Jason Richelson and his co-founder launched ShopKeep, a cloud-based point of sale company, from the back of their wine and grocery store back in 2008.
For the previous four years, Richelson had been using a traditional Windows-based point of sale system and was fed up with all the tech problems, including one particularly brutal experience where the servers crashed while he was on vacation, forcing his store to temporarily close.
He built ShopKeep to solve all the problems he faced with his old system. The company now offers small business owners a complete software and hardware product that gives them a wealth of data analytics as well as a way to track employees and scan credit cards with an iPad dongle, similar to what the mobile payments startup Square offers. Because all the software is cloud-based, users are safe from the potential havoc wrought by a single crashed server.
The company targets brick-and-mortar businesses of varying sizes whose owners are sick of using old, clunky systems that offer little to no customer service. ShopKeep not only lets users ring up sales, but track and manage their inventory, log customer information, and look for trends in sales data.
“ShopKeep helps you run a better business,” Richelson told Business Insider. “A lot of our customers try Square first. But, for them, it’s about collecting credit cards and doing payments. For us, it’s about what’s the next feature we can add to help our customers make more money.”
Richelson says that his company — which has currently has over 10,000 customers around the U.S. and has raised $12.2 million from investors like Tribeca Venture Partners and Canaan — helps small businesses in a more full-circle way than Square, the startup that Jack Dorsey founded that has more than $340 million in funding and multi-millions of users.
Going up against giants like Square and Groupon (which offers a point of sale app called Breadcrumb) with established names and big followings won’t be easy, but Richelson, who says that ShopKeep’s number of customers has tripled every year since launch, is in it for the long haul.