Mathijs Eefting is the co-founder and CEO of Moteefe, an established e-commerce platform providing infrastructure, customization, and global fulfillment for retailers of all sizes.
Born in the Netherlands and based in London, Mathijs co-founded Moteefe in 2014 while pursuing an MBA at INSEAD. The desire to promote entrepreneurship and empowering creative individuals and organizations to bring their ideas to life is what drives Mathijs.
Moteefe’s mission is to enable retailers of all sizes to test new product ideas and scale their e-commerce businesses faster and further than ever before. By digitalizing the traditional print environment, Moteefe has removed all barriers to growth and stimulated the global adoption of Print on Demand.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Mathijs says:
The most important thing is that you need to test before you commit. Every market is different, so find ways to test hypotheses to succeed and deliver traction before you commit time and energy to enter a new market.
The day to day life of an entrepreneur is dynamic, and you have to be prepared for a mental rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. My key tips are to be relentlessly focused on the big vision, surround yourself with people who share your energy, passion, and commitment, plus secure that you have a stable personal life with friends, family, loved ones, sports, etc., to balance every now and then.
Read on to know more about Mathijs Eefting and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background and What motivated you to get started with your company?
Mathijs Eefting: I was born in the Netherlands. I graduated with a double honors degree in business and joined Booz & Company’s office in Amsterdam. I worked on strategy consulting projects supporting large, global companies on various topics ranging from growth strategies to cost optimization and organizational redesign. After 3 years, I completed my MBA at INSEAD in 2014. Following my MBA, I founded Moteefe with Olivier Stapylton-Smith and Lev Kundin, in which I became CEO. Moteefe was awarded ‘the fastest growing Ecom company UK’ by Deloitte Fast50 2019.
What is your current main product, and can you share any previous product pivot story to the current product?
Mathijs Eefting: Moteefe is an established e-commerce platform providing infrastructure, customization, and global fulfillment for retailers of all sizes.
More than 5,000 retailers, from indie entrepreneurs to high street brands, use Moteefe’s platform to manage the sale, on-demand production, and fulfillment of new products. The fully flexible end-to-end e-commerce platform enables anyone to set up an online store or offer customized products on their site in minutes. Products are produced immediately following a customer order.
Moteefe’s platform removes the risk, wastage, and upfront cost normally associated with testing ideas, geographies, and markets, enabling the rapid scale-up and production of successful products to meet demand with no minimum production run. It also improves supply chain efficiency and sustainability by working with local fulfillment partners to minimize shipping distances.
Retailers of all sizes have total flexibility: they can use the Moteefe platform either as a fully integrated end to end service or just pick and choose the parts they need. And as Moteefe is white-labeled, the retailer owns the customer relationship and can use the data to drive repeat sales.
How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Mathijs Eefting: To date, we have received around $25M of investment through two rounds. The last round was in August 2020, in which we raised $11M.
What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fundraising, and what were the logistics for this? And how many investors have you met so far, and how did you meet these investors, and which channels worked best for you?
Mathijs Eefting: The internal decision process was to decide whether raising capital would enable us to deliver more shareholder value quicker. As part of that process, we had to look at the market dynamics and opportunity on the one hand and internal capabilities on the other hand. Just because the market is ripe still means as a business, your internal capacity and capabilities need to be in a place where you’re able to turn extra capital into a stronger upside, etc.
We have met with 10 investors to assess the fit with the business, management team, and value-added ways. We meet mainly via our personal network, which we’ve built up over the years. Thankfully due to some great PR around our recent successes and growth stories, we’ve been fortunate enough to have good access to the investor community within the UK and Europe.
What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fundraising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Mathijs Eefting: The key challenge always is to parallel track fundraising and business as usual. We have triple-digit growth rate targets, and that means a focus on execution is key. Ensuring that as a management team, you are not distracted from delivering growth and success for your customers while fundraising is critical, so the right set-up to deliver this is something important. In general, learning early on is to ensure you speak with sufficient investors to understand fit with board and management team and align around ambition levels, vision, etc. we are thankful to have a very supportive board and encourage everyone to understand that investors will be a strong integrated part of your growth story so treat it accordingly.
What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Mathijs Eefting: We don’t drive the business from round to round in terms of setting milestones. Instead, we focus on key investment areas for the business, and if, along the way, funding enables more success quicker, that’s an instrument to deliver this. A funding round itself is a lever to be perhaps more successful in delivering your vision, not a goal in itself. We focus on user growth and building out new revenue channels globally.
Which has been the best marketing software tool for the growth of your startup, and why?
Mathijs Eefting: Facebook advertising is the most targeted form of advertising. A great opportunity to reach your exact audience and create a scalable and successful business.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
Mathijs Eefting: In my opinion, I don’t see marketing as an expense or a budget. I believe it needs to drive growth either by acquiring more users or by enabling our users’ success in ways we can measure and track.
How do you plan to expand globally?
Mathijs Eefting: Moteefe has been a global platform from the day we launched, working with manufacturing partners and merchants worldwide to serve a global consumer base. We continue to expand into new territories by localizing our fulfillment capabilities better to serve merchants and their customer base within the region.
What are the most common mistakes companies make with global expansion?
Mathijs Eefting: The most important thing is that you need to test before you commit. Every market is different, so find ways to test hypotheses to succeed and deliver traction before you commit time and energy to enter a new market.
How do you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
Mathijs Eefting: It is very important to be increasingly dynamic around growth trajectories. Ecommerce as a channel for retail have accelerated 5 years at least in terms of consumer and merchant adoption, so every crisis presents an opportunity and while our key focus is on the health and safety of our employees, plus supporting our merchants’ success, in parallel, we’re dynamically adjusting our plans to make the most of the opportunity this presents without trying to profiteer but just realism that the world of retail and Ecom has changed.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company?
Mathijs Eefting: In my view, not having a well-balanced founding team or hiring the best people early on is a mistake. I think it’s also important to test what works early on and equally what doesn’t. Once you see what works, you should commit more focus and energy to capitalize on the product/market fit.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Mathijs Eefting: Surround yourself with the best people early on. It can shave years off your growth trajectory.
What are the top-three books or movies (TV series) that changed your life and why?
Mathijs Eefting: I don’t have much time for either reading books or watching movies nowadays. Still, when I do, I enjoy reading bios of successful entrepreneurs who share their journey, insights, and experiences – one book that comes to mind is ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ by Ben Horowitz.
How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
Mathijs Eefting: The day to day life of an entrepreneur is dynamic, and you have to be prepared for a mental rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. My key tips are to be relentlessly focused on the big vision, surround yourself with people who share your energy, passion, and commitment, plus secure that you have a stable personal life with friends, family, loved ones, sports, etc., to balance every now and then.
What are the top three life lessons that you want your (future) sons and daughters to know?
- Do what you love, and success will come; follow your passion
- Think big, dream bigger
- Do not regret trying and failing; regret not trying instead
What would you like to be remembered for?
Mathijs Eefting: I would like to be remembered for enriching the lives of people around me, whether that is family, friends, colleagues, customers, in whatever way meaningful to them.
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