately all the competitors of a product (i.e. same or similar products across different online stores), and monitor its prices and promotions in real-time. This helps our customers answer everyday business questions like “What are my competitors selling? What are their entry and exit prices? What kind of products are they stocking? What are the trending colours this season? How often do they run discounts?”…and the list goes on.
Q. Why SAP?
SAP is the mothership of all enterprise SaaS. It has an amazing global presence, and a wealth of customers globally whom we can reach out to.
In fact, Greendeck is a perfect compliment to two of SAP’s solutions — SAP Hybris and SAP Retail solution. We are looking forward to partnering with SAP and be a valuable add-on to these services.
Q. Did you meet any amazing mentors during the program?
Absolutely! We met tons of really helpful mentors. Steve collins completely understands what we’re trying to do, and we bounce product ideas off him. Fergus O’Reilly from SAP flew down to Berlin from Nice just to meet us. He ended up spending 3 whole days with us! Ian is one of the nicest people we’ve met. Christian Eggert has a great network in Berlin and always introduces us to the right people. Dirk and Martin from Beiersdorf are very enthusiastic about helping startups.
Also, thanks to the program we got the chance to meet amazing people like Connor, Alexa, Deepak, Ram, Moritz, Fabian, Lucie, Julien, Dima and so many more.
And of course, we had the opportunity to meet SAP CEO Bill McDermott!
Q. So, what’s next for Greendeck?
We are focussing on customer development, especially in Europe. Also, we’re in the midst of raising our seed round as well.