We catch up with Kingston University Graduate Entrepreneur Tinaye to discuss his study aid app and what has fuelled his passion towards entrepreneurship.
SC: What University did you go and what did you study?
TM: I went to Kingston University and studied a Business Management degree which I did with a one year Industrial Placement.
SC: When would you say you got a passion for entrepreneurship?
TM: In high school I ran a successful business selling French pastries, it was then that I discovered my passion for entrepreneurship. However it was after I read the Book, ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ that a deeper desire was sparked inside me! I got that ‘entrepreneur fever’! I didn’t want to finish Uni to just get a job, I wanted to create jobs, I wanted to create innovative solutions and opportunities to add value to people’s lives! I wanted to have multiple streams of income! I wanted to be wealthy and to have the freedom to travel wherever I wanted to, and to teach people how to be successful! Something I could do if I developed a successful entrepreneurial career!
SC: When was your business founded?
TM: September 2010
SC: Where did the idea of Study Kit Pro come from?
TM: I was an Academic Advisor for Kingston Uni’s Business and Law School for about 2 years whilst I was a student, helping fellow students with their assignments. I gave them advice on writing, grammar, punctuation, referencing, research; structuring work etc .The uptake of students I served over the period was roughly over 250 students. I discovered that some foreign students struggled to write fluently in English and their understanding of the conventions of English academic writing could be poor at first, such that they needed ongoing and immediate help!
Some students had no understanding of the academic requirements at university and this was backed by further research I did, using sources that included the Royal Literary Fund’s report on “Writing matters” a report in the field of student literacy, which explores the problems in Higher Educational Institutions and gives evidence of how some skills are lacking in some students as well as graduates. I then thought of creating a mobile learning app that could condense all these academic concepts as well as other concepts on developing professional and personal skills, whilst making the learning experience fun, engaging, highly motivational and for mobile use! I thought I would test the idea by entering the West Focus “Bright Ideas Competition” and it was one of the ideas that won
SC: How will your business make money?
TM: We recently launched our fist app “StudyKit Pro” which is an educational app available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This is the first product we are selling. In the medium to long term revenue streams will emerge from download sales, in-App purchases, developing apps for customers, as well as from advertising through free apps.
SC: What would you say is the USP of your app?
TM: In creating StudyKit Pro I put together a team of experts in education, design and development. We took big chunks of some of the most relevant learning concepts and condensed them into one little app, breaking them down and simplifying them, whilst delivering them in a way that makes the learning experience mobile, fun, engaging and highly motivational for users!
SC: What will be your main form of advertising?
TM: Internet Marketing through social media, online magazines, student forums, blogs and review sites that reach the mass market.
SC: In such a large market can you identify anyone as your main competitor?
TM: I am not aware of any apps doing exactly what we do, with rich content. However I guess our main competitors are other paid apps, alternative paid educational tools and other app developing companies
SC: How long did it take from idea to getting the APP into the app store. Can you give a brief explanation of the process?
TM: It took about 7 months to turn the app from an idea into an actual digital product available on the Appstore. It would have taken significantly less time had it not been my first project.The process involved raising funds (which included bootstrapping), putting a team of writers together to write up the content for the app on the various topics, designing the User Interface and app branding in terms of how the app looks, and then programming the code for the app in terms of its functions, we then moved on to BETA testing the first draft of the app and after making further changes in design and function, after our focus groups had played with the app we made further changes before we then submitted it to Apple for a “Review” process which took a few days to complete. The app approval process is in place to ensure that applications are reliable and perform as expected by worldwide standards, this is done based on a set of technical, content, and design criteria. Once we passed the Review process, the app was available via the worldwide Appstore.
SC: How have you funded things so far?
TM: Bootstrapping and some funding from Kingston University’s Enterprise Graduate Awards. I’m currently looking for more funding, the bootstrapping route is a ‘very very tough one’, but due to timeframes and deadlines, it had to be done, I learnt that the ultimate resource is in fact, being resourceful! The funding as well as support from Kingston University’s Enterprise Graduate Awards has been invaluable!
SC: Why have you chosen to produce an APP and not just a website?
TM: There was a gap in the Apps market for an educational app like StudyKit Pro. I decided to create an app as oppose to a website in order to pioneer into the space of “Mobile Learning”. I had no technical background or prior experience in this field, so I saw it as a great way for me to build my skills,build a team,learn and express my creativity as releasing an app is one of the quickest ways to create and launch a digital product that would be available to a global market.
SC: What is your most memorable moment so far?
TM:Being named in an inaugural list as one of Britain’s 100 most outstanding new black graduates in the Top 100 Future Leaders 2010/11 awards for which I was invited to the House of Lords for the award ceremony. This was really pleasing as the award is a junior version of the “Power list” and aims to inspire young people by highlighting excellence and featuring the future leaders in business, industry, the arts, media and banking who excelled academically while pursuing exceptional extra-curricular activities whilst at university. Entrepreneurship was something I pursued actively whilst at Uni, creating the balance with studies was difficult but it was great to see it pay off and to serve and inspire others in the process.
SC: What’s been your most testing moment?
TM: When we made our first version of StudyKit Pro, after it had gone through the Review Process and it had been successfully approved by Apple and it became ready to sell, I made a last-minute decision to change the majority of the design aspects and branding I wanted us to create a mascot for our brand identity. Only a few people had seen what we had created, it was after a lot of hard work and feedback from our focus groups who generally liked what we had done with the branding, but I still changed my mind, I wanted us to do better; there is always room for improvement so we went back to the drawing board! J This meant more delays before launching, more coding and testing all over again, and of course injecting more time and financial resources! I wanted to get a new designer and to make the branding a little more fun and funky! I was grateful because I learnt so much more from the re-branding we decided to make and we made some notable improvements that have helped to distinguish our brand identity.
SC: What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs?
TM: I say you must always be developing yourself! Jim Rohn says “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune”! You have to educate yourself, consistently, outside of your degree, outside the classroom! Some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs dropped out of college, some never went to college, but one thing they have in common is they never stopped learning, they never stopped developing, and they mastered their crafts. They developed their skills! Go out and do what it takes develop yourself, join an entrepreneurship society at your uni, enter competitions, read books, subscribe to some interesting and informative news sites to keep updated, go out and network, get some business cards, find a mentor, don’t depend on one source of income, start stretching your creativity and imagination to come up with ideas that can make money etc.
SC: Anything they shouldn’t do?
TM: Don’t squander your cash like most students do, it may seem popular but it’s not “smart”, in the long term, anyway! Learn ‘good money management’ habits very early; it may sound boring but it will pay off in the long-term, significantly! Save, invest and budget. It’s not necessarily about the amount you put away and start saving, but most importantly developing the habit to save and keep track of your finances.
SC: So what have you got lined up for StudyKit pro?
TM: Updates to the StudyKit Pro app, version 1.5 launching in the first Quarter of 2012! More apps, more ideas, more innovative solutions! So Stay tuned!”
More about Future 100 Awards
More about West Focus and Bright Ideas