Moteefe is a social commerce platform that allows thousands of entrepreneurs to create products to sell via social media. Launched in late 2015, the company has already reached meaningful achievements featuring over 30+ products on the platform to upload designs to, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, babygrows, phone cases, mugs, tote bags, cushions, towels, etc. It employs 30+ people in London, Lisbon and St Petersburg.
Moteefe recently raised £1.75M in seed+ funding round. Following the announcement, Mathijs Eefting, Co-Founder & CEO, answered our questions about himself, the market, the company, its solutions, etc.
FinSMEs: Hi Mathijs, can you tell a bit more about you? What’s your background?
Mathijs: Hi, I’m Mathijs and I’m CEO and co-founder of Moteefe, a social commerce platform that enables entrepreneurs to create and sell custom clothing and products. My background is as a consultant in my native Holland before completing my MBA at INSEAD, which is where I met my fellow co-founders Lev Kundin and Olivier Stapylton-Smith.
FinSMEs: Is social commerce the next big thing?
Mathijs: Absolutely! Social commerce has been growing rapidly in the last couple of years but the next 12 months will see exponential growth in this area. Social media is completely changing how we purchase online - our habits are now much more impulse-driven and peer reviews mean more than ever before. We’re aiming to bring social commerce to the forefront with Moteefe - we enable entrepreneurs to easily create custom designs that are then put in front of niche audiences.
We are now buying more than ever before from individuals and small businesses via social media. While big businesses are spreading their nets far and wide by targeting larger audiences, our entrepreneurs create products that are targeted towards smaller, much more niche audience types that have very specific interests. We often describe ourselves as a B2B2C company as our main set of ‘customers’ are our large groups of entrepreneurs and influencers who sell on our site, and we teach them how to find quality customers via top-quality advertising.
FinSMEs: Given this, how did you come up with the idea of creating Moteefe? Which problem do you want to solve? Which was the market opportunity to take?
Mathijs: Good question. While we were studying at INSEAD, we were tasked to create a full plan for a scalable online business, and that’s how we accidentally started the initial plans for Moteefe. At the time, there were a few similar companies in the US with similar business models and we knew this was a huge opportunity. We spent many months researching and planning it after we had finished our MBAs, and it wasn’t too long after where we had to ask the difficult question of: do we go back to our previous roles or do we take the plunge and just do it?
Problem-wise, there are many that we wish to solve with Moteefe. First and foremost, we want to help entrepreneurs to create their own businesses. The first time one of our sellers told us that he’d left his job to work via Moteefe full-time, it was unbelievable. For me, helping people to make money is an insane job to have each day. We’ve got sellers who are making more money than ever before and the genuine happiness that our sellers have keeps us going every day.
Secondly, one big problem that Moteefe solves is the entire method of creating custom-made products. Traditionally, you had to purchase stock upfront and hope to sell all colours and sizes to be able to make any profits. The Moteefe platform flips this whole process on its head, by producing only what you have sold and ensuring you’re not left with stock you can’t shift.
FinSMEs: How does Moteefe work?
Mathijs: Leading on from above, purchasing stock and having to sell particular items can be frustrating and takes a lot of time, as well as coming with no guarantee of success.
With Moteefe, users upload their designs and choose their products, with only ordered items going to print to generate maximum profits for the seller.
From the backend of Moteefe, we do many things to ensure the best-quality items and printing quality, as well as fast delivery times for our customers. Our system automatically sends each individual order to the customer’s nearest printing facility for faster delivery, while the system works out VAT and non-VAT costs before passing all extra profits to the seller.
FinSMEs: Can you introduce your co-founders and teammates?
Mathijs: Absolutely, so in the founding team we have our CMO Olivier Stapylton-Smith and CTO Lev Kundin, both having considerable experience in their fields. Lev worked in the tech team of Bloomberg for many years while Olivier has started (and exited) a successful financial startup.
Other members of the team include those previous experience at notable businesses including Facebook, Deliveroo, Yelp and Treatwell and, with a focus on marketing and sales, we plan to grow the team considerably in the next 12 months.
FinSMEs: You just raised your seed funding round. How do you plan to use the funds?
Mathijs: With the recent release of the new platform, we aim to use the funds to grow all areas of the business! Internally, we’ll be adding great members of staff in our London and Lisbon offices to help grow and build the next big developments here at Moteefe. It’s going to be a very busy 12 months here…
FinSMEs: What can you tell us about the investors? Are they supportive? How?
Mathijs: Absolutely, they’re not only investors but great mentors and have helped shape the business in many ways. For us, having the right investors is key to growing a successful business - they need to understand our challenges and, ideally, experienced similar themselves and can best advise on the next steps. Having a range of VC and Angel investors really helps in this crucial time of growth - we have a whole range of great minds with great experience.
FinSMEs: What are Moteefe’s near and medium term future plans?
Mathijs: The next 12-18 months are crucial for the growth of our platform. Our aim is to develop the notion of social commerce with a full knowledge base and additional content coming, as well as creating key technical developments on the platform to help entrepreneurs win big. We’re adding many more products in Q4 as well as looking into various areas of growth in 2018. I can’t say too much more, but it’s going to be very exciting!