Startup Spotlight: Enjoy London on a budget with Frugl

Startup Spotlight: Enjoy London on a budget with Frugl

In the news this week here in Londontown, we have learned that the city has more multi-million-pound mansions being sold Fruglthan any other city in the world, we are also hearing that our city is the most expensive place to live in the world.

So what if you are on a budget?

What if cheap eats and charity shops are more you’re style than big bling shopping and dining out for hundreds of pounds? Hey, guess what? There’s an app for that!

For Londoners on a budget, the app Frugl delivers on its promise to keep you informed about the best deals for entertainment in the expensive city. Download the app for free from the Apple App Store and begin to discover an affordable side to London. You’ll get to pick from events and happenings that are free, and up to £10, and select from categories of comedy, poetry, film and cinema, classes and courses, meetups and networking, talks and lectures, beauty, food and drink, kids and family, live music, nightlife, shopping and more. You can also book tickets through the app, and find the location of where you are headed with maps.

Frugl has gotten a good amount of press since launch happened in March 2014, including this article in Forbes. The startup received initial funding of a grant from the Technology Strategy Board (now called Innovate UK). At the helm is CEO founder Suzanne Noble, a 20-year veteran publicist and CTO co-founder Tikiri Hulugalle.

We got to catch up with both founders by joining them recently at TECHtoberfest, and had a blast of a time, all on a budget!

Suzanne let us quiz her further about Frugl, and here’s our Q&A session with her:

Suzanne Noble

Suzanne Noble

Can you tell us the background of Frugl? When did it come about and why?

I’ve been a bargain hunter and a culture vulture since I was a kid growing up in London. Back in the 80s I used to run underground jazz clubs, spending every night handing out flyers, as that was the only way to get the word out. Now there’s so much going on all the time, it’s a challenge to find those under the radar events or great offers. That’s where Frugl comes in – giving event promoters and businesses a platform to publicise great value experiences for our users to discover.

So you set out to make an app for those looking to experience London on a budget. What was your interest in this low budget market?

Well, I believe that having fun shouldn’t be something that only the wealthy can afford. Anyone should be able to have a good time, to find great food/drink, clothes or events whatever their budget. I’m naturally inclined to want to save money whenever possible so Frugl reflects my own passion.

What kind of events and offerings can people find on Frugl?

From the start, I wanted to reach varied tastes and interests. Currently you can find free haircuts, meal deals, live music and comedy, workshops and much more. The basic philosophy of Frugl is that, provided it has a start/end time and there is at least one of something to be sold, it can be listed on Frugl.

Have you had many downloads of the app and can you share with us how many?

We’ve hit about 20k and, with our new marketplace on web and now iOS and Android too are looking to rev up our numbers over the next few months.

You know, there are a lot of event business models out there – can you tell us why Frugl stands apart from the competition?

We’re really trying to broaden our inventory beyond events. We know there’s a lot of apps out there but we know that when people think of Frugl, they think beyond events. That’s why we encourage businesses in the food/drink and health/beauty space to use us too.

Frugl is just for London now, but do you have plans to offer it in other cities?

Absolutely. Moving beyond London is definitely on the roadmap over the next year.

What are your top picks for Frugl things to do in London?

We love The Good Ship Comedy Club on a Monday night in Kilburn. It’s always fun and the atmosphere is great.

Thanks for talking with us Suzanne!

By the way, you can find Suzanne on Twitter at @FruglFounder and follow Frugl @Frugl.

 

 

Startup Spotlight: GoodBarber

Startup Spotlight: GoodBarber

We caught up with the team of GoodBarber, a DIY iPhone and Android mobile app startup based in Corsica, ahead of Mobile World Congress 2015, to find out more about what the company is all about. Being a fans of all things DIY for self-starters, public realtions and statups, we thought you may also want to find out more about GoodBarber and what they offer. See our Q& A conversation below.

Going to Mobile World Congress? Find GoodBarber at:

Hall 8.1 (App Planet) D41 French Pavillion, Station 10

Q: Please tell us a little background about GoodBarber and why you started the company?

A: Our CEO Dominique Siacci went directly from being a student to being an entrepreneur in Corsica, France.

GoodBarber CEO Dominique Siacci

GoodBarber CEO Dominique Siacci

He created DuoApps in 2009 (the mother company of GoodBarber), which was right around the same time that the App Store was opening to developers, and started out working with bespoke apps (custom made apps) for iOS. He quickly realized that being a business in Corsica required a much more scalable model, which brought him to the idea of transitioning to a DIY solution—a more feasible option.

The pivot proved to be very successful, and through continuous updates and improvements based on evolving user needs, GoodBarber has developed into a dynamic company that works with users all over the world to transform their projects into beautiful apps.

Q: Why DIY?

