Adam Beveridge, co-founder of Hollabox, is on a mission to help people get the most out of their lives. Discovering more, doing more and making memories. Hollabox bridges the gap between the digital world and reality through the medium of video, seeing into any restaurant, bar or experience in your city. Here he shares with us his startup story.
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
You know those apps and websites that review a place and show you a simple picture of an empty restaurant?
Well we’re the ones giving them the shove and putting you right inside a venue, to see the setting, the atmosphere, the specials and the vibe with your own eyes. We were fed up of experiences being badly advertised, especially nowadays in cities where house prices are too high and jobs are tough, so communities need content they can trust.
Hollabox gives you powerful and transparent insight into the cities best places, so you can make better informed decisions - thus doing more things and going to more places that are right for you.
What did you do before you started this business?
I spent four years at Bournemouth University, graduating with a BA (hons) Business Studies and Enterprise degree. This built my core skill set in startups and entrepreneurship - with a wider skill set in strategic management, marketing and finance. I have also spent a lot of time film-making and creating content, winning international and national awards.
I have also spent a year of that time in both marketing and finance for GlaxoSmithKline, as part of some of the world’s largest brands.
What inspired you to start up?
I’ve always been of the mentality that life is too short. What do I want to be remembered for when I leave the planet?
As a cog in someone else’s machine? Heck no! I’ve always been driven to achieve and build something that I could see the intrinsic value from.
I studied business, but still stand by the fact that you can’t teach entrepreneurship - you either have it or you don't and it’s down to you how you nurture the existing qualities within yourself.
Nevertheless I made these decisions from a young age as my values and character have always been driving me down this path - whether it’s Hollabox or a different business one day. I love the lifestyle, power to innovate, challenges and the startup ecosystem.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
Nan, you know that restaurant you’ve heard good things about and wanted to try? My phones got an app that’s going to show you video inside that place, so you can see the food, the space and the chefs in action. Still fancy it? I can book a table and get a cab there in 10 minutes with the app too.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
The startup ecosystem is amongst the most helpful, creative and intelligent, and people are more than willing to donate their time - so I use it. If someone has negative feedback to give... I treasure it. This is the most valuable advice to receive as I feel it’s much easier for someone to just to say good things and let you go on your way. This vested feedback leads to actionable outcomes and is by and large how my team and I better ourselves and our businesses.
In the early days, and still now in my downtime I find it easy and helpful to keep abreast of ongoings and news in the industry. I regularly read articles from TechCrunch, Mashable, VentureBeat, Entrepreneur, BQ and the various City based tech start-up groups on social media. These are full of topical debates and releases that you can learn a lot from and even reach out too for advice.
I have made an effort to expand my network as much as possible, building a strong, reputable and knowledgeable advisory board who can open doors, understand our sector and aid our challenges, which is obviously powerful. I use Linkedin to source introductions to new people, and attended networking events and pitch days to maximise exposure of myself and my business.
Dipping in and out of my network for advice and introductions has been the absolute basis of startup life. Partnerships like Virgin Start-up and London Met Accelerator have been key to giving us the right advice and contacts when we needed it. More recently we've joined the Empact Growth Studio cohort whose team of super-connectors have helped to supercharge our networks by opening up to new contacts, opportunities, resources and expertise.
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