Norwegian Rubrikk sees growth in classified portals

    Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Elance.

    Rubrikk is a Norwegian start up in the online classified advertising market. Not content with making waves only in Norway they have sought to branch out and grow their business into a number of countries. We got in touch with Adil Osmani and Sigbjørn Rivelsrud its co-founders to ask them how they’ve managed to do so successfully.

    Rubrikk was founded in 2001, which in the current start up climate makes them grandfathers in the sector, however they have tried not to let age slow them down.

    CEO Adil Osmani told us that, “As we realized that we were the smaller fish in the pond, and the larger players evolving into either sharks or whales, we realized that we had to change the game. Following some rounds of financing we launched a search engine for classifieds, building an armor around our small fish, and starting in several countries, giving us additional ponds to play in.”

    Using experience gained through opening their first classified advertising portal they decided to open in other countries, and the plan proved successful. Public financial declarations show that their operating profits before tax were 441k NOK in 2010 and jumped to 3.1m NOK in 2012, the latest figures made available. To date they have developed portals in seven countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Pakistan, South Africa and the UK, and they aren’t stopping there. Next on the list will be portals in Bangladesh and Vietnam, and Adil felt confident that a lot more growth was available to be tapped in the coming years as more markets developed and matured.

    Creating, launching and managing such portals doesn’t happen without a strong team, so it is perhaps surprising to find that Rubrikk only have 14 employees. Adil explained that they make use of outsourcing specialist Elance to find local talent and experience in their target markets. This allows them to create a portal suitable for each country.

    Referring to their next portals in Bangladesh and Vietnam Adil explained, “in both markets we are able to utilize “local” Elancers bringing us closer to the market, and being able to approach the unique aspects of doing business there. The Elancers makes sure that our site is in a technical and editorial shape which is appreciated by the respective markets, also testing everything locally.”

    Each country presents its own unique challenges and problems, we were told how there are security issues in South Africa that cripples some of the trade, whereas in Pakistan there is not a practical way for sending goods, making trade in general difficult.

    Adil had an interesting opinion on tapping into the experience of contractors as well, “ I feel that many consider freelancers as a way for saving money, actually it is best for effectiveness, and not price – and here Elance trumps freelancers, reducing the risk of failure, providing safety in payments and performance for all parties.”

    Rubrikk have seen strong growth over the past three years, using their knowledge and experience to take their business into new markets and utilising the benefits that outsourcing can provide. They have found a strategy that works well for them, keeping the focused core team environment that so many start ups thrive in but still able to tap into a much wider pool of talent when it’s needed.