22 Apr 2013 Industrial strength facebook and the new “new kids on the block” snapping at the heels of Tradeshift
Free to suppliers is no longer a big deal in the world of electronic invoicing. It was the headline feature that brought Tradeshift to everyone’s attention 3 years ago and it’s stood them in good stead. I never considered free to suppliers to be especially disruptive as Tradeshift claimed. It was a unique proposition but now that USP has run out of steam and there’s a new new kid on the block threatening to eat Tradeshift’s lunch. But Tradeshift have something else up their sleeve and this time, I think it really is disruptive.
Only last week, senddr.com came out in the open with a proposition just like Tradeshift’s. Based in Dublin, Ireland, they offer a free to supplier proposition which looks quite slick. I’m looking forward to learning more about them. Steve O’Hear writing in Techcrunch thinks senddr will give Tradeshift a run for their money but Tradeshift have grown rapidly and you’d have to run pretty fast to keep up. They’ve secured a big chunk of the the logistics industry with clients such as DSV, Kuehne & Nagel and recently they landed a strategical important deal with DHL. But it isn’t the new business wins that impresses me. That merely confirms that their business model is sound. There’s a big untapped market out there and anyone with a value for money proposition is going to be able to win business. What I’m impressed with is the Tradeshift platform approach. And it’s an approach that will secure them a safe place in the future.
I’ve seen the new Tradeshift platform UI a few times and it’s still not quite ready for launch but the concept is exciting. It’s quite simple. It will offer a whole bunch of business applications – apps – in the cloud, device independent. From e-invoicing to supply chain finance, location based services and currency management. Some of the best and most innovative apps for business will be available on a single platform. This is quite a simplistic analogy but think of iTunes or facebook. They have both evolved rapidly from offering niche products and service to becoming the platforms through which you do everything. Now think of an industrial strength version of that. That’s what the Tradeshift platform is like.
In the spirit of full disclosure I’ll remind you that Tradeshift sponsors Purchasing Insight. They have for quite some time but please don’t mistake the things that we publish as sycophantic support for a sponsor. I’ve been writing about Tradeshift since their inception and not always supportively but I am quite genuinely excited about their approach which is beginning to emerge as real delivered product and I believe that the Tradeshift platform approach is a winner. It will be dismissed by some, feared by others and copied by many and I have very good reason to believe that we’ll see some startling new products on the platform in the coming months.
Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin