Just Started – Priyen Logeswaran, Oliver Rodwell and Mohammed Fadel: Reread.ai

It’s difficult for aspiring authors to get feedback on their work. Reread.ai is a new tech-startup that’s using AI to break the mould, and make the publishing industry more accessible to newcomers.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Name of founders: Priyen Logeswaran, Oliver Rodwell, Mohammed Fadel
Ages of the founders: Priyen 27, Oliver 25, Mo 28
Location: Falmouth, Cornwall
Date launched: 23 September 2021
Number of employees: 4

What does your business do?

We pass manuscripts through our algorithms, which use AI to deconstruct the makings of a bestselling novel and provide objective feedback to aspiring authors on how to improve their works.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

As an author, Mo had been through the publishing life cycle and experienced the difficulties of eliciting high quality early feedback. With this in mind, the team questioned why AI hadn’t been incorporated further into the world of publishing, especially in aiding manuscript development. Our research showed there was three key issues: Traditional publishers are incredibly resistant to technology. Independent authorship has boomed over the past decade (and was further spurred on by COVID), leaving plenty of authors needing feedback that the market couldn’t offer in time and at the right cost. Previous research into the application of AI for book editing has been proved theoretically yet little has been commercialised. To us, all of this sounded like the perfect opportunity to disrupt an industry.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We validated the problems and possible need for solutions through surveys, interviews of authors and writers, and analysis of the competitive landscape. This was enough qualitative data for us to bring a product to the market – from here we could truly test whether our service was needed or not. We found there was no service meeting the demand of a new wave of authors who were not in the financial position to pursue the traditional process. This validation of our assumptions has further been boosted by the early adopters of our platform.

Traditional publishers are incredibly resistant to technology.

What were you doing before launching your business?

Mo: Leading strategy at a logistic start-up.

Oli: AI sales and implementation

Priyen: FMCG distribution

Have you always dreamed of starting a business?

All three of us share a common desire to set up a business. From working together, it has been made evident to us that we are fiercely passionate and dedicated individuals who all pursue the idea of success. We’ve been able to effectively channel that energy towards making reread a success.

How did you finance your business?

Our financing is a combination of self-funding and support from Falmouth Launchpad, the startup incubator we’re based at. It’s been really useful to have this combination, as we’ve used our own cash to be extremely agile, whilst Launchpad’s investment has given us the ability to test our early assumptions to the nth degree.

Explain your business model and how you make money.

Our intention is to have a freemium model, with the ability to upsell any premium/bespoke analytics. We monetise our premium reporting via a subscription model.

What are the main challenges you have faced? And how did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge was figuring out what tests could invalidate/validate our assumptions. It’s easy to come up with assumptions, not so easy to test them reliably. Also, though conscious of it, we still found ourselves heading towards a solutions first mentality, breaking away from this and really focusing on the customers problem requires a lot of discipline.

What has your experience been of starting a business during a pandemic?

We were fortunate to have started just as everything started opening up. This has means that we have been working onsite and have been able to meet people in person, which always yields different results than typical zoom calls in our opinions.

Describe your first breakthrough.

Our first breakthrough was the development of our very early prototype. Mo came in the day after we’d been discussing it with a working prototype that could analyse books, unbeknownst to us he’d gone away the evening previously and worked through the night. For us it was a breakthrough both in terms of our tech and for how it cemented our team dynamics.

How has Brexit impacted your business? Do you think it will in the future?

Brexit has had no effect as of yet on our business.

What advice would you give to other aspiring business owners?

Keep at it, break the mould, don’t listen to any rules. Also, there is a lot of processes out there, be it design thinking, lean, agile etc. Processes should be used as tools in the appropriate places, try not use them just to tick a checklist. Your eyes should be on how to solve the customers problem, regardless of whether you use a specific process or not.

Keep at it, break the mould, don't listen to any rules.

What is one resolution you have for your business this year?

10x user growth month on month. Growth has to be our only goal, we grow, we survive.

How do you see your business developing in the next three years?

We know SaaS is going to generate our early revenue and we’re immensely proud of that but to really disrupt the space we want a foothold within publishing. I’d like to see us take some market share off the big players and publish some great novels that will be read for years to come.

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Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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