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EPISODE 387 55 mins

Cash Conversion Cycle: Every Rapid Growing eCommerce Business Uses this Financial Growth Lever

About the guests

Peter Beckman

Kunle Campbell

Peter Beckman himself has a long experience of international trade and investments, and founded Treyd together with Sameh El Ansary, who has a background from companies such as Hive Streaming and Racefox. At present, Treyd works with around 30 high-growth companies in the range of SEK 10-200 million in sales. Treyd has developed an automated solution that is based on an algorithm for risk assessment, which means that each individual assessment is significantly faster and cheaper than if it were done manually.

On today’s episode, Kunle is joined by Peter Beckman, Co-Founder & CEO of Treyd, a Fintech startup that provides supplier financing to small and fast-growing companies that trade internationally. The company’s solution enables UK and Nordic-based businesses to pay their suppliers in advance, which solves a major problem faced by many businesses that sell products but struggle to purchase enough inventory due to cash flow constraints.

Peter explains that the idea for Treyd came from his own experience as an entrepreneur and his co-founder’s background in Fintech and crypto. The company was incubated in an accelerator program and took around four months to go to market.

The interview also covers Treyd’s expansion plans, its target market, and how it differentiates itself from other Fintech startups in the same space. Peter also discusses the interest rates charged by Treyd and how they vary depending on the individual customer’s needs and financial standing.  And also cover Treyd’s supplier vetting process, which includes KYC and background checks on every supplier, as well as a quality inspection option for new suppliers.

Finally, they emphasize the importance of optimizing cash conversion cycles for eCommerce brands, as it determines how fast they can grow. In terms of industry trends, the CEO notes that the global supply chain is starting to improve after a challenging period, and having multiple channels (D2C and wholesale) is proving to be beneficial for many eCommerce brands.

Here is a summary of some of the most important points made:

  • Treyd does supplier financing or “sell first and pay suppliers later,” and gives their clients a maximum of 120 days to pay their credit with a chance to have higher limits and better procurement prices if credit is paid on time.
  • Brands often struggle with inbound logistics of large orders.
  • “Cash conversion cycle is what’s going to determine how fast you can grow in the end.”
  • Having multiple channels helps create a more stable revenue and is both beneficial to consumers.

Covered Topics:

On today’s interview, Kunle and Peter discuss:

  • Peter’s Backstory
  • Treyd’s Inception
  • Supplier Financing
  • Cash Conversion Cycles
  • Treyd’s Underwriting System
  • Insights on Trends
  • Channels in 2023
  • On Credit Limit and Scope
  • Treyd on CPG Brands
  • Lightning Round


  • 09:22 – Peter’s Backstory
    • Peter grew up on a farm in Sweden.
    • He has always been interested in business and entrepreneurship so he took up business and had a PhD in corporate strategy in Switzerland.
    • He was able to build a startup that did geographically-based risk analysis.
    • He was able to build multiple new companies, including Treyd,
  • 16:52 – Treyd’s Inception
    • Peter met his co-founder for Treyd, Sameh El Ansary, who got a PhD in computer science in Stockholm and is also a co-founder of Hive Streaming and Racefox, in a startup accelerator.
    • Treyd was a startup in an accelerator for 4 months.
  • 20:17 – Supplier Financing
    • “Sell first and pay suppliers later.”
    • Treyd is “not the checkout solution. We’re credit payments for supplier payments.”
    • Treyd’s customers have credit limits and can choose how long they want to pay for their credit all done in Treyd’s platform.
    • The maximum payment timeline is 120 days. The interest depends per customer as they cater to companies from starting ones to companies with hundreds in millions of revenue.
    • “We vet every single supplier.”
  • 27:53 – Cash Conversion Cycles
    • “When you’re selling, if you’re selling D2C, you get paid almost instantly.”
    • “You pay your supplier maybe up to six months earlier. When you place an order, you pay 30% upfront.”
    • Brands struggle with inbound logistics of large orders.
    • Putting small orders frequently improves the cash conversion cycle without hurting your profit.
    • Cash conversion cycle determines how fast a business grows.
  • 37:01 – Treyd’s Underwriting System
    • Treyd clients go through an onboarding where they connect with the clients’ accounting (Xero or Quickbooks) to give Treyd the data they need to decide on the limit and monthly price of procurement.
    • Clients use Treyd’s service. They grow a bit, become more profitable and then pay Treyd back.
    • If Treyd clients pay back on time, they can receive higher limits and better prices.
  • 38:57 – Insights on Trends
    • “The horizon is looking a little bit brighter, not at least on our home turf, the supply chain.”
    • Freight was super expensive in 2022. By 2023, freight rates have gone down by 80% and are getting back to normal.
    • In 2022, margins were getting compressed.
    • 2022 has shown the power of having multiple channels. There were D2C brands adding wholesale channels to create a more stable revenue.
  • 44:00 – Channels in 2023
    • “The low-hanging fruit is probably adding another channel to the existing product catalog.”
    • Use and get the volume from the marketplace aside from your own eCommerce channel.
  • 46:46 – On Credit Limit and Scope
    • “Make sure you have connected your accounting, pay on time, continue to grow, and ideally, show profitability.”
    • Treyd’s scope is physical products that are not perishable.
  • 48:40 – Treyd on CPG Brands
    • “That is not our ICP or Ideal Customer Profile.”
    • Most of Treyd’s clients are non-manufacturing but there is always a gray zone.

