TOMSK, Dec 23 – RIA Tomsk. Recruitment in the 17th Accelerator of IIDF, which helps start-ups to enter the international market, starts in January in Tomsk. So, one of its graduates - the Tomsk company Supl.biz during the passage of the program has grown in turnover six times. Why cold calls do not work in the USA and how Kazakhstan opens the doors to China for business - in the material of RIA Tomsk.
Supl.biz - is a service for small and medium businesses which helps customers to save on purchases, and for suppliers - to get an additional distribution channel for their products. Orders (more than 650 daily) are placed very different - from the wholesale supply of food to the purchase of gravel rubble, from the manufacture of stickers to tailoring for pregnant women.
The idea of the platform belongs to the founder Evgeny Dyachenko - he needed to print leaflets for the first business:
"The search of suppliers, as a rule, takes a lot of time, and there was a decision to simplify the procurement process for customers. The technical part responded Alexey Krasnoperov, who developed the website on which this order was subsequently placed (leaflets). It was sent to the Tomsk printing houses, an hour later, more than ten offers appeared with prices ranging from 3,450 to 12,000 rubles", - recalls Evgeny Dyachenko.
In turn, printing houses appreciated the service and placed their orders - a chain reaction began. For about a year, the founders switched to another project, while the site continued to work on its own - orders were placed, suppliers responded. Having estimated such viability, the founders decided to make the Supl.biz project their main business.
© предоставил Александр Приходько
The founders of Supl.biz service Evgeny Dyachenko and Alexey Krasnoperov
In 2015 Tomsk citizens became participants of the IIDF accelerator. At that time, their business was developing only in the Russian market, and at the same time there was a testing the possibility of entering foreign markets - the USA, Canada, Italy and Singapore.
"Startups received from the IIDF 800 thousand rubles of investments and acceleration services equivalent to the amount of 600 thousand rubles for a share of 7% of the project. Over the course of the program (three months), the company's turnover increased six times - from 50 to 320 thousand rubles a month. The main thing that we have learned - is the importance of hypothesizing according to HADI, and this allowed us to avoid a lot of thoughtless expenses in the future", - tells Dyachenko.
He explains the essence of HADI: “Any testing is described in four points: Hypothesis (what we check and what we expect to come at), Action (how we check), Data (collect data and analyze them) and Insights (draw conclusions) - is one of tools of the methodology with which startups in the Accelerator of IIDF achieve significant growth".
Model crash test
The Tomsk citizens started entering the US and Canadian markets by placing a vacancy of a call center operator with knowledge of English in Tomsk. But it turned out that the main problem - is not a personnel one:
“We understood a very important thing - cold calls practically do not work in America and Canada, consumers avoid communicating with sales managers using voice mail. We need to look for new ways to attract customers - e-mail marketing, contextual advertising”, - Dyachenko shares his experience.
Italy presented another surprise: we managed to translate the website into Italian in just a month, but it turned out that Italian suppliers are not very interested in expanding their customer base - 2/3 of the companies have long-term business relationships with one customer that was established during business basis many years ago.
“If we reached Italy gradually, through other countries, we could sell these orders to suppliers from Poland and the Czech Republic”, - such conclusion was drawn by residents of Tomsk. Well, one more, more global one: it is possible to start in isolation, far from the main market (in this case, the Russian one), but usually costs much more money than many would have been willing to invest. Therefore, in April 2018, the first international office was opened not in Europe, but in Kazakhstan.
Franchize will bring to China
Alexander Prikhodko, the director of development of Supl.biz became the curator of the international direction.
© предоставил Александр Приходько
“We attracted the first users with forces of the Tomsk managers, but it was difficult to develop Kazakhstan remotely: it’s difficult for Kazakhstan companies to pay to Russia even in tenge, although we specifically got a currency account in tenge at Sberbank”, - Prikhodko said.
But the hypothesis of a gradual regional development was fully justified: for the first two days, the company received four payments in the amount of 415 thousand tenge (76.5 thousand rubles), while the launch costs amounted to 85 thousand rubles. Now there are eight people working at the "Supl.biz Kazakhstan" LLP, the turnover is (in rubles) a little less than a million. In 2019, it is planned to increase ninefold in 2019 and will continue to double each year.
In August 2018, the share of IIDF in Supl.biz was bought back with a yield of 60% per annum, providing the fund with a fivefold return on investment. A few weeks ago, Tomsk citizens sold the first franchise, and now are negotiating to open franchise offices in several countries, mainly in the CIS. Further, through them, it is planned to enter the markets of Iran and Turkey, then - to China.
IIDF accelerator - is the intensive three-month program to accelerate the development of IT-companies, since 2013 it has been attended by over 400 participants.
For the period of acceleration, the teams receive 2.5 million rubles for a 7% share (the sale of a share is not required, but then participation in the program is paid). In the future, there is a chance for an investment proposal from the IIDF to 25 million with equity participation ranging from 7% to 25%. Mature companies can attract from IIDF up to 324 million for 15-40% of the business.