Tell us about Intro, what is it and how does it work?
Intro is a unique, app-based platform which radically improves the way people connect in everyday life, allowing users to rapidly connect and exchange contact information with a single tap. We are not trying to be a new social media platform. Instead Intro acts as a facilitator, compiling all the user’s social media profiles and contact information, which they wish to share, into two distinct profiles – a casual and a professional profile.
– E.g. the user may decide that they want their social profile to link their Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat as well as their phone number; their professional one may just contain their LinkedIn, email and phone number
All it takes is a tap and two people can instantaneously connect and exchange profiles.
By connecting on Intro, they don’t have to connect across these other social media platforms straight away. Whilst they can do this, users also have the option to simply save the Intro profile card, adding it to a list of “Connections”. The user can then view the saved Intro profile – which has all the connected social media accounts – at a later point in time to access these profiles.
The aim of Intro is to solve a number of nuisances in everyday life:
– No longer will you have to search every single social media platform to add someone and connect with them
– Never again will you have to manually input someone else’s details in to your phone
– Issues such as mistyping a phone number, misspelling a name and forgetting a name are no longer a problem
The benefits of Intro:
– Rapidly connect in seconds
– Intro acts as the ideal icebreaker in both social and professional situations. Never again will you forget a face or a name; it makes interacting with people far easier, less awkward and allows people to focus on the important things instead of fumbling around trying to exchange in other outdated ways. – Professionally, Intro is even more useful, replacing the outdated concept of the business card.
– Designed with user experience in mind, making connecting with others easier than ever before
– When in conversation with someone, it is not uncommon for them to forget to ask for the other person’s details and vise-versa – either because they’re in a rush or just completely forget; Intro can tell if you’ve be chatting to someone for a while and will remind you to connect if you walk away without exchanging details
– Intro’s ability to exchange various details easily means that it can be applied to multiple use-cases such as onboarding/sign-up processes/any other processes which require the exchange of details
E.g. recruiters at career fairs, using the app to register student’s interest in the business so that they can receive information via email for example/send them digital brochures (instead of printing out vast amounts of flyers which often are binned soon after the events)
– Intro also allows businesses to take advantage of Intro’s capabilities by registering as a partner and being able to display a profile which can be used for marketing/ location-based marketing and other purposes
What was your inspiration behind the idea?
My cofounder, Max, had the original concept for the idea a few years ago but sat on it for a while. It was then at SetSquared’s 3 Day Startup event at Exeter University that we caught up and the idea came to life. It was here that we both realised that there were loads of people there who we wanted to connect with, but given the limited time it was really difficult to connect with them all, in a way which is both quick and meaningful. It was from this that Max’s original concept evolved and became what Intro is today. What has been the most challenging thing about starting and running your own business? And conversely, what has been the most rewarding?
The most challenging part of starting your own business is probably the constant learning which it requires. Being students, this is all relatively new to both of us. Whilst we have both had useful modules at university and gone to events which help develop the necessary skills, it also involves a lot of independent learning as the business develops and things progress.
The most rewarding part is being able to work on Intro with Max. We’re great mates and have known eachother since our early school years. Working together makes the work a hundred times easier as we can support each other through the highs and the lows, and it means that there is always someone who understands what you’re going through. It’s been amazing being able to pitch to investors and win funding with him as well as attend a variety of cool events such as the APPG for Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Education Report launch at the House of Lords. What is the biggest misconception you would like to dispel about running your own company?
I think that there are a couple of big misconceptions regarding starting and running your own company. The first is that you need to know everything there is about running a business and know what you’re doing when you first start. Whilst it is important to have a good understanding in whatever you choose to embark on, it is impossible to know everything – especially when starting up for the first time. Being an entrepreneur means that you are always learning new skills and learning from mistakes as you go along. Not only does this teach grit and determination (two important traits which will carry you far if you’re running your own company), but it also means that as the business grows, so does your skill set and understanding.
The second is the misconception that you shouldn’t share your idea for fear of it being “stolen” by someone else. The vast majority of people want to see you succeed and there are always people who are prepared to help you along the way – you just need to put the effort in finding them! Collaboration is one of the greatest assets to entrepreneurs and it can help you overcome things which may seem near impossible to solve at first. Working on Intro, we have found this to be overwhelmingly true having spoken at numerous events about our app and its roadmap. Not
only has this opened doors for us going forward, but it has also meant that we have received large amounts of feedback which has enabled us to make our app even better.
What advice would you give aspiring student entrepreneurs?
Just give it a go and see where you end up! You’ve got to be willing to take any opportunity that comes your way, no matter if it is out of your comfort zone or seems daunting. There is a lot to be gained from just trying, whether it is growing your network or learning new skills – whatever happens, even if the business doesn’t go as planned, these are both incredibly valuable and the experience that you will gain along the way is worth the risk and the challenges along the way.
Student entrepreneurs are in a better position than most to do this, due to the various opportunities and experiences which are tailored specifically for students. Whilst studying for a degree is important, joining an entrepreneurs society or entering various entrepreneurship and funding competitions (many of which can be found on campus or advertised at university) can, and should, be done in your free time as these can act as the first step in sharing ideas, collaborating with like-minded people and venturing into starting your own company. Do you think university is a good time to start a business?
University is, without doubt, the best time to start a business. Not only is it a time in which you face little risk and have few burdens (relatively, compared to later in life), but also there are countless events and experiences which can be participated in, which can help you learn the necessary skills to start a business as well as there being often being schemes which can help you start the business.
With regard to Intro, we have been incredibly lucky to get the support from a number of schemes at both the University of Exeter and the University of Southampton, both of which are part of SetSquared Partnership – the University Enterprise Collaboration. Not only has it allowed us to attend SetSquared events, such as the 3 Day Startup Programme in 2017 (where Intro was conceived), but also both universities have provided us with approximately £40,000 of funding, in total, to date. Both universities also run entrepreneurship societies such as Exeter Entrepreneurs and Fish On Toast at Southampton, as well as startup accelerator programmes like Think Try Do at Exeter and Future Worlds at Southampton – the latter of which has recently opened and we have been accepted into its first cohort of startups.
What does the future of Intro look like?
We have massive ambitions going forward as we really believe that our platform will make a real difference in everyday life. In the short term, we are ensuring market fit and so are currently trying to get as much feedback on the app as possible, particularly with the students as we are predominantly targeting this market. The recent acceptance to the Future Worlds accelerator programme also means that we will be heading to Las Vegas in early January 2019 for the Consumer Electronics Show, where we will be showcasing our application. From this we hope to make a number of connections which can help our growth in the future as well as talk with more investors, so that we have a number of options on the table when we hold our Seed Funding Round in March 2019.
Long term, we are looking to expand through university networks, starting in the UK and then looking to Europe and the US, whilst also expanding our partner programme so that users can use it not just for user-user exchanges but also in the wider world with businesses. This will allow us to explore other applications for the app, such as location-based marketing.