[Advertisement feature by Bubble Student]
This week we caught up with Felix Henderson, Co-Founder & CEO of Bubble Student, the complete student property platform changing the way students live.
How did you come up with the idea behind Bubble Student?
It was the result of a combination of a few factors. My Co-Founder experienced the issue first hand during his days at university, and this problem was fully backed up by my twin sister and friends that were going through the same headache. It struck me that there was so much innovation in the prop-tech space but very little aimed at improving the housing process for students. From there we had identified the niche and Bubble Student was born.
Can you tell us a bit about your expansion plans?
We’ve been operating across the North of England for several months now, in cities such as Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and more. Now however we want to look further afield and move further across the UK. The scalability of the tech means that the only real cost of expansion is in the marketing; the app and website function beautifully across as many territories as necessary.
Further on from that Europe is a really attractive looking proposition, as the same property imbalance exists across many of the major European cities and we have already had interest from property providers abroad. We opened an office in Lisbon earlier this year as a development hub where my Co-Founder runs our tech team, and through that process we have seen first hand the opportunities that exist outside of the UK.
You are obviously quite a young team – how do you go about making this work to your advantage when in discussions with investors?
We are our target market, and that gives us a unique insight into the way the market operates. Most of our team are recent graduates and have gone through the nightmare process themselves. Our ability to infiltrate the student market and access to unions across the country make our reach very effective. As I always say to investors, what better people to build a brand and product than people who are living the problem.
Why are you raising capital through crowdfunding?
We’ve always built our business with the strapline “Built by students, for students” so we saw crowdfunding as an opportunity to take this a step further. “Backed by students, built by students, for students”. Crowdfunding allows our clients and users to own a part of the business they are helping to build. It strengthens that feeling of community, whilst also allowing us to access angels and investors that we might not otherwise come across. It gets the brand out there into the public domain.
Can you tell us a bit about your own background?
I never went to university, and as one of the only members of the Bubble team that didn’t, it means I get a bit of stick from some of them! I qualified as a journalist and worked for about a year or so covering sport for a few papers before moving on to work for a start-up in the sports sponsorship space. Being such an early hire there gave me an amazing insight into how businesses are run, the pitfalls that can be encountered when growing and also the fundraising process. After a few years there I left to set up Bubble Student.
What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?
It’s tough to answer questions like these without being incredibly cliche, but for me it is the opportunity to learn at such a fast pace. When you are responsible for managing people, raising money and scaling a business it is a steep learning curve. That is why we have surrounded ourselves with experienced people like our Chairman, Rupert, as they help provide that direction. But what I have learned and how it has grown me as an entrepreneur is incredible, that’s the true beauty of it.
What advice would you give people who are eager to set up their own business?
That it will be the hardest thing you ever do, but the good days make the whole thing worth it.
Where would you like to see Bubble Student in a year’s time?
As the biggest Student prop-tech business in the UK.
If you’d like to ask Felix your own questions, you can do so via the discussion forum on the campaign page, where you can also find out more about how Bubble Student bring their exciting new product to market.
Investing in startups involves risks, including loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of dividends and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. This blog post has been approved as a financial promotion by Seedrs Limited.