Earlier in the week I caught up with the CEO and Founder of EZBOB, Tomer Guriel, to find more about his entrepreneurial journey and his plan for EZBOB in the new year.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I worked as an investment banker for JPMorgan on large scale financings. My business career has always been in finance.
Tell me how you initially got into business?
I wanted to bring my skills in business finance to the small business market.
How did the idea for EZBOB come about?
The current economic situation really dried up the financing for small business. Banks are not lending, the government is doing what it can to incentivise the traditional financing companies to lend to small business. The truth is, without automation, it becomes very expensive and time consuming to lend to small business. The idea was formulated taking into consideration that anyone selling online has all his data available digitally. By developing technology, we can analyse that multivariate data in real time- saving time for the applicant and saving time and man-power ourselves. This way we can deal with a large influx of applicants without having a large staff and we can make available instant business loans.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
Developing the system was difficult. It is a robust system that gathers a lot of data.
What is EZBOB? And what are you trying to solve with it?
EZBOB provides instant financing to e-tailers in the UK. We are trying to fill the cash flow needs of these companies.
How have you been able to fund it?
We have raised over 3M to date from funds and private investors.
What sorts of advice do you having for entrepreneurs looking to raise money for their startups?
Believe in yourself. Write a good business plan and pay attention to the financials.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
Developing a system and then seeing it work is very, very gratifying. Talking to our clients, seeing that the money we are lending is really helping them buy inventory and grow their business confirms to me that our mission is right on the money, literally.
How did you initially get traction?
Marketing, marketing, marketing.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
As with any business, a company is built from people and personalities. Our team is what got us here and our people is what will take us forward.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
We are in a new sector of financing. This in itself is very exciting. We are pioneering the way small business is getting the funding they need. EZBOB is providing fast business loans when the banks are not providing money at all to these companies. To the banks, an eBay store is not understood in the traditional sense.
What should we be expecting from yourself and the EZBOB team for 2013?
Lots of good news I hope. We have high expectations. We are growing and we recently signed our first two partnership agreements. Expect lots more in 2013.
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
Believe in yourself. Stay focused and make sure your budget is in check daily. And always look to grow your business.