Ben Nowlan – co-founder of Sherpa

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Ben is an energetic, driven and methodical sales and marketing professional. A proven leader with entrepreneurial talent and a track record for getting results, Ben’s experience ranges from management consulting to e-commerce.

Having played a role in the success of global companies such as Groupon and Corporate Executive Board, as well as string of start-ups in their early growth phase, Ben’s specialties include rapid business development, sales strategy and transformational change.

Ben is now co-founder and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of Sherpa – Everyones Private Courier.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to anyone and ask for something – for their business, for their money or for their advice. You will be surprised at the results.

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

The idea was founded by Mathieu Cornillon who came up with the idea back in his home country of France delivering alcohol into universities. After moving to Australia, Mathieu decided to formalise and expand the concept into what is now Sherpa. There are three co-founders – Mathieu Cornillon, Bastien Vettle, and myself, Ben Nowlan. The decision to take the plunge for all three of us was that there is a clear problem to solve, and a massive market opportunity.

Please explain your business model.

Our business model is simple: 75% goes to our ‘Sherpas’ and 25% to the company. We control the entire transaction through a frictionless payment system within our App and web platform.

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?

We have just raised our first round of capital so now its about growth and improving the technology. We plan to open up in other Australian cities over the next few months.

How do you make ideas happen?

We have a non-negotiable weekly Monday meeting where we discuss problems and opportunities and the ways we can solve them.

What does your typical day look like?

Calling small businesses to tell them about Sherpa; talking to investors; managing our digital strategy; and planning partnerships that help grow the platform exponentially.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

Raising capital linked with the investment culture has made it tough. Many Australian VC’s or private equity management firms are still looking to traditional industries of mining for investment, as they still don’t quite get tech investment. This is changing, but slowly.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to anyone and ask for something – for their business, for their money or for their advice. You will be surprised at the results.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?

Pocketbook, Airtasker and Verbate are three great startups to watch out for.

What about internationally?

TownSquared.com & Helpling.com

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

Sherpa is enabling the sharing economy and utilising people’s interest in being part of a community. Through the use of crowdsourcing we can make an impact on the courier industry.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.

www.app.unbounce.com – auto landing page creation for digital marketing. Great for small businesses.

Lastpass.com – web browser plugin for remembering passwords (must have).

www.odesk.com – outsourcing platform.

Can you name some interesting Australians we should follow on Twitter?

Alex Heber – Business Insider

Deb Carr – SydneyChicBlogger

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

Yes, we need sales people and interns right away.

We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?

Where do you find good people talent in Australia?

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

Restaurant – Apollo in Potts Point (Greek Restaurant) never fails.

 

Learn from over 100 Australians making ideas happen.

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