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Launched just last month, Bizoogo is a crowdsourcing platform for entrepreneurs, innovators and professionals looking to start a new business.
I've been asking Founder & CEO Erez Nounou about the challenges of launching Bizoogo, its business model and plans for the future.
In one sentence, what is Bizoogo?
The UK’s first crowdsourcing platform for entrepreneurs, innovators and professionals to start or participate in new businesses.
What problems does Bizoogo solve?
There are over 27m people in the UK wanting to start a new business but failing to act, a problem described last year by Enterprise UK as a "massive ambition gap".
Unemployment is at a 17-year high, lending is down across the board, and by global comparison, we have serious failure anxiety.
Bizoogo is using crowdsourcing to bridge the gap and to drive new business creation by making it easier and more accessible than ever. If you have a business idea but lack all the skills to develop it, or you have industry expertise and want to be involved in a dynamic start up, here's a really good chance to connect and collaborate with the people or the ideas you need.
By pooling together resources, users can share the technical demands and the financial and psychological costs holding us back.
Partnerships generate more business owners, take the power away from disconnected third-party service providers, and give new businesses the resources they need to get off to the best start.
When and why did you launch it?
We launched in March 2012. The site was a solution to a personal challenge of having a start up idea but not having the industry knowledge or technical skills to develop it.
Starting up can be expensive and prior to proof of concept, very risky. What I wanted was something similar to a “yellow pages” for ambitious, wannabe entrepreneurs.
It seemed like a good idea to have a go-to, where you know people from a range of industries and areas of expertise are available and interested in working together, either to eliminate bad ideas early or to validate and develop good ones.
That would give us all a cost-effective opportunity to start new businesses and to build better resourced teams.
Who is your target audience?
The site is for anyone, across all professions and industries - everyone wanting to start or be involved in a new business should be involved.
Being a social media site, there’s definitely a particular demographic that represent the most significant number of social media users and new content creators; naturally they will find the online, “crowd” experience easier to relate to, but the site is really simple to use that anyone can get going.
We need a range of ideas, skills and experience for the concept to work, so we’re calling on everyone to join in.
What are your immediate goals?
We want to build a diverse, dynamic, creative and ambitious community as quickly as possible, which means spreading the word and making sure we have as many ideas for development as there are professionals looking to be involved.
We hope everyone gets behind the movement and takes ownership too, helping to spread the word to their contacts.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building Bizoogo?
Finding the right people to work with was definitely the biggest challenge. Being my first start up, you have no clue where to go, who to ask or where to look. There is a lot of trial-and-error, wasted meetings, coffees, emails and money.
But then having the breakthrough moment and finding the people you personally and professionally get on with is a massive high - when the pieces start to fit.
I don’t think the challenge is unique to me, but that it knocks back a lot of people before they even start. We’re hoping to eliminate the problem by having a community that becomes your first point of call.
It will save a lot of time and effort and you can be sure members across it share your ambition to start a new business.
How will the company make money?
We’re looking to generate advertising revenue through our ‘directory’: a selective listing of business service providers - utilities, infrastructure, news & information, and finance - where an individual alone couldn’t do the job and which provide users with practical and useful resources.
We want to keep it relevant and targeted so as not to compromise the site with random noise. Longer-term, we hope to add premium features beyond the core functionality, but you’ll have to wait a while for those.
Who is in the team and what does it look like?
There’s me as the founder and two developers, Nick and Valtid. Like the collaboration model Bizoogo is promoting, we’ve pitched in together to build the site.
From personal experience, the model really works and gives any potential founder a unique opportunity to build an idea.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time?
In a years time we'd like to have a large, exciting, opportunistic UK userbase across all industry groups and areas of expertise, as well as great engagement on a range of ideas.
We’re hoping to develop the functionality and features of the site that’ll enhance the user experience, including how we communicate and develop ideas. We also hope to have a number of start-ups in development as a result of the connections made online.
In three years, we want to be a global platform, and in five years we'd like to be the benchmark model for new business creation with a stack of successful businesses developed from collaborations initiated online.
The key is that everyone can and should take control of their situation. Ideas need execution and by putting them out there and working together, we’ve got a really amazing opportunity where everybody wins.