Marcus is the founder of Oneflare, an online platform which connects customers and service providers in local Australian communities.
Marcus is constantly enhancing Oneflare’s online strategy and product development. As an innovator, he is inspired to disrupt the current local services market and develop the best products and services to improve the way consumers hire local service providers in Australia.
A former military commander, Marcus also spent time working at Deloitte Consulting providing growth and technology advice for the Government, telecommunications and financial services industries. Marcus holds a B.Comm and B.Ec (UNSW Co-op scholar) from the University of New South Wales.
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I believe in particular for tech businesses, it is about improving the efficiency of the way people do things by using technology
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
It started in the living room of my apartment, where Adam (my co-founder – we met through university) and I met regularly to brainstorm different internet tech ideas that we could start. I was renovating my apartment and I had to call around to so many renovators with no understanding of price, quality and reputation. I decided there should be a more efficient and effective way of doing this. That’s how Oneflare (Pick A Quote) was born in 2010. We took the entire year to build the platform and launched it in early 2011.
Please explain your business model
For customers to request a service it’s 100% free. We charge businesses a 4 tier monthly membership ranging from $24/month to $249/month. Premium listing at $349/year is another option for businesses to be listed and featured on our directory.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
Currently we are actively promoting Oneflare Scrapbooks as we have just launched it 5 months ago and it’s a great tool for homeowners who are looking for great home improvement inspiration.
We are looking to grow revenue significantly in the next 3 months as our traffic and job requests have gone through the roof!
How do you make ideas happen?
I work with really smart and talented people and they are the ones that make the ideas happen.
What does your typical day look like?
- I’ll come into the office and get started on looking at yesterday’s daily metrics e.g. traffic, jobs requested, no. of quotes, revenue etc.
- I will meet with either development and or marketing to catch up on any initiatives that are due on the day or within the next few days.
- The rest of the day is very dependent on the different types of initiatives that I am working on so will vary from day-to-day.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
- Lack of capital and the difficulty in finding people to invest in your idea.
- Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) does not provide an tax effective scheme that allows for the business/organisation to distribute shares to its employees.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
We are looking to develop an online payment platform that allows customers to pay service providers with their credit/debit card. I think this is exciting as we would be the first local service marketplace in Australia.
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry in Australia at the moment?
I think start up incubators and co-working spaces are doing a fantastic job in fostering the start up community. When I started Oneflare.com.au, there weren’t that many around and I didn’t even know what incubators did. Now there are quite a number in most major Australian cities and I think this builds a real hub for innovation and allows like-minded people to connect.
What about internationally?
I’ve been observing a number of Asian countries recently as there has been a lot of start up activity happening there. What I have observed is that it’s not just the government but private organisations in Singapore that are really fostering the start up community there. I think what the government is doing is also really cool, as it has been actively providing a lot of government grant support to tech start ups. They have also developed an investment scheme and tax breaks that makes it more conducive for venture capital firms to set up in Singapore and invest.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
I believe in particular for tech businesses, it is about improving the efficiency of the way people do things by using technology. In the instance of Oneflare.com.au people are able to connect with the best service providers in their local area and save a lot of time compared to using traditional methods of searching for a service provider.
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like our readers to support?
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
Yes we are definitely look for interns, developers and any online marketers.
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?
How is the Australian government actively looking to assist and foster the start up community?
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
- The Barbershop – because its right next to our office
- Tokonoma – restaurant
- Renato’s Italian Restaurant in Coogee
We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?
Sure we are happy to provide a $100 Oneflare voucher. This can go towards any home services that you need.