5 years ago
JOE speaks to the lads behind the brilliant start-up, The Startup Van
In our latest installment of our conversations with innovative Irish start-ups, we speak to Mark McDonagh and Graham Hussey, the lads behind The Startup Van to get their views on all things business and start-up.
JOE: So tell us, what is The Startup Van all about?
The Startup Van: The business was conceived to change the way we consume startup content. We create fun, relaxed, short and shareable videos. It's very different, but simple.
JOE: How did the business start and what inspired you to go on your own?
Startup Van: We both had a passion for entrepreneurship and spent a lot of time reading articles and blog posts about new startups and entrepreneurs, but we wanted to do something new.
We knew video content was the way forward, so we hired the best production team we could get our hands on, we also needed a studio to allow us to visit these pieces and so The Startup Van was born.
JOE: As a young Irish entrepreneur do you think more Irish people should go out there on their own or is it a case-by-case basis?
Startup Van: I think there are lots of Irish people out there with great ideas that could easily be turned into great businesses but there's a fear of being slagged off about it.
We've had it all "look at the 2 bolloxes in a van chatting to people" etc., but now we're at the beginning of growing a great business with international, billion dollar companies partnering with us.
JOE: What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting out on their own?
Startup Van: Don't be afraid of people stealing your idea, get out and test your market, be curious and ask lots of questions. Something we have said from the start is never ignore anyone, we make a point of personally calling people and mailing people back if they reach out, some things we thought were nothing turned into well paying projects.
JOE: You have a blank cheque for a celebrity endorsement – who do you sign up and why?
Startup Van: We're big Ricky Gervais fans, people can learn a lot from him. He's no stranger to controversy and makes no apology for it.
Being a social company like The Startup Van you always come across people who are offended in some way or another. We had our infamous "Bike Joke" incident but we'll say no more about that...
JOE: Who, in your opinion, is the greatest businessperson of all time and why?
Startup Van: This is a tough one, but Elon Musk risked everything with Tesla Motors. He isn't afraid of change and is constantly pushing the boundaries of what's possible, a true entrepreneur.
JOE: I imagine the social media sector is quite a crowded market - do you guys try to be different or attempt to stay on-trend?
Startup Van: It's very crowded, but we're in a lucky situation being a bit different, and short shareable video is really what people want right now. We also have principles we live by, we never use automatic tweets or scheduled tweets, we believe this lowers engagement. People don't engage well with robots. (Yet).
JOE: What existing business impresses you most and why?
Startup Van: We were really impressed with Mondo (getmondo.co.uk) it's banking like it should be. It's mobile-focused, user-friendly and pretty cool looking. They just applied for their baking license so watch out for them.
JOE: What does the future have in store for The Startup Van?
Startup Van: 2016 is a huge year for us, we're taking The Startup Van international filming startups in The UK, Australia, America, Germany and Dubai and a few more locations in the works.
JOE: How has business been? Is there a certain demographic you find really take to your business?
Startup Van: Business had been very good, and it's getting stronger week by week. By no means is it easy but it's definitely worth it. I think the beauty of The Startup Van is that it appeals to everyone from 13-year-old coding geniuses to 83-year-olds who are serial entrepreneurs.
You can get more information on The Startup Van right here.