A: The business really made a big switch from service based (developing custom apps for individuals) to a product (creating one tool that allows users to ultimately create the project themselves). DIY projects are great because they allow the user to create exactly what they are envisioning, but often times they are accompanied by the need for a very specific set of skills, and this combination was something that was lacking in the app marketplace. Several years ago, the transition from paying for website development to creating one’s own website through WordPress was seen; Dominique had a feeling that this concept would be the future in the app industry as well, thus taking the risk and diving into the DIY revolution.

Dominique created a system where the user does not need to have any type of knowledge related to creating apps—GoodBarber does the dirty work, providing the interface that is the intermediary between the complex coding and the creative user, leaving them with the fun and easy part.

The DIY aspect includes choosing the design of the app, the content, and the functionality based on the project, etc., but does not require any coding expertise, thus making the DIY app concept completely attainable.

Q: How much can someone save if they DIY their own app?

A: Having an app created by a developer ranges greatly based on its functions, but the cost of developing an native app can range anywhere from $5,000-$50,000, just for one app for one device!

When an app is created native, every part of it is created and coded to work perfectly with the device it’s displayed on, thus requiring a lot of time and money. Native apps are the kind of app created with GoodBarber, but we take the work out of this extensive process and leave the user with the fun part, saving them money as well as a big headache! The user also does not have to worry about creating a separate app for each type of device (iPhone, Android, tablet, etc.), they can make their app one time and GoodBarber makes it compatible and native for each device.

Q: GoodBarber offers anyone the chance to make an app in 7 steps, what is the process like and how long does it take to DIY an app?

A: In a nutshell, the process goes from choosing an overall theme and navigation mode for the app, adding the desired content, designing the individual sections of content, selecting splashscreens and icons, and finally testing the app and submitting it to the stores.

Each project is different, and how long it takes to complete a project depends on how deep into the platform the user chooses to go, but on average a beautiful app can usually be created in a matter of only a few hours. After this, it takes a few days for the app to be published on the stores, but in general it is a very quick process.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in starting GoodBarber?

A: Every time we add a new feature to the platform, we must think of it in terms of both generic and customized at the same time. The feature must be made in a broad enough way that it to be easily used by everyone, but also must be flexible enough to adapt to any idea. The challenge is to have a one size fits all products that can create very different, specific results.

Also, growing internationally has been a challenge, especially since the company does not have the advantage of being based in a large city conducive to startups. We realized early on that even if we were not located in a very internationally diverse city, it would be necessary to have an internationally diverse team in order to properly assist all of our future clients. Luckily, with the combination of great marketing and a competitive product, we have managed to thrive and now work with individuals and companies all over the world.

Q: Who is using GoodBarber?

A: GoodBarber users can be anyone from small business owners to a church youth group to professional app developers. The important thing is that anyone can use the product, regardless of their skill level. A lot of businesses use GoodBarber as an easy, cost-efficient way to market and enhance their companies, while professional developers use the platform for developing multiple apps for clients. In the case of the latter, more advanced individuals have the option to access deeper customization settings and put their coding knowledge to use.

If you would like to find out more about some specific GoodBarber apps, you could take a look through some of the apps we have showcased which also include customer reviews about GoodBarber here.

Q: Do you help guide a customer through the DIY process? And how?

A: Absolutely. Just because it is a DIY platform does not mean our users are completely on their own! As soon as a user signs up for a free trial, they are offered the opportunity for a one-on-one Skype session where we offer advice on their project and answer any initial questions they may have. As they continue to build their app and throughout the lifetime of the app, we have a support team available to answer all questions (in several languages), as well as a consistently updated blog with helpful articles, video tutorials, and news related to the industry.

Q: In a very crowded marketplace of apps, is it worth it to build one, and why?

A: It’s true that the app marketplace is very crowded, but at this point in time, if your business strategy does not include a mobile aspect, you are very far behind. There are many components to the term “mobile” (hybrid apps, native apps, mobile sites, etc.) and each one of them addresses a different target and need. Native apps provide a very high level of user experience, resulting in an unmatched technique for engaging and retaining users, making building an app an absolutely worthwhile project.

Q: What’s your long term plan?

A: We like to set our sights high—the goal is to become one of the top three app builders out there, and in order to do so we plan to adapt the business to the technology that we believe will be a very large part of the future: connected devices.

Connected devices are going to be huge, and the way in which they will be managed will be by people, through their phones. If GoodBarber apps can play a role in managing connected devices, this will be huge for our future growth.

Q: Tell us about being a startup in Corsica.

A: Corsica is an amazing place to live, but can be a challenging environment to thrive in as a startup. As many startups tend to be based in more metropolitan areas, we have to deal with limitations regarding hiring processes, networking, and gaining exposure. It requires some hard work, but it is all worth it in the long run.

