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A Self Interview with Frankie Kearney, Co-Founder of ‘Discovery’ app Sliide

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by Startacus Admin

Frankie Kearney, Co-Founder of ‘Discovery’ app Sliide (and Startacus member!) talks to us about the idea, the journey, Twitters high-profile Sliide Co-Founder Frankie Kearneyacquisition of Cover, and collaboration opportunities for Sliide with the UK Start-up community.

What is Sliide?

Sliide is an Android app that enables you to discover and engage with cool content such as blogs, brands, events, trailers, apps or offers via your lock screen.

If you love what you see, you can learn more by sliding left, or share with social media with a long press. If you just want to use your phone, slide right and open your phone as normal.

The final sweetener is that you will receive a share of any advertising revenue we generate; the exact amount will depend on how complete your profile is. We always mention this last as our key value proposition is discovery, and the money is just a bonus.

SliideWe think we fit in fantastically with the start-up community; as we provide a platform for the discovery a business. We would urge anyone who has amazing content that they want to get noticed to speak to us! 

Who is your target market?

We’re targeting students because their fun and love technology, we are in the business of delivering great content to our users; so wanted it to be something we enjoy! It helps that brands love students because they’re the affluent market of tomorrow, and have disposable income (depending on the time of year).

Who is your competition?

People think student publications like The Tab are competition; in fact they can be content providers for us, as they don’t have access to the lock screen real estate. What’s important for everyone in this environment is getting people to re-engage with something, whether it be an app, brand or publication. Sometimes people just need a gentle reminder of how amazing something is; and we think we achieve this with what we’re doing.

It terms of lock screen applications; I think people consider Cover to be our competition.  Cover, a lock screen replacement that places apps that it thinks you’ll want to use based on your location and time of day. Sliide is a completely different experience to Cover; Sliide is all about fun and the discovery of cool stuff. Cover on the other hand is for functionality, they are completely different spaces!

Any quick thoughts on the acquisition of Cover by Twitter?

In my opinion, it is surprising that Twitter has bought Cover, an application that essentially places competing apps icons on your lock screen. I just hope that this isn't the start of 'sponsored icons', which would severely impact Covers user experience.

Can you run us through your journey to date?

Idea inception was back in August 2013, back then I was working for a large corporate in the city. It was a big decision, but Corbyn (Sliide Co-founder) Sliideand myself agreed that I would stay in my job and put forward half my salary to allow him to work full time to develop the idea.

We applied to a few accelerator schemes in London, and although they loved the idea we didn’t have any traction and therefore they were unwilling to invest. Looking back on it, it was the right decision for everyone; start-ups need to be incredibly careful as to which accelerator, if any, is right for them.

Fortunately the Governments huge amount of commitment to developing start-ups within the UK meant that a scheme called the SIRIUS Programme had just opened their application process; the programme supports ideas as well as businesses that have potential for rapid growth and global expansion. We were accepted on to the programme and they have placed us with the Accelerator Academy, and provided us with office space at the Innovation Warehouse, Farringdon.

We are currently pre-launch, our beta will be ready for testing mid-May and we have been lucky enough to be asked to be part of the IDEA London DECIDE Programme. It is a great initiative that works with start-ups to ensure they have a fantastic user experience, and then gives you access to a closed Google Play store that can only be accessed by UCL students; it’s the perfect testing environment.

We are also working with the National Association of Colleague and University Entrepreneurship (NACUE) to provide a lecture series to Sixth Form students in London. Talking about our journey to date, and getting them involved in the testing and iteration of our product, which is really exciting.

Furthermore, we have just signed up a whole host of exciting brands for our test and launch, however I am not sure if we are allowed to disclose these yet! 

What advice would you give to other start-ups? 

There are two things that I think have helped us get to where we are now:

1) We pitched our idea to everyone and anyone that would listen. It is a fantastic way to test the basic assumptions of the business and your pitch; when I first started explaining the concept to people, it took about five minutes and they didn’t seem to get it straight away. Now I can pitch it in one sentence!

Sliide2) We made sure that when asking for help, we knew who we were asking and what we were asking for! Within the start-up community everyone is incredibly helpful and wants to see you succeed. The problem is, if you ask for help off everybody, you will have so much advice that you will be more lost than when you first started.

We make sure that we know who is at each networking event, and the ways in which they could help. If we do get around to speaking to them; we can then drill down into their expertise and gain meaningful advice. Plus, people love talking within their expertise!

Any last words?

A couple, firstly I would say that the 2014 applications for the SIRIUS Programme open on 05 May 2014. If you have a team of between two and four people, and at least half your team is international, then this could be a great scheme for your business. You can check it out at www.siriusprogramme.com.

You can sign up to keep updated with our progress at www.sliideapp.com 

Lastly, if you think your business is a good fit with ours then you can contact me @fk_sliide or @sliide. I look forward to hearing from, and working with the Startacus community.

Cheers Frankie and we look forward to hearing more on your progress throughout the remainder of 2014. If like Frankie you would like to Self Interview on Startacus, then firstly make sure you are a signed up member and secondly, give us a shout! ([email protected]




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Published on: 25th April 2014

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