BuzzRamp: Pete Walter
Name: Pete Walter
Company Name: BuzzRamp
Location: Greater London
Date Launched: 28 March 2018
Tell us what your business does:
BuzzRamp is a management tool that saves smaller businesses time and money on marketing and PR. It does this by simply making marketing a lot easier.
You tell BuzzRamp how much time you've got this week for PR and marketing, and BuzzRamp will give you the very best way of spending that time, plus user-friendly ways to put that plan into action.
And even if you haven't got the time to do the work yourself, you can outsource your tasks to a professional with just a few clicks.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
My journey to creating BuzzRamp stems back to the untimely death of my journalist/media trainer father in 2012, and me subsequently taking over his media training consultancy.
Being a business rookie I tried to pivot the company by making a low-cost e-learning media training course aimed at small businesses, only for it to be a complete flop.
After many cold calls and unsuccessful sales pitches for the course I began to realise that what small businesses really struggled with was simple guidance with marketing and PR that would allow them to run their own effective campaigns without wasting any time. So that’s when the idea for BuzzRamp emerged.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I ran a successful manual trial of the service for 15 people in the summer of 2016 and have been conducting many interviews with the target market during development.
What were you doing before starting up?
My initial career was as a TV producer, where I produced shows for Channel 4, MTV, and Five. But even though it was exciting I never loved the medium of TV enough to do it for the rest of my life.
To support myself whilst trying to get the business going I’ve worked as a media trainer, videographer and even as a professional eulogy writer (unfortunately there’s always clients in the death industry!).
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes. I think my first business was aged nine when I’d charge my friends 20p to read my sister’s diary. I also set up a (more respectable) bespoke calendar business when I was around that age.
I’ve run a caberet in London, started bands, produced e-learning courses and helped my wife develop a sideline in Etsy products. So I’ve definitely always had the entrepreneurial bug.
How did you raise the money?
I got a small bit of seed funding from an investor I met by chance, which I had to match with my own money – which I borrowed from my family.
With that I was able to build a prototype website and create a robust business plan and investor pack. Then I spent a few months reaching out to anyone and everyone I could think of to try and find private angel investors to invest enough money to set the business up, which thankfully I did quite quickly.
Describe your business model and how you make money
BuzzRamp is an SaaS (software as a service) business, so we operate on a 14-day free trial period, with a £19.99 per month subscription service after that.
We also take a small cut if a user hires a professional to do their marketing for them.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
When I started this project I didn’t know how to write a business plan or how to fund a business, I’d never employed anyone, and I didn’t know much about tech.
So far each of those hurdles has been overcome by just throwing myself into the situation as best I can and not getting too downhearted when things didn’t go according to plan.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to have had some fantastic support from people involved in the business from day one, and also from my wife, who’s backed me ever since I explained on our honeymoon that I wanted to do this!
What was your first big breakthrough?
I got my first bit of seed funding from someone I met completely by chance in a bar during a weekend on the Isle of Wight. We got chatting and got on, which led to me presenting the business plan to him back in London, and ultimately him investing.
That first investment was when it all started to get exciting.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t worry about talking to people about your idea for fear that they will steal it. It’s 1,000 times more likely that someone will give you some useful feedback or give you a useful connection than pinch your idea.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
I want BuzzRamp to be thriving and have established itself as an essential tool for the new business owner.