Highlighting best practice
50 | UENI
Co-founders Christine Telyan
and Anh Pham Vu
The professional websites UENI
provides to its subscribers rank high
on search engines by design
ammersmith-based startup UENI is taking small, service-
based businesses online, where most customers now
search for them. Co-founders Anh Pham Vu and Christine
Telyan aim to empower every independent business by giving
them a professional online presence; Christine here elaborates
on how they achieve this day to day.
The new online landscape
In general, the best businesses are those that identify a clear, present need and
then develop a solution. Of course, few needs are more persistent than the desire
for a dentist in the presence of a truly abominable toothache. It was 11 o’clock in
the evening in Paris and Anh, one of the cofounders of UENI, and my husband, was
in the throes of terrible tooth pain. He called me while I was in London, and asked
me what to do; he did not know of a good local dentist and did not know where
to find one.
The problem we uncovered was this: though small businesses represent roughly
98 per cent of the European economy, most do not have a meaningful online
presence. In contrast, 86 per cent of consumers now consult search engines before
they make a purchase. So, the bottom line: most of us go online to find a business,
even though most businesses aren’t online.
Bringing small business owners up to speed
Our mission at UENI is simple: we want to bring local service-based businesses
online. When asked, most small business owners recognise the importance of being
online. So why isn’t this already the case?
»Co-founders: Anh Pham Vu
and Christine Telyan
»Established in 2014
»Based in Hammersmith,
»Services: Information
technology and web design
»No. of employees: 45
»Operates across western and
central Europe, with offices
based in London and Prague
51UENI |
The complexity of creating and
maintaining a relevant online presence
is a significant barrier. In 1998, a
simple website and a Yahoo account
might have been sufficient. Ten years
later, social media and paid advertising
emerged, as did online reviews –
courtesy of Yelp.
In 2018, the requirements for being
digital include responsive, search-
engine optimised websites with
customer management systems;
verified listings on Google Maps, Apple
Maps, and high domain authority
directories; robust social media profiles;
search-engine marketing; video
advertising; paid social advertising and
web stores to accommodate online
Moreover, customers expect to see
that a business has a strong reputation,
as evidenced by customer reviews.
Eighty-eight per cent of customers
report trusting online reviews as
much as they trust a word-of-mouth
recommendation. We can therefore
conclude that not having these
credibility markers can be damaging
for a business.
Another barrier for this breakthrough
into the digital sphere is the time
it takes small business owners to
investigate who can help them
manage their online presence, or
how they can do it themselves, which
often takes weeks when done well. In
addition, there is the cost of building
one’s business professionally online.
It can cost thousands of pounds just
to get a website, let alone the other
aforementioned requirements for a
business to meaningfully represent
itself online.
The final issue is the speed at which
things have changed; this has been
challenging for small business owners
to keep up with. They have not had
an online storefront, but now, quite
suddenly, they know they need one.
Untangling the web without
breaking the bank
Some businesses are well served by
social media and can comfortably
establish themselves on those
platforms, which are designed for
making connections.
When it comes to deciding which
platform, however, things aren’t quite
so simple. Instagram, for example,
makes sense for a hairdresser or a
photographer, whose work is quite
visual. Are there particular places,
comparatively, where tradesmen
UENI staff hard at work
in the London office
UENI connects
customers with service
The complexity
of creating and
maintaining a
relevant online
presence is a
Highlighting best practice
52 | UENI
or other small businesses should
have profiles online? How do you
ensure such a business appears in
Given the cost involved, a majority
of small and micro-businesses do not
commission an agency; they also,
however, rarely prevail in completing
this task themselves. This is where
we come in. UENI has emerged as an
exciting alternative for business owners
and customers with a singular vision in
mind: digitising European SMEs.
A 360° online presence
We make it easy and affordable for
small businesses to grow online; by
building each business we serve a
search-engine optimised website,
which ranks high on Google by design.
These websites provide customers with
the ability to request a booking from
the provider, after which the owner is
notified by email and SMS text message.
We also launch and manage clients’
profiles on social media, search
engines and the online directories
most relevant to their industry. This
helps with the business’s search engine
ranking and, more importantly, their
visibility and accessibility to customers
searching for them online.
We recognise that one of the biggest
barriers for small businesses is the
difficulty they encounter when getting
started. To help them, we collect data
pertaining to European businesses and
build those businesses a website within
24 hours.
This is made possible by sending
well-organised teams into cities all
over Europe. Equipped with our
proprietary data collection tool, these
representatives visit storefronts on foot
and reliably collect accurate information
about local businesses. As they do, they
speak to the business owner and take
photos of the storefront while logging
its services and prices.
Once all the relevant information is
collected, the data populates a website
and other online profiles. Where
collecting information is not possible
on foot, public records supplement any
missing information.
By combining advanced, in-house
automation with tireless data collection
operations, we provide pragmatic
solutions for small businesses across
Europe. We stand apart from other
providers by delivering everything a
customer needs to succeed online,
all the while ensuring they don’t
have to get involved in the set-up or
maintenance of their online presence.
Furthermore, we act as a single
point of truth for data, so that if the
business updates any information
on their UENI site, all necessary
changes are populated on all of their
other profiles. So far, we have built
millions of websites for businesses
across the continent, and we’re just
By combining
advanced, in-
with tireless
data collection
we provide
solutions for
across Europe
Our team is international,
and between them speak
over 20 languages