Petra Dobrocka is the co-founder and managing director of byrd.
The startup, which was founded in 2016, connects online merchants to an international warehouse network, enabling retailers to offer advanced shipping options on an international scale without needing to build their own logistics network.
The company has offices in Berlin and Vienna, and more than 60 employees from various backgrounds and countries.
We spoke to Petra to learn more about byrd and her journey as its founder.
What’s Your Background?
I grew up in Vienna, Austria, and my background is in business and economics. During university, I started a student job at recipe subscription startup Kochabo (which is now part of Marley Spoon). In that role, I was primarily doing business development and looking for ways to expand Kochabo to new markets, such as Slovakia and Switzerland. After four years I decided to move on and joined Foodora (part of Delivery Hero) to spearhead the expansion to Singapore as Head of Marketing. In 2016 I returned to Vienna and co-founded e-commerce logistics startup byrd.
Did You Ever See Yourself Founding And Working For A Startup?
At university, I majored in entrepreneurship and I always thought startups were exciting. When I started my first student job at Marley Spoon I loved the fast-paced environment and the great atmosphere and, to be honest, it was so much more than the part-time student job that I expected it to be. This was also where I had my first encounters with e-commerce and logistics and basically my entry point into the next roles and challenges that came afterwards.
What Makes Your Startup Unique On The Market?
When it comes to e-commerce, there are thousands of easy-to-use tools that allow you to manage a webshop, optimise your marketing setup, enable easy payment solutions and so on. But when it comes to logistics, there are very few digital plug-and-play solutions. Third-party logistics providers often use outdated systems that don’t connect to shop systems like Shopify, and therefore require a lot of time and resources to be set up. Besides that, 3PLs are usually focused on specific countries and so aren’t set up to cater to consumers globally in a fast and efficient way. This is where byrd comes in – with our modern software, we connect online retailers with our network of warehouse partners and enable them to ship to end-consumers globally at great speed and low cost.
Who’s Your Typical Customer?
Our typical customer is the growing e-commerce shop who ships internationally and wants to make their logistics setup more efficient. By getting access to our network of warehouses, the shop can decide to use multiple warehouses at the same time and fulfil orders from the closest location, thereby increasing delivery speed and optimizing costs.
What’s It Like To Work In The E-Commerce Field?
E-commerce fulfilment is a complex business that consists of thousands of different processes that need to work together perfectly. I think both our biggest challenge and success when building byrd was to develop a warehouse management software that is able to cover all of these processes, and that can ensure that each little process step can be tracked in detail and optimised if needed. This transparency gives us the ability to scale our fulfilment network while keeping up top-notch service quality.
Your Thoughts On Being A Female Founder In 2020…
I feel like the logistics industry is still a very male-dominated profession and there are, unfortunately, still few women leaders that I meet at industry events or conferences. However, I feel like every new female founder is a great role model for others to follow, so I’m optimistic that over time even the most old-school industries will change.
An Advice You’d Give To Early-Stage Entrepreneurs…
It takes stamina to succeed as a founder – so don’t give up just because others might question you!