VeeLoop is an online approval and payment service to help Teens shop online
Please introduce yourself and your startup VeeLoop to our readers!
I am Randa Bennett and I’m a busy, working mother of two. Like many mums today I try to do everything I can online, especially shopping.
VeeLoop is an online payment approval system to enable teens and tweens to shop online; the teenager picks, sends to the parent, the parent checks and pays.
We know teens are very tech savvy, they are very competent at searching and finding items online, they frequently visit online shopping sites. According to statistics by the end of 2017, 96% of UK teens will own a smartphone. However, their online shopping is restricted; the main reason is most teens lack access to a payment method. Even when they have a payment card parents worry about their security and judgment online.
VeeLoop offers a very simple way for teens to shop online safely and independently whilst giving parents full visibility and control.
How did you get the idea to VeeLoop?
I was just frustrated with constantly being followed around the house with a laptop to complete an online purchase for my 14 year old daughter. I thought: “Why can’t she send me that basket and I look through it in my own time? I’m going to be even more receptive to her requests after 8:00pm when the kids are in bed and I have a cuppa in hand.”
I then started speaking with other parents and teenagers and found this problem happens in many households. This is unsurprising as today’s teen have easy access to internet connected devices, making it easier to spend online, especially on mobile phones.
Parents also told us that online security was a major concern for them when letting their teens shop online. Given the fact that our lives are so digital nowadays it is essential to guide our kids in this digital world. VeeLoop provides a solution to make life a little easier for families.
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Where do I start, so many challenges to choose from. The first challenge was to get over the fear of failing and believe in myself. Looking back, I feel I spent far too much time doing market research. I procrastinated too much but once I dived in and started taking the risks I’ve overcome a lot of those fears. Moving from researching an idea to creating a business was a big defining point for me.
Our next challenge was funding. We found that most UK based investors like to invest in companies that already have some traction. We were faced with a catch 22 because investors want to see traction to invest and we needed money to get traction!
But we found a way to self fund VeeLoop and have decided we won’t focus on actively pursuing outside investment right now. By bootstrapping we have built the system and recently launched the service with our pilot retailer.
Who is your target audience?
Our user audience are families – parents, kids and teenager who shop online.
Our other audience are the retailers that kids and teens love as we need to partner with them to offer VeeLoop as a payment option for their young customers.
We want to become a digital money management tool for families – helping parents teach financial literacy and kids become financially confident and responsible consumers.
What is the USP of your startup?
Convenience and safety – Teens and parents can shop and approve orders in their own time wherever they are; one account/login for many retailers; no cards to lose; only the parent provides address and payment details. Also we are the first service of its kind in the UK.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
We are bootstrapping VeeLoop as its tough to get investment at an early stage. So I have to do consulting work on the side where I can earn and use the money to fund VeeLoop.
My day starts at 6:00am for a call with my developers, get kids ready for school, drop off, go to work and do an intense 9-5 day. Back home, I spend the best three hours of the day with my family. When the girls are in bed I start what I call my second day of work from 8:00pm, where I concentrate on VeeLoop and go on until I am about to drop. My passion is my fuel.
Where do you see yourself and your startup VeeLoop in five years?
VeeLoop’s vision is to become the main online payment method for young people and a one stop for parents to approve teen orders from multiple retailers with the convenience of one checkout journey.
In 5 years we will be establish in the UK with a great number of retail partners covering a variety of sectors to give teenagers the option to buy everything they need online via VeeLoop. We will also expand internationally as this problem is not restricted to the UK.
We also want to build a company that people love to work for, especially parents. In the UK, there is an immense pool of talent that has been underused, parents (particularly mums) – after having kids they want to be able to balance work and family. As a business built around families we want to support those talented parents achieve their career ambitions.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
1 – Move, Act, Don’t expect or try to have all the answers to start. The best way to kick off any project is to talk to your potential customers/users, then quickly move into creating the first version of your product, don’t procrastinate.
2- Find something that will help you keep motivated. I found keeping motivated at the very beginning is hard. My way of getting through it was to start following cheesy motivational accounts/quotes on twitter and reading stories of how some big names started out, this helped me a huge deal.
3- Don’t listen to the naysayers. There will be many people you will meet who will tell you your dream is too big, this won’t work…etc. Believe in yourself and don’t let negativity get the best of you.
More information you will find here
Thank you Randa Bennett for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.