Lightning Round:

Q: What advice would you give yourself five years ago?
A: Start earlier. We hadn’t started Treyd and we should have.

Q: Are you a morning person?
A: Absolutely, 5:30 every day.

Q: What’s your daily morning routine?
A: The majority of this is at 5:30 and I go exercise in the morning, that’s the perfect way to start a day, and the only time to find the time. Other than that, I bring my dog to the office and get at it.

Q: Are you into sports?
A: I am. I’ve now promised our dear investors that I’m not doing extreme sports anymore but I do manage to squeeze in the occasional kitesurfing session and, if I’m lucky, a ski run.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The only team sport I watch is handball and I bet most of your readers don’t. I play that a lot when I was young. My favorite team is my hometown team. That’s about it.

Q: What two things can’t you live without?
A: Coffee and coffee.

Q: What book are you currently reading or listening to?
A: Right now, I’m reading a book about Russian history, which is super interesting in the world we’re in. It’s mainly about the more recent years, from the end of the Soviet Empire, the rise of Putin, and all that.  I find international relations and geopolitics as one of my secret treat for myself.

Q: What’s been your best mistake to date? By that, I mean a setback that’s given you the biggest feedback.
A: The obvious one for me is flying into that Norwegian mountain. Without it, I would not have co-founded Treyd. That is probably the best thing I have done so far.


  • “Cash conversion cycle is what’s going to determine how fast you can grow in the end.”
  • Putting small orders frequently improves the cash conversion cycle without hurting your profit.
  • Treyd caters to short transactions.
  • To increase credit limit and get better prices with Treyd, make sure to pay your credit on time, continue growing and profitability.

Links & Resources:

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On this episode, we’re going to be covering cash conversion cycles, the north star metric of your supply chain and operations, how to leverage finance to improve the metric and scale fast, and the channels you should be focusing on to beat the financial odds this year.

Welcome to the 2X eCommerce Podcast. On this episode, I’m joined by Peter Beckman, the Co-founder, and CEO of Treyd, a Nordic FinTech startup that provides supplier financing to eCommerce businesses with international supply chains. Treyd supplier financing solution enables UK and Nordic-based businesses to pay their suppliers in advance, which solves a major problem faced by many businesses that sell products but struggle to purchase enough inventory due to cashflow constraints.

Why should you read this episode? Peter shares valuable insights to understand cash conversion cycles. He breaks down the concept of the cash conversion cycle, shares practical tips, and tells us why it’s important for eCommerce businesses to optimize for this metric. Secondly, Peter shares supply chain and logistics insights and updates on the current state of the global supply chain and how it affects businesses right now.He also shares data Treyd is seeing from its most operationally agile client base.

Finally, Peter shares multi-channel strategies from some of Treyd’s best-in-class fast-growing eCommerce businesses that are defying the current economic odds. He explains the channel mix and the channel you should be doubling down on right now if you haven’t already. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Peter, welcome to the 2X eCommerce podcast.

It’s super fun to be here. I’m a fan.

We’re also a fan because we use your service and it’s been a growth secret at Octillion. I’m super excited to have you and thank you for accepting this interview.

Nothing makes me more happy than hearing from happy customers, that is why we built the company to be the secret growth source for cool and fast-growing consumer brands.

