Tokyo-based founder Vincenzo Lufino launched BtoTree six months ago, and it already has its sights on becoming the next-generation site connecting B2B networks. The platform, which allows small, local businesses from anywhere in the world to showcase their work and connect with international buyers — all for zero cost — is the first of its kind. BtoTree has already gained $1.2 million from angel investors in Japan, and now it’s currently doing another seed round.
“Japan has amazing small businesses, they just do not have the capability now to promote globally,” says Lufino. “My vision is to make these kinds of businesses empowered by connecting them in one community globally, and even domestically. A small business is very fragile individually, but together they can be very strong.”
Having recognized these flaws, BtoTree doesn’t restrict small businesses to annual expo events or costly business trips, but offers its users a faster, lower-risk and more dynamic way to build meaningful and productive business relationships online. The sign-up is free and they can connect with businesses all over the world for zero cost.
So how does it all work? Basically, a business can sign up to promote their products on the site. They can join categories of products to be easily searchable, join online expos to build a community and use the keyword search for other businesses to connect with. There’s even a direct chat function to reach out to other sellers.
As a data-driven platform, one of the most powerful aspects of the site are how niches are created automatically and grow naturally. “When there is a niche,” explains Lufino, “it has the potential to grow very quickly as we set up the system to highlight every product and the keywords – like trade show manufacturers, suppliers etc. — everything which is related to b2b. Once we find a niche that is growing, more people start to join, it gets even stronger and we can focus on the niche and help to promote and advertise and so we can monetize.”
“At the moment we really focus on quality data quality, quality companies and quality products, and if we keep doing this same as a four will be maybe 1000s of niches will be very, very powerful for small businesses,” he continues.
The platform’s mission is to contribute to a new global business culture that aspires to better quality, better business and a better world — starting from the little guys.