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We Chat With New Business Networking Platform - Proovide
by Startacus Admin
Finding suppliers and services for your startup is probably one of the most overwhelming and daunting tasks any starting entrepreneur can have to deal with, you need someone who can supply what you need, for an appropriate price, you need to know how good they are and what they can do for you; all whilst being able to maintain a good business relationship.
Startacus talked to Proovide founder; Steve Pritchard to get his take on the task.
Hi there Steve! Thanks for talking to us! First things first, why not tell us a little bit about ‘Proovide’? “Proovide is a B2B dating site, introducing companies to only the best suppliers, by utilising an advanced ranking algorithm. We score each supplier using over 140 different third party metrics, providing companies with more information to help pick the right supplier.”
With a few services like this already available, what makes ‘Proovide’ different? “There are of course other freelancer and B2B networks available, however the majority focus on online, creative or digital services. Proovide has been developed to work within all sectors, even if they traditionally sell a product or service offline.”
So there’s an element that focuses on the offline market too; was there any inspiration behind this platform? “As a digital media consultant I always found it challenging to work with the right suppliers, the time taken to do even the basic due diligence was a distraction, I wanted to create a dashboard which provides all of the information needed within one interface. Additionally, it allows suppliers to gain access to potential customers proactively looking for their products or services, creating a cost effective sales channel.”
How have you found the promoting and advertising of Proovide? With such a unique platform, surely that comes with a series of unique challenges; How did you deal with them? “It has certainly been a challenge, some thing I realised early on is that we needed to develop a benefit to customers to submit their projects, even though it’s free to do so, there was no real reason to do so. By creating the ranking score we created that reason which has made it easier for customers to appreciate, now it’s a case of volume and scale, which is all about great content and creating a buzz.”
Definitely sounds like a great system – tell us about how it came to be. Talk us through your startup journey? “We are in a more fortunate situation than other startups, I have been a digital media specialist for over 10 years so already had many of the skills and experience needed to build the website and marketing strategy.
Our big challenge was finding the right developer to help us build the platform; fortunately we found our tech genius Lee, who developed a cutting edge platform based on the Laravel framework. Once this was developed we wanted to partner with the most efficient suppliers to help us mine the data needed and to provide secure services like the payment processing and hosting, our current providers are the best in the World and we a proud to be working with them.
As we have been running our own boutique media agency for 2.5 years we were able to build up an initial budget to get the platform up and running without the need for angel investment. I foresee a need for funding maybe a few months down the line to help us build the application further and expand into Europe and America, but for now we are going down the ‘lean startup’ approach to create what we need, fast.”
Can you tell us what benefits can Proovide offer Startups and Small businesses in their early stages? “As a startup or small business your suppliers are critical to your businesses success, if mistakes are made by a provider then this could really impact your company.
Proovide minimises that risk by providing a transparent set of data, which allows you to make more informed decisions on picking the right supplier, our scoring system is there to help you make quick decisions on who should be pitching for your business.”
Just to close, have you got any advice for a startup or small business that wants to use your service in the future? “As a free solution to customers it’s a great way to find new suppliers, but make sure to use all of the data we provide to help you perform some due-diligence. When you receive applications to pitch, check out their proposal and profile thoroughly and if you want more information then use the platform, only when you are 100% happy to take it further should you approve the application.
Feed back to us, we know we haven’t got it perfect and love to hear feedback on how we can do things better, once logged in you can freely submit feedback to help us improve.”
Thanks so much for talking to us, we’re really excited to see how Proovide grows in the future, and we here at Startacus wish you all the best! Good luck!