Ed. Note: we had a chance to chat with Rich Edwards of Repairly, a very cool Techstars startup based in the UK. Read on! :)
How did you come up with the idea for Repairly? What was the inspiration?
Both myself and CEO Fraser Williams have had experience in similar business models before. We saw that there was a huge problem in this industry.
When you break your technology, there’s a confusing amount of options. From slow manufacturers to untrustworthy high street shops, there’s no one company that you can turn to if you need to get something fixed. Technology has progressed at such a fast rate that the repair and support side of it has been left in the 90’s. Repairly is here to support people.
In just one sentence , what is your company? What do you do?
We do two-hour on demand technology repair.
What do you love the most about running a startup?
I love that we’re creating our own little world. Myself and Fraser get to hire people that we love to work with and surround ourselves with amazing people each day. That is a huge part of it. The sense of creating something from nothing is really powerful and delighting people on a large scale makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
What is the hardest of most surprising part about running a startup?
One challenge I have faced has been creating balance in my life as a whole. It’s easy to want to just spend every waking hour on the business. However, sooner or later I end up burning out. I realised I hadn’t seen my friends for ages, exercise had been forgotten and my hobbies were long gone. This made me unproductive and generally just a bit unhappy. Scheduling in time for exercise or seeing friends has been important to keep my output consistent, rather than peaks and troughs.
Do you have any success stories, (big or small) you would like to share?
Sure, I have one that springs to mind. It’s perhaps small and humble but for me it’s very meaningful. It’s one that I tell to every new recruit. It's the story about a time we made a customer cry. This might sound weird, but let me explain. It was in Repairly’s early days when we were just starting out. Myself and Fraser were still going out and collecting phones. Fraser had just collected a phone from one of our customers, they’d had a little chat and Fraser had found out she was starting a garden. We sent her some seeds in the post as a ‘thank you’ for trusting in our service. Next thing you know, we have a warming email from her telling us how she was weeping over her keyboard because it was such a kind gesture.
I think such personal and exceptional service is so rare these days that it’s easy to stand out. As companies we have this amazing power to touch people’s lives in a meaningful way. That’s why we’re so obsessed about turning what is a very negative experience (of someone’s broken phone) into a positive one.
How, if in any way, had Foundersuite helped your company?
Foundersuite has been *really* useful. We started out by raising our seed round using a GoogleDoc. That soon got out of hand. Foundersuite has been fundamental to getting us organised. Using Foundersuite has helped coordination between both me and Fraser. At any time we know who is speaking to which investor, what the progress is and what the next steps are.
I like being able to see the tasks I have to next take with an investor as well as being able to have clear visibility on where our efforts needed to be focused. For example, if we didn’t have many investors near the top/middle of the funnel then we knew that we to get some more top funnel leads.
Finally, what is your best tip, hack, or piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
Here’s one that is probably quite relevant for readers of this fine blog. Even when you think you’ve closed the round, act as if you haven’t. Once you’ve got a strong lead that you think is going to close the round, they could still pull out at any point. The money isn’t in the bank, until it is in the bank.
We’ve fallen for this trap. We thought we’d done it, so relaxed a bit, the investor pulled out and we were back to the drawing board. It was stressful because we had just wasted a load of time, money was getting low and now we had to almost start from scratch again. Just keep raising until you’ve finished the round. The worst case is that you have too many investors wanting to be part of your company, and that really isn’t a bad problem to have.