OnePatch Firm To Boom In Online Retailing

OnePatch collects everything into one location and offers a solution to growth and management of multi-channel e-commerce businesses.

Age: 30.

What is your business called?

OnePatch.

Where is it based?

Glasgow. We also have a software development office in Kolkata, India which arose from our long-term collaboration with Kolkata-based development expert, Meghlal Khan, with whom we have established a base.

What products or services does it offer?

Our name, OnePatch, derives from a computer patch panel which collects everything into one location. We offer a solution to growth and management of multi-channel e-commerce businesses. We connect online retailers’ sales channels, product listings, accounts package, inventory management and shipping couriers into one easy-to-use system. We have benefitted from increased internet retail activity over the course of the UK coronavirus lockdown.

To whom does it sell?

OnePatch covers the online retail spectrum, from home-based sole traders to major concerns with large, varied inventory and complex stock level management and shipping issues. We embrace also bricks and mortar retailers, who have been struggling in the face of the relentless advance of online activity, with an electronic point of sale (epos) system which will also integrate all their activities. Our current focus is on growth within the UK, but there is huge potential in India, which has a population approaching 1.4 billion, and in Indonesia, with 273 million people.

Online commerce is really taking off in these regions and we plan to increase the Kolkata sales team to at least 10 in the short term to make sure we are well placed to take advantages of the opportunities which are arising.

What is its turnover?

£250,000.

How many employees?

Six people in Glasgow and a further eleven, nine software developers and two merchandisers, in Kolkata.

When was it formed?

We formed the business in 2019 and went into full operation in February this year.

Why did you take the plunge?

My brother, Brendan, and I owned and operated a web development company for around five years, building websites to customers’ specification. One day, a customer with multiple products for sale asked us if we could build him a storefront which he could use for displaying and selling goods on Amazon. Adding each of his product lines to Amazon manually took us around three weeks and we realised that there had to be a better way of doing things. So, we set about developing software which could do what was needed. It took us six months of trial, error and testing but eventually we produced the right solution. This software is the bedrock of our current operation though we are continually improving and upgrading it.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

In the 1990s our Dad, Eamonn Dunne, built up the biggest recycling businesses in Ireland. As well as paper and plastic he amassed a warehouse full of IT kit, old computers, monitors, keyboards, and the rest. He used to let us play around with them, often taking them apart to see how they worked. We learned a lot that way and began to understand that our future most likely lay in the computing world. I had followed Brendan from Dublin to Glasgow when I was 16 and joined his computer repair business.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

We financed ourselves through building ecommerce website and custom software for enterprise companies. We learned more as a result and saved-up our earnings to invest in the software development which forms the basis of OnePatch today.

What was your biggest break?

Being asked by that one customer who wanted an Amazon store; it set us on the path we are travelling now.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I like the fact that every day is different, and you just do not know what to expect.

What are your ambitions for the business?

We want OnePatch to be the go-to tool for anyone selling goods and services online. Our goal is a public listing.

What are your top priorities?

We are aiming for 500 users by the beginning of 2021, a figure which will embed long-term sustainability. We plan also to increase our sales force by a factor of five in the short term as well as boosting the merchandising capabilities of our operation in India.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

We see skill shortages as the biggest constraint on our growth as a business; it is difficult to find the people with the skills we need. So, government assistance in training suitable people in relevant IT skills would be of great benefit to the entire sector in Scotland. We are already taking steps to generate our own skills and talent pipeline with a bespoke apprenticeship programme.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Have clear goals and always be agile and capable of adapting to changing circumstances. It is vital also to listen always to your customers; having their feedback helps you to improve your delivery.

How do you relax?

I was married recently and have two children who take up lots of my time away from work. As well as that I enjoy Muay Thai, sometimes referred to as Thai boxing, and running.

Originally published at Herald Scotland

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