1) Can you give a brief description of what your company does?
DevLab provides access to the latest devices for testing and exploring. Based at IDEALondon in Shoreditch, it is now the largest open device lab in London and will soon be rolling out a device rental programme across the UK and then subsequently Europe. DevLab also run events designed to connect the startup and developer community with brands to drive new channels of innovation.
2) How did you come up with the idea behind your company?
Before DevLab got off the ground, I advised AngelHack on their marketing strategy for their global series of hackathons taking place in 30 cities around the world from April to June 2013. It was a multi-dimensional role wearing many hats; it was a challenge to face for myself.
3) What difficulties did you face getting your business started?
Being an entrepreneur is much harder than you could possibly imagine!! You will work harder, sleep less, and make less money than at any other time in your life. You must be passionate about your idea and certain that this is what you want to do. Because it is full of challenges.
4) If you were starting again, is there anything you would do differently?
When DevLab started I had more than one idea and my biggest challenge to date has been deciding to focus on just one idea. Don’t be too precious with your idea. It will change and evolve and you need to as well.
Don’t try to do too many things. Just focus on one core product and making that the best that it can possibly be.
5) What advice would you give to a recent ICT graduate who is thinking of starting their own company?
It’s all very well having ideas but what exactly is the customer problem you are solving? How are you making their life easier, more enjoyable or rewarding? Make sure you go out and talk to a good sample of your customers face to face and find out what they think of your idea and whether they would support it or buy it. Don’t ever assume people are going to love your idea.
Launch quickly so you can Learn & Iterate. Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.
Listen to your customers and openly share and talk to people about your idea. Use their lack of interest or doubt to fuel your motivation to make it happen.