Brett Akker, the co-founder of Lovespace, told us what it takes to be successful in the startup world.
WeVent was attended by budding entrepreneurs and business professionals wanting to know more about winning investment for their own ventures and those who wanted to hear about the journey that led Brett’s Co-founding team to sell Streetcar to Zipcar for £32m.
Brett always wanted to be an entrepreneur, even after taking a job as a recruitment consultant straight from university. Without exactly knowing what his business would look like, Brett partnered with a friend from university to discuss potential business plans. When they came up with the idea for Streetcar, they both quit their jobs.
History – Lovespace and StreetCar
Fondly talking about his early days at the start-up, Brett recalled making company-wide decisions with a quick show of hands.
Progress wasn’t always so easy, though. Despite preparing to launch in weeks, StreetCar struggled to find investment for the vehicle’s central to Streetcar’s proposition as a car-sharing company. Only at the eleventh hour did they manage to secure funding for a first fleet. Although he wouldn’t want to experience that particular setback again, Brett acknowledged that maintaining positivity and enthusiasm in the face of the trial saw him through.
One of Streetcar’s more unusual successes, especially in the modern world of digital marketing, came from flyering outside Clapham’s underground station. The decision was a brilliant exercise in clear thinking: those using the tube either had a car and chose not to use it at certain times of day, or didn’t have a car. At the time, Streetcar only operated in this area, which kept marketing and customer acquisition focused on a central point. Brett added that this approach costs practically nothing.
Since selling Streetcar, Brett has gone on to found Lovespace, a space-sharing company which has raised a total $3.64m to date.
Lovespace successfully raised money through crowdfunding, but Brett warned against relying on the investment model. The reality is that the startup’s investment came from more traditional sources and a strong personal network with crowdfunding supporting the company only at a later stage.
His final words of advice to entrepreneurs looking to emulate his success:
“Don’t fear what you don’t know”
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