Tech entrepreneurs are on the front lines of innovation and job creation. What better way to find out what’s happening in tech in Texas than to hear it straight from our state’s top entrepreneurs? TEP Executive Director, Chelsea McCullough talks with Sangram Kadam, Co-Founder at Ordoro. Ordoro is a web-app that helps online retailers manage their shipping and inventory across multiple channels.
TEP: What inspired you to start your company?
Kadam: Our CEO, Jagath Narayan worked on a project while in business school at UT Austin where he helped a small local online retailer simplify the daily tasks of managing shipping, inventory and working capital. It sounded like an interesting project so we got together to explore the idea further. We did a lot of market validation by speaking with online retailers and realized that there are real problems most online retailers have related to these three issues but few solutions. This experience essentially convinced us that we could create a solution and that the market was big enough for us to give up full-time job offers and launch this business.
TEP: What has been the biggest surprise in building the company?
When we set out to build the business, our initial idea was to build an inventory optimization tool that would let small online-retailers make better use of their limited cash resources. But after talking to several prospective customers we heard that they were struggling with even the basic tasks of shipping orders and communicating tracking information to customers. That lead us to rethink the main pain points we were looking to solve and take a more customer-centric, ease-of-use approach while building the product.
TEP: Tell me about a pivotal moment.
I think we had one recently. Since we launched Ordoro, every year we go to IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference and Expo) the primary conference for online retailers, to meet up with prospective customers and business partners. Until last year we had to go around the conference to every booth, introduce ourselves and explain to folks what we do. This year, it felt that the tables had turned! The Ordoro brand was well recognized. We were walking around the conference hall and different companies kept approaching us to connect and partner with us. It felt good to have all the hard work over the years be recognized.
TEP: What specific advances in technology enable your product?
I’m going to use a fancy buzz-word here – ‘Consumerization of IT’. All that really means is – people now expect software to be personalized and intuitive. They are growing tired of large esoteric programs or spreadsheets that need a Ph.D. to use. Consumer products like the iPhone, Facebook, Amazon and others have users accustomed to intuitive and user-centric design. People now expect their work/business tools to behave that way as well. This has really aligned well with our focus on design and ease of use. We believe that the software used for business should be as beautiful and fun as apps targeting consumers.
TEP: What does the customer need, technology-wise, to use your product?
All you need is Internet access!
TEP: Where will this be in ten years and what will it take to get there?
The eCommerce industry is growing and changing very fast. The way people are buying products today is very different from how they did ten years ago. And it will look very different ten years from today. And so sellers have had to adapt over time and will continue to adapt in the next ten years. The kind of tools seller will need to manage their business will also need to evolve.
We want to position Ordoro as the go-to app for anyone selling products online.
We have always believed that the key to long-term success is to build a strong team with individuals who are talented, excited about what they do, and like to have fun while doing it. This has worked very well for us thus far. The key to getting where we want to be in ten years is to grow our team without compromising those beliefs.
TEP: If you were sitting across from an elected official, what would you like to say?
We need immigration reform to make it easier for talented developers, entrepreneurs and others to be hired in the U.S. Recently; we were interviewed by FWD.us, an organization we support, that is raising awareness of this issue. One of the biggest gripes of startups is the difficulty of finding talent, and with the growing demand from tech companies we would love to be able to hire talent from anywhere in the world. Since we believe in having our entire team in one location (bright ideas tend to surface when we’re all sitting near by) we can’t really look elsewhere and afford the process to sponsor visas for international hires.
Sangram Kadam has a degree in Computer Engineering from NC State and an MBA from the University of Texas. He met with his Co-Founders Jagath Narayan and Naruby Schlenker while in business school and launched Ordoro after graduation. Sangram handles sales and marketing at Ordoro.
There are hundreds of thousands of ecommerce storefronts that look beautiful, polished and stylish. Yet, if you go behind the scenes and look at their shipping operations, it’s ugly and archaic. Merchants still manage data in spreadsheets, emails, papers in folders and repeatedly enter the same data across multiple systems. It’s our mission to change that.
We create user-centric, thoughtfully-designed software that’s helping merchants efficiently manage everything that happens after the order is placed on their webstore. Tasks such as shipping, drop-shipping and inventory management are what we’re focused on making better. It’s not the sexiest stuff to be dealing with, but we’re having a pretty good time.
We’re backed by some great people including EMerge, Capital Factory, 500 Startups and some brilliant angel investors. We’ve also surrounded ourselves with experienced advisors, including many serial entrepreneurs. They’re all with us for the long haul, so we’ve got the support we need to create a successful, sustainable and scalable business.