With a background in e-commerce, Belfast based Marty Neill saw a gap in the market for a new approach to multi-channel retailing from seeing the struggle of small shops in modernising their business models.
“AirPOS is software for independent retailers that helps them to manage their in-store operations such as inventory, financial data and sales, and helps them to sell online. The software has been designed as a tool to make multi-channel retailing simpler, and crucially affordable for even the smallest of shops.
“I noticed how disruptive online retailing could be to many of our e-commerce clients and the widening availability of cloud computing in 2010 pointed towards the possibility of a solution.”
Marty knew that he needed to challenge many of his assumptions in order to bring his idea to commercial reality, so he decided to apply for Invest NI’s Propel programme.
“Propel was great for making us focus on the business processes behind the cool stuff. And it helped me to break my hidden fear of spreadsheets and financial controls, which of course have been essential to successfully navigating three investment rounds and a couple of key partnership formations that have helped the business to grow.”
Marty believes that there a number of elements of Invest NI’s Propel Programme which were very beneficial in the development of his business.
“The financial part was challenging, also being around many people in the same situation as me with start-up companies was hugely helpful. The peer support element is perhaps underestimated but I learned as much from the people around me as from any experts. There’s nothing like the feeling that you’re starting the journey together.”
AirPOS is now in the ‘beyond start-up’ phase, working with major partners in the UK and beyond including Casio. The software has more than 3,000 users in 80 countries and is planning a major push into the US market in 2013.