“The challenge of the unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of the accomplished past” – Simon Sinek
Turning three years old is considered a major milestone in business, for it should be clear as to whether or not the business is growing and on its way to becoming sustainable. Unfortunately, many business never see past the three year mark.
In August 2017 Whyable turned three years old, and we are happy to say that our business is in its strongest position to date; we have consolidated the product team and improved our technical processes and management, experimented a lot with our sales and marketing team and activities, and most importantly, we are profitable and have a very positive and ambitious outlook for 2018. More on this to come!
We have, however, also confronted a good many number of challenges, and it’s fair to say that this year has been something of a roller coaster: ups and downs, round and rounds; and the occasional up-side-down. This is all part and parcel of entrepreneurship – continuous experimentation, constant challenges, and extreme uncertainty, all of which is never easy.
Fortunately, such challenges have only made us better people and stronger as a team and business; better because we have more experience, and learnt a great deal about our own personal strengths and weaknesses; and stronger because we all know each other far more intimately than we did at the beginning of the year, which has brought us closer together as a team. The truth is, oddly enough, that the hard times have been far more valuable and positive than the good times.
New Projects and Partnerships
2017 saw us form many new partnerships and clients for whom we have delivered some exciting technology, five of which are summarised below.
- International Positive Education Network (IPEN) Our first delivery of 2017 was IPEN’s new site – www.ipen-network.com. The purpose of this build was to create an online community which was underpinned by a digital learning library of shared content. The project included building their Learning Library and creating an interactive map detailing their worldwide community of academics and education specialists. Around mid-year, we installed a multilingual translator, as IPEN is expanding into the Middle East and needed the site in Arabic. More recently we installed an on-site blog as well.
- Doorda – We are proud to have been working with the UK’s data kings Clifford and Barry for well over three years now, by providing them with a fully managed tech team which has increased and decreased in size with their requirements. Early in the year, we built an additional product, named Lugus, which provides detailed insight into business, property, individuals and associated connections. We continue to carry on with ongoing maintenance for Doorda after allowing them to successfully transition to their own in-house team, as they were able to focus on scaling.
- Carryr – We have been working very closely with Chris Jordan who is the founder of Carryr, an on-demand delivery service for fashion retailers. We have only recently completed the MVP for Carryr with the app going live in 2018.
- Hooof – We have been working closely with Matt Harris and Darren Murphy, the co-founders of Hooof. Hooof is not a dating app but rather, a spontaneous and dignified way for LGBTI+ people to meet others with similar social and cultural interests. If you’re looking to meet people with specific social and cultural interests but without the pretence of a date or sex, then Hooof is for you! We have just completed their beta app which will be launched on both the Apple and Play Stores before the end of the year.
- The Imagination Factory / Gravity – This is certainly one of the most exciting projects of 2017, for we have been working with The Imagination Factory to build an Andriod application for Richard Browning – aka the “real-life” Iron Man – the founder of Gravity. Richard has built a jet-suit that empowers him to become airborne and mobile in a similar manner to Tony Stark, the Marvel super-hero in the movie Iron Man, albeit without quite the same degree of agility or aerobatics – watch this space though! The brief consisted of building an Android app that displayed critical in-flight data such as RPM, throttle and fuel levels. The app is currently being tested by Richard and is undergoing maintenance in the new year. This has been without a doubt one of the most fun and exciting projects the team has ever worked on!
Tom and Henry have been cycling around London all year, meeting clients in hip cafes in Shoreditch, running Whyable events at WeWorks, EdSpace, Bathtub2Boardroom, and Gabriel’s place around town, including EdSpace and Bathtub2Boardroom. Henry has lost count of how many events he’s attended – it’s well into the hundreds – which is where we’ve met many of our new clients. Tom has been focusing largely on the internal operations and finances of Whyable, along with playing a key role in understanding client needs and project requirements. Whenever the chance arose, we would dash down to Dorset for a few days of fresh west country air, long walks along the Jurassic Coast and the odd swim in the Atlantic.
Tom has visited the team over in India three times over the course of 2017. During his second trip in June he proposed to his now fiancé, Memthoi, who just also happens to be one of our front-end developers – awwww 😉 We are all very excited for both Tom and Memthoi, who are planning on getting married towards the latter part of 2018, in Manipur. There’s an open invite, I’m told.
Launching the Whyable Impact Incubator
As many of you will be aware, we launched our Impact Incubator this November, which we are particularly proud and excited about. If you’re wondering what an Impact Incubator is, and why we decided to launch it, the answer has to do with why Tom and Agni founded Whyable in the first place, and why Henry decided to join Whyable as well.
Our mission at Whyable is to build and launch startups. Our vision, both for Whyable and ourselves personally, is that we believe technology has the power to tackle and overcome many of the major global problems that we’re facing today, problems such as resource waste, workplace inefficiencies, antiquated legacy systems, growing social and economic inequality, environmental degradation and climate change, just to name a few. Thus, we believe that technology can positively impact and ultimately change the world for the better, and this is done through building and launching new and innovative technology businesses.
This is why we decided to launch our impact incubator, the aim of which is to help the startups and entrepreneurs who are working to build businesses and technology solutions with the primary purpose of creating positive social and environmental change.
So far we have three “incubees” (as we call them) with the following clients – Hooof, Carryr, Fanfundr. If you haven’t yet seen or read how the incubator program works, please see the webpage here.
Web Summit Adventures
In early November Tom and Henry ventured off to Portugal to attend this year’s Web Summit conference in Lisbon. Some 60,000 techies attended the conference, so as you can imagine, there was no shortage of people to meet and talk to, all of whom were running ambitious startups, scaleups and larger companies using and building cutting-edge technology in powerful and inspiring ways
The key takeaway for Tom was the importance of data – now a key asset for every business no matter how small or large.
For Henry, the ethics of technology was a big topic of interest, for modern technology has the power to change the world in profoundly positive ways, but can also be a cause of catastrophe if compromised (i.e. data breaches and hacking) or misused in ways that inflict horrible damage and destruction on society and people’s personal lives (i.e. autonomous warfare, pervasive surveillance, system failures, etc).
For more detail about what we learnt and experience over the course of three days at Web Summit please read our reports here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.
Ambitions and Mission for 2018
Our mission in 2017 has been to build and launch startups, and we are proud and very happy with the work we have done with all our clients, particularly the five mentioned earlier. What has been a joy for us is that almost all our clients have the same if not a very similar vision that we have, which generally speaking, is that startups and technology can create positive social and environmental change in our world. Thus, working closely with our clients over the course of the year naturally lead us to launch the Impact Incubator.
In 2018 we will be implementing the lessons that we learnt throughout 2017 and building upon the great work that we’ve achieved this year with our current clients. We have a number of exciting projects already lined up for January, which has us all very excited and keen to kick off the new year.
We will be focusing on creating quality content that highlights key trends, changes, achievements and dangers, all happening as a result of technological advancement. Henry will also be writing more for TechEthics and aiming to create a growing community focusing on the power, potential and dangers of modern technology.
Most of all though, we will be focusing on our current clients and helping them further build and grow their businesses. At the end of the day (and year!) we are only as good as the work we deliver for our clients, and our number one priority is to build top quality technology businesses for our clients.
From the entire Whyable Team, our best wishes to you for this festive period and 2018 – stay positive, ambitious and brilliant! 🙂