AboutMatch Translates Concept Of Dating Sites Into The Business World

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AboutMatch supports people in finding new suppliers for their business, claiming to be the "cure for search engine blues". We spoke to founder Sharon Melamed about outsourcing and industry needs.

How would you describe AboutMatch in a few words?

We’re a free online business matchmaking platform. Our specialisation is everything around customer acquisition and customer service. Just enter your needs in 60 seconds, and presto, get matched with suppliers who can help.

What inspired you to create the platform? How did it all start?

The way people find new suppliers for their business is a broken experience – 93% of people start with search engines which generate hundreds of thousands of search results, and that’s simply overwhelming. How do you know where to start, which suppliers are reputable and which ones are a match for your budget and industry?

I wanted to create a platform that made the search experience faster and simpler, reducing the risk of engaging the wrong supplier. A cure for the “search engine blues”, if you like! To do that, I looked to online dating sites and translated that concept into the business world, so people can now find their perfect match supplier in a very targeted way.

AboutMatch has evolved from a successful business in Australia and launched in the UK in 2016. How would you compare both startup ecosystems?

Both countries have vibrant startup scenes and governments which offer tremendous support. For example Australian entrepreneurs are incentivised to take their business global with the Export Market Development Grant which pays 50% of sales and marketing costs overseas. The Department for International Trade in the UK also bends over backwards to help foreign companies enter their market with free market research and networking events with other entrepreneurs. It’s an exciting time to go global as it feels everyone is behind you, wanting you to succeed!

You connect professionals in various areas such as data, training, recruiting, and consulting. From your experience, which industry relies on your services the most and why?

AboutMatch connects businesses across 7 categories: outsourcing (contact centre, back office, sales), technology, consulting, digital, data, training, and recruiting. Outsourcing is the most popular request, particularly amongst startups. Startups tend to focus on their product and brand and like to outsource things like call centres, digital marketing and data processing. Outsourcing has the advantage of scalability, agility, low capital expenditure, and instant access to operational excellence.

With different services to connect people on the market – what makes AboutMatch stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

There is no other matching platform in the world in our niche; our specialisation in all the products and services around the “customer journey” differentiates us. Secondly, unlike other B2B marketplaces, our suppliers are all pre-screened. Only highly rated suppliers make it into our ecosystem and that’s a big wow factor with users, that we’ve done that due diligence. Thirdly, our commercial model is unique: the service is free to use for the buy side, and we only charge the supplier a fee if they win a deal through our matching. Finally, speed is a differentiator – users seem to be shocked at how fast they get connected with their “perfect match suppliers”, saving days or weeks of research.

What is the biggest challenge that the company has faced?

Our biggest challenge was when we discovered the brand we’d invested so much in building up in Australia (Matchboard) was not available in key international markets such as the U.K. So in 2016 we launched a new brand – AboutMatch. Going global was not something I contemplated when, as a first-time entrepreneur, I set up the business five years ago. Who would have dreamed the business would evolve to thousands of clients including so many household brands, ripe to replicate in other markets. So I guess there’s a good news story behind my branding dilemma!

What’s next for AboutMatch?

We see our foray into the UK as a gateway into Europe. At the same time, the US is the biggest English-speaking market and a huge opportunity. And I’ve had approaches from people in Japan and India to team up there. So a year from now, I’d love to be in a position that I’m speaking to potential country managers in one of those regions. Having studied German, French and Japanese at university, I can’t wait to put my language skills to work again! But for now, we are focused on accelerating AboutMatch in the U.K.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Secure your brand on the assumption that one day you’ll go global. Having the local domain name (for example .co.uk) is important not only for SEO but for showing commitment to the local market (the think global, act local idea). Also register your brand on social media – there are about a thousand social platforms and new ones are springing up every month. This activity is something you can outsource cheaply offshore as it’s very time-consuming to set up an account on all the social platforms.



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