Our partners Registers of Scotland sat down with Alex Stanley, founder of Onigo, to discuss his Geovation experience and our newly launched joint PropTech and GeoTech Accelerator Programme in Scotland.
“You are going to receive the business support you will need through funding, office space and content, as well as invaluable expertise within the industry you are looking to work in, namely GeoTech or PropTech. If that is of use to you then applying to Geovation Scotland should be a no brainer” Alex Stanley, GeoTech entrepreneur and founder of Onigo.
Imagine an escape room based in your local park, or a Pokémon Go session that involves a lot of running around with your mates. Welcome to Onigo, a digital treasure hunt designed by entrepreneur Alex Stanley to encourage people to get active outdoors and make new friends. Using your smartphone, you embark on an immersive adventure to find checkpoints, solve mystery puzzles and collect clues before your time runs out.
Onigo was less than a year into its business journey when Alex applied to the London-based Geovation Accelerator Programme. The business had built a prototype and were already revenue generating, so why did they apply to Geovation?
Data and expertise
Alex: “We had a product that was based around mapping and geolocation. Having access to expertise and data in those areas was the first thing that appealed to us. The technical support and development expertise we could draw on was really good too. We received help from the programme, such as workshops, introductions, contacts…so many things that were useful to our particular needs. It was a great package.”
Room to grow
Alex: “Having office space was a big draw for us. I work better and am more productive when I’m around other people who are working. Being your own boss and working from home can be great but also a lonely thing for some people. I prefer being around other people.”
Alex: “Being in the accelerator hub means you’re in a mutually-supportive environment. We’d been on another accelerator and seen the benefits of being with other start-ups at a similar stage to us. Knowing we were going to be around businesses solving the same problems we were facing in our life-cycle was a huge plus. There are other businesses alongside you who you can partner with, share advice, sell to – all of that is very beneficial to a start-up.”
A dragon-free zone
Alex: “Make no bones about it, I’m sure that almost all of the start-ups in the programme would say that the funding element helps a lot. Getting some finance into our business was absolutely vital and not having to give away any equity was huge. I hadn’t come across any other accelerator that offered funding and didn’t ask for equity up front. That was pretty unique and a big factor for us. We are in a world where potential investors are desperate to take a slice of your business. We’d already given away some equity when we started up and here was an opportunity to not give away any more and have funding for our basic expenses. Basically, we couldn’t have survived without it.”
Alex’s three top tips for Geovation Scotland applicants
Location, location, location… and property
- The Geovation Accelerator Programme concentrates on GeoTech and PropTech data. You need to be clear that your business demonstrates you use at least one of them. It doesn’t have to be an all-consuming property or location-based business proposition but you need to be showing very clearly that you are working in that space and demonstrate it in your application.
What problem are you solving?
- Have a very clear value proposition. It’s not to say that it might not change. Some of the great support we had on the programme looked into our value proposition and you may find that it evolves over time. That’s fine, but for the application phase, we had to demonstrate who our customer was, what their needs were, and what our solution was. Getting that clear before you go into the process is key. If you fail to do that it will go against you for sure.
- Show that this is going to be a commercially-viable business that ultimately has some form of scale. There needs to be a clear vision for how you are going to scale up and you’ll need to be able to communicate that in your application.
For more information email us to arrange a chat.