Sneak Preview: WeAreDotDotDot

Sneak Preview: WeAreDotDotDot

We love to share first looks at new things happening in the world and are thrilled to invite you to come along to a sneak

WeAreDotDotDot.com

WeAreDotDotDot.com

preview of WeAreDotDotDot.com!

WeAreDotDotDot.com, now in beta phase, is a new platform that will connect young people in East London with digital learning programmes and job networking opportunities. The Connecting Tech City team behind this initiative aim to help East London young people prepare and find employment with the thriving businesses of London’s Tech City. See the press coverage about WeAreDotDotDot featured on TechCityinsider.net here.

Do you want to be part of the development stage in the run up to WeAreDotDotDot’s official launch in March 2015?

Sign up today to be part of a great movement at: www.wearedotdotdotdot.com

WeAreDotDotDot is particularly keen to hear from you if you are from Hackney, Islington, Newham or Tower Hamlets and aged 11-25.

Due to high demand, we will be holding the sneak previews on three days, with the first one kicking off 2015 on Wednesday, 21st January.

Then the next sneak preview will be on Tuesday 17th February and finally the last one will be held Wednesday 11th March.

All events will be held 4-6pm at Central Working Whitechapel, 69-89 Mile End Road, London E1 4TT. (Entrance through Foxcroft & Ginger Café)

*Teachers and guardians also welcome to attend.

At the sneak preview you will get to:

• beta test the platform

• get to know first hand how experienced developers tackle issues around user experience, design and coding

• be the first to have access to more than 60 courses on offer on the platform, to develop your skills in tech

• find out about the latest apprenticeships available in tech

• find out about funds and grants to support you financially

• receive an invite to attend our launch event in March 2015 as a VIP guest

• know why you should help get the word out and encourage other young people to sign up to the platform

Get your ticket to attend a sneak preview here:

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wearedotdotdotcom-sneak-preview-tickets-15177131208

Follow WeAreDotDotDot on Twitter:

#WeAreDotDotDot

@WeAreDotDotDot

Find WeAreDotDotDot on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/connectingtechcity

*Coming soon to Instagram!

Do you tweet? We’d love to see you on there. Here’s a few suggested tweets you can share:

Young? In East London? Want to work in Tech City? Be among the first to know about @wearedotdotdot #WeAreDotDotDot: http://www.wearedotdotdot.com

Check out @wearedotdotdot, helping East London young people prepare for jobs in Tech City. #WeAreDotDotDot Sign up here: http://www.wearedotdotdot.com

#WeAreDotDotDot launches in 2015! Helping East London young people prepare for jobs in Tech City. Sign up at: http://www.wearedotdotdot.com @wearedotdotdot

For more information, contact [email protected]

Creative agenices join to help Tech City combat area’s skills shortage #GrowTechCity

Creative agenices join to help Tech City combat area’s skills shortage #GrowTechCity

When Hai Media Group first heard about the Connecting Tech City project, to unlock the talent of youth in the area and help connect young people with learning programmes and jobs within the growing tech sector’s businesses, we applauded. Now, we’ve gotten on board to help in making this fantastic project take off here!

We think this effort ticks all the right boxes for helping East London thrive by:

  • Opening up opportunities for hundreds of young people to learn, and work, in Tech City
  • Giving employers better access to a pool of talent that is much needed to grow tech businesses and reduce the skills shortage
  • Connecting employers and educators with young people, parents and teachers through an online platform

Please read more about Connecting Tech City below in the press release. If you are a member of the media, or just interested in hearing more about the project and coming along to one of the exciting events planned – please get in touch: [email protected]

#GrowTechCity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tech City Creative Agencies Join to Combat Area’s Skills Shortage

Connecting Tech City, a collaboration across the tech industry in East London,appoints Pleo, Rosie Lee and Hai Media Group to build a new digital platform to tackle the skills shortage

London, 29th October 2014 –  Responding to the widely recognised challenge among Tech City startups that there is a talent shortage holding back business growth, today Connecting Tech City announce the appointment of three leading creative tech agencies (Pleo, Rosie Lee, Hai Media Group) to develop an online platform to tackle the problem. The platform, to be revealed in the Spring of next year, will connect young people, parents, and teachers to local opportunities to learn digital skills and engage with employers.

The skills gap, London tech firms report, is most keenly felt in East London’s Tech City area, where there is the largest concentration of tech businesses in Europe. Over the last year, tech firms have come together to address the problem, through the Connecting Tech City collaboration, brokered by Centre for London.

“Many of the best Digital Learning Programmes in the UK have grown out of the East London tech cluster,” said Jess Tyrrell, Director of the Connecting Tech City programme. “But it is difficult to access these programmes unless you know where to look. We need information to be much more accessible and we need local young people to feel that these opportunities are for them.”

The platform, which is backed by many of the leading firms in Tech City, will radically scale up the number of young people accessing cutting edge digital learning.

