Do you really need some more plastic in your wallet?
Martin Martinez believes SMEs do because they remain underserved in the Australian market. While there are some programs that cater to the specific needs of startups, several provide large companies access to juicy deals, but there is precious little for SMEs, Martinez said.
The founder of the successful Australian Poker League and other companies – and one of a great list of immigrant success stories – wants to create a card that every Aussie businessman would aspire to possess.
“In our research of the market, there are no direct competitors that we know of offering the range of services and benefits…There is nobody doing this service as we plan to offer it,” he told Anthill in an interview.
“Ultimately we want to be compared to the American Express Centurion ‘Black Card’ program from a prestige and positioning point of view, with far more benefits tailored too SMEs,” he added.
Inspired by the Founders Club card
Martinez’ venture started with the discovery of the Founders Club in the U.S. He says he “immediately fell in love with the idea and service.” He signed up for the card but then found out that most of the benefits on offer were restricted to the U.S.
Then, Martinez reached out to Eric Khun, founder of the Founders Club card, to see if he would consider licensing the concept to Martinez for a launch in Australia. But Khun showed no interest in the Australian market. That is when Martinez turned around and told himself, “You can do it yourself.”
First and foremost, Martinez’ Entrepreneur Card will be by invitation only, and consequently restricted to small numbers, probably in the few hundreds. This is aimed to manage expectations, rather than to create an elite club. It will offer three main services and benefits:
- Special networking events such as luxury drive days, sailing days, harbour cruises, golf days, etc.;
- Exclusive access to benefits, offers, deals and privileges from great brands in the Travel, Hotel, Lifestyle, Dining and Business categories; and
- Premium travel concierge service offering business and first class travel bookings as well as corporate pricing to the best hotels in Australia and around the world.
Membership will cost a modest $495 annually – with gains likely to be several times that amount.
“We’ve done some modelling already and we’ve found that an ‘average’ member would have in excess of $5,000 in savings, which is 10 times the cost of membership,” Martinez said. The benefits to a heavy user could be in excess of $25,000.
Over and above running a benefits card program, Martinez says the “end goal is to build a very strong community of SMEs and entrepreneurs who access what I believe they deserve, access to the best possible deals in the market to run their business and enjoy their success.”