Tech Pitch: Ramp Commerce
An extension of e-commerce platform Dizzyjam, Welsh entrepreneur Neil Cocker's latest start-up lets anyone sell promotional merchandise
Company name: Ramp Commerce (an extension of Dizzyjam)
Founders: Neil Cocker (40), Daffyd Griffiths (37) and Milen Nedev (38)
Background: Cocker – Former international DJ and music producer Griffiths – former member of staff at Cardiff’s Spiller Records, promoter and DJ Nedev – experienced CTO who has worked with clients such as British Gas, BAA and Channel 4
Based in: Cardiff, Wales
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?
- Ramp Commerce is a very early-stage B2B platform that allows anyone to sell promotional merchandise to their customers or fan base, with no upfront cost. Users simply upload their design to the portal. We are then able to transfer the design to mugs, clothing and stationery, which can then be purchased on demand.
- The precursor to Ramp Commerce was Dizzyjam – an online service that we launched in 2010 to enable independent bands, DJs, labels, musicians and venues to create and sell merchandise without any cost at all. We take our cut from the cost of the t-shirt and the band takes commission from the retail price.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
As a company whose directors have spent a combined 25 years in and around the music industry, we have a particularly strong understanding of the pressures faced by independent bands and artists.
Lots of independent acts in the music industry struggle when it comes to sourcing and paying to distribute merchandise to their fans, so we provide them with a print on demand facility to share with their fans, then we print as fans order it. It’s zero risk for the artist. The fact that our portal allows bands to sell on demand is incredibly important, as it means that those bands are not left with significant amounts of excess stock.
The place where we can really add value, however, is in data insight. Using the data from the 11,000 acts signed up to the website, we are able to advise on sales forecasts and marketing. For instance, if an artist sells a lot of merchandise in a particular country, we might suggest that they add that country to their tour schedule. We are also building a dashboard that will provide insights by genre, and location of the music venue.
Our latest venture Ramp Commerce builds on the traction we have gained in the music industry. We saw the potential to take what we were doing into any vertical market whether that is sports or charities.
Are you funded?
No, but we are on the verge of securing £500,000 investment to scale up the business.
What were you doing before starting?
Cocker – I studied philosophy at Cardiff University, and have lived in Cardiff ever since. I toured the world as a DJ and record label boss, during which time I was boss of a record label which produced a top 10 hit and played to fans across the world, from Tooting to Tokyo.
I had many t-shirts printed to sell to fans over the years, and always ended up with boxes of odd sizes and colours that nobody wanted to buy. I realised that having access to something like Dizzyjam meant that I could have sold exactly what people wanted, without having to deal with the hassle and cost of stock issues.
What’s the best thing about where you’re based?
We are based in Cardiff which is an exciting and vibrant place to work. Its size lends itself to a strong sense of community. I’m (Cocker) one of the founders of Cardiff Start – which we set up to help tech start-ups in and around Cardiff share knowledge. And there are lots of other initiatives for growing businesses in the area.
One of the benefits of being in Wales is that you can get to the people you want to speak to quickly. The Welsh Government and Business in Focus are there if we need business advice. Rents and wages are also significantly cheaper than in London yet it’s just over a few hours away if I need to be there for a meeting.