The BizSpark startup of the day is Huddle.net, based in the UK. You will find below an interview with Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Co-founders of Huddle.net. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Co-founders of Huddle.net
Tell us who you are and your role in the company.
Alastair: We’re both Huddle co-founders, I’m CEO and number cruncher.
Andy: I’m Strategy Director responsible for business development.
What did you do before creating your company?
Alastair: Huddle is my third start-up. Before I was on the board of dunhumby, a web-based marketing intelligence firm.
Andy: Prior to Huddle, I helped found KnowledgeCenter, a knowledge management consultancy focused on the London insurance market.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It’s very exciting! We’ve been on a roller coaster ride for the past three years – launching on LinkedIn as one of only six applications alongside Google and Amazon, partnering with InterCall, the world’s largest conferencing provider and launching on millions of HP PCs and laptops. This is only the beginning.
What is your company’s mission?
We want to help people work better together. Huddle was developed out of the recognition that despite technology advances individuals, teams and businesses are still unable to work together efficiently. They continue to encounter numerous problems: from searching for information on office networks through cluttered inboxes and chasing approvals to the most important one – a huge disconnection between internal and external teams. We believed that in-house collaboration software was too expensive, complicated and slow to set up to resolve these issues. Hence Huddle was born.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
With Huddle you can share files, collaborate on ideas, manage projects and organize virtual meetings; work better, both inside and outside the enterprise.
How did you get the idea for your company?
Andy: We had been working with document collaboration systems in big financial companies for years. This sort of service was completely inaccessible to smaller organisations at the time. We wanted to make collaboration accessible on the web, so businesses of all sizes could benefit. We were both looking for the next thing to do and over a session of a few pints and a curry we came up with an idea for Huddle.net.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We raised $4m in Series A in November 2007 from Eden Ventures and have just kicked off our second round of funding.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
35, 15 developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?
Not at the moment, but keep all the good CVs coming at email@example.com.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We selected the .NET platform for Huddle due to the excellent developer tool set, end to end integrated product set including SQL Server 2008 and IIS7, excellent support both from the developer community and Microsoft, and because C# is the most sophisticated language available.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?
Cloud and social computing are definitely the 2010 winners. With Gartner confirming these as two of top 10 strategic technologies, it’s a good place to start and grow your business.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
It’s a great honour to have been chosen. Since the inception of Huddle, we’ve been involved in Microsoft’s start-up programmes. We joined MS Accelerator in early 2008 in the second wave of UK companies and were one of the first to join the BizSpark programme when it was announced. You could say that Microsoft was an essential part of the Huddle success story.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Our top 5: 1. Bootstrap. 2. Hire a team of peers. 3. Pick your partners wisely 4. Remember that sales is not a dirty word. 5. Have fun – no point in running a start-up if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing.
Who’s your role model?
Alastair: My grandfather was a huge inspiration. He ran a civil engineering company that built the world's largest man-made movable object called Ninian. This oil & gas platform in the North Sea is deeper in the water than the Empire State building is tall. Incidentally, Ninian Solutions is the name of our holding company. We aspire for Huddle to be at least as big Ninian.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview
If you ever have any doubts, remember that David beat Goliath!