Entrepreneur, Cases 3.05.2017
By Line Byrfelt Grønlykke

Serial entrepreneurs set out to rescue fashion industry

The Danish fashion industry - measured by sales and jobs – is dominated by a few large players. Traede-founders Christopher Heilmann and Esben Petersen wants to enable smaller brands to compete against the larger players. We recently invested 3,5 million in Traede, who are experiencing a monthly growth of 30%.

Regardless of their age, Esben and Christopher has managed to build several companies, while their peers were operating the bottle refund machine at the local supermarket or trying to impress girls. By the age of 10, CTO Esben Petersen had coded his first HTML website. He later founded Dækskifte.dk, an online platform for selling low-priced tires. He sold that company in 2014. Christopher Heilmann was more interested in the fashion industry and launched his own clothing brand at the age of 16. The two entrepreneurs have now joined forces to launch Traede.

Traede is an online software solution for optimization of B2B sales- and communication between producers and retailers. Transactions between retailers and consumers are already happening big time online on platforms like Zalando and Bootz.com. Therefore, we believe it's “only natural” that the B2B segment follow suit and embrace the digitalization.

“The B2C fashion industry has been online for a long time, while the B2B segment is still tinkering with excel sheets, tiring manual processes and trade fairs. It is only natural that this is happening now. Traede has developed a system enabling their customers to handle the sales process from A to Z in one digital solution” says Investment Manager at SEED Capital Alexander Viterbo-Horten.

Besides raising funds from us, the company earlier received just above DKK 3 million from Markedsmodningsfonden (The Market Development Fund). They are also a part of the Accelerator Program at Accelerace, who discover, train and invest in promising startups.

Born global and digital
Deloitte’s fashion analysis from 2016 shows that for Danish fashion brands digitalization and export focus goes hand in hand with growth and sales[1]. Traede enables their customers to scale without hiring more people, which makes small fashion brands capable of going global. They do this partly by the help of their virtual assistant Lea, who has her name after one of Traede’s customer’s employees, who they refer to as “the perfect employee, who never sleeps”  

“Bestseller accounts for around 50% of the Danish fashion export. Our mission is to create more companies like Bestseller in Denmark. We want to help companies optimize their processes, increase their revenue and scale globally.” Says founder and CEO of Traede, Christopher Heilmann

“Today we see that more and more fashion companies are born global. Our studies indicate that those who have an international focus are most likely to succeed. It is all about seizing the opportunities in play in the fashion industry following the digitalization and globalization. Big data enables the fashion brands to react in real-time, which gives them input as to who buys, what sells and where. A digital strategy is nothing short of essential” says Partner Morten Willemar Kristensen, Deloitte. 

Traede automates several processes including invoicing, stock accounts, reporting etc. freeing resources internally. That is something that causes excitement with retailers.

“Ever since we started using Traede, we have been able to spend much more time with our customers. Instead of doing manual work it has allowed us to use our time constructively and initiate more value creating aspects of our collaboration and common future growth”. Says Co-founder Andreas Von de Heide, Les Deux.

Traede has 10.000 users and are headquartered in Copenhagen.

[1] Modeanalyse 2016, Deloitte: https://www2.deloitte.com/dk/da/pages/consumer-business/articles/modeanalysen.html

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