[Startup Interview] Nicolas d'Audiffret, Co-Founder, Ankorstore
Ankorstore is an online B2B marketplace connecting brand and retailers all around Europe.
Nicolas d'Audiffret the startup’s co-founder explains.
Can you tell us a bit about your startup?
Ankorstore is an online B2B marketplace that connects local, independent retailers and successful brands and manufacturers from all over Europe. Ankorstore offers a platform that allows brands to reach a stable sales market they haven't been able to reach before, with potential to scale to new geographical regions.
To independent retailers, Ankorstore offers a marketplace to quickly and easily find and buy unique products in quantities that suit their local needs.
Who founded Ankorstore and what is their professional background?
Ankorstore was founded by four French e-commerce entrepreneurs: Pierre-Louis Lacoste, who is a former Etsy country manager, Mathieu Alengrin, the former Head Engineer at Vestiaire Collective, and Nicolas Cohen and me, who were the founders of A Little Market.
We founded the company in July 2019, with the mission of reshaping the independent retail industry. Ankorstore is not only an ambassador for the most popular European brands, but also an important partner for shop owners who want to provide their customers with new products and brands.
Through the Ankorstore platform, shop owners can discover brands and source products at minimal cost and risk. This saves the time they would otherwise spend finding new brands and contacts, and eliminates the often lengthy negotiation process.
With 4 founders, how do you divide your responsibilities?
We all have our own specialities, so we were able to have a good division of responsibilities. As CBO, Pierre-Louis oversees Sales, Brand and Marketing at Ankorstore. That’s a perfect role for him, given the experience in the retail industry he gained at Etsy, Coalision, Jean Vier and Lolë.
Nicolas Cohen and I are joint CEO’s. Having worked together as co-founders of A Little Market, we know and complement each other pretty well. We both have a passion for technology, and a wish to create a market where independent businesses can thrive and exist side by side with big corporations.
Mathieu, finally, is our tech guru and CTO. He has an extensive platform background, being former head engineer at the "Vestiaire Collective" marketplace. For Ankorstore, he’s always looking for ways to optimize the search of independent retailers for the best brands across Europe.
Who are the owners of Ankorstore?
Ankorstore is a privately held company backed by some of the world's leading investors.”
Where is Ankorstore located?
Ankorstore was founded in France, with the first office in Paris. The company now has offices in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Stockholm, some of which are to be opened.”
What would you say are the dynamics that are shaping the industry you are in?
We expect the retail industry to split into two main offerings, one being the consolidation of businesses promising the lowest price and convenience with the large corporations, big box retailers, etc. (Amazon, Walmart, Carrefour, etc.) with the other being focused on local and authentic offerings that will win on selection, craft and in-store experience. Ankorstore's core goal is to level the playing field between these two players.
Why did you start Ankorstore? What opportunities did you see?
Through my experiences at A Little Market and Etsy, I fell in love with the marketplace model, which is creating new opportunities by connecting people which could not be connected otherwise. In particular, I am passionate about marketplaces which are serving independent business owners. When Pierre-Louis Lacoste told me about the idea of co-founding Ankorstore, I loved it as I was convinced that we can solve significant pain points for both brands and retailers. At Ankorstore, we are happy to serve and empower independent business owners on both sides of the marketplace.
What problems does Ankorstore solve?
Ankorstore tackles long-standing frustrations and new covid-related challenges of both brands and retailers across Europe. Ankorstore is reinventing wholesale with offers and tools that you would normally see in the best consumer e-commerce platforms. On one side, it's equiping brands with the platform to distribute their goods in 23 countries across Europe, and on the other hand, it's inspiring retailers with a distinctive selection of products. Today, there are over 9,000 European brands and over 100,000 boutiques on the platform. Europe's largest and fastest growing B2B marketplace connecting independent brands and retailers.
What gives Ankorstore the competitive edge?
Ankostore was founded by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, knowing their pain points and finding a dedicated solution. We have the most active network in Europe and we can help European retailers and brands to benefit from it.
Co-founder Pierre-Louis Lacoste adds: "Retail has been in my DNA since the beginning. I owned for several years a multi-brand retail store. This has been an advantage since the beginning of our Ankorstore adventure because we speak the same language as our brand and retailers. We have experienced what they are living. I've been through difficult times without sales, struggled to get the right products at the right prices, and been unable to purchase new brands because of a high order minimum or lack of cash flow. Ankorstore is not an opportunity, it's my personal and professional mission.
Ankorstore has found an incredible product market fit in a huge addressable market. It connects local independent retailers and brands in one pan-European marketplace. The Ankorstore platform finally allows independent entrepreneurs to take back some of the market that has been lost to large multinational chains and internet platforms, invigorating local shopping centers in the process using the very technology that previously threatened them. Its focus on empowering local authenticity provides a unique and well-timed identity.
Who are your customers?
We support small to medium independent business owners, brands and retailers.”
What does Ankorstore need in order to grow?
We need world class talent who are passionate about building the future of retail and empowering independent businesses across Europe!
What is your growth strategy?
We are in a scale-up phase, both vertically and horizontally.
In which markets are you looking to establish your presence?
We are now focused on the five key markets where our offices are located, but we will be expanding to countries across Europe soon.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
Continue to scale even more quickly internally and externally, hire top talent and build the next phase of Ankorstore!
This is an entry for the Dutch Startup Competition 2021
Read about the Dutch Startup Competition and how to participate here