You’re based out in Sweden. You serve the Nordics and the UK. I’ve had conversations with guests from the US and I mentioned Treyd. We had another business that does similar to what you guys do who are based out in North America and they serve North America. You’re predominantly in the UK and the Nordics. You’re going to be expanding further into the States at some point.

We will. In the second half of 2023, we should be in the US. We’ll continue to expand within Europe as well. Adding 4 or 5 countries per year is a good rate for us so that’s the tempo we’re setting for ourselves. We started in Sweden for the simple reason that that’s where we were and it’s a good place to start a Fintech. We always thought that the next big bet needs to be the UK. It is a big international market. We always thought that this thing we’re building is something that’s needed everywhere so we need to go to the real world, the big world, and that’s been super fun.

We’ll jump into that. Back in 2016 or 2017, on this show, we had one of the founders of Klarna, again it’s from the Nordics. At the time, they were just getting into the UK. I didn’t know, I was like, “Okay.” I’m having the founder. Tell me a bit about you and tell me what you do. Your buy and save later sounds interesting. However, they became a household name. It’s become a verb with Millennials and Gen Xers.

It’s a super fun story. Stockholm is not that big a place so I have a lot of friends who were there already in the early days and they’re the sun in the solar system here in the Fintech world in Stockholm. It’s cool and inspirational.

Peter, let’s find out a bit about you, a background. I want to know who you are as a child and what’s that trajectory. I want to get your backstory, as far back as you want to share here. We would like to hear where you grew up, where you schooled, and your formative years.

It’s not entirely obvious, it wasn’t obvious for me at least looking back even because I grew up on a farm in southwest Sweden. At least I learned to work hard because that’s what you do on farms. I was going into the military and I spent a couple of years there but when they were reducing the budgets, I realized like, “There is no future in the military, at least in the next coming years.” I was like, “I need to start.” I was always interested in business and entrepreneurship even as a kid and ideas mainly, business school.

For someone who was the classical guy at the back of the class who didn’t love going to school and rather the opposite, I ended up doing a PhD in corporate strategy in Switzerland, in Saint Gallen, one of the good business schools in Europe. I will never forgive myself, that’s a weird thing for someone who hated school. Based on that, I got into strategy consulting. I primarily helped large corporates do business in high-risk geographies. It’s a lot of business in emerging and developing countries, a lot of those challenging and complex situations, cross-border finance, and cross-border strategy for larger corporates.

At last, I decided to properly try the entrepreneurial path that I always, as a kid, thought that’s what I should do. I started a company with a colleague from the PhD times, an American. We built a startup that did geographically based risk analysis. We analyzed all the newspaper articles in the world, satellite data, etc., to understand what’s called cross-border risk in real-time on a global scale. We got off to a good start and we thought this is going to be a base for cross-border finance.

I also had some stupid hobbies so I was doing a bit of extreme sports, I was doing what’s called speed riding, and speed flying. On one of those trips, I managed to fly myself into a nice Norwegian mountain and broke a lot of bones. I had to spend six months in a wheelchair, a bunch of surgery, and that of crap, and that’s not the place to run a startup, especially that’s based on the other side of the Atlantic. We stopped that project.

Building a tech startup is like someone needs to build it and someone needs to sell it. Click to Tweet

What was good in the end is it turned into multiple new companies that were even better and Treyd is one of them. I had a fun time. Roughly, when I was allowed to walk again or could walk again, I got a call from Antler, which is an accelerator program, and they asked if I was interested in joining their next cohort in Stockholm, and I thought, “Perfect. Let’s go for it. Try again and try it better. This time, let’s build the financing service for companies who trade internationally rather than build a data company to sell to large banks and insurers because they’re never going to build that service.” That’s one of the realizations.

To nail it down, I’ve spent my adult life, which the years are adding up now, in cross-border finance and cross-border business. There are many problems. Especially small, young, and fast-growing companies have enormous challenges in cross-border, especially on the financing side. I met my co-founder in Antler and we decided to nail it down by talking to lots of smaller companies that did international trades.

We figure out, like, “What is the biggest challenge you face?” It was quite quick because company after company was saying exactly the same thing. They’re like, “If you can solve our import problem, we’ll be your customer.” We’re like, “What’s your import problem?” “We pay our suppliers in advance and there’s no way to fund that. That means we’re constantly out of stock for our most important product. We’re wasting our marketing dollars. We have the customers, we just can’t buy enough stuff.”

