For the three entrepreneurs behind group buying website Huddlebuy, the idea for their business stemmed from their own personal experiences of working for, or advising, SMEs.
The three friends, Per Larsen, Chieu Cao and Saurav Chopra, had watched company after company launch new innovative consumer focused services for years, while the small business segment was ignored. They decided the timing was right to change this pattern. Per Larsen, co-founder of Huddlebuy, explains: “We wanted to create something which would be a real benefit for small businesses and that filled a much needed gap in the market, rather than just innovation for the sake of it.
“Having worked for businesses of all sizes in the past, the disparity between the purchasing power of larger and smaller organisations was very evident to us. So, we thought it would be a useful service to small businesses to create a site that allowed them to combine their purchasing power, allowing them to benefit from the same bulk buying cost benefits that larger companies have access to.”
Our job is provide them [our users] with a positive experience to earn their loyalty and recommendation, but this obviously takes time
A great idea in principal – the Groupon of the B2B sector – but now the Huddlebuy founders had to make it a reality. Their business model is a simple one, relying more on word of mouth from satisfied customers rather than advertising. The most important and challenging aspect for Huddlebuy is to build a brand that people trust. “People will inherently be suspicious about using a site that offers such low prices,” Larsen says. “Our job is provide them with a positive experience to earn their loyalty and recommendation, but this obviously takes time.”
With experience that includes Yahoo!, LEGO, Dell
, Microsoft and Amazon
, the founders of Huddlebuy had a great deal of expertise to bring to the table, and it has been an exciting challenge for them to build their seven-strong team, selecting only those they believe can handle a fast growing e-commerce environment.
Obviously a business can’t survive on great ideas alone and fortunately Huddlebuy’s potential has been spotted by some very prominent investors, such as Zoopla's Alex Chesterman and LinkedIn
advisory board member Sherry Coutu, who were primarily responsible for the recent £350,000 of investment injected into the startup.
When it comes to planning the future of Huddlebuy, the founders don’t like to look too far ahead. As Larsen explains: “It’s impossible to plan more than 12 months ahead with any accuracy. Ultimately, our vision is to help small businesses save money and time, and seeing as there’s more than four million SMEs in the UK alone, we have a mountain of opportunities.”