this month we speak we return to the UK start-up scene Saurav Chopra, one fo the founders of the new service Huddlebuy. Prior to Huddlebuy, Saurav spent 10 years in global business development roles with Deloitte Consulting, Yahoo! and VC-backed startups.
1. What is Huddlebuy? What problem does it solve?
Huddlebuy is the group-buying website for small businesses which leverages the collective buying power and wisdom of small businesses. We help small businesses buy B2B goods and services at big company pricing.
Typically, small businesses end up paying 50%-100% more than a medium to large sized business for the same product or service. We allow them to benefit from the same kind of pricing/volume discounts larger companies get, helping them get more for less in these economically challenging times.
Our sole focus on saving SMEs money is particularly important at a time of rising inflation and weaker bottom lines. Small businesses are not getting the requisite help from the Coalition Government and therefore need to help each other as much as possible. Small businesses are the backbone of British business and to enable them to benefit from better service and product pricing genuinely supports growth.
2. Why does the world need yet another group buying site?
Offline buying groups have been providing considerable savings to medium and large businesses for years, while online buying groups have only been targeted at the consumer market. It struck us that if the man on the street can get such a great deal on a product or service online then the same concept should be applied to small businesses. Huddlebuy aims to act on this insight by providing small businesses with the great deals they deserve. As of yet, there are no group buying sites that cater specifically to the business-to-business space. Therefore, we are unique in our business proposition and model.
The other problem we are solving is helping companies efficiently target the fragmented small business marketplace. We encourage any reputable and reliable suppliers, which are looking to tap into the SME market, to come to us and create awareness of their products through Huddlebuy. For our suppliers we operate on a no sale, no cost model, thereby eliminating any upfront cost risk.
3. Real estate is an industry with many smaller owner/operators. What application does Huddlebuy have for them?
Based on UK BIS data, there are about 200K real estate agents businesses in the UK of which ~97% have 1 to 10 employees. Through Huddlebuy, each estate agent will have access to buying power normally reserved far larger competitors.
So how can we help? Some of the major costs for real estate agencies are generic in nature i.e. offices, IT, marketing, office supplies, telecoms, etc. Through the power of group buying, Huddlebuy can offer Estate Agents access to these aforementioned products at a heavy discount. With the real estate market facing potential stagnation a 20% reduction in the costs goes straight to the bottom line.
4. One of the most remarkable aspects of your service is the use of social media - a communication path that barely existed 5 years ago. What lessons might be applicable for someone trying to sell their home?
We are quite excited about how we have leveraged social media quite since our soft-launch in Jan 2011. We have amassed over 3800 twitter small business followers by providing practical advice to small businesses on how they can save money. Our articles are shared on a very regular basis driving more buzz for Huddlebuy.
We also have numerous social media features built into the site for example integration with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for each deal and the advice-orientated articles on the site. We are also working on deeper social integration which help create more social proof around deals – for example a web designer will be able to see which other similar businesses have expressed interest in a product or bought a Huddlebuy deal. They will also be able to receive recommended deal feeds based on user behaviour from other similar businesses in their community.
We believe that real estate agents and landlords aiming to sell their homes can leverage social media in several ways to drive interest and increase demand for their property. Adding a video about the property on YouTube and a property page on Facebook and then sharing it amongst their friends and contacts can drive interest in the property.
Potential buyers should be able to sign in on a real estate website with Facebook Connect and be able to share a particular listing with their friends to get their feedback. Real Estate agents should also integrate feeds from social review sites such as Yelp/Qype to show reviews of interesting places near a specific property, help drive further interest in a property.
Many thanks Saurav, and best of luck with the new venture. It’s great to see someone creating a service that helps small businesses, especially in these times of austerity.
past Nestoria interviews: Gabriel Weinberg, Marc Wick, and Steve Chilton.