They do things like air freight to get the stuff faster from factories. If you’re buying from China, which a lot of brands are, it takes a week instead of 6 to 8 weeks. That means you can buy a little more inventory because you buy less cash in your supply chain. It’s super painful when you have created a product, built a brand, and you get the customers but you don’t have the stuff to sell to them. It’s a ridiculous problem, fundamentally. Those brands have solved the biggest problem. We thought, “This is the problem to solve.” What we had an indication of that.

We talked to quite a few brands that said exactly the same thing. When we also lifted our gaze to analyze how big of a problem is this, we realized that almost 30% of world trade is paid with cash in advance. We also realized that this is a global problem that affects hundreds of thousands of brands around the world. If we can solve this, we can build something meaningful company that solves one of those big unsolved problems in the world. That’s how we got started.


I’m going to go back because it was quite a marathon on that one. The first thing I picked up from what you said is your work ethic, which you got from the farm, and you thought you’d transition it over to the military. With that, you couldn’t due to budget restrictions and then you got into the business and that took you to the highest echelon, which is a PhD in Switzerland, the University of St. Gallen. With the accident, you had to transition. You also have that corporate strategy background and cross-border experience. You got into Antler, which is then a Y Combinator accelerator for Nordic starters.

It’s global. They’re in the UK, US, Asia, Africa, and everywhere nowadays.

How long was it incubated in terms of Treyd? How long did you iron out that 30%, which is a huge number? 30% of all global trade is paid upfront, proforma invoices. How long was it incubated and when did it go to market?

It was in time, a short period. It was roughly four months in the accelerator and four months is nothing. In a startup, it’s a long time. It’s how you want to think about it. We came out of there with a little bit of cash and a fairly honed-out but still rough idea and a PowerPoint presentation. That’s the summary of it and then the journey started. We’re two founders in a co-working space in Stockholm getting going.

What’s your co-founder’s name and what’s his background?

his name is Sameh El Ansary. He’s an amazing guy. He did his PhD in Stockholm but in computer science back in the day. He was a co-founder of Hive Streaming, which became 1 of 2 world leaders in corporate video streaming back in the peer-to-peer days. He’s the co-founder of Racefox, which was one of the first real AI for sports companies. He then got into Fintech and crypto for a couple of years. He had a slightly different idea related to crypto and payments that he came to Antler with.

We met in the accelerator and found that perfect match. It felt like his tech and the problem I wanted to solve was an excellent match.” Of course, that mutual respect and being different enough to make a good team and similar enough in other aspects. That was enormously fortunate. Also, having a partner that is an experienced entrepreneur is incredible. You go through a lot together. Someone who’s been through it before and has seen the movie we play out before is quite valuable.

It’s great to have a Woznioak and Jobs combo to scale up a business and that’s what I see you have. Sameh is more a CTO and you’re more a CEO looking at the dynamics of the market and paving the way and saying, “This is where we need to go.” He executes from that point of view, from a technical standpoint.

It’s simple. Building a tech startup is like someone needs to build it and someone needs to sell it. That’s what you need. It’s a natural combo.

Speaking of Swedish startups in the Fintech space, there’s also Juni. They don’t call themselves an online bank for eCommerce but they’re an online bank for eCommerce. Your value proposition at Treyd, would you say you’re invoice financing or would you say you’re supplier financing? I want to get the verbiage right.

We’d rather say supplier financing or sell first and pay suppliers later. A lot of words but it explains what we do. The reason we are not in invoice finance is that, usually, invoice finance, to most people, means like a factory. You have sold something and wait to get paid by your customer. That’s the normal invoice finance.

What we solve are different problems, it’s when you pay your suppliers before you get the goods. That has been an unsolved problem in the world until fairly recently. We honestly struggle a little bit with the term because whatever you say, people think of something else. At some point, we said, “Buy now and pay later for World Trade.” We realized, “That’s a checkout solution that people start thinking about.” We’re not the checkout solution. We’re credit payments for supplier payments.

The hook is something people are already used to. We had a founder of Accrue Savings here on the podcast and they’re a checkout solution for save now pay later. They went on the same pattern. With Treyd, you get an invoice from your suppliers, which is approved by yourselves, and you pay that invoice.

