All Posts in General musings

December 27, 2018 - No Comments!

Paperclip Year in Review: 2018

It's been another exciting year here at Paperclip HQ...

The award-winning marketplace provider

Back in the Spring, the team were delighted to hear that Paperclip, along with some other great businesses in the region, had been shortlisted for a coveted Cardiff Life Award. A few weeks later, we headed to Cardiff City Hall where, to our surprise, we took the gold!

As the awards season rolled on, we were shortlisted for a South Wales Business Award, a Wales Startup Award and nominated for two WalesOnline Digital Awards. Though we finished runner-up in the latter, we had a great time networking with local business leaders, community organisers and even some celebs too!

Nigel Owens presents Sebastiano, Ana, Rich and Laurence with the Cardiff Life Award

And it didn't stop there, earlier this month we also received confirmation from AI Global Media that we had been named this year's SME News Business Elite's Leading Digital Trading Company of the Year UK.

Stepping into Higher Education

By far our most exciting news is that we have partnered with not one, not two but twenty different UK universities. Starting with University College London, we were able to build on our success to deliver bespoke marketplace for students at Brunel, King's College and five other London universities. Over the summer, we were able to add both Oxford and Cambridge SUs to our roster before the big launch at the start of the 2018/19 academic year.

News of our unique marketplace solution spread rapidly, and before long, we were launching online student markets from across the country, from Keele SU in the north of England to Southampton SU on the south coast.

Student deals

More than just a platform for swapping old textbooks, we wanted our student marketplaces to help in day-to-day university life. We spent the summer months reaching out to a number of great brands, to offer our users a heap of exclusive deals and discounts. Not only do students get the opportunity to earn cash when they add their first item, but they also qualify for a free return coach journey from our friends at Snap.

At selected universities, we also offer students a free JustEat voucher as well as a free two month trial with tastecard.

Not only this, but  we were able to give out tickets to the X-Factor Live Final at the SSE Wembely Arena, London as prizes for new users.

Competiton winners Rhianne and Al

Brand Ambassador Rhianne and competition winner Alice at the X-Factor Live Final

Our marketplaces also champion local businesses and university societies, providing them with a space to showcase their own deals, discounts and student events.

Growing the team

With so much going on, we decided that we had to strengthen our team...

Back in August, we welcomed our Graduate Marketing Officer Justin to the team. Justin, who has a degree in Business and Marketing, joined us from nearby Swansea University, where he had been working with us to promote the Swansea School of Management marketplace throughout the previous academic year.

We quickly put the new hire to work, and over the last few months, Justin has been travelling up and down the country running student outreach and promo days at our client campuses. Focusing on growing our user base, Justin has also been spreading the good word about our student deals and collecting valuable user feedback as continue to improve our platforms.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming two interns from the European Student Placement Agency (ESPA). Our first was Jacob from Spain, who worked closely with Laurence and Ana on university marketing campaigns. He was quickly followed by Sebastiano from Italy who worked on sales, marketing and prospecting new universities for us to reach out to. Speaking eight languages between them, both interns hit the ground running and surpassed all expectations during their brief spell with us.

Working on campus

With so many universities on board and so little time to promote the marketplaces on campus, we began the mother of all recruitment campaigns...

Over the Summer months, Laurence and Justin set about building a team of Student Brand Ambassadors at every client university. Looking for fun, outgoing and enthusiastic students, we began assembling our squads in time for a chaotic Fresher's schedule.

In the end, we weren't disappointed. A combination of hard work and organisation meant we were able to onboard thousands of students to our marketplaces and get them to take advantage of our exclusive deals and discounts.

Our Ambassadors Lucy and Madiyyah at Queen Mary SU

As the term progressed, hundreds of items were being uploaded to each marketplace and we began to see real organic growth on our platforms.

Also, utilising his connections from his days at Swansea University, Justin was able to spearhead a project to take on a number of student interns. The students are all studying Business, Leadership and Marketing and their work with us will compliment their modules at uni. The interns will work on generating valuable user feedback and growing the existing SoM marketplace.

Creating Paperclip Version 3

It's been a busy year for our Design and Development teams too!

Throughout 2018, we have been quietly working on creating a third version of the marketplace. With all the same great features as versions gone by, we have been working on a faster, more responsive experience more suited to the end user. Taking note of user feedback, we were able to provide a smarter marketplace available on iOS, Android and desktop.

Read all about it...

Not only have Paperclip been featured in national newspaper the Daily Express, but we also found our way onto the WalesOnline Tech 35 companies to watch!

We have also been featured on The Wallet Moth, Savvy Dad and our founders Rich and Alan, made it onto the WalesOnline 35 under 35!

