Interview: Warren Fauvel, CEO of Nudjed

Tech Dragons talks to Warren Fauvel, the co-founder and CEO of Nudjed, a healthtech start-up based in Cardiff. He’s also a Cardiff Start board member.

TD: Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your business, please?

WF: I’m Warren Fauvel, CEO of Nudjed. We help organisations like the NHS, GE and GoCompare to improve their productivity using relevant health and wellbeing data.

TD: What do you think of the Welsh tech start-up scene?

WF: It’s young, but emerging quickly.

I think we’ve got a lot of great talent in Wales, though we’ve not always managed to make the most of it. I believe we show we have a match for the skills and ambitions of more affluent regions, which will hopefully attract the investment our potential deserves.

As with anything new, we don’t quite know what it’s going to be yet. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and energy around it, though, which is really exciting.

TD: What was your first taste of being an entrepreneur? 

WF: My parents both run small, craft businesses. I spent a lot of my childhood travelling to craft shows and sitting on stands helping my mum and dad to sell. It wasn’t till leaving university that I realised that I had the skills to do that myself.

So at 22, I co-founded a design agency and everything has grown from there.

TD: How has your career developed?

WF: I’d divide my career into three stages.

My first stage was spent selling the design skills I learnt in uni. It was a lot of fun honing my craft. But it’s a tough business to scale, and my co-founder and I wanted to explore bigger ideas.

We realised that the real value was in our ideas, and I’d say the second stage was all about selling the processes around innovation and creativity. I spent the next few years trying to understand how to manage and plan creativity strategically – working with some big names like Google and Virgin.

The third stage grew from a realisation that selling those processes only gets you so far. That was the driving force behind me starting Nudjed. Applying all my learning to my own product, not someone else’s. It’s an entirely new process, which is great, as I enjoy learning. But you also come to realise how much there is to learn!

TD: What has been your biggest success and your biggest obstacle?

WF: I feel my biggest success is my team. The colleagues, co-founders, investors and mentors who I’ve somehow managed to convince to lend me their energy and time – for which I’m always grateful.

My biggest obstacle is often my own assumptions and ego, which are often the root of the challenges I face. It takes a lot of humility to be a skeptic (someone who suspends their own belief) and walk into the room to ask the ‘stupid’ questions.

TD: What would advice would you give to someone looking to set up a start-up?

WF: I’d say four things…

Don’t take start-up advice from people who’ve never founded a business. They won’t know what it feels like.

Don’t trust start-up advice from people who’ve founded a businesses that was very different to yours. They have the best intentions, but you’ll need to validate that what they say, applies to you.

Don’t believe start-up advice from people who’ve turned their advice into “simple formula for success” content. It sounds easy. But it’s not.

Don’t start a business unless you want to take responsibility for your own success and failure. Nobodies advice will make it easier when it’s going wrong. Or guarantee it will go right.