A game of online Scrabble is a bedtime ritual for Sharon Melamed, Founder and Managing Director of Matchboard, and board game fanatic. “I had fun coming up with the company name,” laughs Sharon. “‘Match’ relates to what we do, but ‘board’ comes from the fact that I love board games. I’ve even been a tournament Scrabble champion.”

Sharon Melamed

Launched in 2012, Matchboard is an online platform that quickly and accurately matches buyers with pre-screened business service providers. In this commercial version of ‘online dating’ for businesses and suppliers, Sharon is often referred to as ‘The Matchmaker’.

“We’ve killed off the traditional business directory.”

Today, with endless energy, ideas and passion, digital entrepreneur Sharon is disrupting the B2B matching industry one connection at a time. “Matchboard’s online search function is specifically tailored to the needs of a business, so it’s smarter and more targeted than a traditional search engine,” says Sharon. “We’ve killed off the traditional business directory.”

Matchboard’s offline matching model complements this. “We live in a multichannel world and people still crave face-to-face interactions. Conversion rates are actually higher when clients can eyeball suppliers,” Sharon suggests. “We recognised the importance and opportunity with having both offline and online offerings.”

Matchboard has hosted more than 60 matching events, connecting around 10 to 15 executives per event who exactly match the criteria of the medium and large size enterprises presenting. “We put skin in the game,” explains Sharon.

“Matchboard makes no profit if there aren’t successful transactions between buyers in the room and the vendors presenting. It might take up to 12 months, but based on the quality of targeting at each event, we’re confident that our client, the vendor, will win at least one or two deals.

“Both our online and offline matching models are based on trust. Matchboard is compensated when a deal is done, but only if the client reports this to us. People thought I was crazy when I launched this model,” Sharon exclaims. “I’m so happy we’ve proven the cynics wrong.”

Today, Matchboard has achieved more than 3,000 matches. Among the awards and accolades received by the company, being named by Optus as Australia’s Business of the Year was a personal triumph. “This was one of the most emotional moments in my business journey,” remembers Sharon. “To a founder, these moments of recognition mean more than looking at numbers on a P&L statement.

“Matchboard would be nothing without its community of suppliers and the thousands of businesses that trust us to find the best match for their business needs,” Sharon says. “It gives me a thrill on a personal level to bring together people who would never have found each other in business.”

The structure of the company is equally as smart as the business model. “Everyone who works for Matchboard is either a contractor, licensee, outsourced party or a consultant,” remarks Sharon.

matchboard

“It’s important to build an agile business that can respond quickly. “My team is scattered around the world, so we’re collaborative and learn from each other’s cultures and best practice. Matchboard is a collection of business approaches I’ve uplifted from working in five countries. I’m a true believer in the global multicultural business environment.”

Supplier relationships are crucial to the success of the company, with all 700 suppliers pre-screened to ensure they deliver quality services. “While our platform is high tech, our business model is high touch,” Sharon explains.

“It’s a two-way street; Matchboard can’t operate without suppliers and they can’t acquire new clients without us, so it’s very much a partnership.” Fijian outsourcing supplier Centrecom enjoys a valuable relationship with Matchboard.

“Many clients don’t think of Fiji for outsourcing,” says Sharon. “Yet it offers business process outsourcing solutions at a fraction of the cost of Australia.”

Spreading its global footprint, in 2016 Matchboard launched AboutMatch in the UK with a unique licensing framework. And now with the US market on the radar, along with potentially white labelling the Matchboard proposition for larger sized companies, the future is shining brightly for Matchboard.

Supporting small charities is close to Sharon’s heart, with Matchboard offering pro bono marketing and a voice to those without the resources to do this. “For very little effort each month we highlight a charity to our large database of clients. This provides invaluable visibility for the charity and their cause,” explains Sharon. “We’re part of a new breed of entrepreneurs with a social conscience.”

Matchboard’s success can be attributed to an innovative idea, successful execution and Sharon’s unwavering belief and optimism. “I firmly believe that when one door closes another opens,” she reflects. “You just have to be patient, positive and believe in yourself.” And it’s Sharon’s approach and attitude that makes it a game, set and match for this award-winning business.

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