Trouva: An online “lifevest” for independent stores
By Endeavor Greece Jan 11, 2021
As a great part of our lives has gone online due to the pandemic, Trouva.com -an online market- has proved to be a “lifejacket” for most of the 150 independent stores and boutiques that use its platform in Britain and in Europe. Its co-founder and CEO, Alex Loizou, talked at the podcast of Endeavor Greece Outliers whose media partner is moneyreview.gr, about how the idea was born and the way it evolved into a website that attracts 1,5M unique monthly users.
Alex grew up in Cyprus and after he fulfilled his military service requirement, he went to Germany to study Information Technology. Following that, he completed his postgraduate program at LSE, and he took his first steps at the business world in London. About a year ago, he took over as the CEO of the company, while Trouva.com has already completed eight years of its operation. His story is one of “a lot of trials, errors, failures” until the right path was found. His vision was to provide online the experience of shopping at inspired and exquisite stores. How did it all start?
His co-founders had noticed that as the consumers’ access to the e-commerce was steadily growing, it was the big chain stores that mostly gained profits. Smaller shops remained offline and were in danger of losing their market share, which would eventually lead to their complete close-down. Therefore, the idea was to find a way to help.
“In the beginning I thought that our venture would just hold 6 months and then we would close down. After 8,5 years, we are still here,” he says and he adds that what makes a difference is the way one processes and interprets the signals that they receive as well as the understanding of the technical aspect and the business/financial complexities of a venture.
What are the major challenges he comes up against?
“The major challenge is to keep a ballance between aggressive and sustainable growth,” he says and he adds: “Companies go through different phases and one should be able to understand when they need to find a new balance in the supply and demand chain. It is important for you to have well-defined goals.”
It is equally significant to “keep your eyes open,” to realize what is happening around you and to constantly adapt to the changes. “Something that happens in China could have a great impact on Europe. This is a constant challenge.”
However, he was not intimidated by the fact that he became the head of the company, taking the step from CTO to CEO. What sustained him? The fact that he is always keen on explaining his idea and his product to the others as well as the trust he had on his team. “It was a huge change, but it was a great experience.”