Business Partner Identification version Web 3.0
A few weeks ago, Novertur co-founder, Luca Salzano, was interviewed on the SME Portal of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO). Here is the interview, in English.
“Helping SMEs to quickly identify partner-companies on foreign markets” – That’s the goal of the Lausanne-based startup, Novertur. Their market intelligence solution is developed by a Swiss team since 2012, and the startup is getting quite hot lastly. Several thousands of firms in the world have signed up to their B2B social network, while their brand new product, Novertur Matchmaking, is currently tested by Switzerland Global Enterprise. The concept here is simple: Just by entering their website address (URL), SMBs can automatically identify business partners abroad (and at home) that are matching their interests. Explanations by Luca Salzano, co-founder of Novertur.
SECO: Can you describe the service that your company is offering?
Luca: Our new solution, Novertur Matchmaking, is an annual subscription-based service including a free trial period. After requesting an access, users can operate our new generation business partner identification tool. Basically, you just need the website’s address of a company in order to discover who are the potential distributors, clients, suppliers, services or even competitors of this company on the selected geographic market. Then, you can also visualize these results on a map, sort them, and therefore better understand the full ecosystem and the stakeholders’ structure on this specific market.
SECO: How does the platform work, concretely?
Luca: Our algorithm is based on an automatic bi-dimensional classification of companies. The two dimensions are firstly, the industry or economic activity and, secondly, the position on the supply chain. Let’s assume that you are a Swiss SME looking for trade partners in the United Kingdom. Novertur collects the content of your website. Analyzing this content semantically, Novertur will determine in which industry your company is operating as well as at which level of the supply chain you are active. Our algorithm calculates a business complementarity ratio by comparing your company with the content and classes of all the companies in the UK. This ratio will then present you the companies in the upstream classes (same industry, upstream supply chain level), the downstream classes (same industry, downstream supply chain level) and surrounding classes (sames supply chain, different industries). Adding on top of that a variable of semantic proximity between companies, we determine who are your most relevant distributors, suppliers or competitors.
SECO: Do you have concrete examples?
Luca: So, lastly, we helped a Swiss SME manufacturing high-precision cuttling tools to identify a new distribution partner in Spain. This company works with a partner there since a few years, but sales did not really take off so far. So with our technology and know-how, we brought a list of potential distributors to this SME, based on their very precise and objective identification criteria. We used the tool on our side and deliver them a “tailored report”. This enabled the company to open new doors on the Spanish market. We know that they are currently negociating with one of the distributors of the list.
SECO: With how many SMEs have you collaborated in the same perspective so far?
Luca: In 2014 and early 2015, we provided tailored identification services like this to several SMEs. The idea was for us to test and validate the power of our technology. We have collaborated with tens of SMEs based in cantons of Vaud, Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Jura and Zurich.
SECO: Where did you get financing and with which partners are you working?
Luca: Novertur has been financed by private investors and in particular the Business Angels Switzerland (BAS) club. Funds from the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) and of the Economic Promotion of the State of Vaud (SPECo) have also supported our collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences of Neuchâtel and the development of our technology. In January 2015, our company signed an agreement with the Swiss trade promotion agency, Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), which is consequently our first institutional client. We are also supported by Innovaud, the Silicon Valley accelerator BlackBox as well as Google via the Developers Startup Pack.
SECO: What kind of advises would you give to an SME looking for a trade partner abroad?
Luca: I would advise to define very objective identification criteria. Too many SMEs trust their feeling, which most of the time leads to failure. It is quite rare to develop a successful collaboration only by sharing a glass of sherry on a trade fair stand. Furthermore, it is also extremely important to analyze in details the targeted market and in particular the mechanisms of the distribution channels as well as the positioning and strategy of the competitors. The first and essential rule should always be to determine the size of the market objectively in order to define its real opportunity. Many entrepreneurs think that growing economies such as Russia or China can be good markets for them, without having truly assessed and measured the number of customers on the segment they address and their purchasing power.
Original article here.