Ever wondered what life is like when you go from study to startup?
Meet Mehram Sumray-Roots. Since graduating from the University of Leeds with a BA in Modern Languages last year, she’s been working at yada, her family’s startup …
Marketing pandas (MP): tell us a little more about yada. What sets it apart from competing event tools and apps?
Mehram Sumray-Roots (MSR): The events industry is absolutely booming; there are so many tools to help you with your event, but there aren’t any apps out there that do everything you want them to … that’s why we created yada - “the complete events app”.
What really sets yada apart from other apps is its versatility and interactivity. Event organisers can customise and personalise event pages for their audience. Attendees and organisers can interact with one another in real-time before and during the event, sharing photos, videos, messages and connecting with other users; the app provides everyone at the event with a 360 degree view of what’s happening around them - from a variety of different viewpoints and perceptions. The yada LiveView feature takes this a step further, allowing organisers to broadcast all publicly shared actions on screens around the venue.
Organisers and marketers have a variety of information available to them via yada after the event too – images, feedback, public comments, and more.
However, one of the best things about yada is that it’s always improving; we’re constantly adding new features and functionality to our app based on feedback from our current users and prospective clients. At the moment, we’re working on adding Twitter and Instagram APIs to integrate hashtagged photos into yada LiveView. We’re also improving location based services by working with What3Words, integrating push notifications and installing a ticketing feature.
MP: and we noticed that yada is free … will it remain free?
MSR: We will remain free for small private events. So many event apps are ridiculously expensive; we want yada to be accessible to every type of event organiser. We’ll be offering various packaged and in-app payments in the future to make sure that we’re always affordable and great value for money. We aim to add something unique and special to everyone’s event, not take away from the budget so organisers have very little left!
Marketing Pandas: Who’s using yada?
MSR: Since our launch in February, we have been pleasantly surprised by the level of demand for yada. Right now, we’re working with a wide range of users. There are networking groups and corporate clients using it to run conferences, seminars and meetings, and individuals downloading it via Google Play and Apple stores; they’re using it to organise everything from weddings and dinner parties to birthday celebrations and bar mitzvahs.
Club night organisers and universities are using yada too. We’re excited to have partnered with a company that runs university club nights in 6 different cities across the UK and we’re also the official app for the Freshers’ Festival in Glasgow, an event that will attract around 10,000 attendees!
MP: You’ve been working full-time for yada since graduating from university last year. How have you found the move from study to startup?
MSR: The move from study to startup has been intense. It has been a lot of hard work, but also incredibly rewarding. It’s amazing to be part of a team that is building a new product; throughout the entire process, my opinions have been listened to, valued, and more often than not, implemented.
Moving straight into a startup has been great; it’s a wonderful environment to be in because you learn a lot in a very short space of time. You work closely with the people around you – people who work in all other areas of the business – so you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and grow in so many different ways.
There’s also a real sense of community in the startup sphere. Even if your company is small, there are so many startup related networking events or workshops that you can attend – you get to meet so many people and build a great list of contacts. Most people really want to see you succeed and fulfil your dream so there’s a real sense of positivity and passion when you network.
Marketing Pandas: What’s the most rewarding thing about startup life? And the most difficult?
MSR: The most rewarding thing about working in a startup is seeing your hard work pay off. There is no better feeling than seeing something you care about develop from a simple idea into a product that is valued by your clients and users.
That said, startup life isn’t easy and most definitely isn’t for everyone. You are expected to work long hours, be switched on all the time and take on problems from areas you probably have no experience in. You have to think on your feet a lot and be really flexible as you never know what is around the corner. However, if you love to learn, be challenged and have a real passion for what it is that you do then you have every chance at success and can have so much fun.
Marketing Pandas: What key skills do you think graduates and digital superstars need to develop to be successful in a startup environment?
MSR: Most graduates are used to working under pressure and meeting deadlines, so they already have the basic skills needed for the startup environment. As long as you are flexible, patient and motivated then you already have the keys to success. If you’re not, then don’t panic because you soon learn to become all of these things. I would never normally describe myself as a patient person, but since working for yada, there isn’t a problem that can’t be conquered with a deep breath, cup of coffee and 5-minute break.
What a journey! Panda thanks to Mehram for taking time to chat with us here at cranberry towers. We’re very excited about yada (big fans!!) – we strongly recommend heading on over to the yada website to learn more about the events app (and to download it!)...
Stay tuned for more yada gossip!