eSellerPro Banks Another £1m Investment What Do you Think?

I’ve received the release below this morning from eSellerPro. They’ve taken in another £1M in funding as the first round of funding of £2M was around two years ago.

I have two questions for you at the bottom of this article, I’d love to hear your feedback on this.

Press Release

eSellerPro receives a further £1m in funding from Notion Capital
Funding follows a record year with £233m in sales processed

London, 16th February 2012: eSellerPro, the leading eCommerce software provider for multi-channel sellers, today announces a follow-on investment of £1m from Notion Capital. The funding follows Notion’s initial investment of £1.8 million in 2010 and will support the company’s ambitious growth plans over the coming years, which include accelerating momentum in its core business together with entry into new markets and further investment in the product.

In just 2 years since the last round of funding, eSellerPro has become one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the UK, having tripled both its revenues and its customer base which now includes well-known names such as: Tesco Outlet, Dixons, Royal Mail, BMW, JJB Sports, Maplins, Whirlpool and BT Outlet. eSellerPro’s multichannel ecommerce platform processed £233m in sales on behalf of its customers in 2011 and will soon move through the £1m per day threshold.

Following the appointment of Keith Bird as the CEO early last year, the business has also further strengthened its management team adding a CTO, Director of Sales, Director of Product Management and Director of Global Partnerships & Alliances.

The new funding will go towards expanding the business both technically and geographically, ensuring the company maximises on the opportunities in markets beyond the UK, including the US market, worth more than $300bn.

Keith Bird, CEO at eSellerPro, commented, “Since the first funding round in 2010, eSellerPro has both accelerated our growth and laid the foundations for further expansion into new markets including the all-important US. Our vision is to be a key part of the ecommerce ecosystem, ultimately helping retailers to sell more through seamless integration with multiple online channels. The market is expected to continue to grow rapidly over the coming years and this new funding will help us to accelerate our growth in the UK, US and beyond, while continuing to improve the experience for our existing customers”.

Ben White, Partner at Notion Capital, added: “eSellerPro helps customers respond to the changing retail environment and maximise the value of their online presence through integration with third party channels like eBay and Amazon. The ecommerce market is expected to grow to $1tr by 2016 and online marketplaces is one of its fastest growing segments – as such we are very excited about the company’s future prospects and believe they have what it takes to build a very big business.”

eSellerPro’s technology helps retailers integrate their entire online sales process, simplifying and automating tasks and maximising sales opportunities across multiple channels such as eBay and Amazon. eSellerPro currently has customers across the UK, US and Europe.

What Do You Think?

An observation of what is included in the release is the statement “Funding follows a record year with £233m in sales processed“. Taking a guess at the revenue generated from this at 1.5%, allowing for variations on the fee taken as part of the SaaS application, that figure comes in at around £3,495,000.

Obviously this is likely to be out by miles, with anything up or down of this by a value by 40%. So with the extra investment in mind announced today and ongoing revenue stream, this appears to be a bridging loan, to keep the wheels turning (maybe we’ll see a poke at the US marketplace?) while not being restricted by revenue.

As such I have two questions for you:

  • What’s been your experience with eSellerPro over the past few months and do you think that the extra funding will make a difference to the service you receive?
  • Do you believe that eSellerPro is going to follow the route of ChannelAdvisor with numerous funding rounds?

Let me know in the comments box below.

16replies
  1. Richard Grant
    Richard Grantsays:

    ESP had a webinar update today. They’re still adding new staff at all levels, and we’re starting to see some solid features being released that will have undergone rigorous testing. Management are now aware of the issues that they are facing and not afraid to take brave decisions about removing functionality which compromises the whole platform. Some of the intensive reporting features have been removed until the hardware upgrades are completed.
    It’s still a nerve-wracking and frustrating experience using ESP and its Creative Services, but the team is making progress and we’re much less likely to be looking elsewhere for inventory management, for now.
    However, as Eamonn Costello acknowledges, communication with customers is still poor, so much so that we almost didn’t get our invitiation to this webinar!
    I feel sure that ESP can continue to attract investment and new investors, as they turn the corner to a bright future.

    Reply
  2. eamonnmccarthy
    eamonnmccarthysays:

    Frankly Matt, I’m pretty unimpressed with esellerpro over the last few months. I have two major issues.

    Firstly, the software runs like a dog! I have three staff using ESP and they are constantly complaining about how often they are sat waiting for a response. The amount of time wasted and the frustration caused is concerning. I suspect their flagship customers get the fast servers and the rest of us don’t matter!

    Secondly, the general level of support is poor once the problem can’t be fixed immediately. For example, we have had a serious problem with the interface between ESP and Amazon. We discovered that orders confirmed as despatched in ESP were not being marked as delivered in Amazon.

    We then discovered that orders cancelled in ESP were not being marked as cancelled in Amazon. And to cap it all – and worst of all – there were orders in Amazon which had not come into ESP at all. The ticket has been ‘critical’ for two months and remains unresolved!

    Oh, and in the last two weeks the system has been down from 8pm to midnight twice with only hours notice. Rant over. But I would love to know if anyone else has had similar problems.

    Reply
    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogbornesays:

      Howdy Eamonn,

      It does appear that if you’re not on your own server than it can be realllly slow. One of the accounts I have been working with lags terribly, maybe 10-20 seconds between screens, its not an enjoyable experience.

