Surrounded by startups – entrepreneurship is in the blood

Ducat that got the cream

Coffee was the order of the day and if I may I’ll start this piece off with a recommendation. Go to Ozone in Old Street. It’s fantastic.

Omi Ducat

Omi Ducat had suggested the place for our meeting and I was more than pleased. This, however, wasn’t the only good piece of advice Omi had up her sleeve. Having spent the last few years working at the top of various agencies, she had decided to enter the world of startups. I wanted to know what it’s like at the top, whether entrepreneurship is in the blood and what makes a good startup.

What’s the big idea?

Omi works for a tech startup called Wayve. They do something incredibly smart, incredibly useful and (seemingly) incredibly simple: they have developed a toolset which automatically builds and deploys rich display ads across all screen sizes. It’s really good stuff.

What was agency life like at the top?

As Omi rose through the ranks at digital agencies including Steak then iProspect, she found herself “less connected with the great work the agencies were producing and more involved with the politics of business”. Her computer science background meant Omi was more at home delivering cutting edge digital solutions than juggling the agendas of others so, though she loved her time in agencies, she pursued a new career in the world of startups.

What makes a good startup?

Omi said that the key to a good startup is the staff. “It’s about caring about people and having a conscience. You need to have common goals, passion and drive.” On top of that every member of the team needs to be really good at their job. “You should keep the headcount low and set the tone yourself – present an amazing vision that everyone can share.”

Is it in the blood?

Omi “had always wanted to run her own business” and before entering the world of startups, she particularly “enjoyed the boutique feel at Steak”. In her spare time she runs a startup called Peas & Figs offering recipe ideas for people with food allergies and her partner runs a startup called Bean & Ground. This is just an inference but I think it’s in the blood.

Tips for starting a startup

Take calculated risks. “When I left the agency world I didn’t have any major commitments such as family so I thought it’s now or never.” There are no guarantees with a startup but a lack of immediate job security should be mitigated by having a realistic fall back plan.

“Don’t start a tech company unless you understand the tech yourself. Having an understanding means you can allocate budget efficiently whilst ensuring flexibility and control over project delivery.

What is a startup?

“A startup is a company in it’s infancy, that is working to transform an idea into a business.”

Epilogue

Passion, experience and confidence. Three things that go a long way to building a solid startup foundation, whatever the idea. From speaking to Omi, it appeared that perhaps startup culture is in the blood. Like caffeine, from coffee. Mmm coffee, I like coffee. Ozone anyone?