AnteBox is an online marketplace for local businesses to share their stories with the world.
Briefly explain your business/business concept and the problem it aims to solve:
Founded in February 2016 and based in London, United Kingdom, AnteBox is an online marketplace for local businesses to share their stories with the world. People are able to browse through the unique selection of products and read more about each company and its products. People then have the ability to request these products and receive delivery bids from other people traveling their way.
Every country in the world has something to offer; for example, halloumi cheese from Cyprus or summer truffle from Italy. AnteBox makes these available by connecting local businesses to travellers and customers.
How did you come up with this idea?
Since 2011, Bojana (my co-founder) and myself travelled more than 150 times to keep our long distance relationship going. As we did not have the ability to finance these trips well, we did not book accommodation and stayed at each other's houses. This gave us the ability to live as locals in each other's countries and experience the unique food and traditions. Soon we fell in love with some of the products, like Halloumi cheese, and never travelled without bringing them as they are not available worldwide. We want to share these products with the world, and using travellers is the fastest way!
What stage is your business currently at, and what are your plans moving forward?
AnteBox was founded in February 2016, and we have already launched our website. Although it offers basic functionality, people can browse through the products and make requests that can be fulfilled by other people travelling their way. We currently have 10 local businesses working with us to promote their products and we are now aiming to expand our network to include restaurants, hotels and airlines. We want to offer everything travellers need for their trips when they are making a delivery for AnteBox users.
What do you feel are your three biggest successes with your business so far?
Although we are fairly new, our biggest success was to give hope to the local businesses we work with. They are looking forward to sell their products that will directly help them and their families. Secondly, from an achievement perspective, the biggest success was to enter the Cyprus Entrepreneurial Competition Final for 2016 and CitySpark. Finally, gaining the trust of businesses that never heard of us, like Quality Life Italian Made from Italy.
How was being a student at City helped you to develop your idea?
Being a student at City helped me in many ways. Firstly, I had the opportunity to learn from professional professors that have worked many years in the industry. Further to my regular course lectures, City gave me the opportunity to participate in lectures given by key business people at CASS Business School. Lastly, the CityStarters team not only provided us with incubation space, advise and guidance, they are always there to support us and motivate us to develop our ideas.
What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurial students at City?
Don't waste your time; you have all the resources and time needed to build your dream company and see your idea come to life.
If you are seeking help or investment - let us know what you need to help your business grow?
We are looking for an investment of £50k for marketing activities. The platform is ready and functions well, and we now need the users. We are also looking to partner with restaurants, hotels and airlines and that could join our point system; an innovative rewards system were a traveller has the ability to collect points throughout his journey.