Role and company:Commercial Director, Sooqini
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:Sooqini is the UK’s first “reverse or buyer-driven” mobile marketplace. Ask for whatever you want, at your own price and terms, and the local community will bid to do the task. We also create a trusted playing field. Users have profiles and exchange ratings/feedback, which builds a fair reputation and gets you more business. Overall, with Sooqini, business and personal tasks can be done efficiently, affordably and safely – simply how they should be done.
What’s the big vision for your business?We aspire to be the most efficient and trusted platform to get anything done, globally, whether it is for personal or professional activities. Anyone should be able to connect with anyone else via any internet or mobile platform, and via multiple sites. In doing so, we seek to make a real difference to the economy. We aim to create work for everyone, and wealth re-distribution as new tasks or jobs for others to do. We aim to help new businesses accelerate faster and be more efficient with resources. We also want to improve employability and allow anyone to have a fair chance at getting full time, skilled jobs. Anyone with a strong track record and reputation on Sooqini can add that to their CV, and use it to get more business offline and secure full time employment.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:We only launched in the UK four months ago and it is really taking off. We aspire to take our concept and business global, and to re-create local, more efficient and trustworthy marketplaces in major cities.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:A few years ago I tried to land a job in a mobile operator. After working six years for top firms in the banking sector, I went for an MBA to try and gain the necessary skills to make the career switch much easier but it still wasn’t enough. I ended up taking an executive role in an early-stage mobile startup with no pay for many months to be able to build the skills and knowledge naturally. It was a challenging time, but eventually it paid off, and led to bigger opportunities. I ended up closing big deals with mobile operators. Despite the setback, I realised that it is very important to have multiple strategies centred upon one goal. If one doesn’t work, think of the next one, and then the next. Eventually, your hard work should pay off.
What makes you mad in business today?I often see many people that lose motivation quite quickly, or don’t have enough drive. It is very important to have a good and consistent work ethic, otherwise you will not excel in your career or personal life.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?We are a pioneer in the collaborative consumption or peer-to-peer space, which is already disrupting marketplaces to make them more efficient and community-centric. Some classic examples are Airbnb for hotels/accommodation, eBay for fixed goods and ZipCar for automobiles; these have already generated billions of wealth worldwide. I think that we will continue to see more players jumping into this space, with more of them increasingly specialized in certain verticals. We should definitely see more wealth being created, with sharing of finite resources such as time, rentable goods, and services, as well as more wealth being kept within local communities.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?Access to capital in the UK is still tough, and it is even more difficult to find the right investors in the tech space. I think technology can help out here, e.g. by creating an independent website where all angel and investing groups will be listed, to facilitate access to capital by niche players. There are a few websites out there already, but they are mainly US-centric.
How would others describe your leadership style?Bubbly and… participative leadership. I have always believed in the wisdom of crowds and like to invite our colleagues and users to interact and share their views.
Your biggest personal extravagance?I try to spoil myself, my wife and close friends quite often but it is never enough.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:Dear David, please focus on improving education to foster more creative thinking and self-reliance in our youth. If you wouldn’t mind also cutting back on the morass of red-tape surrounding running a business in the UK, and addressing the ever worsening payment terms between startups and FTSE 350 companies, that would be very helpful.
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