Spin4: Michael Emery
The marketplace discovery engine that connects you to the internet's "coolest and most obscure" products and places
Name: Michael Emery, Jon Proud and Matt Auburn
Company Name: Spin4
Staff numbers: 9
Location: East Midlands
Date Launched: 14/03/14
Tell us what your business does:
We are a social marketplace discovery engine. We offer our users a tailored service to let them select from a range of categories before they ‘spin’ through thousands of the internet’s coolest and most obscure products and places that are most relevant to them.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
After attending university together, me and the other two owners were busy in the university library trying to scale the mountain of work that a dissertation brings. After numerous amounts of procrastination, a light bulb moment struck and the birth of Spin4 began.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We had seen the popularity of e-commerce sites that sell obscure and weird products but they were all very similar. We liked the idea of finding these products in a new way. We also recognised the lack of information platforms that highlight cool and undiscovered places to eat, drink and party in cities around the UK. We simply put both ideas together and here we are.
What were you doing before starting up?
We were all in our final year of university in Nottingham.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Absolutely. We had all had a stab at starting our own businesses previously but nothing like Spin4.
How did you raise the money?
The three of us had planned to go travelling together after university. We simply made a decision to sacrifice our travels and put all of our own money into the business. We had been saving for two years and collectively raised over £20,000.
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Describe your business model and how you make money:
Our business model evolves entirely around driving traffic to our site. Once the traffic is there, we capitalise in a number of ways. We sell advertisement space, sponsored articles on our media platform and we also make a commission on any products that we sell.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Learning the ins-and-outs of PR and digital marketing has been interesting. It is not something any of us have had any experience in but we understood its importance. As a result we enrolled in a number of computing and marketing courses as well as self taught ourselves the necessities.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Launching the website and achieving a huge volume of traffic and a phenomenal amount of page views was a real relief for us. We had spent a year working on the project and building the website having no idea how it would be perceived to the public.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. It is easy to let yourself get defeated by bad news or an unsuccessful start, but by being creative and optimistic, you can always turn things around.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We would like to see our brand have a real presence in the online media industry as well as have numerous sister brands launching and expanding into new industries. What we don’t want to change is our hands-on approach to creative ideas and the ability we have to pursue new and exciting ideas.