Tell us a bit about what your startup does?
Prodsight is a web-based Software as a Service (SaaS) which provides product managers with insights into their customer needs and issues. It automatically gathers and aggregates customer feedback, performs analysis and visualises insights in an interactive web-based dashboard. Prodsight directly integrates with popular live chat systems such as Intercom. The system then retrieves the live chat data and always keeps the latest version ready for analysis. Every time a support conversation closes, Prodsight scans the contents of the communication between the user and a support operative, performs topic and sentiment analysis and records the results for later comparison. Product managers use an interactive web dashboard to learn about common customer complaints, issues, feature requests and overall sentiment. They can also perform in-depth investigations by filtering and segmenting data to understand which groups are affected by which topics or to the root cause of a customer issue and assess its impact.
What was the inspiration behind your startup?
As a Product Manager, I was experimenting with various approaches to identifying market opportunities and reducing product launch risk. I found customer feedback analysis to be instrumental but notoriously tricky and time-consuming. However, I couldn't find any off-the-shelf tools who could do the analysis for me at a reasonable cost. I spoke to peers at other companies and found that they felt the same which is what encouraged me to launch Prodsight.
What is your background?
When I was 18 I launched my first business - an online drum shop called Drum Space. I was basically selling drum parts out of my bedroom to fund my business studies at the University of Glasgow. When I went on to study Business at the University of Glasgow, I co-founded my second startup Eventhread - an event discovery platform. I was forced to learn coding and realised what it takes to truly run a tech startup. Upon graduating I decided to get a job to get experience with bigger teams and projects before trying startups again. I got a product manager job at Kotikan - a leading mobile agency which built Skyscanner and FanDuel apps. Then I continued working as a Product Manager at Yavi where we built a mobile communications app for deskless workers. There I learned how to build scalable products and lead product teams.
Did you always see yourself running your own company?
I think I got a knack for it when I was a teenager. Whilst at school I was buying and selling bicycle parts and used profit to fund building my ultimate bike trials bike.
What are the biggest challenges you face having your own business?
The biggest challenge is being able to quickly adapt or learn how to handle increasingly difficult situations as I progress through my startup journey. Learning to code, gathering courage to speak to customers, raising money from investors, hiring are all really tough challenges when you hit them the first time but make you a stronger entrepreneur once you overcome them.
If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Have more confidence. I am an introvert and naturally tend to be quieter and doubt my ideas. In the meantime, the louder ones get the attention they need to get ahead. I have learned to get out of my shell and be assertive when pursuing my goals which served me well so far.
Do you have one piece of advice you’d give to people looking to make the jump to self-employed?
Create a financial survival plan. Save up at least 6 months of living costs before you take the plunge. Consider your liabilities such as mortgages and loans and work contingencies into the plan. Prepare a plan B and C so you know what you will do if your venture doesn't generate income as quickly as planned. That's what I did and it helped maintain sanity as well as maintain good relations with my wife :)
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