Welcome to our Edtech Launchpad blog. We will use this blog to share participant journeys and programme updates.
Our first post is a guest blog from one of our 2017 edtech start-up accelerator cohort, which has been running Jun – Nov 17. Martin Campbell from Hubbub talks about his experience:
Over the past six months, I’ve taken Hubbub, a tech startup which revolutionises how higher education institutions and charities raise funds, through the accelerator programme run by Jisc and Emerge Education.
As a seasoned entrepreneur with several companies under my belt, I expected to find much of the material pretty familiar, but what surprised me was the value of looking closely at the two areas that the accelerator has focused on.
First the programme takes a back to basics approach, looking at the core problem that the business is solving, what customers think that problem is and what “solved” looks like for them. Whilst I initially did some eye rolling at this “haven’t we been here before” I was quickly brought up short by realising that: yes, we had been there before, but stuff has changed and stuff has been forgotten. Reconnecting with the basics of our product and our customers has enabled us to cut out a lot of the extraneous stuff that was starting to take our time and attention away from the value that we bring to customers. We were starting to get too comfortable, modelling ourselves on the big companies in our market instead of remembering what customers needed us to do, which is to stay laser focused on delivering the results they need in their own particular circumstance.
Second, the programme focuses on sales. This is an area that often doesn’t get much of a look in on “startup” programmes, where the belief is that the magical venture capital fairy will continue to shower cash from her magic wand indefinitely. With the Jisc programme, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on sales, on the techniques, the collateral, the processes and most importantly the people that we’re selling to. For me this is the most valuable material of all, because when you cut away all the trendy Shoreditch jargon about product market fit and minimum viable products you are left with only one question to answer: will people buy our stuff. Answering that always involves answering “that depends: how are you selling it to them?” and that’s the question that we’ve been focusing on answering in this accelerator.
Martin Campbell is an award-winning serial entrepreneur who has founded, grown and sold technology companies throughout his 20-year career. From his original training in engineering – the proper kind with grease and gears – he quickly saw that technology was going to change business and society. Founding his first start-up while still studying for his degree, he developed a leading digital agency which was behind some of the most significant innovations in its field. He then went on to deliver growth and transformative change in national and international businesses across digital, non-profit and financial technology. Now a speaker, author and consulting entrepreneur, his work takes him around the world from his base in London, where he also mentors and supports the leaders in other high growth companies when he’s not acting as a taxi service for his three daughters. Blog at www.startuptoolsforlife.com