Bidvine: Sohrab Jahanbani, Daniel Stuart and Russ Morgan

Entrepreneur Sohrab Jahanbani tells us why his start-up appealed to investors from across Silicon Valley and Singapore – raising over $1.7m in funding

Name: Sohrab Jahanbani, Daniel Stuart and Russ Morgan
Company name: Bidvine
Location: London 
Date launched: 21/05/15
Website: www.bidvine.com

Tell us what your business does:

Bidvine is an online platform that connects customers looking for jobs to be completed with professionals who have the skills, qualifications and availability to complete them.

From the professional’s perspective, Bidvine’s online process is more efficient and cost effective than traditional ways of finding and quoting for work. From the consumer’s perspective, we’re an easy way to find and hire the best person for the job.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Whilst we were looking to getting professionals for jobs like finding a language tutor for our children or looking for someone to renovate our bathroom, we were spending too much time on the searching rather then focusing on the important things in life. This is why Bidvine came to life. It removes all the legwork of finding a provider that is interested, qualified and available to carry out consumers’ projects.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Two of Bidvine’s team built a business that focused on helping local retail businesses find new customers and so knew from personal experience that businesses can find it difficult to acquire new customers.

As far as consumer demand is concerned, we know from first-hand experience that the process of hiring a local professional hasn’t really changed since the days of the big yellow book. It’s still a very time consuming process.

What were you doing before starting up?

Daniel Stuart and I founded a business together before meeting Russ Morgan as part of another project.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes, we’re all passionate about starting businesses having done so on numerous occasions before.

How did you raise the money?

We recently closed a seed round because investors saw huge opportunities ahead for the business. Our investors cover everywhere from Silicon Valley to Singapore, and are a mix of funds and angels.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

It’s simple really. Bidvine puts trusted professionals in touch with those who need their services. Professionals can sign up to the site for free and we send them requests from consumers in their area. If the provider is interested in any of these jobs they simply send a quote to the consumer. A small charge is applied when they submit their quote.

Our business model is Cost Per Accepted Lead, and providers love it because there is no set-up fee, no subscription fee, just a very transparent cost for every qualified lead that they wish to accept.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Offering more than 100 services makes it very difficult to build a two-sided marketplace where liquidity is key. We’ve overcome this challenge by hiring a talented, experienced team that has built marketplaces before and by staying focused on what matters most to customers.

What was your first big breakthrough?

We’ve developed rapidly since starting the business so there have been many moments that have seemed like breakthroughs. All of which come back to building a great team.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to seek out feedback early on, and be open and honest about the feedback you receive.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

The business has a mission to become the go-to resource for people who are looking to complete projects that rely on local services. We also want to help skilled professionals build a business out of their passions.

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