Kyklo, a startup that helps wholesale distributors of electrical and automation products launch e-commerce stores, is announcing that it has raised $8.5 million in seed funding.
The industry may sound a bit arcane, but it's one that founders Remi Ducrocq (Kyklo's CEO) and Fabien Legouic (CTO) know from having worked at Schneider Electric. Ducrocq said that the process of selling these products to manufacturers and electricians remains cumbersome, relying largely on PDF catalogs.
Shifting these businesses to digital is a much bigger challenge than creating your standard online store, both because of the number of products being sold and the needs for accurate listings.
"Even the small folks sell 100,000 SKUs [distinct products], up to 1 million SKUs," Ducrocq told me. "If you choose the wrong product, your factory gets shut down. [It's essential] to have accurate information present on the web store to have a transaction happen."
Kyklo doesn't automate the process completely, Ducrocq added, because "you can’t just create content or apply AI to something that is so unstructured." Creating these stores remains a manual process for the Kyklo team, but the company has built "technology to make that manual process as easy as possible."
That includes standardized data structures and a variety of scripts to create these product listings more quickly. Ultimately, Ducrocq said Kyklo can get distributors up and running with an online store within 30 days, and sometimes as quickly as two weeks.
In total, Kyklo has created a catalog of more than 2.5 million products for more than 35 distributors. It's also been endorsed by manufacturers like Schneider Electric, Wago, Festo US and Mitsubishi Electric Automation as their preferred e-commerce partner.
Ducrocq suggested that going digital with Kyklo helps these businesses both by allowing them to reach new customers with improved SEO and by giving them tools to expand their sales with existing customers. For example, IEC Supply says that its online sales increased 500% for the first six months after launching with Kyklo, while new customer interactions tripled.
"Market maturity accelerated because of the pandemic," he added. "These B2B traditional businesses were reluctant to go towards digitization, with only visionaries embarking on the journey. But during the pandemic, salespeople haven’t been able to see their customers in person for six months, so many distributors are reassessing how they should effectively go to market."
Kyklo has now raised a total of $10.2 million. The new funding was led by Felicis Ventures and IA Ventures, with participation from Jungle Ventures, partners at Wavemaker, Seedplus and strategic angel investors.
“With 80% of the $640 billion electrical, industrial and automation distribution industry still relying on PDF catalogs and phone and emails for its operations, distributors face a challenge in the market,” said Felicis Managing Director Sundeep Peechu in a statement. “KYKLO’s platform helps these companies keep pace with crucial industry needs and reassess how digital tools can transform their sales force.”