According to a Harvard Business School Study, 75% of venture-backed start-ups fail. Here in the UK, the numbers are slightly better, according to Real Business, which found 57% of new businesses fold in the first five years.
These statistics, which float around the start-up world like broomsticks in Quidditch, are exactly what made the Launchpad programme so appealing to Team Ramble.
The three-man team are all from different backgrounds, and say while they all have a similar work ethic, they wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for Launchpad, which builds teams with the right skills to create a successful business. In fact, two of the team, Warwick New and Ross Perry were both in Falmouth University’s Games Academy at the same time, and had never met. Their third co-founder, James Millard, came from London to Cornwall with a business-heavy background.
Ross and Warwick work on the technical aspects of their product, while James runs the business side. The team recently incorporated and are currently looking for investors for their company, which makes podcasts live and interactive. The company is using the radio industry as a base – taking the things it’s getting right and discarding the things it’s doing wrong.
The team plans for the product to be beta tested soon. Podcasts are huge, with more and more people choosing to download a podcast over listening to live radio – more than 7 million people listen to podcasts in the UK each week, up by 24% on 2018. Podcasts are usually on niche topics, so being able to interact, ask questions live of the presenters, would be a real boost. This is at the crux of what Ramble wants to do – allow callers to take part in a live podcast of their choosing, in a raw, unedited way.
But, there will be accountability. Nobody who uses the platform can do so anonymously, each person will have to sign up with details, possibly attached to an existing platform like LinkedIn.
Ross says he really believes in the concept, but still sees himself as a developer before an entrepreneur: “I’m not really from a business background, so there was a bit of a transition at first, but the way the teams work mean that everyone has to get stuck in.” As well as getting their business off the ground there’s also Masters in Entrepreneurship to complete within the year, fully-funded as part of the programme.
The team’s other developer, Warwick, also did a Bsc in Computing at Falmouth University. He says: “I always knew I wanted to run my own company, which is the sort of freedom the programme gives me”.
Warwick says this works because it also means that he doesn’t have the sole responsibility for the product, which can be quite daunting. The Falmouth Launchpad teams are chosen based on personality types, experiences and the type of business they might all want to go into. Also, it seems having the backing of other people is a great support for Ramble, as each individual brings their own unique talents to the business.
How does he cope with having to make decisions as a team?
Warwick says: “Our team works because we just get our heads down and get things done.”
The business driver of the startup, James, had always wanted to start his own business too, and was very attracted to the Launchpad programme because of the benefits and support. “The security you’ve got with the year’s pay (£16,000 tax free) helps you do what you need to do, without worrying about bills or working part-time somewhere else. You focus full time on making the business a success.”
Living in Cornwall after London, what’s that like? “Refreshing” apparently. Despite the county’s small population, or perhaps because of it, it’s easier to meet people, there’s lots going on and there’s a good support system at Launchpad and the University who know what you’re going through.
One of the main challenges now is how long the technical aspects of the platform takes to create and change. The team also has changes to make to the product after investor meetings, and arguably the most important step is to get word of the product out there and get people using it. The team say this as an exciting time, and know that without Launchpad this idea would have stayed just that. Now, they know it will come to life.