If you can think of it, Frank most likely has it. The company formerly known as Experty sells niche products like bar globes, telescopes, binoculars and geographical maps and is one of the fastest growing companies in Europe, with more than 375 webshops and active in 7 different countries. Experty changed its name to Frank this month and has some big plans for the coming years.
In 2004, Reinier de Jonge, still a student at the time, started his first niche webshop, based in Groningen. “Reinier sold graduation gifts at the time”, co-owner Benjamin Derksen explains. “Things like old city maps of the town you studied in, cool memorabilia that are somewhat hard to find. There was a real demand for that, and he started to sell different types of niche products on different websites, which is how Experty was born.”
From one shop to the Fast50 and creating extra jobs in Groningen
Since the first webshop, Frank has grown exponentially over the years. They’ve made it to Deloitte's top 50 list of the fastest growing tech companies five times in a row. Their first employee started in 2007 and currently, the company has over 80 employees with an average age under 30, and around 20 job offers still currently open.
The company has moved to the Ulgersmaweg, where the vast majority of shipments are sent from. They recently expanded their storage space, which is now 4 times bigger, with an impressive 10,000 square meters of storage. “That kind of growth can be challenging at times, but so far, we’re still managing pretty good”, Benjamin says. “But I think in about a year or two, we’ll probably need even more room.”
Their home base is and will still be Groningen. “This is where we started and it’s a great place to be, and with over 50,000 students living here, that’s really interesting for us, because we’re always in need of highly educated people.”
A visit from the Prime Minister
Frank’s growth enormous growth the past years hasn’t gone unnoticed. In June last year, Prime Minister Mark Rutte even paid them a visit when he came to Groningen. “That was really a great experience”, says Benjamin. “It’s fantastic to get that kind of recognition from something you love doing. He was supposed to stay for half an hour, but he ended up being here for more than an hour. It also felt very relaxed and informal, not official at all and he helped pack a few of our orders. It was really cool!”
A few weeks ago, Experty was officially renamed Frank. “We think it’s important to be as helpful and honest to our customers as we can, which was something we really wanted to emphasize”, Benjamin explains. “So we decided on a new name to go with that face.”
“Frank sounds more personal and it feels like you’re talking to a person, instead of ordering something from a faceless company”, Benjamin continues. “The name Frank also means honest and sincere. But it’s far more than just a name change. We’ve been working on it behind the scenes for a long time, coming up with the best way to make finding something as easy as possible, and then helping people get just the right product for them in a step-by-step process of elimination.”
The ecommerce industry is changing rapidly according to Benjamin: “Right now, 15% of all purchases are made online, but by 2020, that will be around 60% of all purchases.”
The company has very ambitious plans for the future, because Frank has every intention to grow even bigger in an ever growing market. “We already have more than 375 webshops in 7 different countries, but we ultimately want to expand that number to 2500 webshops all over Europe.”