Our customers use us simply, they pay their supplier invoices through our platform. It’s like how they would pay from the bank but instead, they use the limit they have from us and they can choose, “I want to snooze this invoice for four months. Treyd pays my supplier and I pay Treyd in four months.” It’s simple. It looks like paying a supplier invoice. Upload the invoice, add the payment details, select 120 days or whatever number you feel is appropriate, and click pay. From a user perspective, it’s relatively undramatic.

You’ll pay on our behalf. Can we adjust the 4 months to 3 months if we want to pay faster or 6 months if we want to pay slower?

Yes. The maximum is 120 days, so a maximum of four months, 1, 2, 3, or 4. You can choose when you make the payment.

What interest do they pay monthly? It’s a monthly interest.

The interest is set individually per customer because it’s such a wide range. We have listed companies with hundreds of millions in revenue and we have year-old getting-started companies with almost no balance sheet and no history. The range is all the way between say 1% and 3% per month. It’s a wide range.

What is fortunate for us is the typical experience from the customers get more affordable over time and the limit gets higher over time because we solve a growth problem, which is also super fun as an entrepreneur. Of all the problems you can solve, growth problems are fun because you get this positive relationship with your customer. They’re telling us, “We have the customers, we just can’t buy enough.” You enable the limits and then they can grow and be even more profitable. We can increase the limit and improve the pricing. That’s the cycle we hope to achieve and do.

Keep your inventory levels high, which is good for marketing efficiency. Click to Tweet

With regards to the actual invoices from these suppliers, do you have to vet each supplier? You are financing that supplier. Also, criteria.

We vet every single supplier. The most important thing from our perspective and from an anti-money laundering perspective is we are a regulated business and we also want to stay far away from the bad actors in the world. It’s not only what we do with the KYC and quick and easy onboarding but then for every transaction, we do our background check on the supplier. We also have an interesting option that’s relevant for some customers.

Especially if you have a new supplier that you haven’t worked with and you’re putting in a large order, we offer to do a quality inspection in the factory, which you can do directly from the payment interface. Add a quality inspectionand we’ll send someone to the factory for a full-day inspection to take pictures and videos, test your product, etc, and that’s usually $300 or something. It’s one of the things that a lot of brands should do more of. Sometimes we require it but usually, we don’t but we always recommend it.

We’ve heard many stories from brands who find a new supplier in China, prepay two months later, open the container, and realize, “These things don’t work,” or, “Our customers are getting disappointed and giving bad comments.” That could have been stopped already in the factory for a small sum. That would be good for both fewer returns and more happy customers for the brand. It’s not central to what we do but it is a tool. You don’t have to use us for that. You can buy that service of course. That’s the highest level of supplier vetting.

We don’t talk enough about operations and finance in eCommerce in general, it tends to be a back-office thing. The more exciting conversations are brand stories, marketing, and sales. You solve operational, which is keeping in stock, and a finance challenge, which revolves around cash conversion cycles. Also, time, you’re buying yourself time.

There are two points and one is cash conversion cycles, that topic of cash conviction cycles. Two, which we’ll speak about a bit later on, will be around your data sets. We’ll get into your data, what you are seeing from merchant insights, and we’ll put that. Let’s start out with cash conversion cycles. Do you want to break down why readers should be focused on cash conversion cycles?

They should. I like to think about it and talk about it in the simplest possible terms. In practice, it’s not complicated. When you’re selling, if you’re selling D2C, you get paid almost instantly. If you’re selling wholesale, you also then wait 1 or 2 months from your customer. D2C gets paid instantly. There is a difference between that and when you pay your supplier. You pay your supplier maybe up to six months earlier. When you place an order, you pay 30% upfront.

This is for an Asian supply chain like when you’re buying from the far east.

We talk about our customers as like the product brand type of business. We’re not talking about multi-brand that sells other people’s brands because they don’t have a big issue with this. They get credit from their supplier and then they get paid instantly so they don’t bind a lot of cash. If you’re a brand and you’re making headphones, makeup, toys, or whatever, you place an order in the factory, you pay 30% upfront.

Let’s say you pay $10,000 in deposit and then you wait for 45 days, a month and a half for manufacturing. You then pay the remaining 70%. You pay another $20,000 to make the round numbers. You pay $30,000 and then wait for almost two months to get the goods in your inventory and that’s if you do sea freight, which is cheap and good for the environment and all that. That’s $30,000. How fast can you sell this? You won’t sell it all the first day it arrives. That individual per company.

