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Taking on the big guns

Posted onPosted on 8th Apr
Taking on the big guns

A Mansfield company is aiming big — by pitching for funding from millionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson as it bids to take on web giants like Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo.

Award-winning digital agency Dijitul has launched Locul, a new mobile-friendly website builder service aimed at getting all smaller businesses online for a modest price.

Now it is trying to persuade Richard Branson to back their ambitious plans to expand the service with a new UK search engine that would help businesses market their products to others within a certain location — proving an alternative to the likes of Google at a fraction of the cost.

Dijitul has entered the Pitch To Rich competition, run by the Virgin chief, which is looking for Britain’s brightest businesses and offering a share of £1m to the winners.

Dave Hartshorne, co-founder, said: “I’m fully aware that the overarching idea for Locul is a bit far fetched and bonkers.

“I dare say a few people would like to try to take on the big Google or even the smaller Yahoo.

“Based on the way markets are moving and click and collect is becoming bigger, we believe businesses, people, students, silver surfers and everyone in the UK would back a UK taxpaying search engine business — if the right people are behind it and it looks, sounds and performs as well as its competitors.”

Djitul has entered its Locul project into the New Things category of the Richard Branson competition because it wants to shake-up the existing search engine market.

Their pitch says: “We need another Google, a company that can create high-growth employment opportunities and become a big contributor to the UK economy.

“Our aim is to turn Locul into a franchise and have digital ambassadors in every town, working with companies to develop or improve their online presence.

“At the moment, too many companies are forced to use one of only a few web platforms and are paying high prices for things such as pay-per-click.

“We believe we can change that, building a sustainable business that can support smaller companies, giving them the chance to become a big retailer and not be forced to use the likes of eBay, Amazon and Google. We need more choice and we need it now.”

The Pitch To Rich initiative, which can be followed on Twitter through #voom, is in three categories — Start-up, New Things and Grow — and the top 50 entries in each category as voted for at will go through to a shortlist. Dijitul’s Locul project is in the New Things category.

Thirty semi-finalists will be chosen from the shortlist and the public will get a chance to vote again. The top three in each category will pitch live in June for a share of the prizemoney in front of Richard Branson. There is also a People’s Choice Award for semi-finalists that don’t make the final.

For more information and to vote for Dijitul’s bid, go to–locul