As technology advances, traditional industries and ways of selling get makeovers. This week's StartUp of the Week, APCO Energy, uses smart technology to update the traditional model of electrical wholesaling. Let's find out more!
1. Explain your business in thirty seconds or less.
We're an online B2B eCommerce electrical wholesaler and distributor, combining the industrial 'Internet of things'. Think ASOS with a personal stylist, but for electrical engineering supplies. You can watch our promotional video here.
Electrical wholesalers need to do more for their clients in the digital generation. APCO Energy, therefore, combines wholesaling with new smart technologies. Imagine an industrial machine heading towards its maintenance period or component failure sending a message to the Cloud requesting and ordering critical items ahead of time. This process is just a snapshot of the sort of operational savings and simplification that APCO energy will provide.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
Our head office is based in Shoreditch, London. However, APCO energy is an online enterprise and our business model is based on services to our clients. Any client location can be our location, and we are based around them.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
The eCommerce B2B landscape that clients have come to expect is severely under-utilized. However, this is only a gateway to many opportunities. The opportunities and value-added services brought through the online platform coupled with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is immense.
4. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
Concept and research validation.
5. How have you used it to grow your business?
We used it to develop a landing page marketing the key attributes of APCO Energy at www.apcoenergy.com. In addition, the mentoring we have received through Virgin StartUp has been instrumental in the guidance and direction required to validate these ideas with efficient execution.
6. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?
My mentor is Christina Aschioape. Her expertise in product management and innovation, working with the Home Office and other organisations, has been vital in understanding the priorities of APCO Energy's growth. She has been realistic and focuses on result-oriented actions. Having her around to bounce ideas off, especially ones that come from our mutual respect for the principles outlined in 'The Lean Start-Up' by Eric Reis, has been beneficial and has helped us come up with unique ideas.
My business advisor, Glenn Watts of Business Enterprise Solutions (BES), was key when it came to supporting my VSU business plan. Keeping things simple whilst focusing on the main goals and objectives of APCO Energy's business plan helped secure VSU's acknowledgment.
7. Biggest achievement so far?
Securing a partnership with a £40bn conglomerate in the Industrial/Electrical Engineering sector.
8. What’s next for your business?
We're officially launching in January 2017!
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