Published Date: Mon, 13th November 2023

Source: Oxford Saïd School of Business

Axford Arcadier

eCommerce Trends

Two visionary alumni see their socially responsible e-commerce business acquired by a multi-billion dollar private equity firm

On their first day at Saïd Business School, Dinuke [left in main picture] and Gary were brought together by their shared passion for making a meaningful impact in the world. They discovered a common vision for making technology accessible to anyone, which they achieved through Arcadier, now a leading Enterprise Digital Marketplace provider used in over 170 countries by a broad spectrum of customers ranging from governments, corporates, NGOs, schools, to entrepreneurs.

The Co-CEOs and Co-Founders leveraged their education and experience to revolutionise a fundamental aspect of e-commerce, paving the way for global commerce through innovation. Their mission to change the way e-commerce operates, while creating a positive impact on society, led to the acquisition by the multi-billion dollar private equity firm Dale Ventures

"Oxford changed our view of what 'winning' meant in a global context. It made us reflect on creating a legacy and how we have a chance to shape the lives of people, in parallel to building a commercially successful business."

- Dinuke Ranasinghe | Arcadier Co-CEO and Oxford Saïd alumnus

Online marketplaces play a significant role in the e-commerce industry and according to various leading reports and industry estimates, they account for a substantial percentage of total e-commerce sales globally. In the United States, for example, marketplaces account for approximately 50% or more of total e-commerce sales in the country. The historical problem of online marketplaces is that they are expensive to build and maintain, remaining primarily within the reach of organisations with significant resources.

Inspired by Oxford Saïd's message of creating a lasting and sustainable impact on the world around them, Dinuke and Gary weaved this concept into the very fabric of Arcadier to enable technology that was once only afforded by the few, become accessible to all.

The acquisition by Dale Ventures further validates the significance of Gary and Dinuke's vision and the strategic path they have charted for Arcadier. With the backing of a global venture capital and investment holding group, Arcadier is well-positioned to accelerate its growth and expand its influence as a dominant market leader. The challenges faced by Gary and Dinuke have only served to strengthen their resolve and commitment to revolutionizing the eCommerce industry, making Arcadier a shining example of innovation and success in the rapidly evolving digital marketplace.

Gary and Dinuke completed the Executive Diploma in Strategy and Innovation and Executive Diploma in Global Business respectively, which eventually led them to the MSc in Major Programme Management, matriculating in 2016. These executive degrees provided them with new insights in scaling businesses in an ever-changing market, and they say, equipped them with the necessary tools and mindset to tackle what lay ahead.

"Dinuke and Gary's determination and talent have created Arcadier's success, and their achievements showcase the talent that exists within Saïd a Business School's student community."

- Kathy Harvey | Associate Dean, MBA and Executive Degrees

Looking back at their time at Oxford, Dinuke reflects: 'As entrepreneurs, our sole focus was building a business by ‘winning’ in the market. However, Oxford changed our view of what ‘winning’ meant in a global context. It made us reflect on creating a legacy and how we have a chance to shape the lives of people, in parallel to building a commercially successful business.'

Gary elaborates further: 'We really narrowed our focus and set ourselves up to create something unique in the market by bouncing ideas off people at Saïd Business School who had such a broad range of experience.  They continually challenged us critically and made valuable contributions to help us build new perspectives.'

Through Arcadier’s indomitable CTO and Co-Founder, Paul Cascun Arcadier focused on the simplicity of design. 'We have spent over 250,000 hours refining our technology to ensure it can be deployed quickly, inexpensively, and anywhere in the world,' says Cascun. This dedication to optimising the platform for a global market for stakeholders of various levels of experience and resources has resulted in Arcadier becoming the first headless online marketplace platform, offering a seamless and customisable user experience.

Gary and Dinuke faced obstacles ranging from industry scepticism to operational complexities. However, they say their determination, coupled with the knowledge gained from their Oxford Saïd education, allowed them to navigate these hurdles and emerge stronger, making their impactful e-commerce platform a resounding success. By challenging the conventional norms of e-commerce and embracing a broader purpose, they have demonstrated a lasting business can thrive while positively impacting the world.

Kathy Harvey, Associate Dean, MBA and Executive Degrees at Oxford Saïd added: ‘Dinuke and Gary’s determination and talent have created Arcadier’s success, and their achievements showcase the talent that exists within Saïd Business School ‘s student community.  We wish them well in their entrepreneurial journey and know that they will take the spirit of innovation we share at Oxford Sai d with them on the next stage of Arcadier’s expansion.'

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