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We interviewed a millenial, who being in his twenties is leading three startups! So, meet Daniel Vernon - a man who still has free time to enjoy life.
Founder at FlexiCab
Started his first startup at sixteen
Studying computer science in the Birkbeck, University of London
A foodie and Xbox gamer
Traditional first question: who you are? What way you are going to change the IT-world?
I’m 20 year old entrepreneur, foodie and techie who loves build start great products. I have a huge passion for business and I enjoy meeting great individuals who are driven by developing very complex product that innovate an industry.
Tell us more about yourself. What differed you from your age-mates?
I’ve always been different. Although I’ve many friends and still do, I’ve always had my own temperament, my own ideas and goals .I tend to keep my distance away from the crowd and actually monitor trends from time to time, especially as I’ve always been a lover of tech. Tech has changed dramatically over the years and become more prominent in our lives and being a tech enthusiast from such a young age - it just grown on me. I began to learn coding from the age of 16 and I’ve to develop my knowledge in tech and over the years expanded over to the age of tech startups. I was very inspired by Zuckerburg and how infectiously grew Facebook to a blue chip company
For now you’re involving in three startups and studying computer science in the university. What’s your time-management secret?
Long nights. I can stay up till around 5am and still remain functional throughout the day. Something I’ve picked up from being a self-taught programmer. Coffee and energy drinks.
When did the idea of Slyfe come to you?
I started Slyfe when I was 16. It was called TeenPoke back then and it was to be teen-focused network that provides teen focused media to young users online. The idea was was supply a platform where young people are able to communicate without an older demographic luring on the same network. A safe community for young people. We recently rebranded to Slyfe to expand our demographic to students of all ages and re-calibrated our focus to a more formal student focused media network. We’ve grown quite a bit over the years and we’re just getting started. Our app is close to completion and we’ll be be launch early next year.
What’s your another venture, FlexiCab, unique with? Who are its target users?
FlexiCab is a universal platform for taxi firms where they are able to reach a larger audience. We are essentially creating a car hailing service for taxi companies through one app. This way they can grow a substantial revenue stream and compete with the the current current car hailing app market. The market for car hailing and taxis is rapidly changing and taxi firms do not have the marketing power or expenditure to compete with the apps that are dominating their industry. So with FlexiCab, we want to change that and create a platform where every company can compete for rides.
Do you have any strategy of making the app recognizable?
Yes. But I can’t share as how we plan on developing exposure for FlexiCab. You’ll have to wait and see. The is coming however, with lots of treats and perks for riders.
You’ve mentioned about the competition in which FlexiCab has become a finalist for innovative transport ideas. What requirements the app was to demand?
I was approached by an organisation called the Creative Business Cup and they organise a series of competitions each. I was asked to participate in the Mobility Challenge which is about the most innovative ideas and concepts that have potential to the mobility for the better. I was selected as a finalist on the basis that the FlexiCab concept was very innovative and creative. I’m very excited to pitch the idea to everyone and the investors on the panel at the competition in Denmark.
Will you monetize the app?
I can’t say for now but what I can say is that our monetization strategy will maximize our chances of becoming a very profitable venture. We’re talking large revenue streams. Right now though, we’re looking to raise a £100 million to enter into the market of the car hailing business and we are eager to prove our model to scare competitors.
What future plans does FlexiCab have? Do you follow any KPIs?
We have plans to later integrate contractor options where ordinary entrepreneurs can take to this platform and build taxi firms using only FlexiCab as their form of conducting business.
You said, that Hatch, your third brainchild, might be extremely useful for startup founders. Why they should be interested with the firm?
Hatch is something I felt would not only generate a expansive revenue streams but also have an impact on pre-seed and early stage startups. I’m startup founder myself and I understand the hardship we grow through to get our ideas of the ground. Being unique is one thing but amplifying your brand is another. That’s Hatch’s specialty. Our focus is rapid growth and exposure for brands that need not only validation but feedback to improve their product. This way, Hatch becomes a valuable asset to startups from the very beginning. Hence the name ;)
The question every founder may be about is getting fundraisings from angels. What’s the situation for UK entrepreneurs?
From my experience I wouldn’t say it’s easy to raise funds from angels given the current economic situation in the UK, but it’s not impossible. Angels now are seeking solid investments with a maximum of 1% risk. There’s no room for reckless investing in this economy.
Let’s say, I have a startup idea and going to attract investors to turn it into a real working tool. What should I do to engage venturers and get their “Yes”?
You want to let them know of the benefits first. Why would they use your concept/product/idea? Once they understand that, you’ve got to let them know that you understand the business logistics and complexities that your product is going face and how you plan on avoid them. This way you also show that you understand the risk involved and what kind of investment you’d need for your brand to develop exposure. Then you can begin to talk figures. How much would you need to build the product? How much would you need to throw into marketing development?
Where is the best place to grow a startup?
In the US. The culture over there is far more relaxed and there is a larger, more established startup community in the States. Having said that, there is a lot of politics involved now that there are many startups, VCs, Private Equity firms pumping money into unicorn companies and the overhaul of competition. Economically I’d personally would recommend Berlin in Germany. Resources are considerably more affordable and Germany welcomes growth especially within the tech sector. In the UK the scene is quite tight and small. There are barely any UK startups that have spread like a virus in comparison to US startups.
What inspires you?
Innovation and growth. I believe solely in changes in society for better. Politics fails to achieve that, finance contributes nothing real but the whole idea of tech is to improve systems and that's what drives me.
How do you wind down?
I play A LOT of XBOX when I can. Takes my mind away from work and gives me time to reevaluate decisions made. I also go out when I can to relax. It gets me outside and I learn from other people doing interesting things.
The first application you open when just wake up is:
Emails. I get a truckload of emails every night and it’s non-stop. I’ve got to stay on top of every involvement I’ve thrown myself into. But I enjoy it! There is no better to live. I can choose when to apply my energy into tasks instead of being told what to do.
Thanks Dan for the interview! Promise you’ll have more brilliant ideas to bring to life :)