2010 has been marked by the phenomenal rise of group buying sites for consumers. But what about SMEs? Huddlebuy, which launched this morning, could be sitting on a goldmine.Groupola, Groupon, LivingSocial – they’ve all taken off this year. In fact, so much so that Groupon felt it could turn down Google’s $6bn acquisition offer. The one thing that they all have in common – in addition to their success – is their consumer focus. Sure, you can pick up a cheap teeth whitening deal, a professional photo shoot or massage; but where do businesses fit in to the group buying picture? Huddlebuy – filling the SME gap There’s obviously room for a B2B group buying website on the market, and it’s surprising that this space hasn’t yet been filled. Enter Huddlebuy, which launched this morning. Huddlebuy is a B2B group buying website – it works just like Groupon or Groupola, except it’s tailored for SMEs. Today’s deal on Huddlebuy, for example, is an Epson 4-in-1 printer for £35, rather than the £85 RRP. Another deal is a £30 Ryman voucher for £15. I caught up briefly with one of Huddlebuy’s founders, Per Larsen, who told me about Huddlebuy’s plans: “Nobody has cracked the small business space yet, from a user acquisition point of view. Our research shows that SMEs spend about 30-40 per cent more than large organisations for acquiring basic items to run their businesses. So we sat down and worked out how we can make it work – we’ve spoken to many suppliers, and have worked out a long deal map for our users.” The team behind Huddlebuy (Per Larsen, Chieu Cao and a third co-founder) has a strong pedigree: before setting up Huddlebuy their careers were spent at big blue chips including Yahoo!, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Dell. Larsen added that while their initial focus will be on deals for businesses at the smaller end of things (one to five employees), there are plans to go beyond that once the site has reached a critical mass. We’ll be bringing you more about Huddlebuy in the new year. The opportunities for Huddlebuy are pretty big. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills counted 4.6 million small businesses in the UK last year, which generated £651bn in revenue and employ 7.7 million people. If B2B group buying gets anywhere close to the popularity of consumer group buying, Huddlebuy could be onto something good.
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