One of the most incredible things about the eCommerce North program is the way it is bringing businesses together. Not only will founders be able to learn from each other, but they’ll also have a whole team of mentors behind them who have come out the other side of entrepreneurial challenges. From practical advice to inspiring stories from decades in the industry, the program will be an incredibly valuable networking opportunity.
This spirit of collaboration makes us incredibly excited to connect with Ralph Dangelmaier from BlueSnap, a Moneris partner and an official Partner-in-Residence for eCommerce North. He took us through his extensive background in helping companies scale to their full potential, and how he’ll be helping the founders in the program do the same.
Can you provide us with a bit of background on BlueSnap?
BlueSnap is a comprehensive payments platform that handles everything a B2B or B2C company needs for processing payments globally with an emphasis on increasing authorization rates, reducing costs and realizing efficiencies.
A group of investors in Boston, where I'm located, bought a company in Israel. They wanted to scale the company, and so they asked me to join as the CEO – that was back in early 2013. They built an innovative platform with a shopping cart, a fraud engine, a payment gateway and their own wallet, and this is before some of the big players today were around. That was the beginning of BlueSnap. Years later, we’re now connecting to a lot of the sophisticated technology we have – shopping carts, fraud engines, wallets – and really focusing on being an incredibly good payments application to increase authorizations and allow merchants to plug and play any app that they want to use by country and product.
Can you tell us how BlueSnap will be supporting eCommerce North as a Partner-in-Residence?
To be honest, I have never worked at a startup, but I approach my work as an entrepreneur. I have a track record of taking stagnant companies, and then uncovering their potential to take them to the next level. I focus on scaling companies. I take small companies and make them mid-sized, I take $1 million companies to $12 million and $200 million companies to $1 billion. And I have the personality to do this: curiosity, perseverance, I like change and I’m heavy on communications. Those are the characteristics you need to drive things forward, whether it’s launching a startup or aggressively growing a business that already exists.
What were some of the challenges you faced as an entrepreneur?
What I’ve found is the barrier to a company’s success always comes down to three things: people, money and strategy. You need a strong strategy, one that makes sense in the competitive landscape – one that you can get people to believe in as you market your business. And then you need the people who are bought in and can execute on it and scale with you. You need people who can figure things out. Then you need to know where your funding is coming from – you need the money so your people have what they need to make the plan happen. And if you’re missing any of those things, you need to make changes or it won’t be successful.
What valuable tools and experiences will you bring to the founders of this first cohort?
In addition to the practical payments knowledge, because every business needs payments, the founders will need to consider why they do what they do and what will help make them successful. I’ve found that I hit my stride when I’m the underdog, the little engine that could. I like to be a fixer. I like to do what people think can’t be done – it’s what gets me going. And with that experience, you see what works and what doesn’t. And what works is going to be different for every company.
Hopefully, what founders will take from this is you need to work toward your strategy but you can’t be uncomfortable with tweaking and fine-tuning it, and then you need to make sure that the tech and partners you rely on will be able to flex with the company’s needs.
What do you think the founders of this accelerator will value most of the program?
Getting real advice is hard, and the folks in this program are going to benefit from getting it even if they decide not to take it. Being able to talk to people who have been through trials and tribulations, who have practical experience, is incredibly valuable. Then, you take a little from each person and form your own methodology that’s special to you.
We’ll keep posting eCommerce North updates, so keep checking us out on Insights. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the program, you can sign up to get the latest details sent right to your inbox here.
The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed.