IRExchange.com delivers fairness, transparency and efficiency to the retail sector through a marketplace connecting independent retailers (like IGA) and suppliers (like Coke-Cola). The business is growing fast and currently working towards an IPO in late
IRExchange.com delivers fairness, transparency and efficiency to the retail sector through a marketplace connecting independent retailers (like IGA) and suppliers (like Coke-Cola). The business is growing fast and currently working towards an IPO in late 2019.
Following work with IGA in 2013 – where I had seen the depressed state of regional towns along Australia’s eastern seaboard, I recognised the need for greater fairness in the independent retail sector (think monopolistic incumbent wholesaler Metcash) and for retailers and suppliers to be more competitive (vs. big box retailers).
I came across an idea for a smarter warehouse and distribution design that hadn’t gotten past concept stage in the preceding years and was invited to take the project on and drive its kickstart.
I redesigned the original idea to focus on providing a cloud-based marketplace solution “Amazon for suppliers and independent supermarkets”. I envisioned a national social enterprise, a CO-OP that could go a long way to helping the situation seen in 2013.
With no resources and only a basic business concept to work with, I identified and negotiated the recruitment of our first team and partners including corporate advisory firm (Canterbury Partners), a major digital agency (APD Group), leadership and board strategists (YellowFolder/Slade Group), leading marketing agency (DDB Group) and the first leader to commit to the business to stand it up.
With a new team and a new proposition, we all went back to seed investors for the funding needed to get going. We worked for founders class equity only.
Later, I identified and helped pitch the key capital partner that invested the bulk of the funding the leadership required to execute nationally and get us to IPO.
Today IRExchange has over 60 team members in offices and distribution centres nationally and is backed by partners including DHL. IRX is well on its way to disrupting the sector and achieving the goals we envisioned in 2014.
- In 2014, he took on a startup idea originally incorporated in 2012, developing new strategy and focus which was adopted by the Shareholders and Board, resulting in successful launch irexchange.com
- At IRExchange, he was a key member of founding team (member number 4) which developed the new strategy and operational rollout of the business, leading IRExchange’s first startup-phase:
- Recapitalisation and major refocus and changes in Product, Corporate and Business Development, Finance, Program Office, Marketing, HR, Procurement, and Partnerships
- IRExchange has gone on to raise over AU$60m in capital to support its new execution program, employs over 60 staff nationally in national operations and has a market cap of over AU$90m
- IRExchange is forcing major industry change and will result in sustained positive impacts on Australia’s independent retail sector, making it far more competitive vs big-box retailers