When we explained that we’re a “Full Stack Apparel Manufacturing” startup, he was intrigued by the term “Full Stack”. While this term seems to intuitively fit our business, we felt this needed some more explanation.
The term started with Marc Andreessen’s blog post at the Wall Streeet Journal about “Software eating the world” in 2011.
This described the rise of companies that chose to use software, technology and platforms not just to become marketplaces or listing directories, but to control the *ENTIRE* Customer Experience.
They chose to create vendors that delivered services and products under controlled conditions, either digitally or physically, and ensured that the customer received the desired experience rather than just pass the customer on to third parties these companies had NO CONTROL over.
In the true sense of the word, Sourceasy is a global company. We’re headquartered in New York, and yet all our products are manufactured, quality checked, and shipped from across the world – We manufacture in India and are setting up manufacturing in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Costa Rica and South Africa.
Our sales, our ops and finance are based in New York, but our coding, our development, and all our technology is built in Bangalore, in Hyderabad.
Andreessen’s article could be applied to companies like Uber, like Amazon, like Bonobos, like Square, like Fitbit, like Airbnb, like HomeJoy, like Nest chose to work on problems that are offline, hard, real world problems. Problems that software never could work with.
But with mobile data, GPS, new OS’es like iOS and Android, New platforms like Facebook, with Analytics, with AWS and with tools and enabling technologies that help us replicate user behavior using Software, We can use software, the cloud and web tools to create amazingly elegant, scalable and usable solutions to streamline, solve and process real world problems.
Jeff Lawson delivered an amazing talk at the 500 Startups UnSexy Conference in 2013 – He says that We are All Software People. We carry a super computer in our pocket in the form of a cell phone. We use sensors to gather data, and actuators to spit out results and solutions through software that sits in the cloud, is intelligent, is SaaS and can be upgraded several times a day.
Sourceasy is an UnSexy Company. We generate cashflow, we create revenue and we earn a profit on each transaction. Unit economics mirror real world businesses. We are not just a single point of software that has no relationship to the real world flow of information. We are innervating the entire supply chain of apparel manufacturing with both forward and backward integration. We are using Mobile data to re-create the entire production flow that creates apparel.
The term “Full Stack” was actually finally originally coined by Chris Dixon in this blog post on his blog in March 2014. He describes the difference between Vertically Integrated and Full Stack in the comments, and I quote:
“I don’t think it’s vertically integrated in the classic sense. This isn’t oil company buying supplier. It’s a tech company building the complete experience including non tech parts. The end result looks more like a company that we wouldn’t call vertically integrated. E.g. Uber competes with taxi companies but I don’t think we’d call taxi companies vertically integrated.”
Sourceasy uses external vendors, does not own factories. Yet, we take on the liability of quality from our customer, and we take full responsibility for the production quality upfront.
We use technology to create the order, to negotiate price, to update comments, to track visibility through the manufacturing life cycle. We use software to control the operations and we report status to our customer transparently.
But we use our network of trusted vendors to produce the apparel, control the quality, at the right price to ship on time.
We also have offline operations to control this experience as well that uses software to report their progress.
We use technology to invoice our customer, and to monitor and resolve disputes.
There is no clear boundary where our offline operations commence and where our online technology ends. Its all interwoven into a hundred different moving parts.
And in the end it’s an execution game. Domain knowledge, embedded industry connections, driving adoption of software with great UX, and making big pain points magically go away for our customers.
Thats “Full Stack”. And Sourceasy is building this for the Global Market.