How fast can you turn over that inventory? Once it lands in your warehouse, how fast do you move it out the door? This is an optimization that makes a difference. There are a lot of levers to pull to make it better. Your product mix, how large orders do you place with factories? Ideally, you want to put small orders for the cash conversion cycles because then you will sell it as soon as it lands and the next one comes. Ideally, you should get one delivery per day from the factory and send all those products out on the same day. It doesn’t work like that. For margins, you want to maximize your order sizes because you will get a lot lower prices from the factory if you place large orders.

The second thing is the logistics costs, which are a lot smaller if you have inbound logistics if you place large orders. This is something that brands struggle with. To make this very practical, a typical customer of ours or any eCommerce brand has maybe something like 30% of the revenue that they bind in cash. They need that to have enough inventory to not run out of stock for your important products, etc. Some are more efficient and some are less efficient but that’s typical.

If you’re a classic $500,000 revenue brand, you have $150,000 tied up in inventory one way or another if we count it all the way from prepaying the supplier. It’s the practical reality. You’re going from $500,000 to $1 million. A good 100% growth, which is common for that size if have something that works. That means you need to go from $150,000 in inventory to $300,000. That’s another $150,000. Where’s that going to come from?

A few brands that are $500,000 in revenue and growing 100% will earn $150,000 at the bottom line after everything that they can use to procure. That is the challenge. That means if you can’t find those, you cannot grow 100%. That’s impossible. Perhaps you can improve the cash conversion but that’s going to hurt your margins because then you have to place smaller orders, you’re going to run out of stock, and you need to have few SKUs. It’s hard.

That’s where Treyd comes in. You have the customers and you have the growth but how do you fund that growth because the inventory is what’s going to stop you? If you could get a $100,000 limit from Treyd and you start to pay suppliers and you might have $50,000 in profits that you put in, you can double.

Keep your inventory levels high, which is good for marketing efficiency. It also means you can continue to place large orders, which means you can get lower and lower costs than your supply chain. You can have a low shipping cost. A lot of words and a complicated topic but is also straightforward. You need a certain level. What happens when you go below a certain level of inventory? The level is different for every business, of course.

There are a couple of things and the most obvious that happens and the standard conversation when a brand finds us is like, “We’re out of stock for our most important product. We wasted all those marketing dollars. We don’t have enough inventory. Now we have to place an order and that’s going to come in three months.” That’s painful. Companies go into all kinds of tricks and doing small order sizes and so on, which is super costly, and A new air freight. In air freight, you can get it. Instead of waiting seven weeks, you wait one week. It’s usually super expensive.

My takeaway from what you said is cash conversion cycle is a way to mitigate time, it’s a measurement of time. It’s a metric used to express how many days it takes you to convert cash from inventory to selling the product. How are you optimizing time? Do you want slow growth or do you want to seize the opportunity?

Particularly when you’re a small size of $500,000 and there’s a $5 million or a $10 million opportunity in front of you over the next 24 months, how quickly can you fund the inventory that your marketing is scaling upfront whether it’s retention or acquisition to push through and fulfill demand and customer satisfaction?

The message is your cash conversion cycle is what’s going to determine how fast you can grow in the end. It’s important not to think about it in isolation. What are the tools to improve your cash conversion cycles? Have fewer products, you can’t do product launches, and that’s how you grow. You need to launch new products. Improving the cycle might hurt your growth.

The other way is to put in small orders frequently, that will improve your cash conversion cycle but it’s going to hurt your profit. It’s a tough balance to find the right balance. That’s why a lot of brands at least are considering, “Can we find a way to finance this as well?” We can increase growth and increase margin. That, of course, is magic for a business if you can do both.

You mentioned the fact that you underwrite every single business that works with you, every one of your customers, or clients. Do you determine this cash conversion cycle? With the example that you mentioned where you’re like, “They have $150,000, a third of revenue in inventory, and they’ll need $300,000 to double.” Are these metrics your underwriting system looks into and grabs onto and understands to better give a rate?

It does. How it works is when you come to us, you go through the onboarding where you connect your accounting, your Xero. or QuickBooks, which gives us the data we need. Based on that, we come back with a limit and a price, “This is how much of a limit you can use to procure, and here’s your monthly price.” That is determined by a lot of factors like how profitable you are, how much inventory you have, etc. That’s the secret sauce in a business like this.

