The business has had a number of challenges throughout 2020 as venues/stadiums have closed their doors to audiences. However, SwipeStation continues to come up with innovate ideas as stadiums reopen.
Sure, I’m happy to be involved. Like many people, I have had a number of challenges in life. I had a difficult and strict upbringing, I couldn’t celebrate birthdays or even Christmas for that matter. I broke away from this way of life and decided to create my own entrepreneurial path. A path full of emotional issues, joblessness and debt, but that’s part of the journey.
I didn’t go to university and have had many positions throughout my career from chairman of the fund-raising committee at the Princes Trust, through to founding a number of businesses. After being made redundant twice at an early age, I applied for a loan from the Prince’s Trusts and threw myself into ensuring my business was a success.
I love the variety of the business and love working with brilliant, experienced and passionate people. We identify clients we want to work with and build connections. I believe that my passion for ensuring I run a fair, trusting and kind business shows in the way that we give 50% of the company profits in Clock to the team. I prefer to give the team ownership and allow them to make decisions. From the beginning, family motivations have always been a driving factor for me.
I founded SwipeStation in 2012. Starting a business isn’t easy, I have realised throughout my career that getting the specialists in to help in areas you lack expertise in is essential. I was the inventor of SwipeStation but not being an engineer, have had to rely on others to bring my vision together. I provide the environment for the team to grow and be brilliant!
SwipeStation was born out of me identifying a problem – the lengthy queues in stadiums and waiting time for service. I saw the need for a solution. SwipeStation is a mobile payment service which allows people to order food and drink, even without internet connection, and speeds up the service. On average it reduces service time at the bar from over 50 seconds to under 15 seconds.
The main challenge was learning on the job. I have had to learn about the manufacturing side of the business, how to create the product, supply chain, patents/copyright – the list goes on! I have invested a lot of time learning all the different elements it took to create a product.
SwipeStation started its first Seedrs campaign in 2018 and was quickly the fastest 48 hours they’d ever had in a campaign! SwipeStation went for a second round of funding and this time had it matched by the Government FutureFund Scheme. This enabled us to get the funding needed to scale up the business quickly. In around 12 – 18 months’ time the business plans to look to complete the next round of funding to scale even further but this is likely be through VCs.
Positives from the Seedrs fundraising was the amount of due diligence that was done.
My top tips for anyone looking to raise funds through Seedrs:
The business has introduced ‘Stand and deliver’ which is a service delivered to your seat at a stadium. We are also looking at introducing voice-activated tablets which can be installed in boxes with stadiums. We are also making our service fully integratable into club apps to make the service seamless for fans.
It's definitely very challenging! It takes a long time for decisions to be made as, during the year, the business focus is on the day-to-day activities. And everyone wants to sell to them. My advice would be, make the product super easy for a trial and keep maintaining the relationship with regular check ins and communication. And remember, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So, keep going and be more determined than anyone else to succeed.
Consumers behaviours have changed a lot over the last year. People are readily using their mobiles more to buy food and drink. And more and more stadiums and festivals are looking to install more contact-free options. These changes in behaviour are here to stay, which allows innovative technology, like SwipeStation, to come back with a bang!