There's always a better way to do something, and startups are the best at figuring this out and trying new things. Claudio de Giovanni is the founder of WatchR, a marketplace providing a hassle-free way to sell premium watches - an idea that came to him after spotting an opportunity to modernise the watch-selling industry. Let's find out more.
1. Explain your business in thirty seconds or less
WatchR is a marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of used luxury watches. All our watches are hand-inspected by our certified WatchR inspectors.
If you're selling, you just give us the basic details. We'll send an inspector to check your timepiece right at your home or office, set the price, and – when it's sold – ship it to a buyer. What could be more painless? Plus we guarantee a higher price than traditional watch dealers.
If you're buying, you know you're getting a watch that's been inspected and certified, that comes with a 10-day money-back guarantee, and will be delivered right to your door. The price? This time it's lower than other dealers, guaranteed.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
London. The watch market is huge: thousands of watches are being bought and sold every month.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
I have always been very passionate about watches and technology. After a some time working in the tech industry, I realised that the ways second-hand watches are bought and sold is extremely old-fashioned.
I start researching the market and I figured out that there is a huge opportunity to apply technology and better operations to provide value to both the sellers and the buyers, while at the same time removing the trust issues that permeate the space.
I literally asked myself "What would be the best way both from the buyers and sellers perspective to transact online?" That is how I came up with the idea of Watchr.
4. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
Very early stage. I was still building the website.
5. How have you used it to grow your business?
I have used the loan to build the website, implement a paid acquisition marketing campaign, and hire the first employees.
6. Who was your business advisor and how did they help you get a Virgin StartUp loan?
Jonathon Spanos supported me throughout the application process. He is very knowledgeable and was able to provide invaluable advice that helped me get the loan.
7. Biggest achievement so far?
Besides getting the startup loan and entering the Virgin network, I just finalized the MVP (www.watchr.co.uk) and secured additional investments.
8. What’s next for your business?
We now need to facilitate the first transactions. We're aiming to reach 20 by the end of the year.
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