I chose to do StartUp Summer because I already had an idea that I’d spent some time on, and I wanted to take it further. The programme just seemed like an attractive prospect as they provided £2,000 start-up cash, and the scheme itself provided an official wrapper around what we were doing.
When I was younger I was always making websites. I had a little business helping people who didn’t know much about the internet to get on the web. This spawned from a family friend asking me for help, and then suddenly I had an awful lot of clients paying me to look after their websites.
My business idea is called ‘Buildr.’ It’s an online social photo book creator, where you can build albums with friends who can contribute their own messages and pictures. Once the photo album is created, you can preview it before it gets printed into a physical book. We feel that what we’ve got is
where you don’t have to spend time laboriously making the book; it’s fun to create the content.
The judges gave us good feedback and we came second overall. The main criticism was that it wasn’t fully understood how people make a photo book online. We got a lot of offers for future help from the judges though.
The programme acted a lot like market research for our product, which was very valuable, and we have since run a pilot project. We also have a show website, which we’ve been using for a year to gauge interest, which we know is there because we’re already getting emails and demands! We’ve decided to release Buildr to colleges and universities soon. These institutions often have yearbooks, so why not offer them an online version?
In the future I see myself trying to create my own job. I plan to spend my remaining time at university developing Buildr in a comfortable and organic way so that I can take it on fully later.