A new social media was presented in Kyiv: Merezha, an online platform launched with the support from the European Union and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as part of EU4Business initiative. Its main purpose is to bring together small and medium-sized businesses and professional consulters. Its developers expect that in the future, their platform will receive approximately 30 thousand visitors every month.
The platform will operate as follows: consulters record 20-second videos in which they have to briefly tell about themselves. A business representative then watches these videos and selects an expert he wants to contact for a detailed solution of his problem.
The platform was presented by Merezha Project Coordinator Pavlo Vdovych. According to him, small and medium-sized businesses do not want to work with consulting agencies today, finding it easier to work with individual specialists. That’s what, Mr. Vdovych says, this social media was created for.
“This is how the platform operates: there are niche experts here, dealing with particular problems. They are geared to work with niche products,” he said.
According to the platform’s developers, they are prepared to work on the platform with companies which have 250+ employees. The project’s launch was divided into two conditional phases. Phase one: gaining a critical mass. During this period, the platform’s administration will help consulters design their pages and attract businesses. Phase two: opening the platform for a broader audience. According to Pavlo Vdovych, it will take 3-4 months to bring 200 experts to the platform and about six months for the number of users to increase to 5 thousand. There are 25 experts already present on the platform today.
He also said that networkers helping businesses connect with each other and attract experts are expected to appear on the platform in April-May 2020.
In the exclusive commentary to Delo.ua, Pavlo Vdovych spoke in detail about the foreign cases they studied before launching Merezha platform. “We studied in great detail Upwork and Catalant: as part of this project, two business school graduates created a resource that helped businesses seek expert advice from specialists of top companies, and therefore, this case we studied the most profoundly. We also monitored certain offline services, such as Ireland Enterprise Mentorship Program. In addition, we studied elements of Uber, Airbnb and OpenTable,” he said.
Speaking about the monetary aspect, the platform’s creators do not have plans for monetization in the next few years. “There are various monetization models, but they are activated on the third, fourth or fifth year of the platform’s existence. What forms of monetization these could be? Payment by experts for additional premium functions. A fee for using certain services, for example, organization of events or meetups where users pay for them and the platform gets a fee, such as at Uber, for example. But that’s a faraway horizon, and for the moment, we are focused on other things,” Pavlo Vdovych said.
Merezha will have ratings and its own feedback system. However, the rating of experts won’t be public, and only the experts themselves will be able to see it. They will also receive feedback on how often their profile is shown to business representatives and, if the result is negative, an advice on what needs to be done to fix this situation. In addition, the platform’s developers say, the platform will use artificial intelligence in the future.
By Artur Zayonts