Orderful is a SaaS EDI network improving the world’s supply chain by enabling buyers and sellers to immediately trade data.
A simple way to think of the supply chain is to boil it down to two types of companies, buyers and sellers. If you’re a seller you probably sell to 10’s to 100’s of buyers. If you’re a buyer you probably buy from 1000’s of sellers. That’s a gross oversimplification, but that’s the general relationship in the supply chain.
The mechanics of how companies communicate with one another, regardless if you’re a buyer or a seller, is by integrating data. The types of transactions are transaction types like purchase orders, invoices, shipment notices; essentially anything to do with the movement of inventory. If you thought that these transactions between buyers and sellers was by phone, fax, or email you are kind-of right but mostly wrong. Companies found out very quickly that trading data manually would never scale. However, there are still a large number of business relationships that are handled manually. It’s not surprising to hear from Fortune 500 companies that they are still emailing PDF versions of purchase orders, for example.
Over 40 years ago, predating the Internet, the military came up with an efficient way to transmit data. These files were flat, asterisk delimited, full of qualifiers and sent over telephone wires. The nomenclature for trading data this way is called Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). A few years later, the supply chain picked up on this data trading practice because at the time it was small, fast and reliable. EDI spread like wildfire. Everyone with a supply chain adopted it as the standard method of communication. Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll find EDI still embedded in every supply chain as the main mode of communication. There have been some advancements, like the Internet for example, that make it a little easier for companies to trade EDI data. Since this antiquated approach has already been adopted by the masses, few companies are using modern technology to solve the problem.
Companies aren’t trading EDI data over telephone wires anymore, but are still using traditional push-pull methods such as FTP, value added networks (VAN) and AS2. These communication channels aren’t much better though, as they aren’t real-time or event-driven. More importantly, to handle EDI data, each company has to build their own bespoke integration environment or leverage managed services providers to do the heavy lifting for them. These integrations take companies weeks, sometimes months to enable.
We are here to improve the global supply chain by making data trading accessible to companies of all sizes. Instead of starting with a product that is installed locally or is custom to a single organization, we’ve started with a cloud platform that increases in value for our customers as it grows. We’ve built an API that will continually scale and benefit everyone using it.
When a company connects to Orderful, they are contributing to the size of the network. When we onboard our customer’s supply chain, their supply chain contributes to the size of the network. Connections, requirements and new product features are now immediately accessible to anyone that connects to our platform.
We think of the Orderful platform as the plumbing connecting the supply chain. At our core, we’re responsible for data flow, monitoring transactions, handling throughput and speed. At our ends, we’ve made it universal for people to attach new fittings. These fittings come in the way of self-service web interfaces, SDK’s, a RESTful API and ERP connectors. We’ve built the infrastructure to make it easy for any organization to immediately trade with other organizations on our platform.
The product is an API. Everything we do is in an effort to remain relevant and modern for our customers. The supply chain is evolving and we are leading our customers through the evolution that technology is influencing.
We’re also aware the world isn’t going to change overnight. However, we think we can be a catalyst for this change. If you’re a legacy enterprise with thousands of EDI integrations, you can immediately turn those into API transactions. If you’re a startup, you can connect directly with our API and we’ll trade the legacy EDI data formats for you.
The build vs. buy decision has been made very clear with the cloud. Through leveraging SaaS platforms companies can now focus on running lean operations, improving margins and using SaaS providers to solve their technical problems. We’re applying the same model to EDI.
We see a future where the world’s supply chain is connected to Orderful and is enabling their networks as self-service. The benefits are that our customers don’t have to build software, don’t have to be on someone else’s testing schedule, and can enable data trading with the click of a button.
a16z brings an iconic name and firepower behind our team. We’re honored to be working with some of the greatest operating minds in the game. We’re particularly grateful to have David Ulevitch, General Partner at a16z, join our board. David was previously the Founder and CEO of OpenDNS and has lived in the trenches. As a founder, you look for partners, team members and mentors that have been there before. David brings an immense amount of business acumen to the table and has already helped us level-up. He’s also knows how to get our team fired up. When we closed the round, he sent us the transaction via EDI!
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Most importantly, I want to thank everyone that has contributed to the Orderful community. Our success would not be possible without the support of our incredible customers, partners and team who have been with us since the beginning. We have a bright future ahead of us and it’s because of our community that we can see it. We’ve got a lot planned and we are looking forward to continuing to improve data trading of the world.
We should also add, we’re hiring!