Dan Cohen, regional director at Tradedoubler

Member Article

Project to help start-ups solve financial challenge

With the average cost of office space in London now reaching around £13,609 per month[1], and research showing that half of UK start-ups fail within the first five years[2], e-commerce entrepreneurs and emerging online starts-ups are being given a helping hand by Tradedoubler’s e-commerce incubator, The Zoo Project.

The performance marketing specialist is providing budding companies with that all-essential first step towards business success by offering ten UK-based entrepreneurs a year’s free office space in the heart of London, in its new premises at Moorgate.

This news comes at a time when the UK has been named the most entrepreneurial country in Europe, with nearly 500,000 new businesses created in 2014 according to StartUp Britain. However, with the high cost of office space, and a lack of sound business advice and mentoring likely to contribute to the failure of 50% of UK start-ups in the first five years[3], Tradedoubler wants to help resolve these challenges.

Successful applicants will benefit from one year’s rent and rates-free office space; complemented by mentoring from Tradedoubler’s in-house affiliate marketing and technology experts; access to major brand advertisers and partners; networking opportunities with other Zoo Project residents and industry entrepreneurs; as well as other resources that an online company requires to get its business off the ground.

To secure a place, applicants need to present their business plan which will then be judged by a panel of industry ‘dragons’ – marketing and business experts from some of the UK’s top retailers, including:

- Mary Keane-Dawson, CEO myHealthPal & Global Ambassador British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) - Leo Harrison, Co-founder of Squawka Sports - Hannah Rouch, Head of Product, Bauer Xcel Media (and Founder of StyleNest) - Dan Cohen, Regional Director at Tradedoubler - Matt Wood, Managing Director at Vouchercloud - Sarah Parsonage, Managing director at PerformanceIN

Since its conception in 2011, The Zoo Project has helped launch eleven start-ups including online fashion retailers HipSnip, StyleNest, LUX FIX and lifestyle site eat.travel.live,

Following its involvement with The Zoo Project, independent online fashion boutique LUX FIX has grown rapidly. It has secured investment to expand and now has a global presence, delivering designer clothing, jewellery and accessories to customers worldwide. It was featured as “one of the most innovative businesses emerging across Europe” by Wired magazine; while Vogue named it the site “for the coolest British fashion buys”. It was heralded by The Independent as one of the top online retailers.

Rebecca Glenapp, LUX FIX co-founder, said: “Starting your own business can be daunting, not to mention expensive, but the Zoo Project helped us by dramatically reducing our overheads during the early stages of our growth. Tradedoubler’s team helped us accelerate our development by providing mentoring, support and technical expertise. It’s so rare to find such an innovative project designed especially for start-ups, and we highly recommend budding entrepreneurs to get involved and join the Zoo!”

Hannah Rouch, Founder of StyleNest, said: “As one of the Zoo Project’s first ever residents, I’m excited to be part of this year’s panel as a dragon, and hope to pass on the knowledge I acquired from the scheme to young entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. Many start-ups face a lonely journey in the early years, however the Zoo Project gave me the chance to discuss challenges with a breadth of people in a similar stage of their business, providing a collaborative and supportive environment. The best piece of advice I would give to applicants is to know that while there will be hurdles and challenges along the way, don’t be afraid to face these and to never give up when things go wrong. Embrace all that comes your way as part of the journey.”

Dan Cohen, Regional Director at Tradedoubler, said: “The Zoo Project has helped kick-start eleven online success stories over the past three years and we’re looking forward to developing the programme further by creating a hub of creativity and business innovation from our new city-base. Through the Zoo Project, we’ve discovered innovative new affiliates, start-ups and publishers and have worked collaboratively with them to help maximise commercial opportunities in the early stages of their development. The insight we can share from some of the world’s most successful and respected brands is priceless for any new business and we’re looking forward to welcoming the next generation of talented web entrepreneurs.”

For more information and to apply visit www.thezooproject.co.uk.

[1] Calculated using workspace.co.uk

[2] RSA, October 2014, Growing pains - how the UK became a nation of “micropreneurs”

[3] RSA, October 2014, Growing pains - how the UK became a nation of “micropreneurs”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tradedoubler .

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