Kandu: Nina Lovelace
Name: Nina Lovelace
Company Name: Kandu
Location: Greater London
Date Launched: February 2018
Tell us what your business does:
Kandu is a digital service, matching and connecting start-ups with experts and advisors.
It helps start-ups identify their business needs and then matches them to vetted individuals providing flexible, affordable help. Experts get more contracts and advisory opportunities.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I’m a digital product consultant, and while working with start-ups I noticed many of them had the same problems, such as overspending on tech and not having a go to market plan.
Kandu aims to help them identify these gaps and find people to help.
How did you know there was a market for it?
By talking to start-ups. Many have some money to spend on outsourcing, but struggle to find the right person to get bang for their buck.
Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.
I also know a lot of independent experts who would love to do more for start-ups, often at reduced rates, but don’t have time to find the right ones to work with.
What were you doing before starting up?
I’m still a part time product consultant, but will be going full-time with Kandu soon.
This means I work with organisations to help them to identify opportunities for new digital businesses, then help them scope out what those businesses are, who they are for and how they make money.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
No, but since I became a parent, I’ve struggled to find roles which suit my needs for flexibility.
I’m not the only one, which is another reason why I am launching Kandu with my co-founder Jenni – to help expert consultants like us find more flexible work with interesting clients.
I am really loving working for myself, however – I love the autonomy.
How did you raise the money?
We’re bootstrapped for now, but are about to raise SEIS funding to develop the product and activate our business model.
Describe your business model and how you make money
We will make money by eventually charging experts a membership fee to access start-ups, and/or charge clients for our software so they can better manage and track the impact of innovation or mentoring communities.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Trying to launch a new business while continuing your existing one is always a challenge. Luckily I have great support at home.
We’ve not otherwise struggled too much, but we are now moving into proper launch to founder phase, so we imagine the real learning is about to begin, especially around marketing.
What was your first big breakthrough?
When we started to get feedback from our early adopter start-ups during our testing phase.
Take Miranda, from Wavelength VR – she told us that “finding the right expert was like finding a needle in a haystack” but that we “nailed it”. This makes us so happy!
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t rush, and be focused. Always keep your eye on the core problem that you are trying to solve and build everything around that core problem, including your product, objectives and key results.
Talk to people, get advice, and listen. You can’t possibly know everything; what’s more important is being adaptable and learning.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Either selling an extremely successful start-up matching service to someone, or doing something else in the innovation space helping to make more entrepreneurs successful.