Founder Vincenzo Lufino on BtoTree Leading the Way
Tokyo-based founder Vincenzo Lufino created BtoTree with a vision to empower small and medium businesses by dramatically broadening their local and global business growth opportunities.
Lufino is an entrepreneur from Italy, but has spent the last 20 years in Japan. Before founding BtoTree, he was the founder and CEO of an IT company and a trading company in Tokyo.
“BtoTree can be described as the world’s most versatile trade exposition”
said Lufino. “It is designed to serve every industry equally well, no matter how broad or focused. Any individual, business or organization can instantly join or create multiple expos by location, category or any unique interest, and they can do all of this for free.”
BtoTree picks up where tradeshows leave off. The platform is designed to add value by intuitively helping participants to promote their products and services, connect, share, and more–all for free–
while bringing expo and tradeshow concepts more fully online.
“I have always been fascinated by the concept of a B2B network,” said Lufino. “I started my first business building online platforms for B2B associations, including several Chambers of Commerce here in Japan. This experience made me realize that there was no online B2B network where businesses could connect and share, as well as showcase their products and services to their target audiences.”
“I also started a trading business, but had to make one of the toughest decisions in my life to close it. Everything was slow, expensive, and complicated with traditional marketing methods. I spent $10,000 for a three-day trade show with the smallest booth. It was difficult to find good local partners, and I had to go through the big wholesalers who of course hold a lot of power. At an early stage a small business should not need to take such high risks to enter a new market.”
“The good thing about that failure was how much it pushed me toward developing BtoTree. Seeing the difference between the need and what is currently available, I knew BtoTree could achieve industry level disruption on a global scale.”
“Eight of the top ten B2B platforms are from China”
It was not difficult to define BtoTree’s vast target market. There are pure marketplaces like Alibaba, but these platforms do not help to build relationships or create a supporting community. Basically the relationship stops or continues only with transactions. Eight of the top ten B2B platforms are from China and they mainly focus on Chinese businesses and manufacturers. The other two are from India. How about the rest of the world? America, Europe, Africa, and the rest of Asia of course have amazing small businesses but do not have a leading business platform that helps them promote their products and services.
The rest of the online market is limited to social media platforms like Linkedin and Facebook that are more focused on the individuals rather than on the businesses.
Meanwhile, offline trade expos held around the world every year have had essentially the same proposition for about a century. They are pop-up markets that give an industry’s buyers and sellers a chance to meet face-to-face in a limited space for a limited time at very high cost. The risk of this proposition is significant, especially considering the current global crisis.
“BtoTree can offer immediate capability in the current global crisis.”
“Millions of businesses had to cancel their travel and meeting plans, and must write off significant investment around these events. At zero cost, BtoTree can step in to help them continue pursuing their marketing, networking, and trade expansion goals globally.
“We are building an ecosystem with millions of B2B communities by any location, category or interest, where small businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals can bring their synergies. In order to form an ecosystem, businesses should be enabled to create opportunities, support each other, and receive appropriate support from the platform as well.”
Lufino found investors who agreed with his vision, raising over $1 million to date from individuals and companies. Now as event cancellations sweep across the world, the BtoTree solution may have become more than just a great option. It could fulfill an urgent need as travel and meetings come to a standstill.
“We want the brands and entrepreneurs we host to shine,
to be the ones out in the front, with the platform in the background as much as possible. It’s about them, not us. We just provide the tools for them to grow and succeed.”
“The business world will be profoundly virtual ten years from now,” said Lufino. “One of the most exciting things about working on BtoTree is to realize that we are making that future happen now.”
BtoTree’s mission is to empower small businesses and contribute to a new global business culture that aspires to better quality, better business and a better world.