Entrepreneur Advice From Popdeem CEO: Richie Whelan
There has been a great focus in recent times of harnessing the idea potential of the younger generation of entrepreneurs with the view to turning these ideas into a viable commercial reality. The Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (#IBYE) Competition has handed an opportunity to the under 30 population of Ireland to do just this.
Popdeem Entrepreneur meets Greg Fry
Sharing an idea, sharing a story has been a mainstay of the #IBYE conversation recently and a highlight was a live Google Hangout where digital expert Greg Fry discussed all things entrepreneur with the young success story, Richie Whelan of Popdeem, who provided great insight into the world of entrepreneurship.
As a young entrepreneur, Richie is currently on his second tech start up since he graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2011. His current success, Popdeem, is a location-based marketing platform that helps brands harness the power of social networks.
In the hangout Richie shares his thoughts on what makes a good entrepreneur, how he secured funding and the challenges he overcame on his road to success.
What Makes a Good Entrepreneur?
“Now more than ever it is one of the best times to set up a business, the support system and the eco system itself ready to help out, I think that’s it is really amazing!”
Top Entrepreneur Tips
- Follow an idea or a vision; have that self-belief or it will be difficult to get others to believe in you and also, importantly your idea.
- You may take knocks but stick to your underlying vision as that will keep you moving forward in your quest for success.
- Have passion, it brings energy to yourself, to investors and to your customers
Get Support and Network
“There are so many options out there; the NDRC Launch Pad programme and Wayra among others; Enterprise Ireland do an amazing job for early stage start-ups, so do the local enterprise boards. You don’t have to be alone in this process.”
Top Networking Tips
- Reach out to the right people who have been through the process themselves
- Have a strategy of what events are best for you to attend. Richie recommends Start Up Digest, an events calendar that highlights networking events in your area. Pick the right events to go to that will fit in with your industry and business plans.
- Create value for your time. Do a lot of preparation before networking events. Decide where you are at with your business and the type of people you want to meet to help you progress. In the build up to the event, reach out to these people and organise as many meetings as possible throughout the day. Have a clear objective so you are not wasting your own time and other peoples time too.
- After the event, follow up with the people you have met to build on relationships you created.
How to Get Funding
“Be very honest as that’s going to build trust. Don’t say you are going to be the next Facebook in three months because you’re not and you will lose all credibility if you say it.”
Popdeem has recently raised a staggering €500,000 in funding and Richie reveals their strategy.
There are two main approaches:
- Hyper target specific investors who you feel are a good fit
- Target as many potential investors as possible and play a numbers game
Popdeem took the first approach and it worked!
Top Funding Tips
- Build a relationship over time with your investors, meet constantly and gain a mutual respect, trust and vision.
- Share your belief as if an investor believes in your vision they will want to share it.
- Be focused about what you need and when you need it. Justify how you are going to use the investment and when. Create urgency when the time is right and tell them the time is now.
Pitching Your Idea
“What would you like to hear in your own story and how would you like it to be played back?”
Top Pitching Tips
- The main thing is to tell your story well. If you are not telling your story well, it’s very difficult for people to connect with you which links back to previous advice about building relationships and trust in business.
- Put your story into context. Do not force your story at people; instead help them to buy into it by telling them why you are doing this and why you believe in your idea. If you believe in your vision and pitch it well; your investors will believe in it too.
- Use mentors to improve on your pitch as time evolves. Popdeem say their pitch improved through mentors, pitch training and even acting classes!
Stop Talking and Start Doing!
Top Action Tips
- Do not be afraid to move forward with your idea. Share the story, get feedback and decide on the next steps.
- There is no better time than now. A lot of people make excuses or delay implementation. Make that commitment to start and use the support networks available to assess the viability of your business idea.
“It’s really cool to see students doing charity work for children as it probably resonates with them the most.”
100 Minds is a project that Richie’s friend Declan Egan set up, an amazing initiative where 100 of the best Irish under graduates are selected and they collectively raise money for one specific charity.
The programme was launched last year and 100 students raised €138,000 for Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
The programme, as well as raising vital money for charities, is also a great way for young students to raise their online profile and network with like-minded people . Two of the 100 Mind’s participants last year are actually working with Popdeem now!
100 Minds are in the process of taking registrations for their next initiative and are putting the call out for any undergrads to sign up. Go do it!
What are your top tips for Entrepreneurial Success?
As Richie explained to Greg; there are a wide variety of support networks and investment opportunities available to young entrepreneurs with a business idea that has real commercial potential. The secret is to connect and share your story of what makes a good entrepreneur!
What are your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
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