A Q&A with BuyBox CMO Aria Ardalan. Created by Toulouse, France–based holding company Oonetic, BuyBox was founded in 2010. The startup raised €1.7 million ($2.3 million) in new funding in mid-January from Iris Capital and Midi Capital.
SUB: Please describe BuyBox and your value proposition.
Ardalan: BuyBox offers a simple SaaS platform for groups and social payments. BuyBox allows e-merchants to easily collect and organize added value payments, from sharing the purchase of an expensive item to issuing their own merchants’ social gift cards.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Ardalan: We target online retailers, especially e-merchants with a social commerce strategy. BuyBox users are e-merchants’ customers.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Ardalan: There are several indirect competitors who offer group payment services directly to users through their own sites. These providers are B-to-C positioned.
SUB: What differentiates BuyBox from the competition?
Ardalan: We have a B-to-B positioning with a solution which is implemented directly on e-merchants’ sites, on a white label mode.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Ardalan: BuyBox was founded end 2010. The first step was to be able to offer a fast-and-easy deployment to our customers. We achieved this by connecting BuyBox to payment gateways.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for BuyBox? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Ardalan: BuyBox is the outcome of three years of R&D and was born by getting to know merchants needs and problems for group payments.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Ardalan: We wanted a name to illustrate group payments, and the idea came through the box used to collect money.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Ardalan: To be accepted, we have had to convince the payments industry, such as banks or payment gateways, of the benefits BuyBox offers, as well as e-merchants’ needs. We effectively demonstrated this with the results generated by our first customers.
SUB: You just raised €1.7 million in new funding. Was this the company’s first round of funding?
Ardalan: Yes, this is our first round of funding. Prior to that, we had been up financed by business Angels.
SUB: What are your plans for the funds?
Ardalan: The financing is being used to develop the product portfolio and an international commercial strategy.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise more outside funding?
Ardalan: Additional funding were necessary in order to strengthen our sales and IT teams in preparation for a deployment on a larger scale.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Ardalan: As any payment method, we charge a low percentage of revenues we generate for e-merchants. Our business strategy is to deploy the service to the largest number of sites possible.
SUB: What are your goals for BuyBox over the next year or so?
Ardalan: Our goal is to connect BuyBox to the major payment gateways for European coverage in 2013.