Startup Of The Week: Makes You Local
Please meet Donatas Gudelis, Managing Director for Baltic countries & E-Commerce Specialist at Makes You Local, a platform designed to help businesses plan, launch, and manage online shops in new countries. Donatas reveals more about the startup and its operations in this interview.
So what is Makes You Local? How does it work?
MakesYouLocal is the group of the e-commerce specialists that are working together with the clients in order to help them to be successful abroad. The company helps web shops to avoid different failures they might face too, including translation, web shop localization, local customer service, local online marketing and local business development.
At the moment we have two offices in North Europe countries. The head office of MakesYouLocal is in Copenhagen, and other is in Vilnius. The great part of it is that you can find more than 9 nationalities ‘specialists in our company, which lets us see all the problems of your business from different countries’ point of view.
We know that sometimes it might look difficult to see your own mistakes and people could feel lost. In order to save the time, avoid the extra cost and raise the business you need to write us and we will show you that while using our professional specialist help you can be on the top of the market.
How do we work?
Our company is using a unique 5 steps method. Usually, we are looking for clients, which could be successful in the market abroad, which has competitive strengths. We are working with them as long as they need while at the same time giving them all the information about the competition, marketing channels, prices and etc. It is important to mention, that we always take care of all the casual steps the client needs to do in order to be successful online. That is why the client does not need to worry about anything.
What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
We all know that nowadays competition is such a big problem and everybody faces to it. It is not a secret that MakesYouLocal has some competitors too. The main of them are single individuals or companies that usually do only one part of the job, as it is difficult and almost impossible to be a great specialist in all the parts of e-commerce. They sometimes do not really explain what to do now and what was wrong with your business. But we are not like that.
MakesYouLocal offers its customers 5 steps programmer which means that we don’t leave the client. By using our professional help the client can be sure that his web shop will be in great hands, as all the specialists we have, know what they are doing.
What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
The idea to make this business came from long years of work in leading Danish online shops selling in several countries. The founders of MakesYouLocal wanted to localize their Danish shop in Norway and Sweden, but while doing that they came with the idea that some of the companies might want to join them and be a part of their business. At the moment you can find more than 26 specialists from 9 Europe countries in MakesYouLocal that are ready to help you anytime.
When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
Talking about the background of MakesYouLocal, it is worth pointing out that the company was established in Denmark, in 2010 by Ingrid Riis Karlsen, Max Riis Christensen, and Søren Kjær Nielsen. A few years later, in 2015, Donatas Gudelis has established a Baltic office in Lithuania, Vilnius.
The main task before the launch was to be local in each market. We don’t use people who are not native speakers of the language, who are not e-commerce specialists. Lithuanian e-commerce specialist can’t help you to set up online marketing strategy in Sweden professionally. Find a right team from day one was the main challenge.
It seems that usually, our clients are the companies, that we see success in the market abroad. To make it clear, mostly we are focusing on in which we believe and see from the first meeting that they could be successful in a neighbor market as well. As main of our company’s offices are in Copenhagen and Vilnius, it seems that a lot of customers live there. We can not forget to mention that there are a lot of clients from Latvia, Estonia, and Norway too. Even if in the beginning it was not that easy to find our potential clients, nowadays we are quite well-known and recommendable because of our results and success stories of clients.
What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
The main and the most difficult tasks we should do are not only to translate and to make the web shop clear and according to local online shoppers expectations, but also to adapt it to the market of the different country. To do this job perfectly, you need to put a lot of effort in it and spend most of your time. As a result, our team consists of different nationalities specialist, like Estonians, Latvians, that help us to make web shops local and interesting as it needs. Our main goal is to understand clients’ needs and to help them to fulfill it.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
We are an organically growing company. We can make you sure that we do not have any extra funding and sometimes it is difficult for people to understand that.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
Our board consists of four people, Donatas Gudelis, Ingrid Riis Karlsen, Max Riis Christensen, and Søren Kjær Nielsen. Max Riis Christensen is our CEO, co-founder, and director in Denmark. Donatas Gudelis- co-founder and Director for Baltic countries.
How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
It seems that everything happens. We had better and more difficult times- like everywhere. The Baltic company has ±40-50% growth each year, which illustrate our good job. The company actively expanding the team in Vilnius office as well as in Copenhagen.
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
We are always trying to improve our business and be as good as we can. We are working, learning new things and meeting new challenges which give us a lot of experiences. At the moment we are thinking to become wider: increase the number of employees and to expand the spectrum of services. We have a lot of plans in the future and you will hear about it soon.
Thank you, Donatas Gudelis for this interview!