60 second start-up: eNovella

1-5 seconds: Sum up your business in a sentence

eNovella is an innovative social network for aspiring writers and poets.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

In my experience, writers' sites tend to have a lot of unnecessarily verbose profiles of writers and their hobbies.

Initially it'll adopt the 'freemium' model. The 'pro' option hasn't gone live yet but it will operate on a similar basis to Flickr.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

The biggest competitor I have identified is a similar site in the USA. It has received millions of dollars in funding and has offices in both New York City and Silicon Valley. Rather than operate a freemium model, they focus on profiting from the publishing of their users' works.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

eNovella focuses primarily on the work, not the writer. It's very easy to get on and start reading works (like looking at photos on Flickr). In my experience, writers' sites tend to have a lot of unnecessarily verbose profiles of writers and their hobbies. On eNovella, writers are encouraged to put their money where their mouth is. A number of people have also commented that eNovella is much neater and web 2.0-oriented than similar sites.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

To be honest, it has only actually cost about £50 so far to get the hosting and the domain name (plus a few train tickets). I already had a computer and everything so I've just been working on it in my bedroom and keeping outgoings as low as possible. I've only just ordered some business cards!

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

I'm a student at Royal Holloway, University of London studying Ancient History. I started there in 2006 and during my time I have founded The Founder (the independent student newspaper). It takes up most of my time during term as it operates through a limited company and its operation is entirely my responsibility so we've got advertising revenue to raise, printers to deal with, student reporters to coordinate etc. I also do freelance web work and recently did the technical side of the redevelopment of Moneymagpie.com.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

I first thought of it when I was having a bash at writing a novel during my gap year. I've been really into stories and storywriting for as long as I can remember and I was frustrated that there didn't seem to be any sites where you could put your work online and get feedback on it. I've been ruminating about it since then and having recently learnt a lot more about monetising and operating websites, I became inspired to launch eNovella.

35-40 seconds: What is the smartest thing you've done so far?

Managing to get the site plugged in The Telegraph within a week of the initial launch. It has dramatically improved my chances of getting responses to the emails I am constantly sending.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

I got a parking ticket while parked, paying for a parking ticket. As far as eNovella goes, I'd say the five-star rating system was quite poorly thought through. At the start, instead of users adding works as favourites, they could rate them out of five like YouTube. This was great for the select few who got four/five out of five, but on the most part one person would rate something badly and the writer would subsequently remove their work and not want to use the site again.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

I'm going to be a bit cocky and say an Iced Gem.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

Mashable. It's such a straight-forward idea but so well-executed and, I imagine, great fun to be a part of. I love the fact that Pete Cashmore just started a blog one day from a small town in Scotland and just four years later it's a multi-million pound business and he has twice as many followers on Twitter as Stephen Fry. And all they do all day is just write about fun stuff like technology and social media. I'm green with envy.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

Hopefully in a flat in London, and not a student house in Egham, reading an article on Mashable about how eNovella has just secured its 500,000th registered user.

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