1. In your own words – what do you do?
Droplet Computing is an application container solution that allows you to run legacy and modern Windows apps on new devices regardless of the operating on the device. So for example you could run an old version of Microsoft Office on a Mac or Linux PC. Not only that, the container can run both online and offline meaning you can continue working even without an internet connection. Me personally – I am the founder and CTO and am responsible for defining the technical strategy of the company and it’s solutions.
2. What’s the most exciting thing about what you’re doing?
The most exciting thing about what we do is the fact that nobody else is doing this. That’s backed up by not being challenged when filing our patent. It’s also exciting to see the customer reaction when we show them what we can do. It’s always been one of those things that seemingly appeared impossible to crack without huge amounts of infrastructure, having a stable and always-on connection, and not forgetting a big pot of cash that is required for both of those to work.
3. What are you most proud of so far?
Filing a patent and seeing it granted across the world. It’s an amazing feeling to see something that you invented gets patented.
4. What have you found most difficult about being a startup?
The most difficult thing is finding the funding to turn your ideas in to reality. There is only so far you can go on credit cards and bank loans. Understanding the finance side is hard work and not quite like Dragon Den! The other thing that is tough is trying to identify other individuals/start-ups/networks of people who are in, or have been in a similar situation as you are. Having people to talk through the process and come up with ideas, advice and guidance would makes things a lot easier.
5. What would you do differently if you started now?
If I started now I would certainly engage in more research around the funding piece, and how to build the administration side of a business. Things like tax, employment law, banking etc. You kind of get carried away with the technology/product side of the business as that’s what gets it started but then you soon realise there is a huge admin overhead to starting your own company. Again, as with the previous question, I would look to others for advice and guidance before embarking on getting started.
6. Where do you think you’ll be in 12 months?
In 12 months’ time we should have successfully expanded into other geographic regions, and have a presence in central Europe as well as North and South America. We will also have increased our revenue and market share.
7. What tools/people/services/organisations helped you most?
Talking to potential customers has been one of the most helpful things. Taking ideas and early prototypes of the solution out to real-life customers helped validate that there was a need for it and also helped shape the direction in adding critical components to the finished product. In terms of tools, it’s been around collaboration tools that allow you to easily speak to people without having to travel. There are only so many hours in the day and a meting miles from home can take hours where online tools mean you can host several meetings a day. People have also been a great help in providing support and belief in what you are doing. Never underestimate your own contacts and how they can help.
8. What’s the best thing about being based in Swindon?
Swindon is a great place for transport connections. With new train services coming in to operation, you can be in the centre of London in less than an hour. The same is true for Birmingham with New Street being 35 minutes from Cheltenham (28 miles from Swindon). The other big positive is that even being so close to these major cities, including Bristol and Cardiff, it’s far cheaper to live and as there are already major global companies based here than there is already a pool of talent.
9. What support does the tech scene need in Swindon?
Personally I think there should be a network of like-minded individuals who can act as a hub for others who want to do a similar thing. It should be made up of individuals from all kinds of business types. Maybe even have some form of incubator program sponsored by the council and local companies?
10. Where can we find out more about you?
You can find out more about Droplet Computing on our web site - https://www.dropletcomputing.com/, Twitter @dropletcom, LinkedIn, and Facebook.