Tipll is an app that helps users plan a night out and get the best out of their chosen city. Founder Grant Thompson tells BQ about his business and why has entered the If We Can You Can competition.
What did you do before setting up your business?
I left school and studied fine art at Northumbria University while trying to become a professional rugby player at Newcastle Falcons. I loved painting but I was worried about the options to make a profession out of it so looked for a job. This led me into direct sales and within a very short period of time found myself progressing through a company and running one of their franchises. The pace was fast and there were some huge peaks and many troughs, but the foundations of dealing with people face to face whether through management or sales had been installed. I then went on to manage a business working with the stag and hen industry and corporate events.
What inspired you to set up your business?
I am constantly away on business and when you get into a city you don’t know you have a fear of finding a night time venue that would suit your needs and taste.
What makes this business different?
We are for the users, giving them a chance to create their own routes that can be shared to their friends to also enjoy. We also use augmented reality aligned with GPS filters and geo field notifications to create an easy to use platform that the night time economy venues can push their business, deals and promotions to allow the users to create a perfect evening. Our slogan is “become a local in every city”
What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?
I have seen the success and the platform it has created for the previous winners who were also part of Entrepreneurial Spark, so I thought now we have grown from a concept into a business it is the perfect time.
Where do you see your business in three years’ time?
We will be in every city in the UK, giving the user an easy to use interactive app that gives them the best experience a city can offer. We will also be integrating a safeguarding and cashless arm to the app allowing people to link back to a responsible adult or guardian so they know where they are on a night out. This can also give you a cashless kitty system so you don’t carry cash but can buy drinks, share money, pay for taxis and transport links home through one platform. We are also at the moment developing a restaurant and tourist platform so users can use the same scan ability, and notification service to eat and experience the cities amazing features.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
Getting the app through the door and out to the public. It is a long process of meticulous planning and you just want people to get the benefit of Tipll.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Managing the whole process as a sole founder has been exceptionally hard, you must surround yourself with people you can trust and can help you grow.
Who/what gave you support or advice?
We got huge support, as I am not a technical wizard so development of an app might not have been the best option but from guidance and support of Entrepreneurial Spark, Tedco, Transmit Loan, Sunderland Software City, Business Durham, and my enablers. I must also mention the collective of businesses in the E Spark Hub. We all work together pushing, prodding and promoting our businesses not only in the biz hub but to social media. Everyone in these environments whether it is Espark or I have made some great links in Campus North all wants you to succeed and if you ask will help.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?
We could be here all day but a massive fundamental for Entrepreneurs is that “No question is silly if you don’t know the answer, keeping asking it until you find what you want.”