Rocket Cloud – New Ben Franklin TechVentures Resident Company
Technology That Improves Legacy Wholesalers’ Margins by 10-15%
Many mid-tier wholesalers in the building materials supply industry still rely primarily on phone sales and obsolete inventory management technology and practices to distribute products to their HVAC, plumbing, and electrical contractor customers. Because of these inefficiencies and rising competition on the web, the wholesalers’ profit margins are very slim. Rocket Cloud, Inc.’s solution increases the average net profit of these wholesalers from 1% to 10-15%.
Rocket Cloud co-founders Sean Caverly and Zeiad Hussein decided to form the company when they recognized this unmet need and their complementary skill sets. They have developed innovative cloud- and machine-learning-based software solutions to streamline the building materials supply chain. The platform will allow traditional wholesalers of equipment and supplies to supplement their physical locations with third-party e-commerce channels, such as Amazon and eBay. Easy on-line access through e-commerce sites increases wholesalers’ sales and enhances profits, and provides access to a nationwide customer base for the first time.
Rocket Cloud received a $100,000 investment from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The company recently moved into the Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator.
Plugging mid-tier wholesalers into third party sites such as Amazon is only the beginning. According to Caverly, “We will use these sites to train wholesalers to serve web-based customers. Once we have a critical mass of wholesalers, within the next 12 to18 months, we will leverage the database of work — proprietary data sets, products, and categories that we have set up, to build our own vertical marketplace.”
“We have already spoken to a number of stakeholders, including manufacturers and wholesalers, and we have buy-in for our plan,” said Hussein. “Imagine the fulfillment speed of Amazon, and with every order you get 15 free minutes of phone time with a technical support pro.”
With the Ben Franklin investments as an early endorsement, Rocket Cloud earned a round of venture capital investment from New York City’s Entrepreneur’s Roundtable Accelerator. Rocket Cloud is also one of the few companies invited to pitch at private demo day events in New York and San Francisco this fall, presenting to hundreds of venture capitalists with the objective of raising a Series A funding round of more than $10MM.
“We are not here to disrupt; we are here to empower,” says Caverly. “Our platform supports legacy businesses so they can do what they do best, while the technology modernizes and streamlines their processes.”
Ben Franklin TechVentures brings together entrepreneurs, a large network of experienced advisors and investors, and Lehigh University faculty and students to accelerate the growth of the region’s technology economy. Ben Franklin staff support TechVentures resident companies with management guidance, business planning, strategic planning, and marketing counsel, as well as connections to follow-on funders and assistance in preparing and improving funding presentations. Ben Franklin TechVentures provides an entrepreneurial culture that fuels innovation, hastens the success of early-stage technology firms, and supports high-value job creation.