Rolio: Myuran Balendran and Rozbeh Nassab
A web app that aggregates your favourite content
Tell us what your business does:
Rolio is a free web application that aggregates real-time content from your favourite websites, including Facebook and Twitter, into one powerful visual interface, eliminating the need for multiple browser windows.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Rozbeh: I’m what may be termed a web junkie. I browse lots of websites, and always found it time consuming to keep track of them all. While I did try many RSS readers, I always found them to be very rigid and the experience to be a little dull. Having spoken with Myuran, who shared my views, we decided to try and create something a bit more flexible, and a bit cooler, and Rolio was conceived in November 2011.
How did you know there was a market for it?
A lot of research was done into existing start-ups and potential competitors to see if any companies matched the Rolio concept. After much research, a clear available market became apparent for an application that aggregates real-time content from your favourite websites and combines this with your social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter. This gap in the market led to the development and birth of Rolio.com.
What were you doing before starting up?
Rozbeh was a freelance web developer. Myuran worked as a software developer in investment banking. We both went to school together, and both completed computing degrees at UK universities.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
While at school, we created an online business called CheapEuroCars, which acted as a middle-man between car dealers in Europe and UK buyers. Ever since, we have wanted to run our own business.
How did you raise the money?
Design and development has all been done in-house by the co-founders. The Microsoft BizSpark programme sponsors our cloud hosting. All other company costs have come from the co-founders’ pockets.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Marketing. Having developed a product that we think is fantastic, getting ourselves noticed among the plethora of other tech start-ups has been challenging, especially with no marketing budget behind us. Having gone live, we can now tangibly see word of mouth spreading through social media regarding the quality of our product.
Along with the help of some kind websites promoting Rolio, we hope that the marketing will ultimately be spread by the people that know it best, its users.
How much do you charge?
Rolio is completely free for users. Revenue will be generated through advertising.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Within hours of the site going live and after the endless months we had put into building it, the first big breakthrough was looking at the users connected to Rolio, and seeing that already we had users from the UK, Canada, Bolivia, Spain, France, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia all online at the same time!
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Our advice would be to not give up, and just to keep pushing. If there is a particular area in which you are struggling, make an extra effort to learn as much as possible about that area. There are so many free courses you can attend, and there is so much information in general on the internet that you can leverage.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We hope Rolio becomes the homepage for millions of users worldwide, making it quicker and simpler to surf the internet in a world where time is very precious.