Tech Pitch: FanFinders

The creators of the popular YourBabyClub community site explain how they've managed to scale quickly with no funding or office premises...

Company name: FanFinders
Founders: Alec Dobbie, Raphael Marsh and Nick Hadfield
Background: Dobbie -“tech wizard”, Marsh-designer and Hadfield-serial entrepreneur
Based in: We work remotely so are based in the north and south – London and Yorkshire

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

We connect businesses with their target demographic. We do this via clubs that consumers join to benefit from amazing offers which are relevant to them. The brands connect with the consumers to keep them informed – it’s the perfect value exchange.

Our first club is YourBabyClub which is the fastest growing community for new mums in the UK with around 40,000 mums a month signing up!

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

Brands want to find new, loyal customers, and consumers want to find out about offers that are specifically relevant to them. Until now there has not been a mechanism to bring these together.

Currently on and off-line efforts don’t aggregate brand offers and put them in an easily accessible place. With YourBabyClub we aim to be “in the handbag” at all times. We create a friendlier consumer experience by only passing on consumer details to brands they have selected themselves. This is effective because brands who buy data face a number of issues.

Leads from data that has been bought will have been targeted by a multitude of different companies who have also bought the same data, causing messages to become diluted and the consumer to be disillusioned. Brands also run the risk that they are targeting consumers who do not wish to hear from them, as the consumer has not expressed any interest. This is where we are different.

We never sell our consumers details to unknown third parties but because we make brand offers and messages the focus of what we do, our growing network of 500,000 consumers is happy to participate in the value exchange.

Are you funded?

No. We are entirely bootstrapped, early mornings, late nights, blood, sweat and tears have been our only investment.

What were you doing before starting?

All of the founders were doing something completely different and didn’t know each other before FanFinders brought them together, with the exception of Dobbie and Marsh.

Each founding director has a very different skill set and had been quite exceptional in their field which is why the team works so well together.

  • Dobbie’s background is in tech and he has built software for big companies including Shell and Halifax.
  • Marsh had been designing all manner of beautiful things for people such as Mars, HP and the UN.
  • Hadfield is the only director with prior experience of launching a start-up, and his first enterprise Ski-Lifts is heading into its eleventh year this year and hit turnover of £1.4m.

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

We are currently all based remotely, with a central hub in South London. Our location isn’t something that has helped of hindered us as we are flexible and ready to travel at a moment’s notice for a good opportunity.

For us location doesn’t come into it too much really, we are all able to communicate on a daily basis thanks to Skype, mobile and email. We met via corporate social media and as long as we have an internet connection, we can successfully network and create the contacts we need.

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