Jan Bednar, founder of ShipMonk, started his first company in high school. He continued launching startups until creating the winning formula with ShipMonk.
"My first business in high school was an event DJ business," he said. "After that, I started a business selling high end, European watches to American customers. That didn't work out and I started doing package forwarding. I went through an accelerator program and in 2015 we were approached by some companies about doing order fulfillment. We took on our first customers then and have been focused on order fulfillment since then. It's been two years since the pivot and this year we'll do $10 million in revenue."
ShipMonk brings enterprise-level fulfillment to small and medium sized businesses, helping them manage their entire supply chain through their cloud solution.
"Our technology is our most important differentiator," Bednar explained. "The platform integrates with 100 different shopping carts so we can pull orders from anywhere. The entire process is entirely automated so customers don't have to lift a finger. Our goal is to give customers the ability to manage their entire warehouse operations through an online system without the overhead of a warehouse. We have a dedicated representative for every customer who knows their account, knows the products and can help them with any issues. Our automation also allows us to drive our costs down and offer more competitive pricing."
Bednar's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to "make sure you actually have a business and you are solving a problem. It's very easy to think you’ve got an amazing idea. Talk you your potential customers. Give them your product and see what the feedback is. Without it, you won't be able to launch anything successfully. Find a mentor who has been successful and wants to give back. Lastly, if you can bootstrap your business, you'll value money more and you won't have to answer to anyone else."
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