Founder to founder: A chat with FanFinders
This month, our CEO Anil Stocker meets with Alec Dobbie and Adam Gillett from FanFinders.
FanFinders is a online platform that helps connect family and beauty brands and retailers with their target audience, women ranging from ages 18-40. FanFinders helps brands with everything from acquisition of new customers through ongoing engagement to drive loyalty.
Alec said: “We started in 2013. There were five of us – we had an idea and £500 each. At the beginning, all we had was sweat equity. It was a bootstrap operation, we had no external funding.”
They launched with ‘Your Baby Club’, an online community of new and expectant mums who receive offers on products from big brands like Mothercare, Tesco, Aptamil and more.
Unlike other digital companies that inundate prospects with a sea of offers, FanFinders only passes information to brands selected by the consumer.
Adam said: “We act as a value exchange, only putting together the connections that people want. We’re putting the power back into the hands of the consumer.”
FanFinders operates on a ‘pay-on-results’ marketing model, which means that brands and retailers are not charged a flat upfront fee for the campaign. Instead, FanFinders invoices at the end of a campaign based on the results achieved.
This, in addition to having long payment terms from their clients, means that FanFinders can sometimes have to wait between 60-120 days to receive payment once their work is completed.
In order to keep business moving, FanFinders realised they needed to secure additional funding. Their first port of call was the bank, but they ran into challenges.
Alec said: “Trying to get funding was a bit hopeless because they just didn’t have an understanding of how an online business works. Coming from a tech background, I found that really frustrating.”
After exploring other invoice finance providers in the space, Alec and Adam came to MarketInvoice in 2015. For them, speed and ease of use were key.
Alec said: ‘MarketInvoice has enabled us to get the cash flow we need to grow more quickly. It’s so straightforward. The connection with Xero makes everything so easy…it’s like magic!”
Since 2013, ‘Your Baby Club’ has grown to over 1.8 million registered users, reaching 75% of new mums in the UK. FanFinders has recently expanded their remit to include beauty marketing, and are looking to target 50,000+ new members per month with the recently launched ‘Your Beauty Club’. Global expansion is also on their radar as they look to bring vertical sites to markets across the world.
The team has steadily grown the business year-over-year, turning over £1.4m in 2017. But these guys are just getting started. In the next few years they aim to reach £100m.
It’s amazing to see how much FanFinders has grown, and we look forward to seeing big things in the years to come. A big thanks to Alec and Adam for taking the time to share their story with us!