Start-up Traxlo offers to earn money close to home | Business

How did you get into business? Is this path difficult?

I think that the path of entrepreneurs, and especially startup creators, is winding and requires a lot of effort. Many people like to use the metaphor of a roller coaster when talking about this path. I think this is a very apt description.

I started getting interested in business when I was 14. After another couple of years, I went through the entire process of legal emancipation so that I could set up and run an e-shop under my own name as a minor.

This was my first serious step into the business world, followed by many more attempts with varying degrees of success. So, it can be said that a really winding road led to the beginning of the startup.

– Could you remember the circumstances, how and where the business idea was born?

– The road to success is just beginning. The company was born in Sweden, in the startup accelerator “Antler” (about 100 people out of 3-4 thousand are selected for the program).

I met Almantas Zemblis there. We started our work in the retail trade sector – it attracted us both with its complexity and scale.

We were looking for an answer on how to make the activity of the sector more efficient. The US and the EU alone need about 100 million per day. man-hours to operate all grocery stores.

Then Brexit just happened and the COVID pandemic started.

Also, at the same time, texts poured in about perishable food products in warehouses in English stores – employees were sick with COVID and there was no one to work.

At first, we thought about technological solutions that would make the activities of existing employees more efficient, but we came to the conclusion that there are hundreds of residents in the neighborhood of the stores who could perform the necessary tasks in their free time. They only lacked a platform that would coordinate activities and meet the specific needs of stores.

“Trakhlo” studio/”Trakhlo” team

How did you manage to attract investors with the same values? Are you looking for these? Or is it just a coincidence?

Attracting investors is apparently an inexhaustible topic that company founders can talk about for hours.

We are very happy that our investors, as soon as they heard about the “tasku” platform that we are developing, made fundamental investment decisions very quickly.

One of the reasons was that we have a common and strong interest in retail technologies and the “counterfeiting economy” (this is relevant for all our investors, both Lithuanian and Swedish).

Is it a coincidence? Most likely, it is the result of hard work, because out of all the venture capital supply in our region, not everyone is interested in our areas. It’s not enough just to read their website or LinkedIn profile to decide if we’re a good match for an investor.

Therefore, it is very important to go, communicate and get to know each other. Of course, when the acquaintance is appropriate, decisions are made more promptly.

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Broadly speaking, there are probably two biggest camps in the search for investments. “Numbers game” and personal acquaintances. The promoters of the “Numbers Game” camp write and invite anyone who has money and could invest to get to know them. The personal dating camp is more complex, you can have a lot of not-so-strong acquaintances, you can have a few very close acquaintances, or ideally, through your acquaintances because of what you do, you yourself will be found or found.

In our case, it could be said that we walked through the middle. We searched for the most suitable potential investors through our networks and those of our first investors. I am not a supporter of the “numbers game”, but in the end, in order to select really valuable partnerships, we had to talk to several dozen regional and EU funds. By American standards, the numbers game would say to contact and potentially talk to at least 100 or 200 venture capital funds. It is important to mention that the probability of a good result always increases depending on the degree of commonality between the funds’ interests and the startup’s activities, industry, region, market trends, etc.

No matter which way startup founders choose to go, I always wish them patience and resistance to tens or hundreds of “no’s”.

– What challenges accompanied your start-up?

– We founded the company during the pandemic, when all customers were closing stores, warehouses and taking care of COVID protection and mass sick employees.

We are now living with the war in Ukraine, which has disrupted many supply chains. We joke that our company has never seen quiet times, so its DNA is resistant to global chaos.

The “fake economy” is determined by the changing habits of the population

Your and your partners’ startup “Traxlo”, which attracted 100 thousand EUR investment from one of the world’s largest accelerators, “Antler” (Sweden), opened the first micro store “Gott 2 Go” in Vilnius, which does not have a single permanent employee. Tell me, please, how the work is organized there? Are you planning to expand such stores?

– The store is a joint project between us and our partners from Sweden. His original goal was to conduct an experiment and find out if it is possible to outsource all the tasks of a small shop to ordinary people who live nearby.

Half a year later, I can say yes. It is quite possible that through our tasku.app app, one resident of the neighborhood would come to unload the goods, and another neighbor would come the next day to check the expiration dates of the goods.

Photo by Traxlo/Tasku shelf

Photo by Traxlo/Tasku shelf

All tasks are detailed, with training material in our app and based on the sales of the shop are placed on our platform. In it, people who want to earn extra money can reserve them and come to perform them for a pre-agreed fee.

