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Lewis Knell: Being In or Near a Big City (London) Is Very Helpful for Having Access to a Bigger Talet Pool

Lewis Knell of Swelly.

Tell us about yourself?

With my co-founder Ian, we are building Swelly (swelly.ai) because the market research industry has not been updated to reflect the new and modern ways Gen Z use technology.

They are a traditionally difficult generation to conduct market research on, so using a social polling app, chatbot and integrating into their favourite apps, we’re able to reach them like no one else can

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

Being an entrepreneur has taught me so much from stepping outside my confort zone, because if you don’t do something, early days there’s no one else that will.

It’s also given me so much more resilience – rejections can and happen a lot, but you keep going and it’s worth it in the end.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Things can sometimes take longer than you might expect, but we have a great idea and product but it’s all worth it in the end when we see so many users enjoying our product.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

It can be hard at times, but with working at home a lot more now, I can be more flexible with my time to ensure I see my family and can do an extra few hours in the evening if there’s a need.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

We noticed that market research platforms haven’t changed much since being digitised. They are long, dull and still try to target users via email.

Gen Z are avid social media and chat platform users that are used to image and video based content, so saw an opportunity to change the way companies do market research to connect with these typically hard to reach people.

Our polls take take seconds to complete, are visual and reward users with Cryptocurrency instantly.

We also know that social media isn’t always the nicest place to be, so when building the social platform for the users, we wanted to make sure it’s a fun and safe place for everyone, and ultimately, everyone gets an equal voice.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

Swelly is so versatile that we are able to be more than just an app. We’ve taken all the app functionality and put it into a chatbot on 5 messaging platforms so far, and are making a Snap Mini.

We have big plans to be on many more devices and integrate into as many other apps as possible.

By doing this, we can be wherever our users are, so it’s easier for our customers to reach the typically hard to reach Gen Z for their market research.

We also have very fast response rates from our users, so customers can get almost immediate answers from their polls, or if not time constrained, wait a little longer for a larger set of people to respond.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

It’s been challenging although we are very early in our sales process, due to focusing on building our userbase first.

It’s definitely important to ensure you’re targeting your efforts on the right channels where your customers are, and once you get your first person onboard, it will start to get easier after that.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

We have so many great ideas on what we could do with Swelly, with a small team, can be challenging to prioritise.

We try to continously build relationships with our power users as well as potential users and use their feedback to help plan and organise our roadmap to target what is most important for them.

This has helped us focus our short term vision and know we are working on the most important features for our users and customers.

What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?

Being in or near a big city is very helpful for having access to a bigger talet pool, and lots of resources that can be really helpful when starting a business.

Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?

There is definitely a markup in costs in London, so this can put a higher pressure on finances early days when getting your company going.

We’ve been able to mitigate this due to remote working being more common, we’ve been able to find great people from around the country, expanding the potential talet pool even further.

How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?

As previously mentioned, we’ve hired talent from around the country to reduce some costs, but it does add some challenges with team management but we’re all getting better at working remotely with all the practice over the last few years.

If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?

There are several great tech hubs around the UK, such as Cambridge which would a great city for hiring great talent.

How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?

As a digital product, we can luckily distribute without Brexit having any issues on our day-to-day business.

What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?

We want more users, more customers and to have Swelly integrated in more places. We have some ambitious plans and are really excited to see them come to fruition over the next 5 years.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

If anyone wants to get in touch, we would love to hear from you. You can get in touch at [email protected] or [email protected] or find us on our website (swelly.ai) and socials.

Follow Swelly on Twitter or Linkedin.

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