The Nebula Labs team
Nebula Labs has been selected to exhibit in the Innovation Showcase at this year's VentureFest North East. BQ caught up with co-founder Nic Flynn to find out more about the business.
Describe your business in no more than 60 words
An innovative new software house business - providing mobile app and web development services that take the start-up-thinking approach, developing in a lean and agile manner, whilst also consulting clients on what they actually need to solve the problem they are facing - as opposed to the solution they think they need themselves with no ‘prodding’ or questioning.
What prompted you to enter the innovation showcase?
We first became aware of the innovation showcase through the innovation super network newsletter. We were also prompted to enter the competition by our business advisor at Newcastle University’s Founderships programme.
Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with.
Our business model is particularly innovative as it is a new type of software house ‐ no others exist in the region (or indeed outside of London in the UK) that has been founded by a team that possess genuine venture‐backed start-up experience, and treat every client’s project as if it were a start-up, bringing genuinely lean and agile principles to every client to ensure that the products we create have the features that user’s genuinely want ‐ not simply features that pay us the most, and making start-up style innovation accessible to established SMEs.
How would you describe that innovation to your grandparents?
We focus on helping our clients to build the best possible solution to their problem, based on their needs. The way in which we do this, is what we think is innovative. We utilise lean and agile development principles, which means we test ideas quickly. These in turn enable us to; eliminate wastage, change our goals, prioritise our clients and deliver high quality products effectively and efficiently.
What are the best and worst parts of trying to be innovative in your business?
The Best: Innovation is key to providing a stand out service, and creating genuinely transformational products with our partners.
The Worst: Working with the agile development principals can be demanding. Being constantly innovative with your service can also have its issues – as the general public aren’t as ready to adapt as we are.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Our biggest challenge so far has been managing demand and capacity, without deterring future interest. We’re keen to work with every interesting client/partner that comes our way, however there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Fortunately, not everyone requires a full development partner, and this enables us to work with many interesting start-ups to help focus their idea and advise them on the best methods to get their business off the ground.
Where do you get support and advice to help you run your business?
We have received significant support and backing from Newcastle University, and we’re currently lucky enough to have the honour of participating in their Founderships accelerator programme, where we’re based out of their Start-up Space for the next six months, as well as receiving expert mentoring and funding. We’ve also received great advice from the team behind the Ignite Accelerator and strong support from the team at Campus North and Tech for Life CIC. In terms of PR and marketing advice, from concept through to launch SEM Communications have proved indispensable with their continued support. Additionally, Northstar Ventures have been really helpful with their early stage cash flow and finance advice – particularly from proof-of-concept investment expert James Foster, and we’ve also received the support from Plan Digital UK – including the opportunity to become the mobile partner for the Newcastle Start-up Week and Newcastle Scaleup Summit events.
What does being chosen for the innovation showcase mean to you?
Being selected for the innovation showcase is a real honour for us. We feel privileged to have our innovative offering recognised and can’t wait to share our company culture and our unique proposition at the Innovation Showcase.
Where do you see your company in five years’ time?
We would like to expand our team dramatically to increase our capacity as well as begin working with larger enterprises to help drive technological innovation.
We would also like to continue collaborating with local businesses to collectively improve both our and their offering.
Whilst we would like to be working with partners Nationally and Globally, we would still like to maintain our roots in Newcastle.
What would you tell businesses who are hoping to be more innovative?
The best time to start is now. The size and scale of your innovation is irrelevant, the key factor is making a start. Innovation, like any change, can be incremental.
Try something! If that doesn’t work try something else! By the time you find your stride, you’ve already show innovation, just by trying something new.
Come and see the region's latest innovations for yourself, and get a unique chance to talk to the people behind the big ideas by registering for VentureFest North East here.