We caught up with Matt Verity, co-founder of dating app TrueView which featured in the Mobile Business of the Year category of last years O2 Smarta 100. He talked to us about the exposure being an O2 Smarta 100 winner brought TrueView and how they are planning to build on it.
Matt, how did it feel to be named in the O2 Smarta 100?
Matt: Being in the O2 Smarta 100 was such a great achievement for us. Being at such an early stage of our business and to be recognised by O2 Smarta 100 was such a boost for our morale. Starting a tech company is such hard work and you are constantly questioning your decisions and seeking validation of your idea. O2 Smarta 100 gave us a huge injection of belief and much more. We constantly get approached by people who have found out about us through the O2 Smarta 100 and only this week have we recruited one of those persons. It gave us credibility, exposure and belief and we are so honoured to now be associated with such a great enterprise.
When you applied for the awards did you think you would win?
Matt: Never! There are so many great new start-ups out there, it is hard to think that you will ever get recognised amongst such strong competition. London is such a hive of ideas and talent it is difficult to imagine that you are classed as good as those you respect and admire. It is such a humbling thing. You can 100% believe in your idea, business and team but for others to believe in it as well is such an amazing feeling.
Did you receive any publicity in the period after it that helped your business? Were you recognized by your peers or trade magazines?
Matt: It was a great period for our business. We had all sorts of interest from all over the world and we still do. We have just hired someone who found us through O2 Smarta 100 website so it is an amazing platform for other businesses, potential employees, PR and customers to discover your business.
Did winning the award help you gain new business or funding? Did you gain new connections thanks to being named in the awards?
Matt: It was hugely valuable for us gaining the award. It gave our business an element of credibility and validation, which gave customers added confidence in our idea, which in our industry is vitally important. It also allowed us to confidently talk to investors. Having this achievement alongside our idea means that it dramatically moves peoples perception of you as a business. People take notice if you have gained an achievement like this. They want to talk to you rather than you having to try and talk to them.
What success has your company achieved in the time following your being named in the O2 Smarta 100? Do you have any specific achievements you’d like us to share with readers online?
Matt: Since then we have raised more investment expanded our team and refined our product with a whole new version. In January of this year we opened up a co-working space in east London called The Hatch, which allowed us to move out of our bedrooms and help other growing start-ups to have a home within our small community. We won Fresh Breakthrough at the Fresh Awards, continue to grow in the right direction and we are seeing an increase in media interest and partners wanting to work with us. It has been a really exciting journey for us.
What plans do you have for the future?
Matt: Well now we have the ability to market ourselves properly and a good team surrounding us the immediate plan is to grow our user base, learn from them and make the app even better. We have plans to open up TrueView into the US market as well as explore some other ideas that have manifested themselves off the back of our learnings with TrueView. We may look to scale The Hatch but our primary focus is to make TrueView a sustainable and growing business and look to raise a series A round in the middle of next year.
What advice would you give to companies who are unsure if they should enter the awards?
Matt: The argument for entering totally outweighs the reasons not to. Go for it, be passionate about your idea and nail the proposition. Make sure that the judges can totally understand your business because you aren't there to give the pitch so send your submission to people that aren't so close to the business to see if they truly understand what your business is about.
Finally – if you were judging the awards, what would you specifically look for in a company?
Matt: A clearly defined objective with an innovative solution. Bags of potential with a passionate and driven team behind it.