For entrepreneurs, the Holy Grail of innovation is the opportunity to solve your own needs while also filling a need felt by the broader marketplace. This is exactly the story behind small and medium sized business (SMB) focused SaaS order management platform Lettuce.
Lettuce co-founder Raad Mobrem started a successful dog toy manufacturing and sales business during college and grew it to a scale where order management and data entry were becoming the bane of his existence. “I hated life,” he says. “I was spending almost an hour on each order at the end of each day, reentering the same information into multiple disconnected pieces of software.”
Seeing an opportunity to add efficiency to his business, Mobrem and his CTO Frank Jones hacked together a rudimentary version of a platform that could handle mobile point of sales and inventory management while tying into existing contact management (CRM), credit card processing, shipping, accounting, and other widely used software packages.
Not only did the platform reduce the time from order capture to fulfillment by 90 percent, but it also solicited near constant requests for access to the software from customers, vendors, and even competitors whenever they saw it in action. Mobrem and Jones decided to put their pets business on autopilot and focus on turning their nascent software product into a viable business.
The pair have spent the last 18 months rebuilding Lettuce from the ground up to make it beautiful, powerful, and flexible, but most importantly ready for enterprise use. The result launched today and accomplishes each of those things in spades.
Lettuce is both a web-based order management system, Lettuce Hub, and an accompanying a mobile sales app (iPad only), Lettuce Mobile. The company targets targeting manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors that sell business to businesses.
The platform currently integrates with Quickbooks (accounting); Stripe and Authorize.net (credit card processing); UPS, FedEx, and USPS (shipping); and Salesforce via private beta (CRM); with more integrations in each category coming soon.
With Lettuce, SMBs have no need for paper catalogs, paper order forms, fax machines, or scanners. Rather than waiting until a day’s worth of sales calls are completed to tackle the miserable task of manually entering and submitting multiple orders, sales reps complete orders in seconds on site via the mobile app and corporate fulfillment teams can process all orders instantly including printing shipping labels and packing lists to processing billing. Managers and executives can use the platform to track the status of each sales rep and individual order, as well as view real time sales analytics.
Lettuce is deliberately designed with the simplicity and intuitiveness of a consumer app. Mobrem is adamant that simplicity and power are not mutually exclusive points to Square, Path, and even the Apple.com website as examples of this fact.
While competing solutions exist in this space, they typically target extremely large or micro-businesses, failing to address the needs of SMBs. In the case of large businesses, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is extremely expensive, overly complicated, and typically operates as a closed system requiring companies to switch from all existing backend solutions. On the other hand, micr-business targeted solutions, such as those provided by SohoOS, do not scale with the needs of growing organizations.
Lettuce is priced as a tiered SaaS solution. While the company lists three different tiers on its website, it is launching today with only one: $59 per month plus $25 for each additional user. This plan gives SMBs access to all features described above except the forthcoming CRM and ecommerce integrations. These premium features will run $119 per month plus $35 per additional user. A basic version will also be available in the future offering only mobile point of sale and no back end integrations for $29 per month and $15 per additional user. Compared to existing ERP solutions, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars up front and tens of thousands per month, any of the above tiers is eminently affordable.
Lettuce is a graduate of the Winter 2012 class of LA’s Launchpad accelerator and the company has not announced any outside financing to date. The startup caters specifically to the SMB market and provides an end to end solution that is simple and affordable, yet powerful. For small businesses looking to compete with “the big boys” the solutions offered by Lettuce are nothing short of a game changer.