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The Ones to Watch: Saurav Chopra, Huddlebuy

1. Describe your business in one sentence
Huddlebuy is the group-buying website for small businesses where SMEs can buy B2B goods/services at big company pricing.

2. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
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.

3. What have been your key challenges and how have you overcome them?
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 to provide our clients with a positive experience to earn their trust, but that obviously takes time. Internally our biggest challenge is to scale the team and the operations to manage a fast growing e-commerce environment.

We hope by concentrating on and providing great deals, great service and great advice, we can help small businesses save more and drive more revenue in this economically challenging environment.

4. How have you funded your start-up?
We are backed by some well-respected entrepreneurs in Europe including the founders and investors behind LoveFilm, Zoopla, and many other successful internet properties.

5. How do you market your business?
Our marketing strategy is based on three key pillars word of mouth, social media and partnerships.

We source high quality relevant business products and services and offer them to members of the small business community at volume prices. Buyers realize that the more buyers we have for a deal the better deals they can get and there has been therefore some great word of mouth marketing from small businesses for our deals.

We also have numerous social media features built into the site for example integration with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for each deal and the buying advice-orientated articles on the site. These help us leverage the power of social media to drive user acquisition for Huddlebuy.

We are quite excited about how we have leveraged social media since our soft-launch in January 2011. We have amassed over 3,800 followers on Twitter by providing practical money-saving advice to small businesses and sharing compelling Huddlebuy deals. Our articles and deals are shared on a very regular basis driving more buzz for Huddlebuy.

Finally, partnerships are critical to the success of Huddlebuy. We have been working with leading B2B media sites such as UK Business Forums and to provide compelling deals to the SME community on these sites. We continue to build more such partnerships.

6. What are your plans for the future?
Being an internet start-up we tend not to plan too far in advance. Every day, we listen to qualitative and quantitative feedback from our community which determines how we tweak the product and also gives us roadmap ideas into how we want to evolve the product in the future.

Our vision is to help small business save money and save time and with more than 4.5m small businesses in the UK alone we have a mountain of opportunities the coming years.
7. If you started again, is there anything you'd do differently?
It is early days for us and therefore, it is too early to tell what we could have done differently. However, we are constantly listening to the feedback from our community and make sure to incorporate the relevant feedback right away.

8. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs based on your business experience so far?
It will take twice as long and cost twice as much money, as you think. Nonetheless, if you are the sort of person who is always persistently pursuing goals passionately and you've a vision that you can't shake, go forth with all the energy that you can muster. No one can truly understand their own potential unless they try to.
And ensure, that you build the best possible team around you.

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Company profile of Huddlebuy
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