Phil Mossop was inspired to create a startup social network app after becoming frustrated with the lack of an efficient and reliable way to access local tech workers.
Mossop is somewhat of a serial entrepreneur – with a startup background that spans from East London restaurants to an online recycling business, he knows how valuable time is for fellow startup founders.
The new Ginger app makes digital introductions between entrepreneurs, freelancers and tech workers using a peer recommendation service. It bypasses clunky email formalities to allow users to directly message each other instantly through the app.
Business Advice sat down with Mossop to find out more about his hopes for the recently launched app and why it could be revolutionary for the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Who are you and what’s your business?
My name is Phil Mossop and I’m the founder and CEO of Ginger, a networking app for the millennial generation.
Available on iOS and Android, Ginger allows its users to connect with each other based on their location and find people who may have the skills they need to help with a task or project.
Our main user base is entrepreneurs, freelancers and startup founders who are using the app to build their networks, hire temporary team members for projects, get advice, and even find investors and business partners.
How long have you been around for?
We came up with the idea in 2015 as a result of frustrations we faced when growing another business. We were building an app for our customers and found it difficult to scope out developers and web designers who were local to us – even though we were surrounded by people on phones and laptops in a Shoreditch coffee shop.
I was certain that one of those people would have the skills we needed, and ended up asking what several people did for a living. After another round of coffee, two of them ended up working with us.
We spent a year in development and rebuilt the app twice along the way. We began beta testing our current version in November 2016, which is now available to download.
How do you make money?
The app is available for free. Whilst we have some ideas for future monetisation, at this stage we are more interested in building an app which is genuinely useful for our customers.
What makes your startup social network different and why should people take notice?
Ginger was created to address the genuine problem we faced when trying to find other local people to collaborate with, talk to and ultimately bring on board for projects.
We’re using the medium of mobile apps to attract our users, but our primary objective is to help people make real-life, useful connections.
We set ourselves a goal that we would build our own employee base entirely through referrals and connections we made through the app – and so far, it’s working.
What was key in terms of getting started?
Finding the time to do the groundwork. We spent months wire-framing concepts, testing out ideas and even building small parts of the app before heading back to the drawing board.
Like many startups, we had other demands on our time, so it was a challenge to find the hours to get the project moving. Once we did, however, it began to develop momentum very quickly.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Launching the third version of the app, for sure. After the second attempt still not impressing users, it was touch and go as to whether we had the time, energy and confidence to try again.
We decided to stick with it and spent three months rebuilding the app. So far, the response has been really positive.
What setbacks have you had along the way?
The failure of the first two launches really took the wind out of our sails. Entrepreneurs are often polarised as either eternal optimists or pessimists – as the former, I have a habit of convincing myself that each version was “the one”!
Luckily, that eternal optimism also allows you to quickly move past any setbacks and, hopefully, learn from previous mistakes.
In five years’ time, I will be…
Almost certainly grey. But still optimistic!
What one tip would you give to others starting out?
Get up and go again. Particularly when building an app, there will be several versions before the official launch and even after that, you’ll still be ironing out the kinks.
It can be demotivating at times, but with a clear end-goal in sight and a good team, you’ll get there.
Who are your business heroes and why?
Elon Musk, for his ability to think in such world-changing terms. But that’s an obvious answer.
My real heroes are the people who get up each day and do their bit for the world – there are so many solopreneurs, non-profits and freelancers who are not trying to build the next conglomerate but, instead, are championing causes such as sustainability and equality.
That’s the future, as far as I’m concerned. A new wave of conscious capitalism that seeks to be transparent, fair and focused on people and the environment as much as on profit.
If you’ve been inspired by Ginger’s startup social network, find out how to make your mark and stand out in the app store
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