Interview: Elliot Thomas, CEO of Skippr
Young entrepreneur Elliot Thomas is well versed in the Welsh tech world, having worked for Swansea-based Veeqo and launched pet image sharing platform Fuzmo.
He’s come a long way since then and is working on his latest project, an Instagram marketing platform called Skippr. We talk to him about his business, entrepreneurial journey and future plans.
TD: What is Skippr, and why did you set it up?
ET: At a previous start-up business I was working in, we had Instagram accounts with followers upwards of 3m followers. As a team, we had many pain points with how we collaborated on the content curation but also how we measured our performance. I decided to set up Skippr to help fill a gap for a tool that I personally needed.
TD: What makes it unique?
ET: There are a range of tools available at the moment that offer different things. With Skippr, we are unique in the fact we are the only platform that will offer you the ability to schedule and collaborate on posts with team members, but also deliver powerful Instagram analytics alongside this. We’re trying to build out a platform fully focused on just Instagram, and I have big dreams for Skippr.
TD: What has the start-up journey been like?
ET: A roller-coaster! Sometimes, I hit my highest highs and my lowest lows 10 times in the same day. I would be lying if I said it has all been enjoyable and stress free. However, the good days definitely outweigh the bad and make the journey 100% worth it.
TD: What has been your biggest success?
ET: Our biggest success has been attracting top industry angel investors from Launcha Capital, including Daniel McPherson, a serial entrepreneur and Tom Singh, the New Look founder. We have recently closed a fundraise with a valuation of over £600,000, which is very exciting for us as we plan to expand and grow. Another big success has been achieving our first 50 paying customers in the last 30 days. That’s been a big one for the whole team.
TD: What has been your biggest obstacle?
ET: Working on the Instagram API. I am not a developer myself, although it has been such a nightmare of a product to build due to strict limitations imposed by Instagram. My team have been non stop and amazing. We have had a few instances where we have had to go back and refactor or change how we do things, just to get it right, but we’re on the right track now and it’s exciting.
TD: Where do you see Skippr in 5 years time?
ET: Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. I’m fully focused on the next 12 months, but I can say that in 12 months’ time, I hope to have over 500 paying customers and a globally spread team. We are distributed team of 7 at the moment, which is awesome.
TD: What advice would you give someone looking to start?
ET: To stop thinking about it and just start, but also not to worry about the nitty gritty details in the early stage. The first version will never be pretty, but provided it works, that’s all that matters. This is one of the best things I have been told. I would also recommend getting involved in the local tech scene, as the Swansea Tech Hub, for me, has been invaluable.
Image source: University of Wales Trinity St David