Picking the name of a startup is a daunting task for founders. It has to be catchy and memorable, but no team wants to find themselves pigeon holed by the meaning of a name if they need to expand or pivot their product in a new direction.
As brothers and co-founders Liam J.E Gerada and Travis Gerada started building their ecommerce platform, the natural inclination might have been to pick a name that included some sort of ‘shopping’ motif, similar to what giants in the space like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce did. But Liam said they were setting out to change the infrastructure that powers ecommerce brands, so having a name that was just about shopping wouldn’t cut it. So instead they picked Krepling, a name that on the surface means nothing. But that gave them the chance to define Krepling as something unique within the ecommerce space moving forward.
So how does the founding team define Krepling today? At its core, the startup is a no-code platform that brings the ecommerce experience – from purchasing flows to customer journeys – under one roof. Platform is designed to help merchants build “the most cohesive, most beautiful looking ecommerce experiences,” CEO Liam Gerada told Hypepotamus. That allows for robust data collection and a better customer experience for those shopping for a brand’s product online.
Today, most customers are direct-to-consumer businesses in the mid-market space ($1 million to $60 million Gross Merchandise Value) and are often operating multiple storefronts and multiple sales channels at the same time.
The startup, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee and backed by Southeast investors Front Porch Venture Partners and Brickyard, got off the ground in 2020. But the platform has quickly scaled, bringing in $2 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue), according to Gerada.
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Before launching into the tech startup space, the Gerada brothers were ecommerce merchants selling direct-to-consumer sneakers. They quickly learned the limitations associated with building on both traditional out-of-the-box, low-code ecommerce tech stacks and the headless, code-intensive platforms.
Liam realized it wasn’t just small brands like his that were struggling to find the right tech stack.
“What we discovered that was that ecommerce had evolved to a lot more than simply just selling on one website…it often involved multiple tools, integrations, workflows from across a very wide range of tools across the web,” he told Hypepotamus. “Ecommerce tools were simply not keeping up with this madness. Many merchants were leaving Shopify…and it almost seemed that the industry just came to accept that there is no tool that can help navigate this madness. We just thought there had to be a better way to do it.”
The team has been strategic in its growth strategy in its first few years of operation. Early on, Gerada said he wasn’t focused on widespread adoption, something he admits is “counterintuitive” to the ‘growth at any cost’ mindset that most early-stage founders have. Instead, it was all about getting the product right in the beginning.
“Even our first fundraise was not about scaling a team. Even once we had a product in place and had early traction, we really were just focused on really refining what this product could be,” he added.
Gerada leads a fully remote with its headquarters inside Brickyard, the Chattanooga-based startup ‘insulator.’ Most of the engineering team across Europe and the sales and executive team in the US.
“Our philosophy has always been trying to hire the best talent no matter where they are. Which of course, presents challenges as well in terms of different state taxes, different state regulations, and what have you. So one of our first hires was Head of Ops to actually build up the foundation to allow us to hire talent to where they are,” he added.
Now with the platform out in the market, Krepling is ready to scale.
Gerada said that a lot of his attention in 2024 will be on hiring, with the goal of doubling or tripling the size of the team across “all fronts,” particularly with more engineering and sales roles.