Can you tell us about cloudBuy?
cloudBuy makes buying easy; previous purchasing systems were difficult to use, and so people bought the wrong things at the wrong prices- large organisations lose millions every year from paying the wrong prices. cloudBuy makes buying the right things at the right price easy and has been recognised as one of the best solutions by Visa who are helping to roll out the system globally in conjunction with the local Visa member banks.
cloudBuy provides a 3-step process to identify the savings for buyers and suppliers: step one is the analysis which helps to build e-commerce sites for the suppliers and provides controls for the buyers. This is followed by integrated payment to provide an easy to use end-to-end process for excellent purchasing.
What made you start your own company after being a professional athlete?
Initially, it was to help find sponsors for the ski team, so the company started as both software and corporate hospitality. The software side grew when I went off and wrote some software to bring in cash to pay for the hospitality side during a quiet period. I started off on the back of the Government’s Enterprise Allowance scheme to help the unemployed create businesses, and so I am very keen to support startups and back to work programs.
Are there any qualities you learned as an Olympian which you have put into practice as an entrepreneur?
Sports can be more competitive than businesses, especially fun sports like ski racing. To be the best in the world at ski racing, the research and development starts the day after the season finishes; you work all year long on making improvements that would be used for the next season.
However, in a sport, if you come up with a new technique before everyone else puts it into practice, you will immediately see the difference. In business, having the best product is not enough, it is just the start of the journey. You then need to get people to buy the product, and your competitors will either say it is not relevant or that they are more established and have a better product. Especially in the business-to-business space, there is often a lot of very out-of-date systems because large organisations change slowly.
What are your tips for succeeding as an entrepreneur?
Go for it. Try to do it yourself without other people’s money if you can. It is a lot easier. If you take other people’s money, then understand that they need to make money, and your job is to deliver. There are a couple of pages in “Where are the customers yachts or a long hard look at wall street” that perfectly sum up business – it is about making a profit, and you need to fully understand this not just with your brain but all the way up and down your spine – the rest of the book is still completely valid 70 years later for anyone that is going to have any dealings with the city.