The 11th participant is GoodBarry
GoodBarry has created GoodBusiness, the first system born to run online businesses. It's one central console that powers your website and email marketing, your online shop and your customer database. It has re-defined "web hosting" for small business with an all-in-one product that replaces up to 10 separate, expensive systems with one. With GoodBusiness, you can have a fully fledged online business up and running in a matter of minutes - including your website, online shop, email marketing and an integrated customer database.
GoodBarry is the brain child of Bardia Housman and Brett Welch from Business Catalyst. Business Catalyst(BC) was founded by Bardia and Adam Broadway in 2003, when the duo saw an increasing need for CRM integration into websites and online businesses. With that in mind, BC created the first integrated Content Management/Contact Management system. This system grew to become a fully fledged online business platform built around that central contact database, including online shopping, email marketing and analytics
In late 2006, Brett and Bardia started to work on bringing BC's technology direct to the small business market. After re-architecting much of the system and a huge user interface overhaul, they relaunched under the GoodBarry brand in mid 2007.
This is Bardia's third venture since he founded Australia's first free email service Start, which was acquired by LookSmart in 1999.
Let us explore bit further how Brett and Bardia are progressing with GoodBarry:
Q. How long it took before it was up and running?
A. The first version took about 6 months, but we haven't stopped improving and growing the system (or shrinking in some cases) since it was first being sold.
Q. What stage of your start-up is, stealth mode, beta mode or fully functional?
A. Fully Functional!
Q. What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
A. Business owners are struggling to get online and make it work for them. Current solutions don't do enough, aren't business-oriented or are too expensive for most businesses.
We wanted to create a single, affordably priced solution that would serve most businesses perfectly - now and into the future.
Q. What services it provides it for consumer or customers?
A. GoodBusiness replaces web hosting with an all-in-one platform for online business. Beyond powering your website, GoodBusiness allows business owners without technical knowledge to easily manage their site, run email marketing campaigns, build an online shop and grow a customer database. All from a central, easy to use console.
Q. What is unique about your venture?
A. Our customer-centric approach allows us to produce amazing analytics that focus on customer actions and behaviour. Many have declared the death of the pageview, but GoodBusiness is the first affordable solution that places the focus on actions and behavior to better understand and optimize your website and marketing campaigns.
Our architecture allows us to do this easily - every part of the system is built on top of a central customer database. This means that every interaction is tracked and logged against a customer record - from blog comments to contact forms, online shopping to email marketing campaigns.
That means you can track the true effectiveness of your website, your online shop and your email marketing campaigns. You'll also build a complete picture of your customer's behaviour, which allows you to make better business decisions.
Q. What market segment verticals you are targeting for?
A. We're targeting small businesses across all verticals, focusing on those with 1 to 10 employees. We're also targeting web designers who build sites for small businesses with our partner programs at BC.
Q. What type of customers you are targeting?
A. Tech savvy small business owners who quickly realize they need more than a website to be successful.
Q. What age group of people will be benefited most?
A. Our technology benefits any one who is running a business and wants to go online - regardless of age.
Q. How many users are using your services?
A. We're currently running around 2000 sites through the system.
Q. What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
A. We've used a combination of PR and some targeted advertising
Q. How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are their any special mechanisms/tools are in place to monitor the progress?
A. We're monitoring our success by the number of signups we get per week. We run our entire business on GoodBusiness, so that's the tool we use to monitor our progress!
Q. What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is their any new model, which is being tried?
A. We're using a paid subscription model, so our customers pay a low monthly fee to use our product.
Q. Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment?
A. There are very few competitors who compete with us directly. Since we are an all-in-one platform, we compete on subsets of our features with a few players like Shopify for eCommerce and Constant Contact for email marketing, and a range of web hosting companies. Probably our closest competitor in terms of breadth of functionality is NetSuite, although their price is much higher.
Q. What are the main technologies used behind this start-up?
A. We're built on Microsoft's .NET platform.
Q. What is your operating environment (operating system) and what type of database you are using?
A. We're using windows server edition, running MS SQL Server for our database.
Q. How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up. Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
A. We try to keep in touch with the entrepreneur community in Sydney through events like Beer 2.0, Dinner 2.0 and a great OpenCoffee meetup that anyone can attend. Things have been busy lately but we try and go to something at least once a month.
And let's not forget Barcamp - BarCamp 3 is in Sydney in March!
Q. How much money is needed upfront to start a venture?
A. A billion dollars is nice, but it really depends on what you're out to do and your business model. If you're planning on offering something free, you'll probably need some decent funding.
We've bootstrapped to here without external funding and little initial seed funding from the founders.
I think it's a simple equation really - how much do you need to pay people? Technology doesn't cost much. You can work out of your home for a fair while until your team outgrows it - which won't happen until you can afford the people. So really you just need to be able to feed yourself and your initial team for as long as you think you'll need to build a working prototype.
Once you've got a working protoype, go get funding or go get customers. Or do both =)
Q. What are the main barriers in general for people start their venture in Australia?
A. Many people say that getting funding is hard, because Australian VCs tend to be more conservative in their investments. This is slowly turning around though as more VCs become interested in early stage investments and as more people realise how far a focused, dedicated tech startup can go on $250,000 - i.e you don't need millions anymore.
Q. What are your thoughts on the future trends of your service and market segment you are in?
A. Right now, taking your business online is a nightmare of choice and complexity. You've got to work out a web host, choose your eCommerce software, find an email marketing provider and some sort of customer database. Then you find someone to integrate them all (which is expensive) or you constantly shovel data back and forth (which is a waste of time).
GoodBusiness already fixes that, and I think that our market segment will see more and more integration work to address this issue in different ways.
But the next step - and the exciting bit - is the data you get from a truly integrated system. Because GoodBusiness runs your website, your shop and your email marketing, we can do some really interesting data mining. For example, we can tell you exactly how much money was spent in your online shop due to your email newsletter - without any extra reporting code added to newsletters or pages.
Again, we've started down this path but there's a way to go. In the future we'll see more and more complex analysis of online customer actions, more behaviour profiling and and it'll become more and more affordable too. This will be fantastic for businesses everywhere, since it'll really help hone your business performance.
Q. Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
A. Have a dream, back yourself, and never say die.
Oh, and learn to be a marketer! You don't want to get beaten by someone with an inferior product but better marketing.
Thanks Brett for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to hear from you in future on the progress of GoodBarry. All the best for GoodBarry and the competition in this carnival.
The 11th participant is GoodBarry