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✨ TheNTWK Quote ✨ by Angel Bou

In an ever-changing world, emerging companies have started to provide new, greener ways to consume. While still a marketplace, Simplr does not sell but leases products and services to people who will return them for someone else to use, creating a circular economy. Angel Bou, CEO, and Co-Founder took part in one of our TheNTWK Talks to share his insight regarding the marketplaces industry, start-ups, and entrepreneurship.


During his career and especially since his journey to build Simplr started, Bou has gathered three essential factors for the success of a marketplace-type platform: having a strong purpose and sticking to it, designing a funding strategy from the beginning, and investing in a solid and involved team.



Life as a service


As the name of the company suggests, Simplr aims at simplifying the life of customers by the motto "life as a service". “What we want to bring to the world is a solution, based on non-ownership, to solve the consumption of the world”, he states. “Being tied to things conditions our lives, whether you’re a company or a person”. As Simplr is based on a “pay per use” premise, it feeds into a circular economy, which builds up its purpose. “We don’t believe in generating useless waste in the world. We don’t need to over-consume or make a bad usage of the materials”.


These values are present in every interaction of the company with its stakeholders, from consumers to providers or even the media. Something that Bou considers especially challenging when launching in a country like Spain. “We’re about non-ownership, usership of things. And Spanish people have historically been stuck with their properties. They want to keep things”. If Simplr could pass such a test, it would be the perfect endorsement to continue to grow. Only seven months after launching in Spain, it set up camp in the US market.


Such scalability and educational components fit much more in a marketplace structure than an e-commerce one, which is why, for its founders, it seemed like the most natural solution. As well as deciding to address the B2C market first. “We wanted to test the waters, to see what was the faster way to go into the market. And we realized that B2C offers a quicker response, while with companies you have to navigate several layers of conversation”. Only after having learned what the market demanded, Simplr launched for B2B too.



Simplr’s anatomy


According to Bou, one of the main pillars for the success of Simplr was having a strong structure design from the very beginning. This is why the company started by defining the offer first and then re-shaping it according to the market’s demand. Relying on research and "smoke tests" on a wide range of products and services, it was able to build the initial version of the marketplace based on feedback.

This, along with an initial funding starter provided by the founders themselves and the building of a stellar team who believed in the project, constituted strong proof of market fit and a call for funding. Investing in metrics to show potential scalability and growth was never an option. “We couldn’t spend that much time fundraising or negotiating investor clauses, discussing valuation, etc. We wanted to save that time and dedicate it to the business and execution. Which is why we initially brought our own money to the table”. This allowed them to build a strong team and focus on its execution capacity and commitment.


A key factor, says Bou, was to not set a company valuation from the start. “We put some loans into the company, and we went to talk to investors. [...] But we wanted to protect those investors, so we gave them a discount on these loans based on whether they invested earlier or later”. Three years later, the lead investor set a valuation based on metrics like engagement or the first revenue.


Following the same premise of a fair business model, Simplr created a win-win monetization strategy not based on the price of its products and services but on the margins of the manufacturers. This way, Bou states, “the business model itself doesn’t allow the partner to lose money either because we only take a small fee based on the consumption”.



A glimpse into the future


For Bou, the main challenge for the emergence and evolution of platforms like Simplr is, and will still be for a while, education: “Letting the world know that there is an alternative way of consumption that is lighter, freer, cheaper and greener than the traditional lease, renting or buying of assets. There’s a plan B for the planet and for you”. In this sense, Simplr contributes by taking part in the educational system and being involved, constantly talking to manufacturers as customers and service providers.


However, Bou is optimistic about the future. “I see the world actually changing already. Even the legislation is changing in our favor. Europe and the green legislation tell manufacturers to build things that will last, that will have more than one owner”. The market itself - companies, institutions, and consumers - are changing too. “They are conscious of how resources are limited, how we can consume in a more responsible way. I see a lot of companies having the sustainable ingredient being taken to the front of the decision-making process when someone is buying something”. “I envision something more sustainable, more conscious”, he concludes.



Favorite sources of knowledge


LinkedIn, TechCrunch, and TikTok.

 

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