Matchboard is an innovative online platform that connects businesses with the most appropriate suppliers for their needs. Reducing the need to undertake extensive research and evaluation of numerous tenders and proposals, Matchboard provides a shortlist of the most suitable providers. We talk to Sharon Melamed Matchboard founder and Suncorp innovator of the Year 2018.
Melamed explains how she developed the vision for Matchboard, “it was the concept of online dating that inspired me to bring a ‘find your match’ service to the B2B market. The vision was to make it fast and easy for buyers and suppliers to find each other”. The success of this vision was recognised last month when Sharon was named 2018 Suncorp Innovator of the Year at the Women in Digital (WID) Awards last Friday.
There are a range of similar platforms out there, but Matchboard is so much more than simply a directory or a search engine or a freelance site. Sharon comments, “In B2B, I find it’s no good just being high-tech, you need to be high-touch as well. So for many requests that come through our matching platform, we reach out to the buyer, as a trusted advisor, and talk to them about their needs and ensure they’re on the right track”.
“We also screen every single supplier we recommend, and if the suppliers are not highly rated by their clients, they don’t make it in to our ecosystem. That’s a very different proposition to a directory or search engine where even the dodgy companies can pay their way in”.
The Matchboard Journey
Working with a team of coders in Israel the platform was built within four months and launched in September 2012. At this stage the platform focuses around suppliers in the customer experience, marketing and digital spaces and includes software vendors, BPO and outsourcing bureaus, marketing agencies, business services and consultants. But Sharon has plans to extend into other sectors soon. With support from Austrade Sharon has successfully launched the platform in the UK.
In terms of revenue and number of customers, Matchboard has grown significantly since its launch. But to get Matchboard to where it is today, a range of challenges and hurdles needed to be addressed.
Looking back at Matchboard’s journey, Sharon muses, “It’s been a fantastic journey, but like any startup, there were bumps on the road, and long hours initially. But if you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t seem like hard work. I also think it’s really important to have that ‘higher purpose’, to know why you’re doing what you’re doing, as this propels you forward”.
Awards and accolades
In October 2018 Sharon was Suncorp’s Innovator of the year 2018 and on 9th November 2018, Matchboard won Australia’s ‘Professional Services Business of the Year’ at the Optus Mybusiness Awards. The judges were impressed with the level of innovation the platform has introduced into the market supported by the large number of testimonials and endorsements from customers. So far 2,700 companies, ranging from small businesses to large corporations have used Matchboard to find the best suppliers for their business.