It might not be everything you need but what happens from our customers is they use the service, they can grow a bit, become more profitable, and they pay us back. We see payback on time and we can give a higher limit and hopefully a better price. We have this positive spiral where our customers use us to grow and improve and we can then give them even more so they can grow and improve even more. That’s what we’re trying to achieve and what is also happening.

Peter, let’s track back to my original question, which was two-pronged. The second bit is data points like trends you’re seeing. I don’t know how many merchants are on Treyd at this point in time but from a consolidated standpoint, what trends are you seeing? COVID has come and gone. We faced a huge supply chain challenge over COVID and after COVID.

There were freight issues, logistic issues, raw material issues, and inflation. To be honest, we’re still in the thick of it if you think about it in terms of price increases and consumer demand. What are you seeing from the operational standpoint with all of the data? Obviously, it’s all an advice so insights are great.

2022 was a perfect storm. Consumers spent money on other things than buying stuff and prices remained high in the supply chain. The freight was super expensive. A lot of Nordic customers had problems with exchange rates, etc. That was terrible. A couple of things that we have seen both in going through that and looking ahead. The horizon is looking a little bit brighter, not at least on our home turf, the supply chain. Freight rates have gone down by 80%. It’s getting back to normal.

Two channels are mutually beneficial to many customers. Click to Tweet

As you and all the readers know, it was super painful. It went from $2,000 to get a container from China to up to $20,000, which was super painful for margins and we saw that. The other thing that happened was that there was so much demand that factories could increase their prices, it was hard to get things out, and you had to place large orders. All of that is now improving. Despite the price inflation, factories now have the capacity and most dramatically, freight prices are down, they’re almost back to pre-COVID levels, and that helps the margin for our customers.

We saw in 2022, the margins were getting compressed. We thought that it was going to hurt growth a lot. We talk a lot to our customers and people were super worried about, like, “How are Q3 and Q4 going to be with this kind of demand?” We saw that people remained at reasonable growth levels and had enough demand but the margins were compressed by the supply chain costs and a little bit also by spending more on marketing for every customer.

Now, things are easing up a bit, especially on the supply chain. We have at least early signs of improving margins again, which is good. At least right now, it looks like a more plannable future than it did in 2022. Who knew what the new demand was going to be after COVID? Now, we’re through at least one cycle of that.

The other thing that we have seen, which might be interesting for some readers, is we have a mix of our brands, some are pure direct-to-consumer brands, some are pure wholesale brands, or you have both, you have both the direct-to-consumer and more of a wholesale side. 2022 has shown the power of having multiple channels.

We see several of our customers who were, for example, D2C also adding a wholesale channel because it creates a more stable revenue but it also seems to be from our data, a more profitable approach. You can get a little bit of the higher margin from eCommerce and the more predictable larger volumes, which helps you in the supply chain from having wholesale.

It also seems like the two channels are mutually beneficial to many customers. The branding from direct-to-consumer, you spend a lot of effort, time, and money on that. It’s helpful for your wholesale channels. Being visible in other multi-brand stores is also good for your direct-to-consumer experience. It seems to be a big trend, at least what we see, that you mix channels a bit more.

They’re getting into the wholesale space, meaning that you need a whole new source of skills to sell to retail. You need at least a seller, one head of sales initially, and then you start to build up that team where they will be responsible for regions or a retailer and all of that stuff. It’s an interesting trend. Is this where the growth is coming from rather than sticking to D2C and trying to launch more products? Let me put it this way. Peter, where would you put your money in 2023? Would you put it into funding more product launches or would you figure out, “Let me go more wholesale and find more of these one-to-many accounts.”

A hard one. The entrepreneur always says both.

What’s the lazier one? What’s a low-hanging fruit one?

The low-hanging fruit is probably adding another channel to the existing product catalog. If you spent all that time, money, and effort into D2C, you have built a strong brand, you have the awareness that you can sell to that wholesaler or that retailer or multi-brand store. That’s a fairly straightforward way to keep volumes up and margins higher in general. Of course, the gross margin is going to be lower in that but you get more volume and you don’t have to spend the marketing dollars. That’s usually the lower-hanging fruit.

You get a channel specialist to handle that bit of expansion.

Of course, the other way to do it is also to use marketplaces. Amazon, for example, is something that we also see. Even the wholesalers who haven’t done D2C often start like that to learn the motion of going closer to straight to customers but it also goes both ways. One interesting thing that you see is that usually, it’s not the same product catalog. It also opens up a bit of price differentiation. Maybe you do sell not the coolest new design sign on Amazon. You save that for your own eCommerce channel to keep your margins high but also get the volume from the marketplace.

