60-second start-up: Any Friend of Ours

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

An online private membership community for second home owners who are looking to rent their property, in the UK and abroad, to people they can trust.

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

There is no listing fee, but we charge commission on any rentals that happen on Any Friend of Ours. There are incentives for members to introduce new people to the community, including a reduced commisioning fee.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

There are many online holiday letting companies, but the difference is that anyone can rent the properties listed on the competitor sites. Ours is for members only.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

Membership is limited to homeowners and their invited friends and family, plus very special guests of Any Friend of Ours.

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

I have funded it myself using profits from my last business.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

I have been doing non-executive work for other start-ups and prior to that I had a software publishing business, which I exited in 2003.

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

My personal experience of owning a holiday home, which sits empty most of the year and not wanting to rent it to just anyone.

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

Finding great business partners and a strong development team.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Underestimating how hard it would be to put in place multi-currency payment processing systems.

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

All butter shortbread. It's simple, but well executed, with hidden depths.

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

LinkedIn. I signed up very early on as I've always liked the idea of networks which appeal to an older demographic. I just wish I'd invested at the time. 

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

Probably working as hard as I am now to continue building the business.

For more information about Any Friend of Ours click here, www.anyfriendofours.com

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