Blooie

Background

Blooie is an online chat and analytics tool designed to help brand owners to know, understand and help their users and customers. At its core is an intuitive platform that engages with prospects in real time, gathering actionable information and using analytics to convert conversations into sales.

Created by developers and entrepreneurs Christian Manson and Mark Ryan, Blooie has huge potential for brand owners looking to gather and use data to get closer to customers and their interests. By using online tools to mimic the experience of a bricks and mortar shop, businesses can understand user behaviour more effectively, and use that knowledge to create new opportunities.

Objective

The directors were looking for a cash injection to refine the product, take it to market and grow the team. They were also seeking someone with a successful business background to become a mentor.

Blooie was awarded £25,000 in total, and Gabriel investor and leading business figure Fiona Cruickshank stepped in to support the directors with strategic and practical advice on areas such as taking a new product to market, long term planning and structuring for steady growth.

Fiona explains her involvement: “I thought Christian and Mark’s idea had real potential, and I was impressed by their maturity and the fact they had both had experience of working in jobs at the same time as they developed Blooie. I could see they had a great idea and the right attitude to carry it through.

My background is primarily in creating and growing multi-million pound pharma enterprises rather than in the technology sector, so I was able to bring a fresh perspective to the business, helping Christian and Mark to identify potential flaws in their original product direction and avoid the pitfalls that many young entrepreneurs can fall into simply because it’s not a path they have trodden before.

Elements such as how to work with team dynamics and create a strong company structure, establishing good business practice and understanding the importance of strategy and planning are all areas where I knew I could add value.

In the early days of a business people tend to be passionate about it, and it becomes easy to let your life become all about work and pressure. Not only is this exhausting it can cloud your judgement too so I was pleased to be able to add some clarity to their thinking, and help them get a bit of their lives back at the same time as driving the business forward.”

Mark Ryan is clear about the benefits of Gabriel’s involvement: “One of the big advantages of having a mentor like Fiona is that she’s not afraid to be challenging and come at things from a different direction. She’s very direct and helps us sort out the wood from the trees. But at the same time her investment makes her part of the team, we trust each other and we want the same things so Christian and I know we can debate and offload in a safe environment.

Fiona’s mentorship has been invaluable. Not only could she give us the benefit of her years of business experience, her name brings people to the table that we could otherwise not have easily reached. We have become good friends during the process and we value both her support and her friendship enormously.”

Effect

Blooie has moved from being a kitchen table business to having its own offices, has grown staff numbers to seven full time and two part time staff, is widely tipped for success by the techno-marketing pundits and is on track to move into profit in 2015.

Founder Mark Ryan said: “Fiona Cruickshank’s mentorship was invaluable.