Tech Pitch: OnBuy

Retailing everything from books and DVDs to car parts and furniture, this Amazon-style marketplace makes both shopping and selling cheaper...

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Company name: OnBuy
Founders: Cas Paton (33)
Background: Paton is the managing director of OnBuy. An entrepreneur to the core, he has extensive experience in the field of e-commerce.
Based in: Poole, Dorset and Manchester
Launched: November 2016

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

We are a British online marketplace offering hundreds of thousands of product lines from reputable sellers across hundreds of categories.

We believe that we offer the best value commission rates you will find anywhere for online retail.

Our reduced selling fees give sellers a healthier profit margin – and in turn the savings they make translate into better prices for the consumer.

We are not a retailer. OnBuy is an online platform where traders sell their own products and our mission is to offer unrivaled value for money for both the seller and the consumer.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

I have a lot of experience in the e-commerce field, and time and again I was finding that there was a desire from traders for a British marketplace that supports and nurtures sellers who are disillusioned with the competition and want a fairer deal.

Our sellers pay just 6% commission on products sold, compared to an average of 15% on Amazon and 10% on eBay.

Unlike some alternatives, we work in close co-operation with our sellers and will never compete with them on their products. We really look after all our sellers to help their business grow and OnBuy Partners have the added benefit of a dedicated account manager and on-site advertisements.

We recently listed our millionth product and enjoyed our highest sales month, with traffic booming upwards of 300,000 users.

Several large-scale sellers have come on board, including Vivo Technologies, Amazon’s seventh biggest seller (which trades as Electroworld and Thinkprice), World of Books Ltd, the fourth largest Amazon seller in Europe, and Chalky’s, a major UK seller of CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray movies. So, in a nutshell, we are getting noticed in a big way!

Is OnBuy funded?

We are predominantly self-funded but are working with a few selected angel investors that are helping OnBuy as we continue to grow the platform and widen its reach.

What were you doing before you started OnBuy?

I was inspired as a child by my entrepreneurial uncle, who had everything he wanted and was respected in the business world.

I had been doing web design for companies since I was 14, so while I was still at university I launched a web design and web development business. I needed to push myself, and starting my own company meant there were no limits and no rules.

I had just £80 in my pocket so I registered the company, signed an accountant and built the website. I had my first phone call within 24 hours and sold a system for £2,500.

Since then I have been steadily building my profile and acumen in the e-commerce field. Thoroughly researching the market brought me to the conclusion that there was a real, genuine need for a platform like OnBuy.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

Being based in Poole, the area itself is obviously beautiful, and we’re fortunate enough to be right on the coastline. I subscribe to the theory that you work more effectively in positive surroundings, so we are very lucky to be in such a nice place.

We also have an office in Manchester and benefit from having a second base that, like Poole, is surrounded by innovative and creative businesses.

To learn more about starting up in Manchester, check out our free city guide here.

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