Father and Son:
An interview with Mac & Sari Anabtawi, founders of Snupps
A new generation of family business
Giulia Magnani London 19/06/2018
Mac Anabtawi just graduated from college yet he has more than 5 years of work experience. How is it possible? Mac and his father, Sari, are the founders of Snupps, an application that makes the organisation, shareability and discovery of personal collections easy and engaging with the use of a mobile device or laptop. Users can upload and manage images and details of their personal possessions on virtual shelves which can be kept private or shared with others.
Like many businesses, Snupps was born out of the need to solve a pain point. About 12 years ago, Sari lost his suitcase while travelling and couldn’t remember what was inside. He suddenly realised that he wanted something to catalogue all of his belongings. However, at the time, technology was not developed enough and it was therefore difficult to visualise this concept into something concrete. Sari has always been a collector and he wanted a tool to connect with people while helping them to keep track of their collections like he did with his. Mac and Sari agreed that there should be a one-stop shop for people to keep their belongings. Once the technology became available, Sari retired from his job and founded Snupps together with Mac. Now, the Snupps team is composed of 14 people in one office; Sari focuses on business development while Mac works on technology.
Starting from a niche market, Snupps pinpointed the early adopters and then spread out to pursue further growth. Today, there are two million users on the platform and the number keeps growing, with the majority of Snupps users coming from the US and Western Europe (60% and 20% respectively). The main demographic is young adults (18-24) who are “Hardcore collectors”; they create communities and forums where they give each other advice on their collections. Older collectors use the platform on a more “private side” by listing their collections and linking it to eBay.
What Snupps is offering is actually unique. At the base of Snupps there is no unique technology but rather, a mix of different technologies. The aim for Mac and Sari was to build a “Swiss army knife for your stuff”. By joining Snupps, users can sell, buy, join communities, connect with people or simply remain private. Snupps' main asset is simplicity: it is a solution that allows users to do just what they need.
Today, Snupps is enjoying great success and has been in a partnership with eBay ever since 2016. Snupps was recruited by the e-commerce giant in an effort to gain back real individual customers due to the fact that nowadays, the main eBay customers are large stores that have consequently made the platform lose its primary casual sellers. In an effort to get these sellers back, the partnership between the two companies allows users to easily drag items from eBay to Snupps and vice versa.
Like all startups, Mac agrees that the beginning was very challenging. One of the first mistakes, according to Mac, was to outsource as much of its main activities as possible. Outsourcing is a good idea whenever the product is simple. However, when you are trying to build a network you need to be able to see what is happening in every moment. Everything needs to be done in-house as the product is constantly evolving. By trying to save money, Snupps actually wasted money.
“The cheap is expensive and the expensive is cheap”,
An advice that Mac would give to fellow entrepreneurs. Another key lesson that he would pass on is to never give up and focus on the pain point you're addressing. Mac recalls: "When I wake up, I need to use it. Knowing that I need to use it means others need to use it as well. We have had difficult times where we were low on funding. However, we knew that there was a need for Snupps and it motivated us to go forward”.