Last month, Newcastle-based Stuart Varrall won the prestigious Thinking Digital Startup Competition for his company BubblePix, receiving a £1,000 cash prize and free Sage One Accounts software from us, plus £15,000 of Rackspace hosting and automatic shortlisting for the Ignite100 tech accelerator programme. We caught up with Stuart to see what’s happened since.
1. Congratulations again on winning our Thinking Digital Startup Competition. I was very impressed with your pitch and how confident you seemed on both days. Have you done much pitching before and do you have any tips you can share with other start-ups?
Thanks Paul, believe me I wasn’t feeling calm on the inside. I have been lucky over the years and have had the opportunity to talk in front of a lot of people. I also go to and watch many conference speakers and try to learn from talks that I’ve personally found engaging or interesting, picking out what aspects of these work and also why sometimes talks just don’t work so well. TED is a great forum for this, the speakers there fit in a lot of information into a short space of time, but always make it entertaining and captivating.
2. Part of the prize was £1,000 cash. Do you know what that will be spent on yet?
Well, I know you’re supposed to put something away for a rainy day, but actually we’ve spent the prize already! Right around winning the pitch we had the opportunity to attend Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco, the cost of which matched almost exactly the prize money, so you might say it was meant to be! (Check out the ‘Bubble’ that Stuart took of himself with Apple’s Sir Jonathan Ive at WWDC by clicking on the image below)!
3. I spoke to two people at the Thinking Digital Conference who went and bought a ‘BubbleScope’ after hearing your pitch. Did you get much more interest and sales from the event?
We certainly had lots of interest, I don’t know how many sales came directly from the event, but it has certainly raised the awareness of BubblePix and what we’re doing. This was especially apparent that people in our local area didn’t know this is happening just round the corner from them so it was extremely valuable to raise our profile amongst the local and further-travelled TDC attendees.
4. What’s happened since you won the competition?
We’ve had a busy few weeks since the competition, launching our second product via KickStarter. The ‘BubblePod’ is a silent clockwork turntable that someone’s mobile device slots into and allows users to capture perfect 360o panorama photos in less than a minute, without having to spin around themselves. It complements the instant nature of the BubbleScope yet continues our journey of bringing the magic of 360o to the world.
It’s been really exciting to launch a product this way and we’ve had some great response from both supporters and the tech press (including Mashable, VentureBeat, Wired and Engadget) which has meant in just 7 days we’d reached 75% of our £30,000 target!
We’ve been busy supporting the campaign, as well as continuing to fulfil the demand for the BubbleScope. This is set to be an momentous few months ahead and a time the expanding team is really excited about.
Back BubblePod on Kickstarter!
At the time of writing, the BubblePod had raised £29,579 of its £30,000 target with just 13 days to go! If you’d like to help Stuart reach his goal and bring the BubblePod into production, you can back the project on Kickstarter now from just £1 at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1218595273/bubblepod-professional-360o-images-in-less-than-a-0
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