Tech company finds route to victory with start up loan
A Bedfordshire based tech start up has seen success after being awarded a start-up loan to help launch their new business providing unique router software which optimises users’ Internet connections.
Entrepreneurs Iain Fraser and Luke Barlow received funding to start their new business, Netduma, and began trading in December 2014 shortly after receiving their loan of £6,200.
Iain and Luke, are the founders of Netduma and best friends. They met at university through a shared love of video games.
Let’s Do Business Group provided Iain – who was the named SUL applicant – with access to funding, business advice and mentoring via the Start Up Loans Scheme.
Thanks to the funding Netduma have developed unique router software which optimises your Internet connection; this lead to the pair attending Gadget Show Live, where they were nominated for the British Inventors’ Project. They have since been nominated for Innovation of the Year at the Nectar Small Business Awards.
Iain invented the software and Luke looks after the business side with a huge amount of support from others, especially Iain’s parents, Simon and Chep, their first hire, Fraser, and their graphics artist, Josh.
More than just a start up loan
The entrepreneurial duo have launched their new company to great success – attracting customers from across the globe – thanks to the finances being made available to them.
“Before we received the loan it was as if we had invented a car but without the cash to buy any petrol. Thanks to the loan we were able to order our first batch of hardware and we are now travelling at breakneck speed,” said the pair.
“The scheme is not just about cash though. The SUL unlocks many offers with big businesses, like Net Lawman, which have saved us a lot of money and time.
“Nothing really prepares you for the intensity of the highs and lows. You quickly develop a thick skin.
The biggest high for us has been the growth of our community forum. We initially set our forum up to give technical support but it has evolved into a place where our users just hang out. Most of the comments are now about shared hobbies and interests and it has a really friendly atmosphere; egos are parked at the door.
“Many of our users have written or recorded their reviews and posted them on social media. They have been overwhelmingly positive. There’s nothing more motivating than hearing from a happy customer.
“We were also recently nominated for the British Inventors Project at the Gadget Show Live. We were given a stand for the week during the exhibition gave us the opportunity to speak to hundreds of potential customers as well as other exhibitors. It was a brilliant experience and gave us loads of ideas.”
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the pair, a supplier error nearly cost them – but dedication and some expertise quickly fixed the problem.
“Our scariest moment was just before we launched,” remembered Luke, “We had spent all of our loan on our first hardware order but when it arrived, we discovered that the manufacturer had made a small error which accidentally blocked our software. Iain had to survive on about two hours sleep a night for a whole week fixing the problem. Fortunately he managed to so it’s fair to say that coffee launched our company!
“The largest lesson we’ve learnt is to put a thorough hiring process in place from the off. It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking that because you’re a start-up, you will attract like-minded people who are prepared to make the same sacrifices as yourself. But it takes a huge commitment so make sure you conduct thorough interviews, just like the bigger companies do.”
An incredible start in business
“Our start has been incredible, to the point we have to pinch ourselves to make sure we’re not dreaming. When we launched in December we had managed to build up a loyal following of early adopters so for the first two months we continually sold out of stock. We eventually managed to get on top of the demand so things have become a bit calmer!
“The sales statistic we’re most proud of is that we have already sold to users in 50 countries. Most of our customers either live in the US or Western Europe.
“Knowing there are people all over the world who have our router is a great feeling. We recently put a map of the world on our office wall and pinned each country that we’ve sold to so far.”
Most use routers to bring an Internet connection into our homes but beyond that, the router lays forgotten in the corner of the room.
But a router has huge potential to solve many of the problems you face when using the Internet, such as congestion.
So our router has loads of cool features that prioritise devices over others and minimise lag when playing games.
If you’d like to find out more, or if you’re ready to fill out a Starting Your Enterprise form, follow the links below:
Keep in touch with Let’s Do Business Start Up on Twitter @ldbstartup.
You can find out more about Netduma and follow their progress on Twitter @NETDUMA, via Facebook and through YouTube.