I’ve completely lost track of which month this issue of Cardiff Life this article appeared in. Here’s the PDF, though, if you want to read it with pictures 😉
Last week I spent a morning on Treforest industrial estate. Not the most glamourous of locations to be at the onset of winter, but it was more than worthwhile as I learned a huge amount from a Welsh Government funded training session about dealing with Venture Capitalists, valuing your company, planning for acquisition, and raising VC cash. Admittedly it sounds kind of dry, but it was incredible useful and relevant to me. I then whizzed down to Cardiff and listened to the Welsh Government Creative Industries team present their varied support for new and existing businesses in this space, which includes a whole host of funding and advice.
The week before I had been at the excellent Welsh Entrepreneurs conference, where founder Jonathan Morgan from Welsh tech startup Object Matrix spoke passionately from the stage about how he felt that Wales is a great place to startup. Coupled with the great quality of life I’ve written about before, there’s the aforementioned support, relatively low cost of living, and the short distance to London.
If you’re wondering where I’m going with all this, I’m kind of working my way towards saying that Wales, and Cardiff in particular, is a fantastic place in which to start a business. I know I’m sometime guilty of moaning about how far from “the action” we sometimes feel, especially with regards to the bright lights of Silicon Valley of San Francisco, and the Google Campus of America. It sometimes feels like startups in these places have easier access to the finance, better networks, more relevant advice and mentoring than we have here.
One example of the great things we have on our doorstep is ICE, a hub of innovative, ambitious small businesses (including this months’ profiled startup, Timto) that sits just over the mountain in Caerphilly, providing flexible space and support to allow them to grow. In the spirit of full disclosure I should mention that I’m a voluntary member of the board, but my involvement there is pretty minimal. The staff (and tenants, of course), have made it into an exciting place to build a business. I was there one evening a few weeks ago, and despite the near-biblical levels of rain pouring from the dark skies, there was still a great bunch of entrepreneurs and founders in the building, excitedly working on their businesses, swapping advice and ideas. It’s places like this and Indycube, whose rapid expansion across South Wales is a massive boon for small, agile businesses, that will foster an even greater spirit of innovation and collaboration.
Cardiff can’t currently be expected to compete on many levels with the great metropolises of London, Berlin and San Francisco, for pure financial, social, technological and demographic reasons. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to move there in order to be a success. If we play our cards right, and appreciate the resources at our disposal, Cardiff could be on the verge of becoming a city globally known for it’s creative & digital startup successes.
Hello! Introduce yourself.
Hello, I’m Nathan Cornish and I co-founded timto with my brother Luke.
So, what does your startup do?
We enable people to set up an online gift fund where their friends and family can group together to contribute towards an extra special present with the added bonus that their favourite charity benefits too.
What makes your startup special?
timto is the only online group gifting service of its kind enabling people to give gifts in a different way. Not only do celebrators receive amazing gifts with timto but by including a donation to their favourite charity it gives a real feel good factor to the whole celebration, which is why we call it Uplifting Gifting.
What was the genesis? The eureka moment that made you realise you had to build this company?
At my daughter’s sixth birthday party we were completely overwhelmed by the amount of presents that she received from her school friends. But a lot of them were duplicated or remained unused. It made me wonder whether there was another way to give better gifts and make every penny count with an extra goodwill element included.
And where are you at right now?
We are focused on building new partnerships with a number of significant UK charities. We are continuously improving the website and are expanding from just children’s birthdays into all different types of celebrations; from weddings to office birthday collections.
What’s the key to your growth? In other words, if someone could wave a magic wand, what would you want them to do for your business?
The power of word of mouth is extremely important as well as the use of digital media. We hope to deliver a truly memorable gift service that people are proud to recommend to friends and family.
Where would you like your company to be in 5 years time?
We aim to create a culture whereby it becomes the social norm to give better gifts together and Uplifting Gifting is an integral part of every celebration.