None of the founding team of Teddle had a technical background, prior to starting the company. This a good read for non-technical founders.
Teddle aims to help small business grow while helping people find good quality local providers.
- Grow small local business - The provide a community hub where consumers and business can meet
- Everything’s included – Teddle takes the fuss out of running a business, so providers can dedicate themselves to doing what they love
- Invest in our providers – We place improving our provider’s offerings at the heart the Teddle experience
- Give time back to busy people - Simple, reliable and hassle free; Teddle makes finding a trusted provider easy
- Constantly striving for excellence in service – We keep things simple and listen to our customers
How did you come up with the idea for Teddle?
That is really a two part question for us because we didn’t have a light bulb moment. We got frustrated working in big corporations and knew that there was a more fulfilling way to earn a living – that was step one. From there we spent a year batting around ideas and Teddle was one of them that we kept returning to. The idea evolved from Jules (Jules Coleman co-founder) trying to book a piano tutor and me trying to find a gardener. We couldn’t get over how time consuming it was; irrelevant Google searches, out of date directories, getting nothing but a name and number, we ended up spending all our time phoning round to determine price and availability.
So we asked ourselves, why can you buy literally anything you want online, book a holiday, a taxi or a restaurant but you cannot find and book local service providers? Ta-dah may I introduce Teddle!
What were some of the challenges that you faced starting a company?
There were multiple ones. We all had good jobs, financial commitments and leaving that behind is hard (at first) but then Springboard was the external validation we needed to propel us out of the door and realize our idea wasn’t simply daft.
Skills. None of the team are developers by trade. We thought at first (like true consultants) we would write a business plan and hire developers, but we soon realized that it was a) daft and b) too risky, as we needed to own and understand our technology. So Jules and Tom (Thomas Nimmo fellow co-founder) started in PHP and were soon advised to switch to Ruby so we bought a book and have never looked back.
Have you made any major pivots from the conception of Teddle to where you are now?
I always get a bit nervous when asked this because the truth is, no. We have definitely tweaked, added to and massaged our service, but no real pivots. I get the feeling people think your idea isn’t brilliant or won’t work yet, unless you have. However we are using a tried and tested business model (think Toptable or Booking.com) in a mature market and so far we can’t keep up with demand!
You were part of the Springboard accelerator program, what difference do you feel being part of an accelerator made to your company?
As I said before, for me it was the reassurance I needed to commit to Teddle full time, but it also provided so much more. The mentoring made sure we really understood our business and were able to articulate our value proposition. The networking was insane – it was like a baptism by fire into the startup world not just in London but across Europe & the US. Springboard also forced us to run quicker than we would normally and pushed us constantly out of our comfort zone. Also because so much was crammed into 12 weeks it pushed me to wrap my head around my emotions and check them at the door. Some days I would wake up and think that Teddle was never going to work (usually after a bad mentoring day) and I wanted to throw in the towel. I have learnt that those feelings are a key to success, because they keep you on your toes constantly questioning if you have it right and how you can improve.
What advice would you give to people looking to start a company?
The single most important thing is customer development because it doesn’t matter how great you think your ideas is, or how much awesome advice you receive and networking you do, the only person that should ever really matter to you is the person that is going to use your product.
We will be reconnecting with Alex and her team sometime early next year for a video interview to see how things have progressed from now to then, so stay tuned!