Category Archives: Projects-Retired


Interesting Startups

I am lucky enough to meet some amazing founders, some have gone on to do build awesome businesses others are work in progress. From time to time I meet startups that I think look really interesting, startups I would invest in or want to join or just think the founders have that something that tells me they will be successful.

Each month I send out my “Interesting Startups” email featuring a few startups I have met and think are Interesting.

 

Security

I have a background in Information Security and these are some of the security projects I am involved in.

SecureJar

– WordPress security, the latest vulnerabilities. Featuring Marvin the wordpress security plugin.

CoffeeCopter

I came up for this idea a while back but did little with it mainly because of the cost of a quadrocopter. I noticed that a Dutch entrepreneur has done a little more and also coined the phrase CoffeeCopter, they have built a prototype and performed a test flight.

Starbucks has also recently announced they are to use drones for delivery, but at the moment it looks like jumping on the bandwagon rather than a credible option.

Twettle

Twettle (tweeting kettle) is not a new concept in fact Ben Perman came up with the idea back in 2010 and had some concept designs completed, see the story. However despite amazing media coverage the project never got off the ground.

I had the same idea in 2011 and began research only to come across Ben’s twettle and thought I had been beaten to it, but on further digging it looked like the project had been abandoned. So in 2012 I picked the project up and began research, I had the very simple graphic produced to give people an idea of how it would work. I purchased twettle.com & twettle.co.uk and started to talk to Warwick University about helping with the development, unfortunately that offer of support faded away.

After a gap of a few months the project is back on. Here is the plan:

– Designs completed

– Electronics designed

– Proof of concept device built

– Kickstarter project launched

BladeMail

BladeMail – The mail monthly subscription service for razor blades, get your weekly allocation of blades delivered straight to your front door. Razor blades at 20% less than supermarket prices.

I came up with the idea back in 2011 and after some initial research it looked like a viable service. I found a local supplier of the blades which were significantly cheaper than retail. There was a bit of competition in the UK including blademail.co.uk which has been running since 2000 but the website is terrible and they don’t have a subscription service.

Assumptions:

My initial idea had been based on a bunch of assumptions that were from my personal experience. They were

– I buy blades or my wife does but its always with the weekly shop

– I quite often ran out because I forgot to ask the wife to put it on the list for the weekly shop

– I was using one blade per day and not re-using them, but was shaving every other day so going through about 3 blades a week of 12 a month

So my assumptions were that other people were also buying blades currently with their food shop and that they were using blades just once then chucking them. Well assumption one appears to be pretty spot on but assumption two was way off. I spoke to a few of my male friends and found that they used each blade for at least two or three shaves so I was just a bit weird by only using them once. This brings down the blades required per month to approx 8.

Competition:

While I was still pondering the business concept the Dollar Shave Club launched in the US with an amazing brand and edgy marketing style. This has been followed by some European startups.

Dollar Shave Club

Kings of Shave

Morning Glory

Razwar

Conclusion:

With some experience of online subscription services through Urban Coffee Company & inbizvest I know how hard it can be to make them work. The main challenge is acquiring customers at a cost effective price, this typically requires a great virality to the service and a bag of cash to spend on pay per click.

I am also not sure I buy into the race to the bottom with the price ($1, €1 per blade) or that the convenience issue is strong enough to shift people onto the service. Time will tell if I should have pursued this one or not?

This is what the economist thought about razor blade subscription services

 

 

 

 

Territorial Army.org

After serving for 15 years with the Reserves (Territorial Army) I saw it go from a big boys drinking club into a professional outfit capable of supporting its regular counterparts on operations. Over the last 10 years the Reserves have provided 1000’s of troops to the operations in Iraq and Afganistan. The officers and soldiers of the Reserves have stood along side their regular counterparts despite having day jobs, limited experience and limited training.

What struck me as we saw the death toll rise in Afganistan is the lack of differentiation between a Regular death and a Reserve death, some would say this is the One Army concept working but I think this hides the contribution the Reserves are making. The real trigger for this was the loss of a colleague Pte Joe Whittaker in 2008, if you look at the Play section on this site and the “40 miles with 40lbs” photo you will see Joe & I stood at the back. I spent 6-months training with Joe for the competition so got to know him well.

So I created this blog to chronicle the TA’s contribution in lives to Army operations.

 

My DriveWay App

My Driveway, the mobile app for keeping all your car information in one place, it acts as your personal assistant reminding you when things are due like you MOT, Tax, insurance or next service. Next time you need a bit of information about your car just reach for your mobile phone, My Driveway has it. My Driveway the ultimate car management app.

Download the app My Driveway