Running a startup is hard; it's riddled with swings. Sometimes up, sometimes down, and always extreme. Yet, we love it. We wouldn't do anything else no matter the salary, because at the end of the day the destination is not as rewarding as the insanely challenging trek to get there.
Matagora started off with the desire to make the jump from online to offline retail simple for small brands. By creating a bridge between empty commercial space and independent online brands we could make retail easier, less scary, and less risky. However, along the way we learned that commercial real estate is a conservative industry controlled by people who aren’t always interested in innovating.
This made it difficult for us to enable more opportunities for our brand partners.
Instead, we decided to focus on allowing established store owners to list shelfspace that online brands would pay for, upfront, in order to showroom their products in real life. By knocking on endless amounts of doors in our neighborhood we finally created a marketplace of store owners willing to give our concept a try. We realized quickly that we were in a matchmaking game. Not only did store owners have to be willing to rent shelf space out, but they also had to be aligned with the online brands seeking their stores out. We had to ensure that the partnerships we were facilitating were truly value-driven, and we saw that there was a special kind of power in genuine store to brand collaboration. We worked to bring our collaborative marketplace to new geographies, and soon landed in the center of tech innovation. Through trial and error, and many sleepless nights,we managed to scale to San Francisco and got picked up by Silicon Valley’s Y-Combinator. In the process of raising pre-seed capital, we secured early-stage partners who believed in our vision and were willing to support us in our journey.
After our launch in San Francisco, we returned to our homebase in Montreal to build out our team and find ways to further facilitate online-to-offline commerce. A few months later, the global pandemic hit and as we all know, offline retail took a catastrophic hit. We sadly saw some passionate store partners shut their doors for good.
We had no other choice but to pivot. We worked to create a compelling online shopping experience using our network of brands, with the possibility of having the products reappear on our store partners’ shelves when the pandemic eventually dissipated. That took much longer than we could have ever imagined. During this window of time, we dug deep into building out a unique online store experience powered by Shopify. In the process of on-boarding our brand partners and working towards assembling an exciting catalog of products, we found ourselves with 20+ dropship partnerships. The process of manually adding products to our stores took us weeks on end. Then the process of sharing orders as they happened with our partners took even more time away from the business. We started to realize this was a common problem for all online stores looking to keep new and exciting inventory for their customers.
As the regulations around the pandemic finally started to loosen, we were able to reconnect with some of our old store partners. We saw that our store partners shared the exact same inventory scaling pains we did. That’s when we found a path to having a dramatically positive impact in the online-and-offline commerce world.
We could simplify the manual process of dropship collaboration to bring retailers and brands together in an aligned way. The retailers sell, the brands sell and the shopper gets a new and exciting array of products every couple of weeks.
We’re more excited than ever to announce to our community that we’ve launched the private beta version of our ‘collaborative commerce on auto-pilot’ Shopify app. There is a better option than wholesale for small stores, and we are here to make that a reality. We’re more confident than ever this is the toolset today’s retailers need in order to have a fighting chance against big box retailers. We are convinced we can level-out the playing field for independent retailers. By bringing retailers and online brands together in a win-win partnership fashion, making it easier for retailers to create compelling shopping experiences keeping their shoppers coming back. By bringing stores and online brands together in a truly value-driven partnership, we make it easier for all passionate retailers to create memorable shopping experiences for their shoppers. Matagora allows you to find the right partners, onboard and sync inventory in real-time, and fulfill orders all on a single platform. We put collaborative commerce on auto-pilot.
Passionate retailers win, mission-driven brands win and value-driven shoppers win.
It took us a long time to get where we are, and we’re just getting started. We are on a mission to make business simpler for the stores and brands changing the face of retail. This must exist - so we persist.