Stephen Batley - Threesixty
Stephen Batley - Threesixty
The idea I am working on, along with my two partners, is a new alternative ecological fuel for fireplaces – CoffeeBricks. CoffeeBricks are made from recycled coffee waste and burn 4x longer than wood with more heat and flame, whilst releasing fewer emissions. We came up with the idea whilst working through the Opportunity Recognition course in the Masters Program.
I am a graduate of the Masters in Entrepreneurship Program at Lund’s University. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Health Science in Psychology and have worked for three start-ups, all in different industries. Also, I have three years full-time work experience in emergency services, primarily as a fire fighter in The Australian Outback.
Our team has clear goals set out for the time period. My role in the team involves focussing on product development and packaging in order to get our product in a shop as soon as possible.
I have the following goals during Leapfrogs:
- Develop and produce a finalized product with packaging
- Small-scale production facility set up
- Sell our first CoffeeBrick to a paying customer
For more information, our pitch can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M66PAjPq3bE
Stephen Batley - Threesixty # 2
A lot has changed since the last catch up! The two other members of the team received opportunities too good to turn down so have left the startup. After a lot of searching, I have found a new partner based in Uppsala who specialises in marketing and web development. We have moved the project to Stockholm – the biggest potential client base for our product!
It was very unfortunate to lose the two team members. This has been the biggest struggle with the project so far – maintaining a great team willing to work for free. Moving the project to Stockholm has been easier than expected. The startup scene here is very tech based and people seem to be really interested in helping out our project because it is something a little different. People have been very generous with their time. The biggest surprise so far is how time consuming everything is.
The loss of two team members, and the addition of a new one has slowed us down significantly. Now that the new partner is up to speed and committed to the project, our plan is to talk to established businesses with excess capacity to produce our coffeebricks – it just isn’t cost effective to try and start something ourselves on a small scale. My partner will work on package design, and we will go out to potential customers to get some feedback.
Stephen Batley - Threesixty # 3
These three months were tough but good. A lot of things happened internally and things progressed slower than I would have liked, but overall we have achieved a lot and are doing well.
We were able to achieve our two first goals, and are getting closer to our final big one: sell to a paying customer. Our production facility, although slow, works enough for prototyping a finalised product for customer feedback, testing and very slow production. Our third goal, the packaging, can be found on our website below.
By far the hardest part was loosing my team. If I didn’t have the Leapfrogs support, I don’t think I would have continued on. The most enjoyable parts have been the partnership with the new team member (everything is going great) and being nominated as a top three finalist for Young Entrepreneurs of Sweden!
Although there were ups and downs, overall I would say that the project went as expected. We have two core products now that we can sell seasonally, with variations of each to test which sells best.
We will keep working on the project! The plan is to find work to support myself and then work on the project on the side.
The most important lesson learned is to be a good boss! Finding work-life balance and staying productive is hard when you are working on a project like this. It is important to set short term and long term goals, and constantly review: is what I’m doing now going to help me hit that next milestone? It is easy to get stuck working all the time. It is important to celebrate the little victories and try to limit yourself to a reasonable working week!
Tips for new entrepreneurs:
Early customer feedback is key. It doesn’t matter how much you brainstorm about what you ‘think’ people want, you will always get better feedback (and cool new ideas) from potential customers. This can save you so much time. Being involved in the entrepreneurial community is also a big help. Surrounding yourself with people who ‘get it’ can be a big help both for your business and personally! Finally, I would say don’t be afraid to spend some of your own money. It’s too slow to wait for ALMI and other competitions, you will be so far ahead if you just spend a few thousand kronor to get things happening immediately – you can always pay yourself back later!