5 questions with Startup Weekend judge Ryan Baker
This post originally appeared on blog.up.co
Ryan Baker is the CEO and co-founder of Timely, one of New Zealand's fastest growing startups and a sponsor for Startup Weekend Dunedin 2015. Timely has a strong internal culture and has contributed a lot to the Dunedin startup scene, even though it has no central office. Employees work from their homes or at local cafes. We caught up with Ryan Baker, who will be judging Startup Weekend with Pieter Brits, to ask him 5 questions.
1) What is the story of Timely?
In 2003 I co-founded a company called BookIt, an online booking solution used by many of the country’s tourism websites. BookIt was acquired by Trade Me, in 2010. During that experience we saw a need in the market for cloud booking software for small businesses, as there was no solution that really filled small business's needs in terms of cost, design, features, and functionality.
In 2012, we launched Timely and in just over two years the company has grown to 26 staff and over 9,000 users in 60 countries.
2) What are some of your favourite startups at the moment?
You mean other than Timely, right? ;)
You have to be impressed with the growth of Slack. Aside from their growth I have a couple of other reasons to dig Slack. For one, we use it within our team and love it. I also have a softspot for these guys because it's not a novel concept. Like Timely, they've taken a problem that's already solved by software solutions but captured market share from executing the ass out of the next level.
3) Do you think remote working will become the norm?
Remote working will definitely become more prevalent than it is today. It depends a lot on industry of course, as it'd be hard for a builder or an anaesthetist to work from home! But in the tech sector, particularly SaaS with its weightless exports, you'll see more new businesses going remote from day one. That is an exciting thing for New Zealand owned startups.
4) What is your biggest piece of advice to first time startup founders?
Startup advice is a bit like horoscopes, or fortune cookies. It’s easy to come by and will all sound right to you at the start. Always remember that the only people you really need to impress are your customers. Put your customer at the center of your startup’s universe. If they are happy, all of your other stakeholders will almost certainly be happy as well.
5) What are you looking forward to at Startup Weekend 2015?
The past Startup Weekends in Dunedin have been awesome. I had a lot of fun as a mentor in 2013. It was cool to see how much the participants learnt and developed in such a short space of time. I’m expecting another level-up this year.
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