Yorkshire Payments the Regionally Unique Card Service and Blooie the Sales Converting Chat Platform
Another two local technology founders used the Lean Startup Yorkshire meet in March to tell their story. Three and a half years and still pivoting and making course corrections was how Chris Manson, CTO of Bloo.ie, described their journey so far. While James Howard, founder of local card possessor Yorkshire Payments reflected on how he did not let his tough start in life stand in the way of building his business from a standing start to its current half million pound turnover in four short years.
Bloo.ie was born as a business after the team joined the Ignite 100 technology accelerator in Newcastle; “this wasn’t like most of the other teams, who had formed a company and been working together for some time” explained Chris. Back when it was formed Blooie was still the chat platform it is today but the target audience was completely different. “We were originally a C2C platform for web users to chat one to one over things like news stories”, recounted Chris. Some time after that the business pivoted, which is a word coined within the lean start-up community to mean realigned or changed direction to become B2C based. The product was still a chat platform but now they explored different was online businesses could use Blooie to engage with their customers in real-time. Today Blooie is used by a range of sectors to boost sales conversions significantly through real-time chat and the use of analytics. Blooie has been particularly popular within the travel industry where they use it to engage with browsing customers, answer there questions and move them towards a booking all in real-time.
The growth of Blooie really started to accelerate in the autumn of 2014 after a campaign with a team of outbound telesales agents. This direct sales mechanism proved highly effective however is was also expensive to run so the team have decided to pause this activity while they work on other marketing ideas. The growth in Blooie customers was so great in fact that some rapid re-engineering work was required to keep the platform running efficiently. Chris talked about Blooie’s future plans to run new experiments around features they believe will be valuable to their customers and capitalise on their growing traction.
Next to present was James Howard the founder and CEO of Yorkshire Payments, a card processing gateway used by both online and bricks and mortar traders. While you may think of card payments as an establish sector, innovation in the area of online and cashless transaction is fierce. Not only is Yorkshire Payments the only independent card processing provider in our region but they are only one of a handful in the entire country and well placed to take the business and any direction very quickly. James explained how they are proud to play on this regional notoriety and use it to offer a level personal service and responsiveness that the larger vendors and banks struggle to provide. The team in Brighouse is a growing, but tight-knit, operation where customers are always able to speak to exactly the right person to resolve issues. Personal service is of key benefit to regional SMEs who need to resolve problems quickly and this, together with the very competitive pricing that Yorkshire Payments promote, wins Yorkshire Payments many new customers.
James and his co-founder have also invested heavily in building their own web platform for the service they offer to online businesses. Because their staff includes a team of software developers they have been able to tackle this work in-house and continue to develop new features. Of course this level of complexity brings with it the added costs of regular PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance which takes place monthly as well as quarterly audits from Visa and MasterCard. The future for Yorkshire Payments looks to be continued growth with James and his team regularly out on the road, speaking to Yorkshire companies and winning business from their institutional competitors.
Once again thanks to event sponsors Berwins, Garbutt and Elliott, NewRedo, Rosenfeld Media and to the speakers themselves for supporting and helping to grow the Lean Startup community here in Yorkshire.