Interview Series with Founder Institute Frankfurt graduates: Supplino
Michelle Peters from Supplino.

Today, we kick-off a new interview series with Founder Institute, a local platform of the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator that roperates across 185+ cities with a $20B estimated portfolio value. In February 2020, the first Frankfurt cohort has officially ended, and the result was eight graduates. With the deep- dive interviews you get to know the founders, the projects and their challenges. Applications for the next cohort are now open here until 16.8. This time we present Supplino which offers supply chain as a service.

Who are you, what are you doing and how did you get what you do today?

I’m Michelle Peters, an Engineer and Artist, who spent her career in manufacturing and supply chain. I love the complexity and challenges of manufacturing and supply, and always wanted my own business. So when my company restructured, I took advantage of the moment (the end of 2019) to leave and start my own business. 

How would you describe your business idea in a maximum of 3 sentences?

Supplino gets products manufactured and delivered for startups and SMEs. We are supply chain as a service. From getting a prototype all the way to scaling and operating at high volume, we are your supply chain team. 

What was your biggest mistake?

Thinking I could start and run the business alone. I got some of the planning done, but very quickly realized my scope was too small, my skills were too limited, to get where I wanted to be. Getting a co-Founder was the best decision, thankfully I corrected that pretty quickly.

Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?

We will be as well known as Alibaba for product based companies and product based startups – they will know to start with us when they need something, and not waste time googling. Our team will be international, a mix of onsite and remote, and have a high energy and entrepreneurial culture, injecting some needed energy into the boring old world of supply chain. I personally will be just as stressed out, but about a completely different group of topics, and my hair will be greyer.  

What connects you to the FrankfurtRheinMain region? And what is happening in our startup ecosystem?

I went through the Founder Institute program, graduating in Feb 2020 in Frankfurt. Through that, I discovered that the region had a lot more going on than I ever realized. I take advantage of it whenever I can, I am continually amazed at how supportive and helpful people are – I had expected some competitive macho startup spirit, but did not find this. In this region everyone genuinely wants to help each other, it is really great. 

Finally, an extra question: Describe briefly how the Corona period was so far to Supplino.

My co-Founder was stuck in the US on the west coast, and with a 9 hour time difference plus family issues we got a lot less done than we had planned. We had really just incorporated in January, so Q1 was going to be a high energy period, and Corona deflated that quite a bit. On the other hand, I learned to be more patient and introspective, and it gave us both a lot of time to reflect on what we really wanted for the business. So in the end it did not hurt us too much, beyond just delaying our calendar by a few months. I consider us pretty lucky honestly. 

Closing Note

Michelle Peters was already featured on the international women´s day special with Women Wo Inspire RheinMain – find the article here.

If you are at the pre-seed stage and want to build something that matters, then FI Frankfurt has programs to help. The second cohort will start in August and applications are open from  Idea Stage, to  MVP Stage, or Early Company Stage as perfect fitting applicant’s scenarios.
Just like last year, we are partnering and offering the Frankfurt FI x STATION FELLOWSHIP . This will enable one participant to join the program for free (the participant needs to apply via the link and if chosen, the Course Fee will be reimbursed).

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