Thursday, 10 May 2012 Written by Puneet Lakhi
We ask QuiBids.com CEO Matt Bekham how he got his start
Matt Beckham started QuiBids.com, one of the most popular penny auction sites today. A completely different model from eBay, bidders pay 60 cents for each bid to raise the price of an auction 1 cent. The items are all supplied by QuiBids.com itself rather than others who are trying to pawn off their stuff like on eBay. While it's not the first site of its kind, Matt has been able to make it very popular in a short amount of time. Whether you agree with QuiBids business model or not, you have to respect his success, and the speed and age at which he's attained it.
Matt Beckham is a true native Oklahoman. He attended college at the University of Oklahoma with honors, where he majored in Finance, with a minor in Accounting, and received his Bachelors in Business Administration. Matt has years of experience in online marketing and media buying as well as a background in custom web software development.
Q. How did you get your start as an Entrepreneur and what drew you to Entrepreneurship?
A. It actually began a couple years before QuiBids when I started my own online marketing company. I’ve always enjoyed being my own boss and not having strict work hours to adhere to.
Q. How did you get the idea for Quibids.com? What motivated you to start this particular business?
A. Our CTO, Shaun Tilford, and I came across a competitor in 2009 and were instantly engaged with the business model. We knew we could develop the model further and make it into what it is today – a true “entertainment shopping” site!
Q. What challenges did you face putting your idea into action and how did you overcome them?
A. The initial challenge was “will this work and will people like it?” After we launched, we soon found out there was a huge demand for our service. However then it was “what’s next?” That’s why we continue to brainstorm and come up with ideas/features we think our customers will like. Not all ideas have made it through and probably for good reason! Other challenges and how to overcome them… you go for it. You won’t know the outcome of things unless you at least try. If something doesn’t succeed, you stop, re-evaluate and learn from it. Then, move on.
Q. How did you gather funding and recruit founding members during the launch phase of your start-ups? (equity, VC funding, angel investors?)
A. I funded QuiBids from my prior online marketing company.
Q. How have you gotten clients, customers and VC’s to respect you as a young entrepreneur?
A. I think really being passionate about QuiBids and sharing its excitement was contagious. We grew very quickly so that may have been hard to set aside at first, but putting aside the growth of the company, the sheer enthusiasm of the team behind QuiBids and what we stood for has never ceased. We’re all about fun and that’s what we want others to experience!
Q. What’s been the best way for you to grow your traffic as an e-commerce business? Have your TV ads on channels like ESPN been a big part or do you credit other marketing channels?
A. In the beginning, we advertised online and then moved into TV. TV has helped with the success but online is still our main medium of choice.
Q. How have you built customer loyalty to retain customers to come back and bid on more items?
A. I think this goes back to the features our site offers, in particular the Buy Now. The Buy Now simply assures customers that no one ever has to walk away empty-handed. The worst case scenario should be someone walking away with a product at retail. We have additional game-like mechanics on the site that enhance the user’s overall experience, on top of a superb customer support team!
Q. What aspects of entrepreneurship do you like/dislike the most?
A. I definitely like the freedom and creativity, however, there’s also a lot pressure when the company grows and the more employees you need to hire.
Q. What direction do you see your future and that of QuiBids going in the next 5 to 10 years?
A. As an entrepreneur, I see myself possibly starting another company or two. For QuiBids, I see it continuing to grow and become a true entertainment shopping hub for consumers around the world.
Q. What advice would you give college students and other young entrepreneurs starting their journey?
A. It takes a lot of determination and perseverance – don’t give up! Just when you think you can’t handle anymore, believe me, you can.