Glisser: Mike Piddock

Founder Piddock explains how working with inspiring start-ups and spotting a gap in the market drove him to launch his data and user centric app

Name: Mike Piddock
Company name: Glisser
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 06/10/14
Website: glisser.com 

Tell us what your business does:

Glisser ‘socialises presentations’ through a simple app. Presenters or event organisers can push slides to audience devices one at a time as they are presented. Attendees can then write on them, mark them up and take them away just like a printed slide deck, but in electronic format.

Glisser also integrates slide-by-slide ‘like’ voting, audience questions, Twitter, as well as polling and feedback slides integrated seamlessly within the original deck.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I’ve spent my whole career as a client-side marketer. Events were always a key part of the marketing mix, but their success was trickier to measure than other activities. I was looking for an app to improve audience interaction and data collection. Unable to find something suitable at the right price, I decided to do it myself.

How did you know there was a market for it?

I spent at least six months researching the market and checking my business idea with colleagues before even starting a prototype. Then, as we built the app, we started visiting prospective customers to get their feedback and ideas.

What were you doing before starting up?

Prior to launching Glisser, I ran the Venture Capital Trust business line at Octopus Investments where we raised money from investors to invest into small UK businesses. Seeing so many great start-ups coming through our doors, it was impossible to resist the urge to have a go myself.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Absolutely. I’ve been fortunate enough to work at a couple of very entrepreneurial companies with great leaders, and enjoyed being part of something challenging the status quo. Running my own business was always the natural progression of that.

How did you raise the money?

I bootstrapped the company to get to a Minimum Viable Product, then raised a small amount through friends and family to get to a robust solution suitable for enterprises.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Glisser has been designed to be very easy for presenters and audience members to use without a lot of training or technical support, so that it can scale. To help it scale, we don’t charge anything for the app, but charge presenters for storing their presentations and the data and feedback from their attendees.`

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Each month seems to bring up a new challenge, but that’s what makes it interesting. Perhaps the biggest challenge though, was the decision to quit the corporate world and take the leap of faith. Ultimately it came down a rational decision-making process, where the idea had advanced so much that it was harder not to go for it, than to go ahead and do it.

What was your first big breakthrough?

I remember the first test group we ran where we had an early version of the product on show. The test users just seemed to get it, and you could see them really getting into the concept and coming up with a myriad of new features themselves. It was then I knew we had something that resonated with people.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

I’ve only just started on the entrepreneurial road myself, so I would consider myself a wise sage yet. However, I’ve quickly realised that you’ve got try to enjoy the journey as much as reaching the end goal.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I’d like Glisser to be synonymous with presentations – so that it’s as normal to ask what the Glisser code is as it is to ask for the event hashtag.

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