This week, the blog is brought to you from the winners of our 2014 New Ventures competition – Swipii. Founders Louis and Chitresh, won the £10,000 prize in March and have now launched their product in the UK. They talk about their journey to launch and what’s next for them below. Louis and Chitresh are graduates from the University of Strathclyde and members of SIE’s Scottish Entrepreneurial Academy (SEA).
As with many entrepreneurs our original business idea was completely different from what we finally launched (Swipii). We both came to Scotland as foreign students; Louis was born in France and Chitresh in India. Our first idea was a website and app which would help students who were new to a city, to discover which nightclubs to go to.
Our original idea changed and evolved numerous times once we spoke with people in the industry until it became what it is today. However, it has remained focused on supporting local businesses and the local economy. After a lot of delays in launching our product, we learned that the product does not have to be perfect. There are a million things which we wanted to include to make it ‘perfect’ but continued to delay us so we focused on the core features in order to actually get the product into customers’ hands.
Winning the SIE New Ventures competition was a big help, it gave us great exposure, valuable new contacts and of course helped our cash flow, all of which helped get us ready for our beta launch.
Launch week was hectic – we had to go to each of our 20 merchants one-by-one to brief their staff in how to use the system and how to introduce customers to it. Swipii was well received by consumers and we achieved a very successful launch. Our next steps are to complete our beta phase, begin our full roll-out and begin to recruit new staff. We have also entered the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards representing the University of Strathclyde, which we are hoping will gain us more exposure and success!