The platform itself will be designed and developed by Pleo, a leading digital design agency producing cutting edge products that create and shape human behaviour. Creative agency Rosie Lee are developing the brand and visual identity to reach and inspire young people. Hai Media Group are providing public relations and social media support. The agencies are supporting the project with a mixture of paid and pro bono support.

“This is a really exciting opportunity to level the playing field for young people who want to get into digital” says Nic Mahlunge, junior designer at Pleo. “It has to be relevant to young people like me, who are using the best of interactive and social media tools. We’re very excited to be involved.”

“Young people from each of the agencies will play a big part in the design”, says Asma Nahar, 28, who is working as Community Manager for the project. “I’ll be working alongside  Sami Janjer, Account Manager at Rosie Lee and social media lead Miamii Mansour from Hai Media Group, both 23. All of us are young people who know what it is like breaking into the digital industry, and therefore closer to the experience of our users.”

The platform officially launches in March 2015.

-ends-

MEDIA CONTACTS

Hai Media Group:

Lisa Devaney, [email protected] | 07711 238173

Connecting Tech City:

Jess Tyrrell, [email protected] | 07779 348180

Rosie Lee:

Russell Clayton, [email protected] | 020 7613 3752

NOTES FOR EDITORS

      1. About Connecting Tech City:

The Connecting Tech City initiative, launched in May 2014, aims to bring the Tech City community together in a new drive to help ensure London’s young people – especially those in East London, some of the Capital’s poorest – can benefit from all the opportunities that Tech City has to offer, and that Tech City benefits from a skilled local workforce. The Connecting Tech City project is being coordinated by the Centre for London, a politically independent think tank and registered charity which aims to help London build on its great strengths and meet its great challenges.

Visit: www.centreforlondon.org/connecting-tech-city

Follow @centreforlondon

2. About Pleo:

Pleo is a consultation, strategy and design studio for mobile and innovation projects. We are deeply collaborative and insight driven in everything we do and focus our energy on projects that deliver genuine impact.

Visit: www.pleo.co

3. About Rosie Lee:

Rosie Lee is a hybrid media agency. With expertise in branding, digital, retail design and advertising, Rosie Lee bring a strong creative lead and best in class project management to collaborative projects.

Visit: rosieless.co.uk, instagram.com/rosie.lees

Follow: @Rosie_Lees

4. About Hai Media Group:

We are a public relations consultancy serving tech startups.

Visit: www.haimediagroup.com

Follow @HaiMediaGroup

Startup Spotlight: Zealify

Startup Spotlight: Zealify

What is Zealify?

Zealify

Zealify

Zealify is an online platform that wants to change the way we look for jobs. Normally, you’d apply for a job – and that’s it, right?

Well, Zealify goes one step further. It’s a job site that shows its clients the full picture before they apply.

Users can browse through images of the office, watch video interviews with current employees and read a detailed description about the company’s culture.

Hai Media Group had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Hine, co-founder and CEO of Zealify, here’s what she had to say…

1) How would you describe Zealify to those who may not have heard of it?

Zealify seeks to change the job search process for junior level talent through showcasing the cultures of high growth, SME’s through online profiles. The profiles include photos of the offices, video interviews with employees and content about the company culture. Those who are searching for a job get to find out exactly what it is like to work for a company before they apply for a position.

2) When did the Startup begin?

The Startup began in February 2014.

3) Who are your target audience?

Our target audience are individuals who are between one and five years out of university,  We are trying to cater to people who may have had some work experience perhaps in a large company, found it wasn’t for them and are now looking for a new challenge.

4) Why Zealify? What makes you stand out from all the other employment websites?

Unlike generic job boards Zealify allows users to find out what it is really like to work at a company. Other employment websites will bombard job searchers with messages about available positions with no thought into whether the job searcher will fit into the hiring company. Through the zealify platform, small to medium sized companies can stand out from other companies by showing visually the values that their team believe in. This allows potential employees to figure out whether they would be a good fit or not, with a far higher accuracy than a typical job board.

5) What fields do you specialise in?

Zealify only profiles high-growth Startups and SME’s. The companies are carefully selected based on their employee centric nature and good working environment. Generally fast paced, innovative companies are hiring for roles across a variety of fields which enables us to offer our users numerous positions in areas such as marketing, HR and software development.

6) How would Zealify know if it’s made it? (goals, achievements)

Zealify will know it has made it when it is the chosen place for starting a job search. We are working towards building a platform that has all the necessary resources in one place to help individuals succeed in a career they love. We regularly receive great feedback from our users commending Zealify for its personal approach to career advice.

7) What’s next for Zealify?

Zealify is going to start its second investment round. This money will allow us to expand our team. Through expanding our team we will be able to reach more people with our service and achieve our long term goal.

By Miamii Mansour

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