Each month here at Runway East, we’re putting a spotlight on one of our wonderful companies and asking them about their business, their co-working life and of course the standard of their Ping Pong skills!
For this month, Chris McCullough, Co-Founder and Chief Geek at RotaGeek kindly took some time out of his day to chat to us about their business.
When was your company founded?
How many employees does RotaGeek currently have?
8 based in the UK and Australia – soon to be 10.
What inspired you and Nick to set up RotaGeek?
Before we started RotaGeek, I worked in the NHS and I was constantly trying to improve the system that I worked in. One of the main issues for the NHS is scheduling their doctors, so Nick and I developed a system to help improve that process. We then spent 6 years learning how not to run a business. Two years ago, we started to get approached by commercial businesses, who asked if they could use our software; we repeatedly turned them down as the system was designed for doctors and wouldn’t work for them. But eventually we decided to stop focusing on the NHS and to completely redesign the system so it would work for businesses. That’s when things started to take off.
How long have you been at Runway East?
Since the 8th January!
How has the collaborative nature of the community helped you or your business?
We had two choices for office space, a small private office with one other team and this co-working space. We picked here because it’s great to be around great companies doing good things. All of the companies here are doing something great and it’s nice to know that you can pull from these different strengths, and ask for advice for your own business. It’s even led us to gain new clients like Bel-Air who sit in the row behind us!
East London is one of the startup capitals of the world. What would you say are the positive/negative implications of basing your company here as opposed to further a field?
I didn’t want to move to East London because everyone is here but that at the same time is also an advantage. We’ve found that people are very impressed when you say that you work at Silicon Roundabout. It gives the impression you’re doing well. We were based in Euston for a bit and, even though it’s not actually that far, it felt remote and like you’re not in the centre of ‘startup world’.
How do you see the London tech scene evolving in the next 1-2 years?
I have no idea. I would like to see it have the same kind of energy and status as Silicon Valley. One of the disappointing things for London-based Startups is that at some point we all think ‘but at what point do I need to go to the States to make this really successful?’. We should be able to gain that kind of success without moving.
How has the business changed since you started?
The biggest change was moving RotaGeek away from the NHS to be focused on retail businesses. A year ago we had 2 customers, and we’ve now rolled out across O2 shops, nationwide. We now have over 6,000 users and we should have an international contract within 3 to 4 months.
Do you think the E-Commerce bubble will burst?
I don’t think so, it offers the consumer a much easier route to get the things that they need. I just think the process will get slicker and smarter.
What would you do differently if you were to start again?
I would probably have quit my job earlier and focused solely on RotaGeek. We learnt a lot in that 6 years – so perhaps I wouldn’t of changed that, after all.
What has been your most valuable lesson you’ve learnt since starting your business?
One of the things we have done since the beginning, which has been validated, is to always be honest and open with everyone. No surprises. That goes for employees, investors, board advisors and customers. It’s really nice to know that no-one will be surprised with what we do, as it has all been laid out for them before they join us.
Do you think being in a working-together space has had a positive effect for your team?
Yes. Principally because we have learnt what Beer Pong is.. and twerking isn’t tweeting at work… But seriously, we wanted to be in a smart and encouraging environment, so the support available here has been great.
Would you say your ping pong skills improved?
No, I’m still rubbish. Although, better than Peter Nixey.
Thanks so much to Chris from RotaGeek for taking the time to talk to us about Grabble and working-together life!
If you’re interested in RotaGeek’s scheduling services, you can get in touch with the team here – firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time we hear from the guys at Blaze!