Raj Singh is a 25 year veteran of the tech industry, an advisor, a VC and the founder of Sooqini, a buyer-led marketplace where people save time and make money by working with trusted local people around them.
Leaders need to be patient. A good leader takes a wide view of what’s happening, and doesn’t chase a specific point of data, but tries to understand the wider trend and then react accordingly.
We’ve recently been adding more data. Gathering more and more information, both from analytics as well as from customers in order to make informed decisions has helped us to be more responsive and to improve the customer experience.
Engaging students in our community to both use and promote our marketplace has been an unqualified success, in part due to the natural networking built into the campus environment, and also because of the levels of trust and confidence that each institution has with its participants.
Be strive to be the best place to work because of the environment we create, the people and the personalities we hire, and also because we’re all doing something we believe to be worthwhile, cutting-edge and fun.
We use messaging systems that connect us all in real-time, in the office or away, and that are both a social bonding channel as well as a really effective way to communicate information and get many heads working on a problem at one time.
Marketplaces need both buyers and sellers, but at the start, how do you convince them to come if the other is not present? We decided to focus on sellers, figuring that they would stick around even if the chances to make money were limited at the start; partly because the economy is so difficult, and partly because we made it easy for them to do so.
I think launching with no funding and being entirely bootstrapped in the face of a lot of skepticism about whether the model could work was a pretty courageous decision, and one we don’t regret a bit.
There isn’t anything non-obvious about fundraising. It takes a long time, is very difficult and dominated by risk-aversion and group-think. With that in mind, you need to find the people who already believe in what you are doing and are prepared to stand up and lead. Once you have a couple like that, the rest will follow.
We hang around the hoop with the StartUp Britain guys so that when promising marketing opportunities come their way they think of us. It gives us a chance to tell influential people what we’re up to.
We went 99% down the path of hiring a giant Zucchini to represent us…