The company may not have won last year’s Innovation Showcase, but for The Insights People the VentureFest event was the catalyst for their rapid expansion, as CEO Nick Richardson explained to BQ’s Chris Middleton.
Taking place on 13th September, this year’s Venturefest North West will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and investors from across the region, celebrating those that are doing things a little differently and inspiring new partnerships.
One business that discovered this last year was The Insights People, founded by local lad Nick Richardson, which saw massive success, not only by increasing brand recognition but by actually securing investment as a direct result of the event.
“Adam Kara was a judge at VentureFest; he loved our business and thought we were fantastic,” Nick explains.
“We met up with him the next day and agreed a six-figure investment – 24 hours after meeting him at VentureFest we’d agreed the principle of the deal.
“That’s why I’d say it’s a fantastic opportunity and one that should really be considered. If you’re going to do it, do it properly and put everything behind to make sure you succeed.
“Even if you don’t win – and we didn’t – the recognition, profile, and what you learn from speaking to people, is really valuable.”
Nick is Manchester born and bred, and that’s one of the reasons being part of VentureFest North West was so special for him.
From his early upbringing in Sale to his university years at Manchester Metropolitan University, Nick is a Mancunian through and through, so it was almost inevitable that he would one day return to his home city when starting up himself.
After finishing his marketing management degree, Nick left the North West in search of opportunity, and after a brief spell at Millers Oils in Huddersfield, found himself managing the Formula 1 sponsorship for Hilton Hotels in the capital.
“After that I stayed in London for about 10 years, but always knew Manchester was home and where I wanted to be”, he admits.
“My last role before setting up The Insights People allowed me to relocate back to Manchester. So I moved into the Northern Quarter and became the head of strategic audience insights for an international publisher.
Redundancy gave Nick the opportunity to combine the skills and knowledge he had developed over the years and set up his own company.
“Data is a massive industry, it’s getting bigger every year. But it’s actually the insights, the reasons why, and then analysing what the opportunities and implications are that I’m very good at.
“So I thought, let’s go for it, and I launched Bee Industrious in March 2017, and being a proud Mancunian we wanted to use the Manchester Bee.
“Just before VentureFest 2017 we came across the opportunity to establish a kid’s research business, and when I put the application in for VentureFest we did it as Bee Industrious and we had kids as a growing part of the business.
“Fast forward to now and we still have Bee Industrious, but really 98% of our business is Kid’s Insights, and now Parent’s Insights.”
Their unique approach to date gathering and intelligence has led to a rapid expansion for The Insights People, quickly becoming a major innovator in market research.
And whilst data is a fast-moving world, the innovative approach Nick has adopted helps him to overcome these challenges.
“If you look at Mintel for example, all they do is survey two to three thousand people each year, they do it at one moment in time, then take a while to review the data, then publish a report.
“My argument is that their sample size is nowhere near strong enough because with the fragmented media landscape we have it just doesn’t cover it, you’re going to miss things.
“Secondly, if you interview people a day before and a day after the Manchester attacks, their view on life is going to be vastly different. By the time the report has been published it’s out of date.
“So what we do is we survey 20,000 a year - 400 different ones every single week - which means as we collect the data continually we can see as trends emerge.
“If you look at the rise in popularity of the video game Fortnite, we saw that emerging in December last year. We also knew the Solo movie was going to bomb before it even came out in the cinema.”
Twelve businesses will be featured in this year’s Innovation Showcase, and with more than a thousand people already registered, VentureFest North West is looking to be busier than ever before.
To see the full programme and register for the event and breakout sessions, go to www.venturefestnorthwest.com.
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