I myself strongly believe in the development of such small, autonomous formats of retail outlets. I think that, over time, places with such a concept should appear in almost every district.

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In this case, one of the main advantages is that their maintenance costs are minimal. The sales process is supervised by a single app, and supervision is carried out by the residents of the neighborhood through tasku.app.

How do you think the ‘counterfeit economy’ will transform the retail market?

– We see two main currents. One is quick commerce home delivery of food purchased online (rising very rapidly during the pandemic). We are currently observing the worldwide consolidation of market players.

The other is what we and our competitors in other countries do, which is to solve the labor shortage and quality problems of physical stores.

All indicators seem to point to growth in both streams. Not only consumer buying habits contribute to this, but also the younger generation’s interest in the “gig economy”.

This trend presents a whole new opportunity for employers and startups like ours to reach a new category of people who want to work part-time instead of full-time.

However, the desire of the younger generation to work with the help of mobile apps is bringing many additional changes to the labor market.

People started appreciating work near their home, flexible work schedule – the possibility to work just one hour one day and five hours the next.

From a global perspective, it can be said that the “counterfeit economy” was born a decade ago with the emergence of companies such as Delivery Hero, Food Panda, Uber, and has become very popular in the last five years.

Mr. Vēželis says that he and the Traxlo co-founder see the opportunity to earn additional income, close to home and with a free schedule and volume, as the greatest value created by the startup.

It is attractive to mothers, students, and commuters

With your startup, by providing new opportunities for flexible work, you promote the integration of local communities and contribute to the reduction of social exclusion. However, it is not adapted to the Lithuanian market. When will it be our turn?

We have mentioned that in Lithuania, as a home market, we are testing innovations that we want to later apply in a large part of Europe, but I do not agree with the statement that the “tasku” platform is not adapted to the Lithuanian market.

Every week, the scope of the platform in Lithuania and the amount of work on it are expanding, soon we will offer job opportunities not only in Vilnius, but also in other cities.

We see that we can work successfully here as well, but our ambitions are international, so we are expanding to larger markets as well.

The latest technologies must make people’s daily lives and work easier, how does your startup do it? For which groups of society is this most relevant?

From being the first user of our platform, we are very excited to provide an opportunity to earn money close to home.

For some, that money is very important, for others, working on the “tasku” platform is equivalent to meaningful leisure time or an opportunity to save extra for some larger purchase.

It is the opportunity to earn additional income, for everyone as needed, close to home, with absolutely free schedule and volume – we see it as the greatest value.

Many different categories of people work on the platform: mothers who multi-task after leaving their child at the kindergarten next to the store; students and graduates who stop by to complete an assignment at a shop located near the university or a convenient bus stop.

We have also noticed that employees of other job platforms, who usually work as couriers, when they have a free hour or in bad weather, also choose to do one or another of our tasks.

In the next 5-10 years, we will see a lot of industries that, not necessarily voluntarily, will be forced to adapt their operating model in such a way that employees can work on a flexible schedule, finding tasks on a mobile app.

Does this mean that more and more people will be working remotely?

The way we look at the growth of the trend and the involvement of the younger generation in the “job economy” and what has happened so far is only the beginning, and in the next 5-10 years we will see a lot of industries that will not necessarily be voluntary, but will are forced to adapt their activity model so that employees can work on a free schedule and find tasks in the mobile app.

In the near future, many “workers” may be working across three, four, or more platforms in one week, and businesses will have to adjust to not having that particular worker all to themselves. A good example of this is the freelance boom, in areas such as design, web development, social media, etc. maintenance of media channels.

It has already become common there to work on a freelance basis and pay for the result, not for hours in a factory or shop. I think every year more and more industries will try to adopt this concept, and both businesses and society will benefit from this.

The investment received by the start-up “Traxlo” is financed with the funds of the European Regional Development Fund through the venture capital instrument implemented by the national development institution “Investicių ir verslo garantijos” (INVEGA) “Early Stage and Development Fund II”.

INVEGA, having invested funds on behalf of the state in almost all venture capital funds operating in Lithuania, contributes to the financing of innovative companies and encourages venture capital funds, for example, „Iron Wolf Capital“to invest in companies with high growth potential, carrying out or planning to carry out scientific research and development and innovation activities in the priority sectors of smart specialization.

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