*NB: A huge thank-you to our friends Lynsey and Beth at FD Comms who have worked tirelessly to help raise our profile over the last few month and years.

Money matters

It has been another exciting year in terms of investment and adding new faces to our board.

Back in February, Paperclip completed our third round of funding. This was led by existing investor the Development Bank of Wales, with additional funding from a consortium of angels including GoCompare founder Hayley Parsons, the ex-CFO of the Financial Times John Davis, and Tim Ward, who was part of the team that sold Friends Reunited to ITV back in 2015.

In November, we launched round four. With a stronger platform and a more experienced team, we have been able to secure funding from investors based all over the globe. We expect to close the round in early 2019, stay tuned for further announcements...

2019 and beyond!

It's been a busy year at Paperclip HQ; thousands of new users, dozens of partnerships and scores of new hires. But as we well know, time stops for no app.

After a well-deserved Christmas break, the next few months will be focused on closing our current investment round and growing our user base, both on the global marketplace and on our university marketplaces.  Read more

Published by: Paperclip HQ in General musings, News, Perspective

July 19, 2018 - No Comments!

Paperclip needs you!

Happy Thursday everybody!

Take the survey here.

Just a quick update from Paperclip HQ...

The Paperclip team have been hard at work this week, adding new features to the UK's most trusted marketplace.

feedback, iphone, marketplace, paperclip

The Paperclip marketplace

The Development team have been busy building the latest version of the mobile app, whilst the Design team have been working on some slick new graphics for our promo campaigns.

The Marketing team have been growing our university platforms and working closely with Student Unions to make sure our users are having the best experience possible. Not only that, but more universities have jumped on board and will have their own marketplaces live in time for Fresher's week 2018 (but you will have to wait until next week to find out who!)

Furthermore, we are delighted to announce that next month Paperclip will be announcing their first signing of the transfer window! The team have been lucky enough to snag a reinforcement to the marketing team - and they might not be the only one...

This week however...

Paperclip needs your help!

We are always striving to make the marketplace better, faster, with more of the stuff you love!

We were hoping you can help by sparing 60 seconds to answer a few questions about Paperclip and what you want to see more of in the future.

Click here to be transported to a brief survey about the marketplace.

Thanks for the feedback - and remember to stay tuned to our blog for more Paperclip news!

 

Published by: Paperclip HQ in General musings, News

July 11, 2018 - No Comments!

Growing the One Central Square community with Paperclip

Teaming up with OCS

It's been yet another busy week at PaperclipHQ! We have been hard at work creating more beautiful, bespoke marketplaces for our corporate and university clients.

Last Tuesday, however, we began our marketing campaign for an existing client: One Central Square.

Back in 2016, the Paperclip team were fortunate enough to snag office space in Cardiff's most prestigious development sites. One Central Square is located in the heart of the Welsh capital and caters for a number of companies both big and small.

What's different to other office spaces in the city, is OCS' commitment to building an active, supportive business community within its four walls. OCS explain "The office is more than just a place to work, it is a community that serves to ensure that the professional services staff that reside there are as content as possible."

Paperclip reached out to OCS last year and have always been keen to help OCS further develop relationships amongst tenants. With so many businesses now looking to boost employee satisfaction and retention by offering staff perks, this was the perfect opportunity to work together.

After a quick catch-up with the OCS management team, we pitched the idea of a local marketplace, just for staff and the tenants of the building.

Before long, the Development team were spinning up another new marketplace.

Building the community

Speaking about the new partnership, our CEO Rich said "I'm delighted to provide the most prestigious office building in Wales with their very own marketplace. We have thoroughly tested it with tenants such as MotoNovo and we are all very excited to go live. It's a testament to the building management that they've worked so closely with us on this, and aligns well with their vision of One Central Square becoming more than just an office, but a thriving community."

one central square, app, ocs, marketplace, Cardiff, corporate, Paperclip

The OCS marketplace

The Marketing and Design teams have been working on a print and social campaign to spread the word about the platform and it hasn't taken long for tenants to start buying, selling and swapping.

Our CMO, Laurence added "This has been a really rewarding project. Not only have we delivered a marketplace to one of the city's most prestigious developments, but we are helping build a business community too! The Development, Marketing and Design teams have really enjoyed working with One Central Square and are looking forward to getting more users and more great items on the platform."

Would your business benefit from a staff marketplace? Get in touch here.

Published by: Paperclip HQ in General musings, News, Perspective

June 13, 2018 - No Comments!

Paperclip: The UK’s leading student marketplace provider

What a start it's been to 2018!

We are only a few months in and not only have Paperclip claimed a Cardiff Life Award, but the team have also been nominated for Best Digital Start Up and Best Mobile App at the WalesOnline Digital Awards as well as being shortlisted for a South Wales Business Award.

