Schoop, a contraction of ‘Schools in the Loop’, is an app that was originally created to help parents keep up to date with communications from their children’s schools. Over time it has evolved, and in its current iteration it is being used by schools and colleges, nurseries and preschools, clubs and societies, churches, public bodies, charities and businesses. SME caught up with founder Paul Smith to hear the highs and lows…
What have been your biggest challenges? How did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenges have been globalisation and scaling up. When we first developed Schoop we were focused very much on the UK education sector. However, once we realised we had a product that is wanted by lots of different organisations – not just schools – and in lots of countries, we had to go back to the drawing board and redevelop the product to ensure we can work just as well in Russia, Australia, and the US as we can in the UK.
Now that job is done, we can get a new partner in a new territory up and running with a localised version of Schoop in just a couple of days.
What have been your greatest successes?
Schoop was chosen to go to 10 Downing Street for an event called Pitch 10 www.pitch10.co/. We got a chance to pitch Schoop to some big hitters in government. It really put us on the map. We were one of only two Welsh start-ups to get the opportunity.
We were also chosen as one of the “Digital Dozen” at this year’s Digital 2015 event that was held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport. It was a great event and really showcased Schoop on a global stage.
What are your top tips for SMEs?
- Be realistic in your business plans and financial projections. However, if you want to be successful, you need to take some calculated risks
- Research what help and support is available to you. We’re on the Welsh Government’s Accelerated Growth Programme, which has provided us with lots of useful resources to help us grow and develop – from financial support to mentoring and advice
- Try not to employ friends or family
- Be prepared to work long hours and seven days a week for at least a couple of years
- If you believe in your business idea, never give up.
We’re active on Twitter and LinkedIn, but less so on Facebook. We also use Schoop as a marketing tool to demonstrate its power via our Schoop ID 123. We connect well with potential customers, advocates and partners via LinkedIn