Emma Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and marketing specialist. She is ranked in the ‘Top 50 Australian Female Entrepreneurs Under 40’ list and has two successful exits under her belt. She has worked with startups in a variety of industries, ranging from sport and fitness to beauty and wellbeing, social networking, consulting, coupons and deals, and is now taking on the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. She also published a chapter in a book titled “Successful Women in Business” and has had her previous startups listed in the top 50 of Anthill Australia’s annual Smart100 list. Emma is excited by highly disruptive industries and the rollercoaster that is the startup journey.
Can you tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
Our project is called Blockbid – we are an ultra-secure exchange with the goal of facilitating the highest volume of trades for the most cryptocurrencies with a single login. We are the first Australian exchange of our kind and designed to help traders overcome three main issues; the inconvenience of needing to sign up to multiple exchanges, the unease associated with having coins scattered across multiple (and potentially untrustworthy) exchanges, and missed investment opportunities caused by time lapses in transferring funds between different platforms.
To most people, this sounds like gibberish, and it sounded the same when I first heard about the concept. However, as that blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency industry bursts onto the scene, Bitcoin and alike are becoming household names, which is what initially drew me in.
I had worked with the two Founders on projects in the past and when I received an excited phone call from them a few months ago with the pitch, I knew they were onto something. I went off and did my own research and saw a gaping hole in the market that Blockbid could plug.
It’s been a steep learning curve in a fast-paced and quickly evolving industry, but the potential is undeniable. The cryptocurrency industry has grown from $11 billion to a height of $180 billion in under twelve months, with only 1% of the global population currently involved. As financial institutions, e-commerce businesses and governments start moving towards cryptocurrencies, they will become more commercialised and the 1% of people will grow exponentially, which will lead to an influx of future investment and market growth.
Can you explain your business model to us?
Blockbid makes money in a couple of ways – firstly, we take a flat 0.1% transaction fee from any trades made on our platform. Secondly, we have our own currency, known as “Blockbid Tokens” which are traded on the cryptocurrency market, which operates like a digital stock exchange.
How do you make ideas happen?
I let go of any fear and just bite the bullet. I spend a lot of time carefully researching and analysing opportunities, in fact a friend once told me that my mind operates like a cost-benefit analysis. However, a very important lesson that I’ve learnt is to simply ‘control the controllables’ and once a decision is made just run with it. Startups often feel like a high-speed rollercoaster, where things can turn at any second, so why exert precious energy on mental hurdles when it could better be spent more productively? The most important thing is to set milestone targets to work towards and do whatever you can to not deviate from that path.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
I think everyone has their own definition of what constitutes a mentor. My definition of a mentor has never been that of the ‘master and apprentice’, but rather one of mutual growth and collaboration. My mentors are the people that I love brainstorming with, bouncing ideas off and those who let me pick their brain on certain topics every now and then.
I am eternally grateful for my mentors – I attribute my growth, as an entrepreneur and as a person, to them.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
A digital marketing and PR agency specialising in cryptocurrency startups and listing ICOs (initial coin offerings) on the right platforms for greater exposure.
Are you operating internationally?
We’re currently operating globally (with the exception of China due to regulatory restrictions). Our biggest markets are Australia, US, UK, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Phillippines, and Canada.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
Anyone is capable of contributing to social change, the variable is by how much. The more people’s attention you have, the more you’ll be able to contribute. Because businesses generally have access to larger audiences than individuals, their ability to affect social change is greater. With a captive audience, businesses have the ability to champion a particular cause or act as a megaphone for educating the wider population about an issue.
What 3 websites would you recommend to our readers?.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?
Absolutely! We’re open to any support or collaboration. Feel free to reach out, we’d love to hear from you!
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Miznon – at 59 Hardware Lane in Melbourne