Starting a business in Swansea: Fuzmo

Pet picture sharing start-up Fuzmo explains how they attracted investment via the Swansea tech community...

Company name: Fuzmo
Founders: Jack Morris, Elliot Thomas and Steve Tozer
Founded: 2014
Description: Fuzmo is a social picture sharing website for pet and animal pictures. The idea was born when Morris began regularly posting pictures of cute animals on Instagram; over time we watched this account grow to 1.5m followers. We built Fuzmo as a place where our solid community could go to share their own pet pictures with each other.
Website: fuzmo.com

What’s great about starting a business in Swansea?

Tech entrepreneurs from all over Wales have been attracted to Swansea as of late since the opening of the new Tech Hub. This has improved the local community and also attracted private equity investors to some of our start-ups which is a great feeling.

You can also never complain being by the beach and sea every day!

What business support in Swansea have you used? How was it? 

Being a start-up in Swansea has had many advantages for us as a start-up with the most notable being the Jobs Growth Wales scheme. This is a government backed scheme that will support new employees for their first six months of employment with the company and has been invaluable for Fuzmo to date. Recruiting is quite easy with so much talent coming from the local two universities and so Swansea really is a great place for a tech start-up to be.

Here at Fuzmo we have been extremely lucky having a local Tech Hub to turn to for support. Initially we were bases in the co-working space but over time have grown to a bigger office just upstairs, but due to being in Swansea we don’t have to pay extortionate prices for our monthly rent and this helps keep things better managed and simple.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business in Swansea:

  1. Cheap affordable office space.
  2. A lot of local talent coming from two great universities.
  3. The amazing start-up community.

Where could Swansea be better / what does it need?

Three members of our community have done an awesome job in attracting Tech Hub to Swansea and we are now starting to really embrace our new surroundings. Everyone seems to be getting stuck in pretty well, however moving forward it would be great to see more guest speakers and influential techies pass through our city, as I think sometimes Swansea gets overlooked and people don’t really realise what is actually going on here.

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

In order to get Fuzmo to where it is now, we made the decision to raise crowdfunding via Seedrs where we managed to raise £55,000 for 13% equity stake in the business. This decision was made after listening to a colleague’s success story regarding equity crowd unding and this really inspired me to have a go for Fuzmo, this turned out to be one of the best decisions we have made as a business.

Following this we were then lucky enough to raise further private equity investment from London-based Launcha who found us via the Swansea tech community.

Where do you go to network in the city?

There are regular start-up coffee mornings around Swansea which are great for meeting everybody that has something going on in the area, and aside from these there are also weekly networking breakfast events taking place in the Tech Hub which are great for networking.

Facebook groups are also a very powerful community tool which we use regularly.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch/ meeting?

For a quick meeting we use the coffee shop underneath Tech Hub called ‘Caffe Nisse’, however should you be looking to impress a guest with a good meal there is much to choose from however personal favourites of ours consist of ‘Mosaic’ on the High Street or Nandos, which is conveniently across the road!

Where’s great for a company night out?

To date our team are yet to have our first night out together, however this is planned for the coming weeks and we plan on taking full advantage of the local surroundings such as kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, beach volleyball (however we are in Swansea, and the weather for this happens just two days a year!).

There is also a great bar area called Wind Street (pronounced Wine Street) which has a great mix of bars depending whether you are looking for a cocktail or live music entertainment.

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