Startups Awards Hall of Fame: Brett Akker, LOVESPACE

The former winner discusses rapid growth and why beating the Startups Awards stiff competition makes you (and others) recognise your achievements

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  • Natasha Mc Gowan

Established in 2012 by Brett Akker (who successfully started and exited Streetcar for $50m), LOVESPACE won our Crowdfunded Business of the Year in 2014 after securing £1.2m in early-stage funding and later an additional £1.6m – both via Crowdcube.

Describing itself as “cloud storage for your physical things”, the storage-by-the-box, collection and delivery company has witnessed huge growth since winning last year – including nationwide expansion, another funding round and hitting their 10,000th customer mark – and are now on track to hit their £1m turnover mark this year.

Startups caught up with serial entrepreneur Akker to talk international expansion, and why even just making it into the finalist round of the Startups Awards adds credibility to your brand and boosts team morale.

What’s happened in the last year since you entered the Startups Awards?

A lot has happened in the last year! We’ve grown our team to 25 full-time employees (including some top senior level hires). Two big milestones were achieved early in Q2; 10,000 customers and 50,000 boxes handled. In May, we moved into our new 25,000 square foot warehouse. That was good timing, as one month later we had our busiest day ever, with customer collections in 52 towns across the UK!

We had another investment round of £1.1m, a large amount of which was from our strategic partner, Workspace. We also launched LOVESPACE’s enterprise product to allow our business customers to store archive boxes for significantly less than £1 per box per month.

What’s been the single biggest highlight for the business since winning?

It’s got to be the day we got the keys to our new 25,000 square foot warehouse, or ‘fortress’ as we lovingly like to call it. It’s big and it’s surprisingly shiny. But most importantly it enabled us to store the thousands of boxes that were coming our way!

What are you hoping to achieve in the next year or so?

We’re on track to achieve £1m turnover this year and start measuring our box numbers in the hundreds of thousands. We’re also planning to expand internationally, which is very exciting.

What did winning at the Startups Awards mean to you?

We were absolutely delighted to win the award for Crowdfunded Business of the Year. It’s always fantastic to be recognised for your hard work – and we’ve worked very hard, so it meant a lot. Competition was tough – we were even up against crowdfunding platform Seedrs, who had raised money from their own platform!

Why would you recommend entering awards like this?

Although it does take a long time to fill out the application forms, it’s actually a very useful process as it forces you to document your achievements and targets.

And if you are fortunate enough to be a finalist or even a winner, it adds a huge amount of credibility to your brand and is great for building team morale.

To enter the 2015 Startups Awards, click here.

Natasha Mc Gowan

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