The SME Story: Nicoló Augusto Manica, co-founder and CRO of uDroppy
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The SME Story: Nicoló Augusto Manica, co-founder and CRO of uDroppy

The SME Story: Nicoló Augusto Manica, co-founder and CRO of uDroppy

uDroppy, which recently raised $Im in a seed funding round, helps online retailers in the initial supply chain set-up process

What is the core business model of uDroppy?
uDroppy has been created to be the missing piece of the puzzle. Our experience in creating and managing e-commerce stores led us to understand a simple problem of the digital retail industry. Whoever decides to launch an e-commerce venture today, can create it easily thanks to the e-commerce platforms (i.e. Shopify or Woocommerce). They can acquire traffic in a couple of clicks using Facebook, Google or influencers. However, supply chain set up is still extremely difficult and time consuming. uDroppy solves this problem, connecting e-commerce owners to suppliers.

Give us a business overview of uDroppy.
uDroppy was founded in 2018. It has recently secured a $1m seed funding round. The round is led by Jason Calacanis, a famous Silicon Valley Angel investor (Uber, Robin Hood, etc.). Together with Jason, Launch Syndicate and Sequoia Capital participated in the round. Sequoia has secured its investment using its scout programme, led by Marco Zappacosta, founder of Thumbtack, a $3bn unicorn. uDroppy has 23 employees and has just opened a new office in Dubai to expand in the MENA region after having established operations in the EU and US.

What convinced you of the need to establish uDroppy?
When you launch an e-commerce venture, you have many areas to take care of. You must create your products, you need to set up your supply chain, distribution channel, market your product and eventually, make sales. It’s extremely difficult. You need a lot of knowledge and experience, otherwise failure is around
the corner. We created uDroppy to help entrepreneurs. We want to offer our help and experience in supply chain set-up to see more people succeeding in this fantastic business.

Tell us about your plans for the Middle East. Are there any specific high growth areas?
On one hand, the Middle East region is experiencing a huge increase in online sales. The recent pandemic has pushed a lot of people to buy products online. Therefore, following an increase in demand, more entrepreneurs entered the e-commerce space.

On the other hand, the Middle East is still relying on cash-on-delivery payments. Hence, in this complex market, we want to offer our help. We are developing a new solution to offer cash-on-delivery solutions and advance warehousing to the e-commerce stores we help in the region.

What can we expect from uDroppy this year?
Following two years of uncertainty, we believe that from 2022 we can go back to normal growth patterns. We know [our customers] need to establish a stronger presence in the countries where they sell the most. They need warehouses and last-mile delivery there to ship fast and compete with Amazon. We have created the best product for them and we are going to release it. It’s going to be a game-changer.

What are some of the toughest lessons you’ve learned about being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur means there will be ups and downs. One day you are on the top of the world, the next you are questioning everything you did. Also, hope for the best, but be ready for the worst. I’ve realised that you should create a good team because it’s not an easy journey, and you’ll need smart people who buy into your vision. I’ve also understood the importance of networking. My advice to someone starting: have a big vision, create a strong team and meet with as many people as possible.

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