Martijn Groot about Peecho and the Printcloud

by Jakob Fricke written on

Tell us about yourself: who are you and what do you do?

Martijn Groot. Positive spirit and committed entrepreneur. Proud dad of a two year old girl. Extremely happy with her mum, too. I like my sports. I play squash, footy and love to go skiing, snowboarding and kitesurfing.

What's the idea behind Peecho?

We learned that the market for customized printing of digital content is exploding. However, entering the customization market is really hard. The costs and complexity of buying and managing the underlying process are huge. It gets worse: production facilities usually demand a large minimum order volume to start.

Peecho changes all that by offering print as a service: Peecho operates as the intermediary between many applications and only the best print facilities in the world. We facilitate ordering, production and shipping. On every order, we make a small margin. To our customers, we are like a giant print facility in the sky.

With the launch of the print button in April 2011, Peecho disrupts the existing market for customization even more, by allowing literally anyone to start selling customized merchandise. It only takes a couple of minutes to start monetizing your digital content. No investment, no risk.

The print button is powered by Printcloud, a global cloud print network. It operates as the intermediary between many applications and only the best print facilities in the world. It facilitates ordering, production and shipping. Using cloud technology, production orders are routed to suppliers that are located as as close to the recipient as possible, minimizing transport overhead and ecological footprint.

When did you launch Peecho and how is it going since?

We started Peecho, November 2009. Today we have also got a rock star developer community, consisting of 4 developers. Peecho won the award for Best Business Model at TheNextWeb conference in April 2010. In 2010 we have been testing Printcloud technology with lighthouse customers, like Kodak Gallery and Issuu. In 2011 Printcloud has started to become the distribution mechanism of choice for publishers. With the launch of the print button in April 2011, Peecho disrupts the existing market for customization even more, by allowing literally anyone to start selling customized merchandise.

As a publisher, I really like the idea to use an API to print any book and deliver it worldwide without difficulty. But, considering your current pricing, for a small 100 page glossy paperback, I pay 50 Euros. I have to add the royalties for the author, all my fixed and variable costs and the margin, thus the final price for this small book is likely to be over 100 Euros. That's pretty much. Whats your take on this problem?

We have recently changed our pricing. For the latest pricing please check: http://www.peecho.com/products/catalogue.html. The 100 page, full colour, small glossy paperback will cost you 25 euro, excluding shipping. The A4 version will be 30 euro, excl. shipping. Shipping within EU & US will be 3,95 Euro.

We strongly believe in ease of use and quality of products and service. We are not aiming to be the cheapest. We also believe that consumer pricing will mainly depend on the value of the content.

And, please do keep in mind that anybody but the largest retailers, we are the only option – because we don’t ask for minimum volumes.

Do you've any further plans for publishers to offer a competitive pricing structure?

By spreading the print button, we can create aggregated volumes for several products. That means we will be able to negotiate better prices with the print facilities. Which will lead to better prices for publishers and consumers, too.

You've chosen a slightly different way of building a company. You give away shares to developers and they commit themselves to invest a minimum amount of working hours each month. How does this works? Why did you choose this way and how is it going?

That is how we started. We did not have much money, so we asked our first two developers to join in return for certificates in the company. They found us two other guys that wanted to join. That's how we ended up with a rockstar developer community of four. We choose this route, because we are well aware that we can only spend our money once, a good salary is great, but commitment is not for sale. Next to certificates, we do also arrange subsidy (WBSO) for them. And actually, a year and a half down the line, three out of four are freelancing for Peecho.

What are your next steps? What can we expect for the rest of the year?

We launched the print button for PDF first. Today we are very close to launching the print button for single images. The button for mobile will be next and variable data is also on the roadmap for this year. Next year we want to extend our 2D portfolio with 3D print.

Finally, how did you come up with Peecho?

Noun. Pronounced: Pee-cho. The word is used to describe a person, place, thing or behavior that is one or all of the following: incredibly cheesey, corny, lame, poser-ish, and generally trying way to hard to be cool. Read more in the Urban Dictionary.

Over 20 years ago, the penguin was designed as a graffiti symbol. Sander, my cofounder, used it as an alternative for his graffiti tag name to prevent handwriting experts from the justice department to spoil the fun. By the way, Sander has been a law-abiding citizen ever since he turned 18.