Serial entrepreneur Niall Murphy has joined Quiet Platforms as chief business officer.
He brings more than 30 years of experience to the collaborative commerce platform, which is a subsidiary of American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and is looking to team with more retailers for its all-together approach to logistics.
Murphy has worn many hats over the years. He cofounded and was chief of Evrythng, which connects billions of consumer products to the web with unique digital identities and was acquired by Digimarc Corp. in January. Before that he cofounded The Cloud, a pan-European Wi-Fi network, and helped create one of the first internet service providers in Africa.
Shekar Natarajan, president of Quiet, said: “Niall has unparalleled global experience as a technology entrepreneur, innovator and CEO and his contributions have given us the utmost confidence in his vision and expertise.”
Quiet has built a plug-and-play, open-sharing platform where more than 60 companies, including Fanatics, Steve Madden, and Li & Fung, share supply chain resources in order to compete at scale with Amazon.
“The model is truly disruptive,” Murphy said in an interview. “There is a major problem in the scalability, or lack thereof, of the traditional supply chain model. There’s a great commercial opportunity in this space, so I decided to lean in.”
Murphy has been through the scale-up process several times before and plans to use that expertise at Quiet.
While he said the company has “meaningful critical mass,” it is also looking to keep bringing more merchants on board while connecting with other elements of the supply chain.
“There’s only one purpose-built e-commerce supply chain infrastructure in North America and that is Amazon’s,” Murphy said. “And there are two dominant national carriers in FedEx and UPS.”
Retailers, he said, are in between a rock and a hard place.
“If you’re a retailer, what are your choices? You either throw your lot in with Amazon or with Walmart or you attempt to continue to go it alone, knowing that you cannot deliver a competitive fulfillment proposition to the end consumer, both at a cost level and a quality of experience level,” he said.
“All retailers are suffering from this lack of scale,” Murphy said. “We cannot extend our supply chain networks to 130 million households; each of us cannot do that by ourselves. Yet we have to have a supply chain that gets to the 130 million households in order to have a competitive position in e-commerce. The only way we can do that is by collaborating and pooling our supply chain assets.”
Although retailers are a particularly competitive group generally and often don’t play nice together, Murphy said Quiet proves the coordinated approach can work.
“The fact is this is happening,” Murphy said. “People are collaborating because of those realities. This is about cost efficiency and quality of experience, it’s not about the new design of something.”