When Julien Cote and Loïc Marzin worked at PwC, they saw firsthand how global shippers experienced a lack of visibility and transparency, especially when it came to overseas transportation via planes, trains and automobiles. They simply found the entire process to be disjointed. Picture freight forwarders, shipping lines, airlines and terminal operators operating in silos, and therefore, inefficiently.
Marzin, who then worked as a data scientist at the accounting giant, advised global enterprises on customer-centric and cash-efficient supply chain management. He learned that data and machine learning could optimize the processes. So, Marzin teamed up with Cote to launch Wakeo (wakeo.co), a data-based platform that helps global leaders with supply chain visibility. It enables clients to know where their shipments are at all times – whether by sea, land, or air. This allows them to anticipate delays, cut costs, and have greater control over their supply chain management.
The cofounders applied to Techstars, a seed accelerator that invests and supports founders through their entrepreneurial journey. The program has some notable alumni, including Plated and ClassPass. Wakeo has proven to be just as promising, especially as a global pandemic and natural disasters have highlighted the importance of coherent shipping systems.
“I think that, like many problems, people have come to accept shipping delays as an unavoidable issue and don’t realize that there are solutions, like Wakeo, out there,” says Edward Hewitt, marketing manager. “I decided to join Wakeo because of how great the product is and how big of an issue supply chain visibility is for companies in virtually every sector,” he continues.
He adds that he’s ready to help the cofounders Cote (CEO) and Marzin (CTO) fulfill Wakeo’s mission. “I’m passionate about helping companies to tell great stories. With Wakeo, the product speaks for itself, but I’m just here to make sure that the right people hear it.”
The company’s marketing material embodies the startup’s intrepid and innovative approach, from its global messaging down to its web address, Wakeo.co. “People overthink the impact of the domain itself but should consider what other opportunities, like .co, can bring. While .com might be the default but there are other benefits,” says Hewitt.
Launched in 2016, the Paris-based company has already made significant progress and is a global leader in supply chain visibility. “Our goal is to continue to grow and to help companies solve a problem that costs them time and money,” says Hewitt.
Wakeo has been able to help a number of large brands (like Uniqlo and Air Liquide) to get a better hold on their supply chain. Recent events have made global trade even more challenging, and the Wakeo team is very proud that their data-based platform has helped clients to navigate the challenges of the Suez Canal blockage, Brexit, and US-China trade issues.
At the end of the day, Hewitt says Wakeo’s value-add speaks for itself. “I think the product is at the core of what we do,” he says. “The marketing team is great. The sales team is great. But they are nothing without a great product that delivers tremendous value to our users.”
Hewitt says thriving in a startup environment like Wakeo requires a great deal of agility, as well as positivity. He says this attitude also fuels long-term success for any venture. “Having worked with a number of startups, I think it’s a case of knowing that there will be unknowns, but there are great rewards to be had.”