Be informed and keep your expectations realistic, says #IBYE 2014 Overall Winner, Eamon Keane.
90 second Q&A with Eamon Keane of Xpreso Software in South Dublin.
“I got the idea for Xpreso when I was waiting for a takeaway driver! The idea subsequently evolved into solving the issue of waiting all day for parcel delivery drivers,” Eamon Keane of Xpreso Software.
Name: Eamon Keane
Title: Co-founder of Xpreso Software
Company Founders: Eamon Keane, Simon Pleass, Paulo Tubbert and Fabiano Pallonetto,
Award: Overall Winner of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ and Best Start-Up Business Category at #IBYE 2014.
Eamon, since winning #IBYE at the National Finals in Google last December, how has business been going?
Since winning #IBYE, Xpreso has been going great. We have continuted our deployment and product development with Nightline, Ireland’s largest courier company, we have hired several more people, and closed our $1m seed round.
We won two prizes at the Irish Transport and Logistics Awards in recognition of our innovative product and recently got €150,000 in EU funding for urban logistics, placing in the top 2.5% of applications.
We were also one of the winners of Web Summit’s ‘Go Global’ competition, which will give us great further exposure.
You’re a software solutions company, but tell us more about what you do.
Xpreso’s SaaS solution solves the ‘last mile’ problem in e-commerce.
A dynamic progression from the current industry standard technology, Xpreso’s solution connects couriers, e-retailers and consumers in real-time increasing courier efficiency, driving e-retailer sales while also giving consumers dynamic tracking, redirection and returns options.
What inspired you to come up with the idea in the first place?
I got the idea for Xpreso when I was waiting for a takeaway driver! The idea subsequently evolved into solving the issue of waiting all day for parcel delivery drivers.
What are the benefits of using it and what makes Xpreso different?
Ecommerce customers get accurate time windows, courier companies get increased driver efficiency and online retailers get increased sales from happier customers.
Xpreso’s modern cloud-based solution allows delivery drivers to easily arrange their route, navigate, and communicate accurate time windows to end consumers. A further differentiation is our API for integration of tracking and redirection options to retailers’ apps.
You’ve set up other companies in the past, but what initial challenges did you face when setting up Xpreso?
Some initial challenges included finding the right co-founders, getting funding and learning about what supports were available to start-ups.
How big is the team now?
We currently have a team of 10 people, which is split 60% on the development side of things and 40% on the business side. Our team ranges from graduates to experienced engineers and business people.
Any big ‘business breakthroughs’?
When I met up with co-founder Simon Pleass, an expert in the courier industry, this gave us a big boost. Also when Nightline agreed to use our software at an early stage in our development, it gave us the chance to iterate quickly in a real-life environment.
Nightline, a household name in the industry, is one of your biggest customers – how did you first approach them?
I emailed John Tuohy, the CEO of Nightline, while we were in the NDRC, and because he is forward looking and likes to help Irish startups, he agreed to meet.
He was impressed with our product and after a couple more meetings agreed to a pilot with our solution. This has gone very well and we are now deployed to nearly the full fleet.
Any plans for expansion?
We have talked to a number of courier companies in Europe and Asia since #IBYE.
Right now, we’re focused on a bid for Horizon 2020 funding of €2.5m with a large global logistics company, a billion pound online retailer, Mastercard, Telefonica, InPost and Doddle, two providers of parcel lockers and shops.
This will allow us to show the full power of our solution in the field.
You’re also an SME Awareness Ambassador for the Action Plan for Jobs – what does that role involve?
This involved helping to get the word out on the Action Plan for Jobs and making a few videos showcasing the supports that Xpreso has received.
...In 5 years’ time?
I see Xpreso as a market leader in the parcel industry, finally connecting the online retailer, courier, end recipient and delivery driver. We plan to continue executing our current opportunities while remaining flexible to adapt to market conditions.
How have the Local Enterprise Offices supported your business so far?
They (Local Enterprise Office South Dublin) have been a great support in refining our business plan and helping us through the #IBYE application process.
What entrepreneur do you admire and why?
Elon Musk (of SpaceX and Tesla Motors) has made some great achievements in electric vehicles and space exploration, despite being almost bankrupt a couple of times.
(See Elon Musk’s Wikipedia profile here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk)
What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs?
I would say try and be as informed as you can about your target market so that you can have realistic expectations about your chances of getting uptake.
What are your ‘top tips’ for succeeding in the software business?
Find a great technical co-founder – they’re invaluable if you’re building a techincal solution.
To find out more about Eamon’s business, visit www. www.xpreso.com or find them on Twitter here: @xpresosoftware