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Business matchmaker: Start-up creating SME relationships

Jessica Ruhfus

Matchmaking sites seem to be everywhere you look nowadays, taking over the net with droves of people wanting to find their other half. But what about business match-ups? It’s the question that drove entrepreneur Jessica Ruhfus to create Collabosaurus, a start-up that aims to simplify and anonymise the “hustling” and research process for businesses looking to collaborate with other brands.

Jessica first noticed the difficulties in creating business relationships at a boutique fashion and lifestyle agency. It was her first job out of university, and it was to lay the seeds for her entrepreneurial future.

“It was here that I first noticed that the way in which publicists sourced and secured event partners and product contributors was limited to brands held by other PRs, due to relationships and call out platforms. They were nearly always sourced on short notice and required time, energy and resources to execute them well,” Jessica tells Dynamic Business.

Jessica followed this job with a move to a marketing education company focusing on small business. She says the one thing that ultimately stood out to her was the amount of brands unaware of what collaborative opportunities were available.

Jessica Ruhfus, CEO & Founder, Collabosaurus

Jessica Ruhfus, CEO & Founder, Collabosaurus

“The idea came when I was making phone calls, reaching out to local businesses in an attempt to source goodie bag inclusions and beverages for an event,” Jessica says.

“It took so much time and research to reach out and make what was essentially a sales pitch, follow up and then get repeatedly turned down due to the lack of a structured process around our offering versus what we needed.”

These were frustrations that spawned the idea for Collabosaurus, a business concept that Jessica launched into fruition thanks to a carefully thought out plan. Jessica says she had two budget options: an ‘if money were no obstacle’ option and an ‘if I launched it while I’m still working full time, with all of my savings’ option.

“Needless to say, there was a huge difference between the two.

“After discussions with friends, family, and business owners, I got in contact with someone I knew had experience in funding start-ups and interesting companies. After reviewing the concept he made an incredible investment offer. He looked at my ‘use all my savings’ budget and said, ‘I think you’ll need at least triple that.’ He was right.”

Jessica quit her job, met with designers, publicists, developers, marketers, anyone she could find involved in growing a business.

“One of the most important conversations I had was with developer Thom Vincent from DO A BACKFLIP, who built the Collabosaurus site we see today. Launching a business like Collabosaurus means it has to be done right the first time, so Thom’s role was critical as essentially the platform is the business itself. It was definitely a worthy investment.”

The concept behind Collabosaurus is simple: connect businesses looking to collaborate with other brands. Jessica breaks the business down into five simple steps:

  1. Businesses sign up.
  2. Users enter details about their brand, target market and marketing goals, as well as information regarding the partnership they’re seeking.
  3. Collabosaurus presents the user with potential brands who are also using the platform to collaborate, based on the information and assets provided. Anonymity remains at this stage, and Collabosaurus’ unique algorithm ensures only legitimate, valuable businesses are approved to use the service.
  4. Users are then invited to request to connect with brands offering the services of interest to them. That user will be sent an email with the relevant stats – still remaining anonymous – and, if they like the sound of the services on offer, both parties are introduced and invited to collaborate.
  5. Users collaborate and are encouraged to use Collabosaurus’ resource page on how to get the most out of their partnership and the platform itself.

Collabosaurus matchmaking capabilities may have only gone live in early April, but the platform already has 600 subscribers, and numbers are growing daily. Expansion plans are forming; the introduction of an app and a move into foreign markets are just some of the moves on the table.

“We want to break down the barriers to collaborating even further to facilitate international collaborations. If, for example, a UK brand wanted traction in the Australian market and vice versa, Collabosaurus would be a logical source choice,” Jessica says, clearly excited at the growth of her brainchild.

“We’re already implementing plans to bring Collabosaurus offline as well as online. Collabosaurus is part of a larger marketing space that should be integrated, particularly within small business communities. We can’t wait to launch these around June 2015!”