Tuesday, October 18, 2011/
Coming up with a start-up idea that you feel is strong enough to base a business upon is one thing. Convincing others to back your concept with their money is an entirely different proposition, however.
Jason Swaffield is in the process of launching Spruiks, a business that provides online tools for retailers.
He tells StartupSmart how he’s attempting to get an investor on board to accelerate his start-up journey.
Can you explain what your business’ proposition is?
Spruiks creates a new mobile and web based marketplace, providing free tools to retailers and businesses to promote products and services to online shoppers.
Spruiks is their online voice, bridging the gap between online shopping and bricks and mortar businesses.
Merchants will be able to set up a quick, free and easy Spruiks Store page on the website and can immediately begin to promote their products and services, alongside their current deals, specials and coupons to online shoppers.
The Spruiks mobile application will give shoppers instant access to Spruiks Store sales in their current location, or the freedom to search for offers they want from anywhere.
Spruiks will also promote daily feature deals from selected Spruik Stores.
There are five shopping areas to choose from: Retail Shopping, Food & Dining, Leisure & Entertainment, Travel & Accommodation and Services.
What gave you the idea for the business?
We came up with the idea after we saw the impact online shopping was having on retailers and businesses that did not have a website, or a strong online presence.
So we founded Spruiks to give Australian retailers and businesses an online voice through our Spruik Stores, giving merchants an online marketing presence, to establish or expand their online marketing strategy.
We believe Spruiks is the solution for so many retailers and businesses who are struggling in this digital era to regain market share, especially against the bigger online players, both here in Australia and overseas.
How did you fund the business?
We have funded much of the capital ourselves, with the help of a couple of private investors.
However, the fact is, we urgently need more investment in order to launch. We welcome any discussions from investors or organisations who see the opportunity of Spruiks, and want to support us.
Is it a challenge to stand out in an increasingly crowded market?
Online shopping is definitely becoming a way of life, with many players vying for position.
However, we’re “spruiking” our own message that we’re here to promote online shopping in a completely different way.
The challenge we see is to differentiate ourselves from online deal sites, because this couldn’t be further from the truth.
How have you marketed the business?
We’re ready to start marketing and have campaigns set up ready to go through traditional, digital and social media channels.
Our launch window is clear, and our strategy has been developed in conjunction with some great companies. We just need working capital to launch successfully.
What has been the hardest part of starting up?
Raising capital. No doubt about it. Getting investors or larger organisations to recognise the value in the Spruiks solution seems to be the hardest thing.
We have so many merchants and shoppers waiting for us to launch. All we need is for someone to recognise the great potential that Spruiks has, and to back us.
What are your plans and ambitions for the business?
Spruiks is designed to be a national platform with local merchant support, creating a powerful online marketplace that supports businesses across Australia, and builds local and wider shopping communities.
We are launching firstly in Melbourne, then Sydney, before expanding nationally.