CampusBoard: Anthony Francis and Manuel Frigerio
The budding entrepreneurs discuss making their side project at Google’s co-working space into a revenue generating start-up – connecting London's tech community to the best jobs, people and events
Name: Anthony Francis and Manuel Frigerio
Company name: CampusBoard
Number of Employees: 4
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 06/06/2014
Tell us what your business does:
CampusBoard is a visual discovery tool to help London’s tech community find the hottest events, jobs and people. We’ve built a smart algorithm that predicts the best opportunities based on your interest and preferences. With traditional websites you have to search for information but with CampusBoard, information finds you.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
CampusBoard started off as a side project. The idea came from the chaotic display of information on the notice board at Google’s co-working space in London and a communal demand for a better way to express their business needs. No tool in the market solved this issue and we found ourselves visiting multiple job boards, event sites and social networks to find relevant opportunities.
We continued to build CampusBoard around the user feedback and six months later, that side project now has 1,600 users, 30,000 monthly page views and is generating a profit.
How did you know there was a market for it?
The truth is we didn’t know there was a market. We just tried to solve a problem for a small community and are currently riding the wave.
What were you doing before starting up?
Anthony Francis: Before CampusBoard I was working as a product manager at NACUE (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs). I conceptualised and project managed the development of their private social networking.
Manuel Frigerio: I was working as a freelancer and on few other personal projects. A couple of them have been quite successful.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Anthony Francis: In 2009, I founded my university’s entrepreneurship society, which raised a budget of £10,000, had over a thousand members and received sponsorship from Microsoft to live stream its PDC10 conference to our software engineers on university campus. It was in those years that I realised what I was capable of and fell in love with business.
Manuel Frigerio: Yes, especially because I come from a family of entrepreneurs.
How did you raise the money?
The entire business has cost us £200 so far! We’ve already made £2,000 revenue from the business. We sustain ourselves with contract work and some of the revenue we make from the platform.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
It’s free to post a pin on CampusBoard, however users can feature their pins for a premium. Currently we have two bigger pin offers, one for £29 and another for £59 and this includes various offers like scheduled tweets, being featured in our bi-weekly newsletter and visitor analytics.
We are introducing two subscription plans that will offer extras like an enhanced profile (more elements in portfolio, higher priority in searches); unlimited instant notifications; seven pins a month; advanced analytics and inbox communications.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge has been trying to launch our services outside of Google Campus. We see CampusBoard benefiting people across London and eventually the world so our next challenge is to scale the user base, but with our current growth rate we are expecting to be at 25,000 users by January 2015.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Our biggest breakthrough was making £100, 48 hours after launching our featured pins business model and then hitting over 30,000 total monthly page views. Both were big wins for the business.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Anthony Francis: Put together your own ideas like a website, and stay hungry, humble and willing to learn. Also keep your eye on the business and don’t follow the hype of going to loads of networking events – connections are very important, but they’re not the be all and end all.
Manuel Frigerio: Learn the basics and be conscious that your initial idea can be totally wrong; measure and analyse EVERYTHING, and finally the golden rule: less is always more. Focus on what matters, leave everything else behind.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
In five years’ time, we hope to be doing the same things but just on a bigger scale – maybe eight million users and more revenue. To be honest, we genuinely want to continue making peoples lives better by making it easier to consume information and discover opportunities.