That’s an underrated tip you gave right now. A lot of brands don’t see Amazon as a brand discovery platform where people figure out, “You exist. This is what you do. Let me try your product.” From there, they could either relate with you direct or still with Amazon. Limiting that access, limiting that product availability, or the scope of products on Amazon is key so they can find out more direct with yourselves. Let’s wrap this conversation up. I have a few more questions, which is, how do merchants tend to increase their credit limits on Treyd? I’m asking for a friend.

Make sure you have connected your accounting, pay on time, continue to grow, and ideally, show profitability. Those are the standard ways of increasing the limit with Treyd.

You finance invoices with suppliers. For every new supplier that comes on board in Treyd, you would vet them, you do your DD, and you do your KYC on them. As long as they’re within the scope, I assume you then approve that payment, right?

Exactly. Our scope is pretty simple, it’s physical products that are non-perishable. We don’t finance services, fruit, or things like that. For almost all your readers, it’s the things that you sell. That’s the things you should pay with Treyd.

For our CPG readers, there are some CPG readers who are launching the next big food and beverage brand and what have you. Some of them, alluding to what you said, are tapping into it. They’re saying, “People love us. D2C people love us on Amazon. We’re going to make our first strides by trying to reach out to the supermarkets to get our products on there.” That in of itself, if you get a purchase order from a Sainsbury’s here in the UK or Waitrose where you are talking sometimes of a purchase order of, “We want 25,000 pounds worth of inventory from yourselves.” You’re like, “How the heck am I going to fund that?” Can they come to Treyd for short transactions?

Yes, they can. If it’s fresh produce like fruit or flowers or what have you, it’s probably not going to work. We have a lot of food and beverage brands that use Treyd. It’s quite common.

There are two broad categories in CPG. You have CPG brands that do not do their manufacturing, they would use a third party. It does not mean that they don’t have their unique recipe or unique blend but they don’t do it in-house, they carry out other functions in-house. You have other CPG brands that do everything in-house. For them, when they get that purchase order, they’re trying to buy raw materials for manufacturing. How does that play out with Treyd?

That is not our ICP or Ideal Customer Profile. We say that to use Treyd, you buy finished goods or almost finished from a factory. Most of our customers are non-manufacturing. There is always a gray zone. For example, we do a lot of makeup. Usually, you buy packaging from one place and you buy the content, the formula, from somewhere else. It’s not a problem. If you’re buying potatoes to make crisps, that should be out of scope.

Thanks for clarifying. Before I let you go, we have what we call a lightning round. I’m going to ask you 5 or maybe even 7 questions. If you could use a single sentence to answer each of them, it’d be great.

It sounds like a challenge.

What advice would you give yourself five years ago?

Start earlier. We hadn’t started Treyd and we should have.

Are you a morning person?

Absolutely, 5:30 every day.

What’s your daily morning routine?

The majority of this is at 5:30 and I go exercise in the morning, that’s the perfect way to start a day, and the only time to find the time. Other than that, I bring my dog to the office and get at it.

Are you into sports?

I am. I’ve now promised our dear investors that I’m not doing extreme sports anymore but I do manage to squeeze in the occasional kitesurfing session and, if I’m lucky, a ski run.

What’s your favorite sports team?

The only team sport I watch is handball and I bet most of your readers don’t. I play that a lot when I was young. My favorite team is my hometown team. That’s about it.

What two things can’t you live without?

Coffee and coffee.

We’ll send you some coffee. What book are you currently reading or listening to?

Right now, I’m reading a book about Russian history, which is super interesting in the world we’re in. It’s mainly about the more recent years, from the end of the Soviet Empire, the rise of Putin, and all that.  I find international relations and geopolitics as one of my secret treat for myself.

It goes back to your cross-border risk analysis, corporate strategy, and all that stuff. The final question is, what’s been your best mistake to date? By that, I mean a setback that’s given you the biggest feedback.

The obvious one for me is flying into that Norwegian mountain. Without it, I would not have co-founded Treyd. That is probably the best thing I have done so far.

Serendipity. Peter Beckman, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the 2X eCommerce Podcast. Thank you ever so much.

Thanks a million. It’s super fun finally to be on here and not only listening.

Amazing. Cheers.


About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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