At Tech City News, we’re always keen to shine a light on those who make up the UK’s thriving technology community.
This week, we spoke with Louise Doherty, founder and CEO of PlanSnap, an app that helps people make plans quickly and get together with friends with the tap of a few buttons. She tells us what it’s like to be accepted onto the Techstars accelerator and shares some no-nonsense advice for other startup founders.
Funding: Undisclosed, but a combination of self funding, customer revenue, venture backing, and accelerator funding
Staff count: 4
Location: Between London and New York
Founded: April 2016
Q: Where did the idea come from?
I’m that person in your friendship group who’s always suggesting things to do. Subsequently, I spend a LOT of time drowning in notifications and logistics. The bigger the group the harder it is to find a time to meet, or a place that works, or consensus on what you’re going to do – everyone knows that pain. I organised a 30-person camping and wakeboarding trip last year, and I just snapped. I knew I could build a better way.
Q: What were you doing before you founded PlanSnap?
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My whole career has been about building digital services for the likes of the BBC, ASOS and YO! Sushi, and scaling communities around them. I started a social media agency in 2010, which was a lot of fun, but the agency business is not as creative as you might think.
Q: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I just completed my first Olympic triathlon, and I’m training for a half Iron Man next year. Sport is the best counterbalance to startup craziness.
Q: How does PlanSnap make money?
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We secured our first brand sponsorship deal before writing a single line of code, and we’re excited about other revenue streams going forward.
Q: Can you share stats on number of users/revenue?
Not yet – but we’ve just got into Techstars Connection in partnership with AB InBev, so we’ll be sharing our progress at Demo Day in February.
Q: What has been the most challenging part about setting up your company?
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Being patient while saving enough money to quit my job and focus on PlanSnap full time.
Q: What has been the most enjoyable part about setting up your company?
Working on something I really believe in – bringing people together in real life to make more memories.
Q: What have been your biggest company milestones?
Our first brand deal was pretty special – I’ll never forget how quickly they got the big picture, and their support since. Closing our first investment, getting into Techstars and being picked to go to SXSW with the Department of Trade and Investment were also memorable moments.
Q: What does being accepted onto Techstars mean to you?
Nine out of 10 of the 700+ Techstars companies are still trading or have been acquired, with a market cap of $5bn. In comparison, 50% of UK companies fail within five years. May the odds ever be in our favour! We’re excited about the scale and expertise that AB InBev’s involvement can bring too.
Q: Who do you see as your main competitors and how do you differ?
The main social media and messaging platforms, but no one’s really cracked a social planning service. Yet.
Q: What are your plans for the next 12 months?
A lot of hard work, but also a lot of adventures with friends. It’s user research!
Q: What advice would you give to those starting their own tech company?
Get on with it.