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Fireside chat with Gerry Lianos, CEO&Co-Founder of Raffolux

Who is Gerry Lianos?

Above all, I’m someone that loves a challenge and I love working with new ideas – taking loosely formed, exciting concepts and moulding them into plans of action. I’m very detail-oriented in my approach, and I think my strengths often lie in looking at the big picture and breaking it down to precisely pick apart what will work, and what won’t. Most of all, I’m passionate about giving back, and I’m lucky enough to be the co-founder of a company that helps this happen.

What’s the story behind Raffolux?

Raffolux brings the traditional fundraising raffle into the digital age, and gives people the chance to win amazing prizes whilst supporting charities close to their heart. We want to give people the opportunity to take 5 minutes out of their week to sit back and dream – and our constantly refreshing mix of luxurious prizes and experiences, strong emphasis on giving back and low ticket prices work together to deliver exactly that.

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

I would probably have to say the swathes of rejections that you will likely have to deal with as you try and convince people that you’re the real deal! From convincing angel investors that a very early set of designs and plans for Raffolux was worth their time, to pitching business opportunities to prospective commercial partners with no traction at an early stage, we’ve had to get past many rejections and the emotions that come with them – but it does make the first few times you hear a ‘yes’ that much sweeter.

What are you most proud of regarding your business?

I am definitely most proud that we have been able to develop a business model that keeps charity close to its core, and I’m thrilled that Raffolux has been able to donate over £350,000 to more than 60 charities across the UK. During the pandemic, it’s been great to maintain and scale up our donations to good causes at a time when traditional forms of fundraising have been restricted.

What is your vision for the future of Raffolux?

To become the UK’s first mass-market raffling brand, and help facilitate new, significant streams of income for good causes across the country.

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

I think the last year and a half has forced more or less every business to adapt its strategy or operations to some degree, and one thing we’ve found in our own experience is that, given the right incentive, people can find ways to overcome barriers to change that previously seemed impossible or not worth thinking about. So – I’d advise that one helpful exercise would be to look at your entire business model as a blank slate in the new climate, and have an honest conversation with yourself about what’s changed, what’s working, and what you need to drop in the new norm.

Please name a few technologies which have had the greatest impact on your business.

Within our business, one thing that’s actually been really helpful is Notion – a tool for collaboration and organisation that we’ve streamlined across the team. Especially since lockdown when we were all working remotely, it proved really helpful in streamlining our development work and collaboration on new features, and the built-in database allows for tracking, commentary and assigning custom properties that help us ensure we don’t get in each other’s way.

Outside of our business, the fundraising platform in Work For Good has been absolutely fantastic, especially back at the start of our journey where arranging direct relationships with charities was much trickier.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

  • Fake Law – The Secret Barrister
  • Chaos – James Gleick
  • The Road – Cormac McCarthy

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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