      As for the Amazon updates, nasty. That should not be left unattended for two months, here have Keith Bird’s email address [email protected] and if you use Skype the id is esp.keith.bird, although try & remain constructive *coff*

      Matt

      Reply
  3. Richard
    Richardsays:

    We think that this is one of many funding rounds for ESellerPro. Unfortunately as one of their customers it appears that there is too much focus on growth to keep the funding partners happy, and not nearly enough emphasis on service for the existing clients. Although staff numbers at ESP have trebled during our time working with them, the service level remains extremely poor in all areas, and we have not seen any improvement in resolution times for tickets. The product is great and nothing else comes close to it for functionality – if and when something does come close, we think that ESP will lose a good percentage of their customers. However, the management probably think that they can grow their business faster than customers drop off, so the net effect is still fantastic growth, and behind this backdrop they can hide from the continuing, unimproving service levels.

    Reply
    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogbornesays:

      Hola Richard,

      I have to agree, this is not likely to be the last of the funding we’ll see.

      The competitive advantage that eSellerPro currently has will be slowly, but surely chomped at by the numerous other businesses that are starting to appear. It’s an interesting one to observe from the side lines. Although I can appreciate that for yourself and Dave & Ian above, at ground level it can be nuts at times.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Matt

      Reply
  4. Ian Clarke
    Ian Clarkesays:

    Matthew, I have been working for an etailer for a little over three years, using eSellerPro all of this time, and been a regular reader of your blog, gaining quite a lot from your remarks.

    Whilst freely acknowledging the good points of eSP, for me the multi channel functionality is great we have (counts on fingers) 10+ channels (including the US) all managed from a single instance of eSP.

    But, the software is afflicted with numerous errors, and fixes are slow to come, one issue that costs me an extra hour of work each week has been outstanding since 10 October 2011. Talking of slow, some functions are horribly slow, record to record time quite considerable, moving between some but not all tabs slow.

    Among my previous experience has been as UK software support manger for two sizable minicomputer manufacturers for eight years in total and I have rather more than 30 years professional software experience.

    I really hope that this one Million is not spent on fatuous marketing, but to put in better support for QAing the software as it is produced, for better, more redundant hardware systems better supported, these to improve the quality of the software and give swifter responses to fewer reported problems. And they need to get more professional to publish intended and actual uptimes (I would like to see at least 99.999%) and to have a more informative website for problems and intended upgrades.

    Reply
    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogbornesays:

      Howdy Ian,

      Thanks for the comment.

      All valid points. All I can comment on is that I know Eamonn & the team are working on it and it’ll just take time for them to get it to a point where all those points are a reality.

      Matt

      Reply
      • Ian Clarke
        Ian Clarkesays:

        Hi again Matt,

        To my shame I don’t know who Eamonn is in this context.

        I have been moved to look at the eSP website today, to see what they have to say about support, going all the way back to 15 September Keith Bird makes all the right noises about support and speed improvements, with six near specifics. However very little of what was promised seems to me to have been implemented. Sure we have release notes and a release numbering scheme that makes sense. Otherwise in just short of six months nothing.

        A suggestion for an article, as someone who presumably has access to eSP and its rivals how about doing a ‘Top Gear’ style laptime comparison, starting with the product details (description, prices, ASIN) and images already prepared in document/spreadsheet. How long does it take to set a listing live to the three main channels, own website, Ebay.co.uk, Amazon.co.uk?

      • Matthew Ogborne
        Matthew Ogbornesays:

        Howdy Ian,

        Eamonn is the product management director at eSellerPro. I can’t promise anything and he has a lot on his plate (as you can imagine), however I’ve sent him an email a few minutes ago.

        That’s an excellent idea and I know how exactly how to do it too. Its in my articles todo list!

        Matt

  5. Dave Furness
    Dave Furnesssays:

    Wow…someones busy today Matt, lots of articles… :)

    Having used eSellerPro for the past 3 years now, i’l give a bash at answering your questions.

    Over the past few months, I have had no major problems with eSellerPro, sometime in November the server we are on went down which stopped us functioning for an hour or so, but in fairness they were quick to acknowledge the problem and keep us updated of an ETA for the fix. Working with companies like this it is inevitable that at sometime problems like this will arise.

    The extra funding could make a difference and perhaps tighten up some of the areas of how we interact with ESP. Linking to your second question however I do feel that expansion is what lies ahead for ESP and this is not necessarily a bad thing. By increasing their customer base overseas this is only going to further fund the need for better systems, customer service and therefore create more jobs to manage the running of the SaaS system. I see them traveling a similar but not identical route to Channel Advisor and although there may be a few bumps in the road as to be expected with something of this scale, ultimately I feel this could be the start of bigger things for ESP.

    The grapevine seems to suggest further news like this will be released in the not to distant future.

    Dave

    Reply
    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogbornesays:

      Howdy Dave,

      Sorry the delay in responding! Yes indeed a flurry of articles last week.

      I do agree with you, if they go to the US for more customers then it could be a great thing for current users as it’ll force them to tighten certain parts and expand the CS team. The US marketplaces will be fun, especially if you factor in multiple warehouse locations & state taxes and some other quirks.

      As always curious to watch.

      Matt

      Reply

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