Raffle.it: Pascal Wheeler, Craig Chuter and Matthew Wilson
Pascal Wheeler explains how he came up with the idea for his raffle site.
Company name: Raffle It Website:http://www.raffle.it/ Founders: Pascal Wheeler, Craig Chuter, Matthew Wilson Age: 37 Based: Farnham, Surrey Staff Numbers: 5 Date started: May 2007 Turnover:
Tell us what your business does…
Raffle.it is a completely new way of buying and selling that not only has the potential to make everything affordable, but also rewards people every time they buy a ticket. It’s an online, updated version of raffle for people, charities, schools, and businesses.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
From a gut feeling that there was a better way to buy and sell. No science, little research (at that time) and not a great deal of brain time, just one of those ‘there’s a better way’ feelings. Raffles are such a powerful mechanism for channelling common interest but have been overlooked and underestimated – people enter a raffle because of their interest in the prize or beneficiary. A couple of tweaks later, Raffle.it was born.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Raffles have always been popular with schools, village fetes and with charities. eBay has proved beyond doubt the need for a peer to peer marketplace. The current economic climate means people are trying to save where they can and are more likely to take a chance.
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How did you raise the money?
Raffle.it is a high risk proposition. It takes a certain type of entrepreneurial investor to get involved. We’ve presented to investors, fund managers, brokers and company owners. We’ve heard everything from its totally flawed to this is going to be massive. We’ve raised £150,000 to date and are currently planning the next round.
How did you find suppliers?
It doesn’t matter how much research you do into the many suppliers out there who can help, it always comes down to gut feeling and a leap of faith. Taking time to properly spec our requirements helped focus my search, but after that it was telephone calls and meetings to allow the ‘gut’ to do its thing.
What challenges have you faced?
We had to move offices a few days before we launched the site, which was going to be supported by a large Nokia email campaign. This could have been quite stressful but with advanced planning and a sacrificed weekend we moved almost without hitch, launched the site on time and coped with the influx of Nokia’s traffic.
How much do you charge?
In most cases we share the ticket revenue. We have a sliding scale based on requirements. This was calculated by looking at our plans. What were our costs, what was our projected raffle turnover, that sort of thing. This created our pricing structure.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Nokia emailed a selection of their database and created a banner on their site, promoting their first raffles with us. It was a great boost to our confidence that a brand as big as Nokia would do so much. As a result we were able to load test the site (at one point we were serving pages at a rate of 100,000 p/h) while creating our first happy client and users. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t sit on an idea. If your idea is great create the space to do it. If you can’t do that, let the idea go – if you don’t completely believe in it how can you ask others to?