Huddlebuy is a startup which describes itself as 'Groupon for small businesses'. It's aim is to allow small firms to receive the same bulk order discounts that larger firms benefit from.
We've been asking Co-Founder Per Larsen about Huddlebuy...
In one sentence, what is Huddlebuy?
Huddlebuy is the group-buying website for small businesses.
What problems does Huddlebuy solve?
Huddlebuy allows small businesses to benefit from the same kind of discounts on goods and services that large companies have, using the online group buying strategy used by consumer sites like Groupon.
The site also acts as a service for the small business community, securing them the most relevant new products and services and keeping them ahead of the curve.
When and why did you launch it?
The site had its 'soft' launch in January, and we've been working to secure some great deals for our business community before officially launching in recently.
We've had half price, top-of-the-range printers and coffee machines, and huge discounts on internet deals, accounting software and serviced office packages to name but a few. We also offer a ‘request a deal’ service, where companies can request deals that have expired or suggest a new one they would like to see on the site.
We launched the site after realising that although consumers were gaining loads of great deals through a social media focussed, group buying systems, there was nothing out there, not in the UK at least, that offered the same kind of deals for businesses.
Small businesses lose out as they don't have the bulk buying power - and the discounts that come with it - of big businesses, so we thought why not just group them together to get the best deals? It seemed common sense to us.
Who is your target audience?
We've got two key target audiences. Firstly there's small businesses who can benefit from Huddlebuy, then there's the businesses that can offer deals on our site, raising awareness of their products or services.
What are your immediate goals?
To build our business community and secure great deals for them. We've already got over 1000 small businesses using the site, and our deals are increasing in popularity every day. But it is not just about great deals. The buying experience also has to be great.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building Huddlebuy?
Externally it is about building a brand that people trust. Some people will inherently be suspicious about our low prices and believe there is a catch. Our job is provide them with a positive experience to earn their loyalty, but that obviously takes time.
Internally the biggest challenge is to build a strong team that can handle a fast growing e-commerce environment.
How will the company make money?
When we do a good job in finding lots of buyers for a deal, suppliers will not only benefit from new customers, but they will also save marketing and sales costs. In exchange we ask them to pass on part of those savings in sales commission.
What is your pricing model?
We need to make it worthwhile for our community to buy our deals. Sometimes that means offering a 50% discounts other times more or less. It really depends on the deal, but we know that it is not just about discounts.
We also need to ensure that we only promote quality suppliers and a simple buying experience as time is critical for small businesses.
Who is in the team and what does it look like?
The three co-founders are myself, Per Larsen, VP Operations - I have 12 years of experience in building teams and businesses for LEGO, Dell and most recently Apple; VP Product and Marketing.
Chieu Cao, who has 10 years of digital marketing, product management and eCommerce experience working for Microsoft, Yahoo! and Amazon and CEO Saurav Chopra, who has 10 years of global B2B business development experience with bluechips such as Deloitte Consulting, Yahoo! and VC-backed start-ups.
We're also backed by some great investors, including Zoopla's Alex Chesterman and Advisory Board Member Sherry Coutu.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five years time?
We really don't look that far ahead as we believe it is impossible to plan more than 12 months ahead with any accuracy.
Our vision is to help small business save money and save time and with more than 4m small businesses in the UK alone we have a mountain of opportunities the coming years.