Australian Newsagency Blog

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Matt Handbury out of Hubbed?

Mark Fletcher
February 24th, 2014 · 4 Comments

I’m told that Matt Handbury is no longer involved in Hubbed – the bill payment and parcel business he actively promoted as the future of newsagency businesses for more than a year.  I am also told that the ANF no longer has its 5% stake in Hubbed but that Hubbed moved into the ANF offices in early January this year.

I am not aware of any formal announcement being made about any of these or other reported moves.  A check of the Hubbed website and blog indicates that Handbury is no longer involved.

Given that newsagents have been asked to sign long-term finance contracts to ‘finance’ equipment and or software, one could argue that they are stakeholders in the Hubbed business since these finance contracts, in turn, release funds, working capital, to the Hubbed business. Has any of this money been used to buy out Matt Handbury and if so what is the impact on the financials of the Hubbed business.

Handbury was quoted in a range of media stories in 2013 about how Hubbed would save newsagents, that it was the future. His connections and history were used to gain traction with newsagents, newsagents respect him. Now that he is gone I wonder of some who signed up will have second thoughts.

Hubbed is pushing its parcel operation more than bill payment. Anyone considering Hubbed for its parcel operation need to talk to the people at the newsagent owned N Parcel and the privately owned Parcel Point – do your due diligence comparing Hubbed to those other free offerings. I say this because several logistics people I have spoken with say the Hubbed parcel model is not sustainable in the long term.

Given what appears to be its continuing investment in the Hubbed business, the ANF ought to make a full statement to newsagents so that they are better informed prior to signing any contract in relation to Hubbed. My understanding is that VANA and NANA are yet to endorse or support Hubbed in any way.

Anyone with more information on Hubbed, please share your comments here.

5 likes

Category: Hubbed

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Vanessa // Feb 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    That is the problem with the ANF.
    They obviously believe they can stay in this self protected world complete with the arrogance of not informing the members that now ask what they are paying for?

    1 likes

  • 2 Dean // Feb 26, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    Mark, as per your request my comments on Hubbed follow.

    Hubbed has a product called “Connect”, which allows Newsagents to take bill payments, send parcels and there is a gift card component also. Quite different to Bill Express, payments will be made using BPay so just about every bill printed will be able to be paid at a Newsagent. If you are a newsagent with a lot of business customers or potential business customers in the area, with some good promotional work you should be able to build up the parcel sending side of things.

    As for cost and contracts – Newsagents with POS Browser will have “Connect” integrated with POS Browser. There is a one off set up fee of $995 and a monthly fee of $150. There is no lock in period and one can choose to switch it off after even just one month. If you choose to sign up for 1, 2 or 3 years then the monthly rate works out to be less than $150.

    If you do not have POS Browser, then you will be supplied with the equipment needed and you will not have the $150 monthly option. I believe you will have to commit to 3 years but you might like to ask the people at Hubbed for clarification.

    POS Browser have 3 month exclusivity with the integration software. If you wait 3 months, all the other Newsagency software companies will be able to integrate Connect with their POS system, with the exception, apparently, of Tower. You can then connect to “Connect” on a monthly basis. I don’t why Tower software will not/cannot be integrated.

    When I first introduced gifts into my newsagency there was an initial investment and the department was not immediately profitable. I see Connect as another product which I am introducing in to my business with an initial investment of $2500 over 12 months (currently there is an offer with no payment for the first 2 months). If after giving it a chance to work and become profitable it is not, I will simply delete it.

    1 likes

  • 3 Mark Fletcher // Feb 26, 2014 at 6:31 AM

    Dean I have not heard of any approach from Connect to any other newsagency software company. Tower has had no contact with Connect whatsoever, it has never been approached.

    The issue for bill payment rests in the historical data. More than 90% of bill payment transactions in the Bill Express heyday were bill payment transactions only. They disrupted far more profitable business.

    The allure of bill payment is driven by fear, some newsagents fear lack of relevance. These same newsagents can drive their relevance by becoming more engaged retailers.

    2 likes

  • 4 Paul // Feb 26, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    The other issue with bill payment via BPay is that it too is in decline. It’s still significant but in decline none the less as more billers are driving people to direct debit options. I’ve noticed this through my Post Office transactions. BPay by itself isn’t as significant a draw as most under 50s won’t travel to you to make a payment when they can just log on using a PC, tablet or mobile phone from wherever they are without having to hop in the car and go to the shops.

    2 likes

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