Fashion Cloud creates useful interface solutions for fashion labels and dealers allowing users to exchange digital content, photos and descriptions of products, logos, videos and marketing material. Martin Brücher, co-founder of Fashion Cloud, talks to Hamburg News about the internationalisation of business, new features of the cloud and his dreams of disruption.
Hamburg News: Martin, you are flying to Helsinki on Wednesday for the Slush conference. How important is the event in the start-up scene?
Martin Brücher: Slush has in recent years become the most important start-up event in Europe alongside the Websummit. The conference is a great opportunity for gaining new investors. However, it is better suited to start-ups with tangible business models than early stage start-ups. The range of investors there is also exciting. Apart from investors in Scandinavia and the Baltics, the share of professional venture capital investors from Asia is particularly high. I will be pitching constantly during the next days. For us, Slush comes at exactly the right time. Over the past months, we have concentrated on developing our product. Now, it is time to leave our own circle and to gain investors for the next round of financing.
Hamburg News: You came second at the Webfuture Award in May. Have there been other highlights this year?
Martin Brücher: The Webfuture Award was a great prize of course. Our biggest success this year has been developing our company. In January and June, we had stands at the Fashion Week in Berlin, which was a super platform for gaining new labels and dealers for Fashion Cloud. We reached a critical mass in terms of providers keen to make their content available on Fashion Cloud. That was an important step and allows us to offer our clients real added valued. Now, we have to convince investors that our business can grow strongly on an international level.
Hamburg News: How are your efforts towards internationalisation progressing?
Martin Brücher: Fashion Cloud has users in 15 countries meanwhile. Collaboration with a fashion agency that sells fashion labels on the Russian market has seen our business expand more rapidly than expected there. We have become far more international on both an internal and external level. Our 15-strong team includes great people in the United States, New Zealand, Spain and Tunisia.
Hamburg News: What your goals for 2017?
Martin Brücher: Next year, we wish to further develop Fashion Cloud. We have introduced a new layer of data alongside the existing picture data interchanges. Fashion Cloud will function as an “extended warehouse shelf” for dealers. Buyers in the business can get a clear view of the stock levels of fashion brands. Customers’ enquiries can then be settled faster and in a more reliable way. In the medium-term, we will also ensure reorders and advance orders are done via Fashion Cloud. But that is still a long time off. If we can manage to digitalise the process of ordering goods, which so far has been done analogously, we would really disrupt the B2B fashion business. However, there are huge obstacles and the market is highly competitive. Big players like Amazon and Zalando are also eyeing this sector.
Interview by: Christin Apenbrink