A Brief History of Hatch

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This week Hatch celebrates its 10 years anniversary. A significant milestone, for which we would like to thank everyone who worked with and at Hatch, for making it possible. 

Humble yet ambitious beginnings

Looking back, we started off like many start-ups; with an undermanned team in a very small office next to the noisy coffee machine. We realized we were in a ‘David vs Goliath’ situation – educating Fortune 500 brands, armed with very specific knowledge and a cool prototype product, but without any marketing power ourselves.  

We started as a one-man show and I am very happy and proud to see Hatch scaling to now 80+ full-time employees in 3 regions.” Says Founder and CEO of Hatch, Joris Kroese. 

In 2010, serial entrepreneur Joris Kroese felt that many brand websites were mostly static online catalogues, lacking purchase options & commerce capabilities and offering a poor experience for the consumer.  Brands and retailers were also missing an opportunity to benefit from their digital platforms by integrating them with their checkout pages. This problem presented an opportunity for developing an instant commerce platform that is directly integrated with retailers on the brand website. Kroese developed a business plan and won a prize at an international pitch event to investors, securing 500K EURO in seed capital.

When I was still a student, I started my first e-commerce company. We were selling consumer electronics online, but many people mistakenly visited our office address. They were expecting to pick up the product they wanted to buy, simply because the brands we worked with mentioned our office address on their website dealer locators. This sparked the idea of integrating our site with the brand’s website by adding purchase links to the brand’s product pages and instantly redirecting browsers to our shopping cart. Thanks to this, consumers could now complete their order online with fewer hurdles and distractions. “– Says Joris.

Picture: Joris Kroese working on Where to Buy Online prototype in 2010

Growing a seed to become Hatch

The company (formerly known as Iceleads) was founded in April 2011, shortly before signing an agreement with Intel, a Fortune 500 brand, to implement the solution in 12 markets. This boosted the product and business development with Hatch, facilitating the path towards the €1M ARR milestone in 2014. 

We were lucky from the beginning for managing to sign a Fortune 500 brand like Intel as a launching client, to whom we owe a great deal of gratitude. This definitely helped to fund the growth of Hatch from the very beginning and the revenue that it provided, eased part of the cash constraint from the startup phase.” – says Joris. 

In the following years, Joris and the team set out to connect more new global clients and professionalise the core product Hatch was offering. In 2015, Hatch secured 3M EURO in series A funding to drive product development, sales, marketing & global operations even further. 

Since then, the company was rebranded to Hatch and grew consistently, reaching 10M USD in ARR in 2020. We now have more than 600 implementations worldwide and work with the industry leaders such as Intel, Samsung, Joie, Canon, Kitchenaid, Bose and many more. Hatch is continuously improving its products & services, while adding new features and capabilities at every opportunity. The Where to Buy technology remains the core product but our product offering is not limited to that. Facilitating a seamless customer journey and providing transparent purchase options seems like a no brainer now, but when Hatch was starting, the key challenge was to educate brands about the importance of this, since it was not immediately apparent to them.

We were working in a non-existent market where we had to position our solutions to problems which some brands didn’t even realize they had. Of course, it was quite easy to point out this problem as we could often take them through their own customer journey on their own website, but getting brands to align internally was a lot more complicated “. – says Joris

The next decade for Hatch

“As a CEO I still get most of my inspiration from the brands I talk to. As an entrepreneur, I listen to what our clients are saying and think about how we can solve their problems.”  

For the coming years, we want to focus on developing solutions that will help companies to evolve into true omni-channel commerce organizations. We believe that the end-consumer should be able to buy the product wherever and whenever it is best for them. Whether it is online or in a physical store, be it direct (D2C) or through a retail partner. So, for the coming 10 years, we will continue to focus on improving the customer’s buying journey and empowering brands with the tools to facilitate this 

In the short term, Hatch will launch a number of cool new initiatives and products ranging from enhancements to the current Where-to-Buy product range, retail partner propositions, social commerce capabilities, delivery features and many more. Stay tuned for the coming period where we will continue to take the e-commerce world by storm.

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