Swedish Startup Space

Universal Avenue – The Next Nordic Unicorn?

Written by on April 27, 2015

Heard of Universal Avenue? Word is spreading fast across Stockholm that they are the next hot start-up to watch. Despite recently launching,  leading tech giants across Europe are lining up to work with them. They have most of the leading Nordic brands as partners already, including the likes of Spotify Business by Soundtrack Your Brand, Wrapp, iZettle and Bokadirekt to name a few.

Johan Lilja, CEO and Co-Founder comments:

“We are thrilled by the response we are getting from both brands and potential Brand Ambassadors. We will continue our expansion in UK before summer and are currently teaming up with several interesting brands for this launch”.

In an article in Techcrunch today, they confirmed an earlier significant seed funding round of 2 million USD in 2014. The round came from the early stage VC Moor, the private investment arm of Finnish entrepreneur Kaj Hed (known for his majority ownership in Rovio/Angry Birds).

“Moor believed in the our team and case early, and they have so far been a great investor to work with. We have had a lean and mean approach but will now accelerate growth in Europe and beyond, in connection to this we will take some selected strategic investors onboard in an extended Seed round after summer.

What does Universal Avenue do? Well basically the one thing every growing start-up is desperate for, no-risk customer acquisition – Sales as a Service. Unlike typical sales companies however, they have a very unique and tech-driven model.

The company recruits talented ‘brand ambassadors’ (sales people) from across the world and along with the hands on training they provide, those brand ambassadors are empowered with Universal Avenues product, a mobile app currently on Iphone and Android, seen below.

This app acts like a sales person’s best friend. It tells them which physical venues (hotels, restaurants, bars, cafés, shops etc.) are nearby, letting them pay a visit to pitch their favorite brands at.

The app gives them all the background information they need in order to close a sale and lets them check-in on venues (to make sure that other brand ambassadors haven’t already beaten them to it). When the sale is closed (where often the venue gets a good discount in the process), the brand ambassador earns a decent commission from the sale. Everyone’s a winner.

Another interesting thing about the model and no doubt how they have managed to attract so many major customers so quickly is that those customers only pay for acquired sales. Without any fixed set up fee’s or ongoing costs, it’s clear to see why this makes an attractive choice for companies looking to scale quickly, particularly in new markets where they may not have any local presence or cultural knowledge.

The company is currently live and running in Sweden & Greece, and is launching in the UK next month. They’re actively looking for new brand ambassadors so if you feel you are up to the job, you can apply on their website.

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