How a £20M exit and a failed startup kickstarted our Airtable apps agency for ecommerce

How a £20M exit and a failed startup kickstarted our Airtable apps agency for ecommerce
Where the journey with product GTM began in Miro.

The first software startup I joined Descartes Peoplevox got acquired for £20M.

But the second software startup, a Fashion PLM, SupplyCompass, ran out of money.

The Miro board I built from my SupplyCompass experience mapped the dark stack end-to-end - this is where we started our journey 1.5 years ago.

The similarity between the two software companies was that they were entering established software categories - WMS (warehouse management system) and PLM (product lifecycle management) and serving high-growth ecommerce brands.

Both software categories are dominated by end-to-end solutions that have added more features over time to solve ALL the problems they've encountered, speaking to operators.

An end-to-end WMS works because everyone has to adopt the new way of working when you implement it. there is one best way to do certain processes; they're easy to measure and compare.

An end-to-end PLM doesn't work because the person using it is different - they're a knowledge worker and always have access to a browser.

Their autonomy means they'll work in the fastest or most satisfying way that works for them. they create Google Sheets, Excel, presentations, reports - you name it - whenever they want to get their job done.

The magic of building Airtable apps to solve problems I found at SupplyCompass has been chopping up solutions to solve very specific problems in nuanced ways - around the specific need of our clients.

We've enabled brands like RIXO, Jaded London, HYPE. FROM FUTURE and Passenger to build their own app ecosystems to manage products from idea to launch.

We've realised it is not about replicating any software category with a low-code app - it's about moulding solutions and our framework to empower people to go from zero to something.

We don't want to be told how to do our jobs by a software expert - we want to design how our teams work around our business.

We don't want to copy-paste data into a PLM to make an integration 'work' - we want a process that gathers and puts the correct data in the right places.

We don't want to change all our processes and try to fix all our problems - we want to fix the biggest issues and get back to the actual work.

Oliver Rhodes

Oliver Rhodes