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'They were intrigued to hear about three Irish guys with no company... no product'

Yet fast forward two years later and ChannelSight is developing at a rapid pace,

Niall O’Gorman (pictured) who co-founded ChannelSight with John Beckett and Kieran Dundon.
Niall O’Gorman (pictured) who co-founded ChannelSight with John Beckett and Kieran Dundon.

NORMALLY WHEN YOU pitch you have a plan, a clear idea of how your company works and what separates you from other competitors.

Yet when eCommerce company ChannelSight pitched to its first client, Philips, there was no product or service for them to offer. The company as it is now didn’t even exist at the time.

The company powers buy buttons for products online and connect them to relevant retailers like Amazon and Tesco. It indexes all the online stores that offer the product in question and highlights them so the buyer can visit them directly.

The three founders, John Beckett, Kieran Dundon and Niall O’Gorman, got together and pitched the idea for the company back in late-2012 before forming the company proper in March 2013.

“We formulated the plan and pitch and we approached Philips,” says O’Gorman. ”They were intrigued to hear about three Irish guys with no company, no line of code, no product, just a lot of gumption and goodwill… [but] they gave us a chance and that’s important to call out.”

There are some caveats to that story though. For one, O’Gorman had worked with Philips before so the relationship was already there, but it still required them to create a product from scratch and prove themselves over a six-month evaluation.

The same risks associated with a startup still applied here, but the flexibility, indexing products (at the start, they did it manually by listing everything on an Excel spreadsheet) and the speed of its service were reasons O’Gorman felt won them the contract in the first place.

“They liked the idea; they liked the concept and the fact that we were transparent. There was no risk for them”, explained O’Gorman ”If we didn’t work out, there were four or five suppliers waiting in the wing that were probably going to beat us anyway”.

We just took a common sense approach. We weren’t limited by anything.

IMG_0300 The ChannelSense team hopes to increases its team numbers to 74 with the hiring of 40 more people.

The other issue was funding. The three founders were funding it from their own pockets as success wasn’t a foregone conclusion, and the long process only placed further pressure on their personal finances.

“You’re funding yourself during that period so any money that comes in from ourselves or profit goes straight back into the business”, he says. “The process was very long, because big companies take time to do these evaluations…  so the concern is are you going to last long enough to get paid [yourself].”

That’s a far cry from today where the company generates revenue in the millions, operates in 37 different countries and has the likes of Cadbury, Oreo and Veet on its books.

The company recently announced its first funding round, €3.3 million from Nauta Capital means they can invest in its Dublin, UK and Romanian offices as well as research and development in Greece. Although that doesn’t mean the challenges have gone away, if anything, it means that things are just getting started.

“The worst thing you can do is get over the finish line win, relax and lose the business because you’re not providing a good service or a good product ongoing.”

The struggle continues daily… the challenges never go away, the fear never goes away and they evolve over time.

Read: These are Netflix’s plans for new shows and general world domination >

Read: This 5-year-old company started in a Dublin college has been sold for $68 million >

About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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