Interview to Christer Holloman, CEO and founder of DIVIDO
He is also author of Amazon bestsellers “The Social Media MBA” series & “How to Sell online”.
Much of companies today´s success comes from efficient connectivity, great global ideas and an analytic & smart data usage in real time. Technology is affordable to leverage opportunities in most of sectors, however just these companies feeling the sense of urgency will make it happen before competitors.
Today, I have the pleasure to interview Christer Holloman, a business professional that sees clearly how to monetise these opportunities and to set up a plan to take the actions for reaching specific targets.
5G seems to be the beginning of a great revolution. Many trends in disruptive technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence or A/V reality are opening paths for those that would like to explore them. However, data will never be read in same way from different eyes; this is why, it is each´s expertise and common sense what will allow us to read figures obtaining the right information behind numbers. Analytics, Monitoring, Conclusions extracts, etc, all comes from understanding how “Algorithms” were built, and how our mindsets should be settled to get synergies, key data, precise conclusions and a clearly defined way to move forward.
CPA -Hi, Christer. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to launch some questions to you that might inspire others to take one step forwards in capturing digitalization opportunities.
CH – Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you and your readers.
CPA -You are CEO and founder of Divido, a purchase finance platform that has been awarded as successful startup. Which is the main value proposition that Divido offers to their partners today?
CH – Divido is a gateway that connects sellers with credit providers globally. This gives sellers the option to offer their buyers to apply for credit to instantly finance the specific purchase. The seller gets paid in full right away from the credit providers and the buyer pays the credit provider in monthly instalments over a period of time.
CPA – Are you becoming a partner with a comprehensive solution, not just a supplier of finance? How do you support your customers with their restrictions or paint points?
CH – Apart from providing the technology to enable this online and in-store, completely paperless, we also provide professional services to help our clients develop go-to-market strategies to launch this successfully and use instant finance as a tool to attract new customers, increase average order value and increase conversion rates.
CPA– Does it mean that you offer all through one relationship? Could we state that this is a Once Stop Concept? (Similar to One Stop Shop in spare parts).
CH – Yes, Divido is a one-stop-shop for the sellers to get started.
CPA – You develop partnership relations with your customers, such as BMW. What does this being partners represent? What is the extramile support associated?
CH – Two years ago Divido was approached by BMW in the UK which, in addition to financing their cars, wanted to offer customers the option to finance services and spare parts. They licensed our platform and started with offering it in 3 retail locations, online and by phone. Later that same year we were liven 100+ dealers around the UK.
CPA – What is in your opinion the main business impact brought by future technologies?
CH – New technologies is paving the way for new competitors to be created which can disrupt your industry. It is always better to be disrupting yourself, before someone else beats you to it. As new technologies evolve faster and faster, we need to be ready to innovate and try new things even more frequently if we want to ensure we stay in business.
CPA – In your previous life, you were working for Glassdoor.com in EMEA, acquired for the huge amount of $1,2bnUSD. Why do you think this online company was worth of such an amount? Which was your main contribution to generate a value supporting the high price in the stocks market?
CH – Glassdoor.com is a free website for consumers to read and write reviews about employers, but Glassdoor charge companies to upgrade their profiles to help them build their employer brand. They had 1,000’s of customers such as Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group and American Airlines which paid a lot of money every year. The valuation is just a standard multiplier of the annual revenues the company was generating, and how many more employers they could sign up in the coming years globally.
CPA – In the past you were also working helping media companies (many relevant newspapers such as The Times) to monetise the new digital channels for recruitment, property & content. Could you dive into which basics were you putting in place to get the most of each area?
CH – The key for us was to always be innovating. For this to work, the company needs to support innovation, e.g. hire people responsible for this, having budgets allocated and to celebrate successes to show the whole organisation how important innovation is for the long term survival of the business.
CPA – Divido´s vision is to be the Worlds ´most global platform point of purchase finance. How are you going to generate different revenue streams? Are you planning new lines of products or develop all the omnichannel capabilities? What is the natural evolution of the company in coming years to be aligned with the vision you share?
CH – Divido charge a licence fee to use of the platform and fees for professional services. We are constantly improving the current platform and adding new features and capabilities that our customers are asking for, as well as some new things they didn’t even know they wanted until we show it to them. Divido is already live in over 10 countries and add new markets every year.
CPA – You are writer and speaker. You are the author of Amazon bestsellers “The Social Media MBA” series & “How to Sell online”. Which are your main advices for ecommerce platforms? How do you recommend integrate the companies´ marketing activities with social media ecosystems?
CH – It is hard to condense the content of 4 books into one paragraph, but the key advice is that you have to be where your customers are. You should survey them and ask how they buy, want to buy, use social media etc. Another key thing is to look at what other companies are doing; not just in your industry – but sometimes learning from other sectors can help you come up with something completely unique when applied to your specific industry.
CPA – Any experience with Sillicon Valley by now? Any opinion?
CH – Silicon Valley is a fantastic illustration of the benefits of concentrating money and talent, however the downside is that it is expensive to hire and retain employees.
CPA – To finalize. I have heard that you love lasagna. Do you cook it? What is your super-touch to make it incredibly irresistible?
CH – Hehe, organic ingredients and Rioja Gran Reserva!
Great opportunity to have had this f2f with Christer and eager to have more chances to meet again and be inspired in digital business thoughtfully again. Thank you Christer.