Role and company:Owner and founder, cloud.IQ
Growth forecast for the next three years:We’ve already enjoyed impressive growth in our first year of business and our target for the next three years is simply to continue growing. Our apps have recently been made available on Magento Connect and Shopify which will boost adoption and we forecast our turnover to be £2.7m in 2014.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace?At cloud.IQ, we’ve made enterprise-scale cart recovery products simple to use and available at sensible prices. With a low, fixed rate cost to pay, ecommerce businesses can maximise revenue by converting the 75 per cent of online sales that are abandoned, without compromising margins.
What’s the big vision for your business?Our mission is to break down the barriers to cart abandonment technology. Any online business can increase its online turnover by five per cent with simple cart abandonment technology. It’s a complete no-brainer and a must have for online businesses, which is why we are striving to make it as easy as possible to access and do.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:We have offices in London, Sydney and have interest all round the world, as we are a SaaS business, there are no limitations to where we can take our products to market. cloud.IQ was recognised as one of US site – eTail’s, Rising Stars of 2013. We only started offering the apps to businesses State-side three months ago, so it’s fantastic to be recognised so early on across the pond.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:I went through the dotcom crash when virtually everyone seemed to lose their jobs. It was a really unpleasant experience but I learned the hard lesson that if you deliver real ROI, you are invariably a valuable customer partner during good and bad times. This ethos is built into cloud.IQ’s DNA and has stood us well in the last recession.
What makes you mad in business today?I’ve yet to be convinced that the range and level of technology now available to us has really simplified things. I’ve spoken to hundreds of marketing directors over the past two years and I’ve heard story after story of organisations that have embarked on complex, technical implementations that have taken many months, cost the earth and yet failed to deliver the promised boost in revenue. Many of the people I’ve spoken to were left with big bills and heavy recurring costs, having invested in new people to run these systems for them. This really frustrates me – technology is supposed to make things simpler, not more complicated! In my opinion, part of the problem is that many organisations are told they have unique challenges and require bespoke solutions to be built just for them. But most marketing directors I talk to usually face almost the same root issues – how do I acquire more customers? How do I convert more customers? How do I sell more?
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?Figures out recently suggested smartphones have resulted in a 45 per cent rise in spending in 2013 compared to 2012 (Deloitte). For multi-channel retailers this unstoppable trend makes it even more important to capture every customer that visits a site – especially if the site isn’t mobile friendly yet.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?We’ve been very lucky as a start-up to secure the funding we need to take our idea to market and there’s no reason other businesses can’t do the same. Providing they think imaginatively about ways to raise funds. When applying for funding, businesses should look at how their product or service can directly benefit society. How can their product be tweaked /adapted to meet this goal? When we demonstrated to potential funders how our proposition could be used to help charities raise more donations, Bridges Ventures could really see the value of our idea. Equally, the fact that our apps can help small businesses increase revenues at a low cost caught the interest of the TSB. This obviously can’t be an exercise in window dressing – businesses need to be passionate about the cause they support. And the fundamentals of having a viable commercial product remain – investors will always want to see a financial as well as a societal return.
How would others describe your leadership style?I try to keep things simple! cloud.IQ is a start-up so it’s been a learning process for everybody and a collaborative way of working helps us improve all the time.
Your biggest personal extravagance?I have an 80 year old ‘sports’ car which challenges and amuses me (breaks down and scares me!)
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:We need to focus on a small number of individual sectors, one at a time. The Government has done brilliantly by supporting and promoting technology: Tech City now rivals any technology hub in the world. We now need to replicate this model for other industries! By Shané Schutte
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