Alex Rabens: Mickey is a startup company focused on modernizing domestic trade by making it easier for small to midsize suppliers to sell commodities and other wholesale products within the U.S.

June 11, 2023

“WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

In 2019, after completing an accelerator program, I launched Mickey, a startup company focused on modernizing domestic trade by making it easier for small to midsize suppliers to sell commodity and other wholesale products within the U.S.

Prior to starting Mickey, I was Vice President at Endeavor, building media properties with companies such as Lionsgate, Warner Brothers and Paramount Pictures. In this role, Alex was responsible for the build-out of Endeavor Content Live, the organization’s live production arm founded in 2018.

Before Endeavor, I worked as a Talent Agent at William Morris, the biggest talent agency in the world– during which time I launched WME Touring LLC, a touring company focused on branded entertainment.

WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO THIS LINE OF WORK?

It was during my time at Endeavor, that I had a chance encounter with the president of Alibaba, J. Michael Evans. It was this meeting that I became encouraged to live out my dream of launching a company that would eventually become a reverse Alibaba.

After more than ten years in the entertainment industry, I left Endeavor and enrolled in an accelerator program – ultimately propelling me into the startup world.

Today, I am proud to have created a tech company that builds e-commerce platforms for small and medium-sized enterprises enabling them to sell their commodities and other large wholesale items directly to buyers – all at the click of a button. Companies leveraging our technology are realizing new revenue streams through automated ordering, streamlined logistics, and fast payouts.

My team is helping more North American businesses get their e-commerce platforms working to sell more products to more buyers in industries that have traditionally been mired in antiquated sales and ordering processes. “

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Sometimes companies just starting out might need to pivot a few times before settling into the brand and business they were meant to become – and it’s okay to do so.

What problem does your business solve?

“Prior to Mickey, commodity companies were mired in antiquated processes – think faxes and spreadsheets. And for many SMEs, selling directly to buyers can be cumbersome – so far too often they’re left to sell to aggregate businesses – which could mean a loss on their revenues.

Mickey has built the ‘Mickey OS,’ an operating system that can be integrated into a supplier’s website to handle all aspects of a commodity e-commerce transaction. Mickey’s technology handles the inventory management, order processing, billing and payments, and even the logistics and trucking aspects.

Mickey empowers suppliers to sell directly to their customers without the need for middlemen. This means that a supplier who has traditionally relied on third-party, middlemen, or aggregate businesses can now easily set up an online marketplace and sell directly to their customers. This can save time and revenue for America’s leading industries.”

What is the inspiration behind your business?

“When Mickey launched, it had a goal of wiping out the global trade crisis. At the time, the U.S. imported $2.4 trillion in consumer goods, while only exporting $1.4 trillion. That created a $915.8 billion deficit and is the highest goods deficit on record. This is the core reason behind Mickey’s innovation and it’s already working.

When COVID hit, it became clear to us that a remarkable imbalance in trade existed with shipping containers coming into the US full and then leaving empty. In 2020 alone, our company helped forest suppliers ship 2800 containers (or 5600 TEUs) that may have otherwise gone back empty.

Today, Mickey is working directly with American raw material and other wholesale producers to connect directly with their buyers – and helping to build bolster America’s manufacturing industries with e-commerce technology. “

What is your magic sauce?

“It’s the people behind Mickey that make the company. I’ve brought together a team of experts who are helping to solve the problems our clients have – including everything from how a supplier sells large quantities and wholesale orders online to shipping, logistics, and payment processing.

Our innovative team brings their ideas to the table; and works collaboratively with our customers to produce profitable marketplaces.”

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our plans will be to continue to bring Mickey OS to more wholesale and raw material suppliers throughout the U.S. helping them to create their own branded e-commcerce marketplaces.

We will also continue to grow our LBM marketplace, MaterialsXchange – which sells lumber, LBM, OSB, and panels directly to construction firms. And we also anticipate building out Mickey Energy – our natural gas trading desk.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

During the pandemic, we certainly saw chinks in supply chains that caused some issues. And trucking and logistics is one of those areas for us to watch.

We’ve partnered with some of the country’s largest trucking and logistics companies to help our clients have a streamlined shipping and delivery option within their marketplace.

Of course, an aging generation of truck drivers, weather and natural disasters, among other things – can delay products being shipped across the country.

We continue to work diligently to help create technology that might anticipate disruptions of service for our client’s buyers.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

“While many startups are focused on consumer products, Mickey is focused on helping suppliers in industries like forest products, agriculture, metals, plastics, HVAC, plumbing, among others to offer their products online. These are very specific industries that others haven’t wanted to tackle. Mickey has figured out what large-scale suppliers need in order to deliver their goods into the hands of their buyers – and we’re doing it with automation, technology, AI, and integrated platforms so that everything can be done at the click of a button.

At Mickey, any business that is looking to integrate a completely automated e-commerce marketplace into their website or company, can leverage Mickey OS to make it a reality. Mickey OS can be quickly integrated into any given industry to help these companies begin selling almost immediately. To schedule a demo, visit: www.mickey.io/request-demo.”

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