The Startup Model…Reinvented
MysteryVibe was founded by a group of researchers, engineers and designers who were inspired by trends in smartphones like Nokia Morph and came up with the idea of creating a sex toy that would adapt to any body shape and vibrate to any pattern. The embryonic idea was researched for a number of years before a company was formed in May 2014 and incubated by London-based industrial design firm Seymourpowell.
MysteryVibe's flagship product, Crescendo, is the world's first vibrator that can be bent to adapt to any body shape and was subject to the first crowdfunding project that offered its backers two versions of the product: Pilot and Retail. They ran what was named the #Pilot1000 programme for their first 1,000 users, gathering feedback on the product. Users spanned forty-eight countries and included both backers and experts. Chief Executive Officer, Soumyadip Rakshit, picks up the story: “I gave all 1,000 users my direct email, telephone and Skype details. The feedback I received was amazing and helped us develop the final ‘Retail’ Crescendo in preparation for launch.”
Founded on a lean model, MysteryVibe were able to build the company from a sketch to shipped products with less than £1m ($1.5m) in funding. They were also unique in raising 100% of the money from Angel investors, without any recourse to Venture capital. As of Q2 2017, MysteryVibe had raised £2.5m ($3.5m) in total funding.
Geared for Growth
A distinction of being the first brand in their category to be featured on BBC and a host of press coverage helped establish market awareness and initial sales from customers around the world. The founders soon realised that whilst the product was the star, it had to be supported by a second-to-none customer delivery and ‘unboxing’ experience. Soumyadip continues: “we were positioning ourselves as a luxury, premium brand, so once we had perfected the product a lot of time was invested into packaging design and, very importantly, the logistics of getting MysteryVibe to our customers”
After a cursory look at the fulfilment market, it was apparent that there was a wide spectrum of service providers, capabilities and price points. With that in mind, a formal tender document was put forward, detailing the requirements. In summary, the three major selection factors were: technology, ‘white glove’ item handling and international shipping options. On all criteria, Exact Abacus were the front-runner and a contract for integrated fulfilment technology and services was swiftly concluded as Soumyadip explains: “the team at Exact were very easy to deal with and obviously know the business well. Their pricing was competitive but we accepted that there was a slight premium for the quality of service needed.”
Handling with Care
Stock is delivered into one of Exact Abacus fulfilment centres at Matrix Park directly from manufacture. All items are seamlessly checked and scanned into a clean and secure location within hours of receipt, using handheld devices that eliminate all paperwork. Orders are automatically processed from checkout to picking and items are dispatched in branded packaging within an average of 2 hours 15 minutes. Returns are also handled at the facility with disposal in compliance with WEEE regulations.
As a technology business with app development and product design focus, MysteryVibe fully understood the importance of well-engineered and integrated systems. Soumyadip explains: “I think it is natural that a startup piles its energies into product, but this is generally at the expense of designing the business. Therefore, we wanted to work with a provider who could prove that they were on the button with technology and help us develop our own management systems.” Exact Abacus provide MysteryVibe with a software platform that enables both parties to share data, processes and business intelligence.
Delivering a premium product to customers around the world demands rigorous attention to detail, robust service levels and reliable carrier partners. Exact Abacus were able to demonstrate consistently high standards in deliverability and provide supporting technology that constantly keeps customers fully informed of their parcels journey. With a range of International shipping options ranging from super-economy untracked to premium courier, Exact Abacus have all bases covered.
Over and above reduced distribution costs and improved deliverability rates, the integrated fulfilment technology and services provided by Exact Abacus are helping the MysteryVibe team to focus on new product development and sales growth and Soumyadip concludes: “When walking into one of their fulfilment centres, you get an immediate feeling of professionalism. Whilst there is obviously a lot of activity, everything is controlled and if anything ever does go wrong, they have people in the right positions to get things sorted. But, for us, it was their technology focus and service levels that set them apart; we are certainly very happy with the decision to partner with Exact Abacus.”