In terms of in-house developments, the Paperclip squad have been keeping our cards close to our chest.

However, it's with great pleasure (drumroll please) that we can announce that we have secured contracts with a number of universities across the UK to power their official student marketplaces!

In the beginning...

Way back in 2015, team Paperclip began researching as to whether or not students in the UK needed their own marketplaces to buy and sell textbooks and study materials with their contemporaries. It turned out that out of our sample, a whopping 85% thought their University needed a space to facilitate buying and selling amongst their student community and a huge 79% said that if such a platform existed, they would use it regularly.

The following year, we reached out to the Swansea University School of Management to see if they would be interested in working with us to deliver their very own bespoke student marketplace. Luckily, the University faculty saw as much potential in the project as we did and within a few weeks, the School of Management had their very own marketplace.

Before long, the marketplace had grown into a thriving community of students buying, selling and swapping their old textbooks, clothes and even their old fancy dress outfits!

We recruited a crack team of Student Ambassadors to push the marketplace even further within the student community and now the marketplace is an indispensable part of student life on campus.

The next steps

Building on the success of our project in Swansea. We reached out to the famous University College London's Student's Union in the capital. A few days after our initial meetings, our test site was ready and we were adding the finishing touches to yet another brand new marketplace.

marketplace, buy, sell, swap, universities, student

UCL marketplace

Speaking about the marketplace, Nick Spence, Sales and Events Coordinator at UCL Students' Union said "We are delighted to announce our partnership with Paperclip. The whole team at UCL SU are pleased to provide our students with this brand new marketplace!"

Rich, our CEO, added "It's an honour to be working with the University College London Students' Union and we are delighted to provide students with a unique platform where they can buy, sell and swap with their contemporaries."

Rather than rest on our laurels, the Paperclip marketing team have been working closely with the Student Union to get the word out about the new marketplace and encourage students to get trading.

Speaking about the onboarding process, our CMO Laurence added, "After starting our outreach campaign in the Spring, the Paperclip team have been blown away by the response. Working within print, digital and social media, the marketing team have successfully build awareness about the new marketplace and familiarised hundreds of students with the concept and interface. We've had great feedback so far and we're looking forward to introducing even more students to the platform!"

marketplace, uni

COO Alan and CEO Rich at UCL

The Paperclip team have also worked closely with the students, hiring a team of Student Brand Ambassadors to spread the word around campus and incentivise students to sign up with cash bonuses and heaps of great prizes and competitions.

Going national

News of our success spread quickly and our inbox lit up with more and more universities wanting to trial their very own student marketplaces.

As of September 2018, Paperclip will now be powering the official student marketplace at 50 Universities and Student's Unions across the United Kingdom making us the UK's leading student marketplace provider!

Your new marketplace provider

Does your University need a student marketplace? Find out how to get in touch here

Interested in becoming a Student Ambassador? Check out our vacancies page

Published by: Paperclip HQ in General musings

October 26, 2016 - No Comments!

Milestones and all that

It has been a while since our last post, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been doing nothing! Learn more about the milestones we have reached of late...

We’re currently amidst another round of funding, which can be exhausting at times. I’ll let you know how this goes in due course, but over the past month we’ve achieved a few milestones that I thought I’d share – there’s so much going on right now that we won’t be celebrating just yet…but progress is progress.

  • Loads of downloads:  we hit one of our major download milestones a couple of weeks back. Over the past 3 months in particular we’ve grown by an average of 30% month on month. Of course this rate of growth came with downsides; we performed a database migration and added an extra server to keep things moving smoothly, but this led to a short term service outage over a weekend earlier in October. It was horrible, but at least we got it fixed and it won’t happen again – and we put in measures to both report and fix these kind of errors within minutes now, so we can all sleep a little easier at night.
  • Doubled user engagement: most start-ups don’t share their user stats but we’re happy to say that our engagement and retention rates have doubled since July! We had a big discussion about about our engagement statistics back in June, and we put in a number of short-medium term changes to help keep people coming back before releasing our version 2.0 in November. We listened to our users and addressed a few pain points, which helped. But also, new features such as Item Alerts, and giveaways such as our recent Nandos £20 gift card competition have been more successful than we expected.
  • Version 2.0: finally being able to run through and test the new UI and UX, along with some key new features has been nice this past week. We sat in a room for a week back in April planning all aspects of this new build with Steve; testing the beta has been like watching our child learn to walk. It is just a shame when ‘our beta baby’ headbutts the fridge so frequently, but we’re sure this is just an early symptom of aggressive growth.

November is going to be a big month for Paperclip!

Rich

Published by: Rich Woolley in General musings, News