Tradesnest: How tech is changing the face of trade

Rebecca Lee speaks with Nancy Shenouda, Co-founder and CEO of Tradesnest 

COVID caused huge disruption to the trade events sphere, but one company who were already looking to the future of how businesses and distributors would operate was the innovative B2B platform Tradesnest. 

The Amsterdam-based company specializes in match-making innovative brands with the right distributors and retailers online, removing the need to attend events to network and do good old-fashioned business in a physical capacity. The platform which started out on type script-based free and open-source web application framework Angular has grown rapidly since it was first established in 2018. Tradesnest currently connects brands, distributors and retailers from over 80 countries, enabling them to scale sizably across the globe. 

According to the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), there are around 1,200 exhibition venues worldwide and 31,000 exhibitions a year, making it challenging for SMEs to be able to attend every event, no matter how much they want to. With numerous trade show giants making a comeback across the world we spoke to Nancy Shenouda, Co-founder and CEO of Tradesnest about how technology has played a pivotal role in connecting SMEs with distributors in a timely fashion.

Can you tell us how the concept for Tradesnest was born?

After 15 years of experience in the corporate retail business working for large and small companies, I had seen first hand how difficult it was for SMEs to access retailers in new markets. They are spending a fortune and risking significant capital going from one trade show to another, in the hopes of finding a retail buyer or a distributor. After attending multiple trade shows around the world, I realized that many companies are making the same mistake, believing that spending thousands of dollars on one trade show will open doors to new markets. Unfortunately, the reality is that it can be a gamble. Having this experience made me realize that another solution was needed to help startups and SMEs enter a new market faster at a lower cost. 

Tradesnest allows SME’s to showcase their product through an appealing interface, enabling them to connect directly with distribution and/or retail buyers in minutes. It is available 365 days a year 24 hours a day so that SMEs do not not have to wait for months and spend time preparing for a show that occurs only once a year. Tradesnest is all about finding your match faster, working in a smarter way and being more efficient than ever before.

You matchmake businesses with distributors through the use of technology, what are the biggest challenges in doing this?

The main challenge is to try to get SMEs to move away from the traditional ways of working. We are offering a solution that is time and cost-effective, but tradeshows are well anchored as the de-facto place to go when a company wants to expand in new markets. This in itself, is a challenge.

Can you tell me a bit about the technology powering Tradesnest?

We started developing our platform on Angular and moved to React along the way. We used and are continuing to explore a wide range of tool sets provided by AWS. That will increase in the future as we continue our journey into AI. Tradesnest has been built from the ground up by our own technical team. This gives us full flexibility when we want to make changes and introduce new features and improvements. 

What types of products are you looking to connect distributors and retailers with?

Our focus is currently on consumer electronics such as smart home devices, phone accessories, electric bicycles and everything in between. We are always interested in looking at different end consumer products from other categories since our distributors and retailers have different requests.

What makes Tradesnest different to other B2B platforms?

Tradesnest is about building relationships between companies, allowing SMEs to expand in new markets by finding the partner that is right for them. We focus on partners that will allow SMEs to sell in large volumes. On Tradesnest, you can contact the buyers from large distributors directly, through providing access to national retailers or even the retailers themselves. You can then showcase your products and present your unique selling points to these buyers in a matter of minutes and get traction quickly in new markets. 

I hear Tradesnest is looking for investors, can you tell me a bit about the profile of the investor you are looking to attract?

To put it simply, our ideal investors would have experience in the retail market and also have a well-established network in this sector. 

What are your ambitions for Tradesnest?

Our goal is to keep expanding geographically and increase our network in some areas this year. We are working very closely with our current users. While our ambition is to improve their experience on the platform, we also hope to continue to make it easier for SMEs to reach new markets whilst helping distributors and retailers find new and exciting products.

Rebecca Lee is a journalist and broadcaster of over 23 years. She also works in tech communications with ClearStory International. To date, she has written for and continues to contribute to The Business Post, The Irish Times, The Irish Daily Mail, The Sunday World, and, most importantly, European tech publication 4i Magazine. Rebecca also worked as a radio presenter for 13 years with leading Irish stations Q102 and FM104. Alongside balancing her PR and journalism work, Rebecca moderates events, WebSummit 2022 and Dublin Tech Summit being the most recent.