As we prepare for our pre-design week launch party; we asked our CEO and founder, Aneeqa Khan, to answer some of the most common questions from our community. Aneeqa began her career in private equity, before becoming head of strategy at Zoopla, where she successfully oversaw the company’s IPO to achieve a roughly £1bn exit. eporta draws on Aneeqa’s significant understanding of technology as a business enabler, and her passion for design, to create a fresh way for this community to do business online.
How did you come to set up eporta?
I’m personally very interested in connecting global communities and making it easier for people to ‘do business’ day-to-day. Coming from an entrepreneurial family running small businesses, I’ve always been amazed at how few online tools there are available to businesses looking to do similar things that we take for granted as end consumers: finding and ordering items, communicating etc.
How can technology help the furniture and home furnishings industry?
The two things technology does best is connect people over a distance, and manage time-consuming administration. The furniture and home furnishings industry is complicated by global sourcing and a huge amount of complex admin. I was amazed when I visited one of our suppliers in Portugal, and they were still tracking orders using a chalkboard in their office! Having now met hundreds of buyers and suppliers, I have found that there are variations of the same problems that affect everyone from new designers to well – established brands.
What is the main difficulty in bringing technology to such a traditional industry?
The hardest thing for us is balancing building all the features that we know could be helpful and keeping the platform simple and intuitive to use. We will always prioritise usability, and are very strict about only introducing new features based on feedback from users.
What has helped you along the way?
Without a doubt the most motivating thing for me has been the overwhelming feedback of the suppliers and buyers we work with, which reminds me everyday of the value of what we’re building.
Why does design matter to you?
I think that the objects we surround ourselves with, especially in our homes, have a profound effect on us and our day-to-day happiness. Interior and furniture designers allow people to live in a space that reflects who they are which can be an incredibly affirming thing.
What are your plans for the future?
Our priority is to stay receptive to the needs of the industry and develop the business in line with that. Of course we have plenty of plans and things we would like to do, but ultimately we set out to help a community and the best innovations so far have come from them.
And finally, what are your plans for London Design Festival?
We have stands at Decorex and 100% Design where we’ll be showcasing our suppliers and helping set people up with buyer accounts. We’re also hosting a pre-design week drinks party on the 17th, which we’re really excited about. I’ll be talking a bit more about how eporta works, plus we have the amazing Katie Treggiden giving some insider tips on LDW. It’s mainly a chance for trade buyers to come and learn more about who we are and to meet some of our suppliers, and it’s a great opportunity to check out Material Lab.
More information about the eporta launch party can be found here.