Interview with Andrew Margison, director of ZZap Ltd

Andrew Margison is director of ZZap Ltd, a startup specialist cash handling company. From humble origins trading on eBay, today, Zzap is an international supplier of cash handling products.

ZZap Ltd is one of the top 10 businesses in London for the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards and supplies clients such as Gucci, McDonalds, House of Fraser, Guoman hotels, Cancer Research.

Can you give us a brief summary of your startup?

ZZap is a specialist cash handling company. We offer a wide range of unique banknote counters, coin counters, money counting scales, counterfeit detectors and POS safes.

ZZap was established in 2009 with a vision to redefine the cash handling industry and bring it into the 21st century. Since then we have slowly but surely, created and perfected our own bespoke product range, setting a new benchmark in cash handling.

Our focus is on the quality of our products. Our cash handling machines count faster and more accurately than the most experienced employee, while detecting counterfeits with 100% accuracy. They can sort and batch cash ready for banking and can even verify items such as driving licences. And that’s not to mention their excellent portability.

All our products ultimately cut costs and increase profit, making them the perfect investment. They also make each working day that bit easier. We also offer a reassuring three year warranty for complete peace of mind.

Why and how did you start ZZap?

When I started university in 2009, I was eager to find a solid business idea that I could turn into a fully-fledged business.

Instead of waiting for a light bulb moment, I forced one. I started selling many products on eBay, from HDMI cables to sports equipment. I quickly realised that eBay was the perfect springboard for a start-up business.

I researched different markets, trying to look for a gap I could take advantage of. Then one day, I found that coin counters were overpriced, unreliable and there were no clear brands. I imported a sample coin counter, which broke straight after I turned it on!

Undeterred, I eventually sourced a reliable model that sold on eBay within 24 hours. I phoned the customer and he loved the product. I had found my light bulb moment.

What have been your biggest success factors?

  • Doing things differently to the competition.
  • Creating a strong brand.
  • Aiming to be the best in the market.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running your company?

Dealing with the manufacturing of our products has been the hardest challenge. From designing a product to launching the product, is a very long and arduous process. It has significantly delayed the growth of the company.

Also we have encountered many challenges with the website. To build a complex, international friendly, e-commerce website has been much more challenging than we ever anticipated.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

The right market. If you aim to have a large business you need to have the demand to support it even if you have the perfect product and team.

And what’s your advice for people chasing the startup dream?

In my opinion, persistence and hunger for success, seem to be the key qualities to successfully starting and growing a business.