Some of Speedinvest’s most exciting portfolio startups share their success stories.
With byrd businesses can easily handle their online shop logistics. How did you come up with your initial idea for the startup?
When my co-founder Alex came up with the initial idea in late 2015, it was quite different from the business we‘re running today. He was a student and selling a lot of stuff online through various marketplaces. When it came to shipping the products, he realized that it‘s a real hassle to pack and ship the items. That‘s how he came up with the idea to build an app makes it super simple to ship products. You take a picture of the item, request a pickup and have a logistics professional pick it up, pack and ship it for you.
Since our launch in 2016, this idea has evolved and we are now an e-commerce fulfillment platform which allows online retailers to completely outsource their fulfillment process by providing a digital and scalable network of fulfillment and shipping providers. Our services cover the storage, picking, packing and shipping of parcels, and are all digitally connected through our fulfillment software.
How did you acquire the knowledge to run a startup?
We all had certain prior experience in our respective fields before we founded byrd. I had worked at two other startups before where I was responsible for marketing and business development. Those experiences were definitely helpful in getting used to the startup life and being able to deal with certain situations. Nevertheless, I think that when you are in a startup, the biggest quality you can bring is that you‘re versatile, driven and eager to learn. Of course it’s easier to deal with things that you have previously experienced but in the end, you will always face new challenges throughout your startup life and in those situations, you have to be creative and solution-oriented. Somebody once told me that running a startup is like riding a broken bike — you‘re trying to keep riding while at the same time trying to fix the broken parts. I think this sums it up really well ;)
In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being an entrepreneur?
For me personally, the biggest advantage is that you’re building something on your own and that you can see the results of your actions immediately. This is something that gives me a lot of energy and motivation. A disadvantage is that you have to solve most problems on your own because you usually don’t have the resources to hire an expert for every topic like in bigger companies. This can be quite challenging since you have to become an expert in various topics in a very short time frame. However, this is why I like our founder team setup. Since there are four founders, each of us has an area of expertise and you can always rely on one of the co-founders to support you. If you don’t have co-founders I guess it helps to have a mentor or a network of other startup founders.
What was your biggest moment of success?
We have had many memorable moments throughout the last 3+ years, but thinking back probably the coolest one team-wise was when we all watched our “2 Minuten 2 Millionen” TV (= Austria’s Shark Tank) appearance on a big screen together while watching the visitor numbers on the website soar. This was probably also the moment when my friends stopped wondering what it is I do at work and understood that we’re serious about our business idea ;).
What are the biggest challenges you faced during the early stages?
There were many challenges, and it is hard to pick a specific one. I think what can be tough is getting your vision across to potential employees and investors when you only have a business plan in your hand and no concrete results yet. But I think Alex, our CEO, handled this really well and was able to bring across the vision really well from the early days.
What are the most crucial personal traits you need in order to be successful as a founder (or as an employee in a startup?)
I think these traits can be quite useful:
- Versatile: Especially early on, you need generalists who can get stuff done to get your startup off the ground. In our case, all founders and early stage employees jumped in when a parcel needed to be packed, a pickup needed to be done or a customer call had to be answered. I think this was very crucial for our success at the beginning. Of course the more you grow over time, the more the team has to have clearly defined roles and has to specialize but in the beginning, we wouldn’t have made it if everybody had just followed their official role description (even though there were none at that point ;))
- Solution-oriented: You don’t want anybody on your team to keep pointing out the problems without suggesting solutions. Playing devil’s advocate is perfectly fine, but since you face challenges every day, you also need to be solution-oriented and constantly try to find constructive (and many times creative) ways to solve problems. We even incorporated this one into our values: “Find solutions, not problems”.
- Driven: Working in a startup can be tough therefore you need to be very driven and motivated to keep your energy level high. If you tend to give up easily, then this probably isn’t the thing for you. Also if you’re very financially motivated and not intrinsically driven, I’d argue that a startup is the wrong place to be for you.
Which advice would you give young founders?
Don’t be afraid, just to it.