February Meetup with Tim Langley CEO of CANDDi and the CuratorSpace Team.
In organising Lean Startup Yorkshire we want to bring together and celebrate the early stage and start-up business talent that is nascent, but sometimes not that visible, in the region. Our February meetup included reaching out across the Pennines to Tim Langley CEO and founder of Manchester based CANDDi plus the founding couple (in all senses of the word) of CuratorSpace Philip and Louise.
In common with many of our speakers Tim is something of a serial starter of businesses with CANDDi his fifth company. CANDDi stands for Campaign and Digital Intelligence and is used primarily as a lead generating tool for their clients. While stand analytics tools can tell you a lot about overall traffic numbers and mass behaviour CANDDi is able to identify actual visitors given the right level of integration and supporting marketing activity. Now a rich and mature product from a functional prospective Tim wasn’t here to perform a demo but instead present to walk through the warts and all journey he had taken from the initial “idea in a pub”, on to a place on one of the early tech. accelerators in the UK and subsequently VC funding to get them to the present day. Starting as a founding team of two the business had grown its staff to a highpoint of over twenty before a rethink in strategy had resulted in a reduction back to single figures and by Tim own admission a happier ship as a result. Tim attributed some of the team growth to the temptations that venture capital funding brings. Having the money available makes recruiting possible, however less money means more creative or resourceful solutions are the only one possible.
The early accelerator days were described with some fondness as an opportunity to polish how they articulated CANDDi’s value proposition and as a time well spent building an excellent network around the company. Tim emphasised the importance of cultivating a set of advisers and investing in the longevity of these relationships, also not confusing the roles of investors with those of advisers.
CANDDi has recently become a sponsor of Lean Startup Yorkshire and this means not only will our relationship with CANDDi continue to grow but it will be passed on to members of our community as part of our monthly prize draw.
The second speaking slot for the evening was filled by the team from CuratorSpace, Louise Atkinson and Philip Bennison. CuratorSpace is a kind of project management tool for curators and event organisers within the creative sector and allows it users to more easily manage the mass of communications around opportunities and submissions that may come in through all sorts of sources. Louise is the problem domain expert being an artist and curator in her own right while Philip, as you may imagine, provides the engineering talent as a professional web developer. The pair have built CuratorSpace as a part-time project which initially started to help Louise with her own curating workload. The project has now grown into a significant user base of around fifteen hundred including many paying subscriptions without any marketing effort to speak of. This just shows the value provided to this very niche product.
Philip walked through the products feature set and explained its freemium business model and went on the outline future plans for more features, improved design, branding and some back-end re-engineering. There were many questions from the floor mostly asking why they hadn’t both given up their jobs to focus on CuratorSpace full time. While not dismissed Philip and Louise seemed in no hurry to change what had worked well for them so far.