Start ups are hungry for your inventory

Four start ups in London, each of which have the same key foundation to their business models, have been identified by Wired magazine in their latest Europe’s 100 Hottest Start ups power list.  All four start ups are trading spare inventory.

Wiredhas analysed the key European cities for their start up culture and produced brief summaries of the disruptive technology businesses attracting venture capital interest. Barcelona, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam feature.

In London, Wired profiled 10 start ups disrupting markets such as fashion retail, property management, event production, cycling and financial services.

Amongst the CIO community there is a great deal of discussion about digital disruption and start ups.  But this small survey of 10 London start ups, almost half of which trade on spare inventory, brought me to the conclusion that finding start ups with your colleagues in the leadership team and having the business, information and technology strategy to work with these digital disruptors is going to become vitally important.

These start ups are growing and attracting a new wave of consumers who are digital natives. CIOs and organisations that are able to quickly adapt and work with these organisations will prosper.  In the last couple of weeks I have had a number of conversations with CIOs, all of whom pour cold water on the political noise that the UK economy is in rude health. So any opportunity or avenue to find new trade opportunities has to be explored and the CIOs that can enable digital disruptors to resell your spare inventory is surely showing themselves and the CIO community as true business leaders.

In a healthy economy spare inventory is costly, in an economy as weak as what we are trading through at the moment, spare inventory is tantamount to being dangerous.

So who does Wired champion amongst the London start up community?

Lystis an aggregator of luxury fashion goods inventory as a single e-commerce site and Wired says the organisation has grown 400% since its launch in 2010.

Affectvis an advertising and advertorial inventory service that analyses content on sites such as the one you are reading now and the people that are reading and interacting with that title and enables advertising inventory to be placed alongside.

Appear Hereis an online marketplace for the commercial property market, enabling property agents to tap into the growing short term lease market. Hoxton (wouldn’t you know it) based Appear Here is taking the model of hotel room aggregators like and transposing it onto the property management market to enable three parties to benefit from the growing trend of “pop-up” shops or exhibitions.

Spaciousis takes a very similar business model to Appear Here, but is focusing on the office rental market. Serving tenants and property space owners and acting as a one-stop shop for office services such as furniture providers the business,  run by former government advisor Rohan Silva and computer scientist Tom Watson, Spacious offers the full transactional service from finding to securing office space.  With the UK’s towns and cities awash with empty office space inventory this business is well timed.

YooXfounder Federico Marchetti is profiled alongside these start ups, again he tells the story of building a new business that sells spare inventory, again for the fashion trade.

For CIOs in the property management, media and marketing, retail and wholesale industries these start ups are seeking your spare inventory. The challenge for CIOs and their leadership peers is to discover the start ups with the right ideas, technologies and more the importantly customer base to shift your spare inventory. Additionally CIOs are going to have to be agile in developing APIs and improving business processes to ensure the relationship with a start up is a successful one.

Forming business relationships with start ups to shift spare inventory isn’t just a short term move in a difficult economy either.

These start ups are part of the digital age and this new digital age is led by user experience; an experience of knowing your audience intimately and focusing on the customer journey from start to finish and in most cases continuing that relationship post sale. The entrepreneurs running these start ups and their customer base are young and used to an instant quality service that feels personal. We have seen a vast array of industries unbundled as a result of technology as today’s consumer knows that technology enables them to pick and choose what elements of the services you offer that they want. These four start ups are bringing to the market sectors they are operating in the same level of disruption that has already occurred in the media, music and travel industries. Clearly retail and property is next up for digital disruption. Will your market be next and can you start trading inventory and learning about this new business model now?

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

Security vs. innovation: IT's trickiest balancing act