60-second start-up: Competition Hunter

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

Competition Hunter is a UK online competition portal allowing consumers and providers of competitions to submit, vote, share and connect with each other.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

The primary business model is a classic ad/affiliate one. Competition entrants are a rare market these days: they are one of the few demographics that are still engaged by relevant ads.  If these ads point to competitions, there's an in-built motivation to click.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

The space in which we operate, particularly in the UK, is full of very well established competitors. Sites and brands looking to seed their competitions will be very familiar with Loquax and Prizefinder and the forum Money Saving Expert is a major source on the consumer side.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

Principally, our points element, 'Karma' (this idea will be familiar to Reddit users) rewards any activity on the site. Time spent on the site, submission, voting and commenting can earn a user Karma. This gaming element is not a critical element, nor an afterthought, but a reward which encourages sharing and loyalty to the site. Karma will eventually become a virtual currency which can be exchanged for real-world rewards like exclusive discounts, and we're considering the possibility of some kind of flash-sale tie-in also.

Competition Hunter uses a voting system that works well on sites like Reddit and formerly for Digg allowing the competition community to democratically influence the content on the site, and bury spam without the need for mods to get involved.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

The business is currently funded with working capital from other startups. We're not actively seeking investment, but there are people on the radar whose expertise in our field may be appropriate to bring on down the line.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Before Competition Hunter myself and my team were running a multitude of startups, many of them in cult media, but others in more sensible areas like dating, editorial and jobs.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

I've run competitions for large brands and small businesses, as well as for my own businesses, and have developed what I'd say is a good sense of what works and why for online competitions.

I have a good relationship with various competition communities and recognise what can be improved, both for those looking to enter competitions, and those looking to seed them. Competition Hunter is in a sweet spot because the site can both boost entries for brands and provide a service for entrants who want to share the tip.

Competition Hunter is me, for once, actually putting something I know about into a startup, rather than the usual case of picking the most obscure thing I can think of.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

The smartest thing we've done thus far has been hand-rearing our core user-base.  Without a hard core of trusted advocates for the site and its submissions, nobody would take any notice.  Careful feedback to and from suppliers and consumers of the submitted content is critical at this stage. But we're only a week old, so there's still a lot of 'rearing' to be done…

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

We're so young that we haven't really had time to do anything truly stupid, but rest assured that moment is no doubt coming any day now.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Our business would have to be an Amoretti biscuit. Because they're delicious. There's no metaphor in particular in that choice; I just happen to love Amoretti biscuits.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

I wouldn't say I'm jealous of any ideas per se, but any really exciting or well executed examples of social gaming or non-gaming startups with gaming or reward elements will have me dribbling with lust. Oft cited is Michael Acton Smith's Moshi Monsters, which is a tremendous UK stealth-learning social game considered to be some kind of "junior Facebook. Who wouldn't want to have the junior Facebook?

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

We'd be hoping to have over 5,000 registered users and a reasonable half a million page views per month. Karma will have become a recognised currency, and we will have a number of partners on board offering exclusive rewards.

…We'll also hopefully be in profit.

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