GrabOne lets Kiwis score themselves a choice deal, and teamed up with Hudson Gavin Martin to dot its legal Is and cross its Ts.
In mid 2010, Shane Bradley had an idea and he didn’t waste time getting it off the ground.
To be fair, the idea wasn’t entirely his, but the format and execution were new to New Zealand and Bradley had the connections, business nous and resources to make it a success. GrabOne is a website offering a selection of significantly discounted products and experiences in cities around New Zealand. The deals (some up to 90 percent off the regular price) change daily and are only activated when enough people choose to purchase.
Researching international ideas and trends, Bradley came upon the Chicago-based social commerce site Groupon. The business had just raised $135 million in financing and was valued at $1.3 billion after 18 months in operation. Bradley’s idea for a local version was conceived over a long weekend and, a mere month later, GrabOne was launched—a feat made possible thanks to his staff at IdeaHQ.
“I got everyone together and said, ‘Stop what you’re doing; I need you to work on this.’ Twenty minutes later I had six developers on it and we launched in four weeks on July 7, 2010.”
That he borrowed the Grabon concept doesn’t bother Bradley.
“There’s no point reinventing the wheel,” he says. “I’ve been accused of not innovating, but every business model is copied to some degree. You try to differentiate yourself by service or by a quality offering. You may be able to copy the structure but you can’t copy the success. It’s not just the idea; it’s how you execute it.”
GrabOne now has its own local imitators, but its 65 percent market share has remained steady. Getting in early was a major bonus.
The business model is simple: GrabOne plays a marketing role for the companies. As the middle man, it brings together sellers with good deals and an interested customer base. It’s a win-win for everyone.
“We sell coupons—it’s just a bit of paper—so it’s great for scalability.”
As well as experiences, there’s GrabOne Bottle and GrabOne Tee (through Direct Wines and Mr Vintage, respectively.), GrabOne Escapes and GrabOne Store.
On its very first day, GrabOne sold 10,000 $4 movie tickets in three hours. “That got the momentum going and within three months we were nationwide. Because we live in an age of social media it’s very easy to share these sorts of things. We’ve had deals that have been ‘liked’ by 800 people on Facebook. It’s the good deals that sell the site.”
But with an endeavour like this, getting all your legal ducks in a row is crucial. Enter specialist legal firm Hudson Gavin Martin. The Auckland-based company deals specifically with technology, IT and telecommunications companies, ensuring the critical intellectual property aspects of their business are protected in a practical manner and then helping them to commercially exploit that intellectual property.
Lawyer Simon Martin helped Bradley draft all the necessary terms and conditions for the site, members, sales and advertisers.
“It’s great having someone with so much technology experience,” says Bradley. “Simon knows how to structure nice, simple, technology-based agreements. I used to think a lawyer was a lawyer, but you need to have specialists. Simon’s taught me that there are some things you need in an agreement.”
Navigating the Sale of Liquor Act was an essential aspect of launching GrabOne Bottle, and Bradley worked with Martin to meet all the company’s legal and moral obligations around selling alcohol.
“We really enjoy understanding the business and being a trusted advisor,” says Martin.
“With GrabOne, we helped finesse the business process, and made sure everything complied with legislation around fair trading, consumer protection and the sale of liquor. We also needed to ensure the GrabOne guarantee was correctly structured and robust enough so that members and customers could count on it, but not so wide that anyone could take advantage of it. It’s fun to get involved in these companies and look at how to protect their great ideas and get them to work.”
Hudson Gavin Martin has also worked with Bradley and GrabOne on service agreements for its related Australian and soon-to-be-launched Irish websites. Having the same company taking care of legal aspects across the board has made things a lot easier, says Bradley.
And with his vision to take GrabOne to other large markets, the legal firm will have a lot more to do in the future.
“We’re talking to people in Asia, India and South Africa,” says Bradley. “I’m certainly not short of ambition for the product. We’ll expand it internationally when we see fit.”
For more information, contact Hudson Gavin Martin www.hgmlegal.com
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