Scott Allison is the founder and CEO of Teamly, as well as the former co-founder and CEO of award-winning, B2B telecoms virtual network operator, abica. It was during his time at the head of this company, Allison began experimenting with different ways of managing people which later inspired him to create Teamly. He is also a founding member of TechHub in London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a contributor at Forbes.com. Until recently, he was also a board director of The Entrepreneurial Exchange and curator of the London Startup Digest.
Q: Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
A: I’ve always spotted problems, or seen how something could be improved, and turned that into an opportunity. That’s a very common trait of entrepreneurs! I started my first business when I was 19 years old and studying marketing at university, and apart from some part-time jobs as a teenager I’ve always been my own boss.
Q: Describe what Teamly.com does?
A: Teamly is web based software that helps individuals be more productive at work by helping them to plan their priorities and record their achievements. There is an additional benefit for business managers which is improved team collaboration, the ability to report on what’s going on and better manage employee performance.
Q: How did you fund the business?
A: Teamly was self-funded by me for the first two years and recently has received angel and VC funding from investors in Silicon Valley.
Q: What makes Teamly.com stand out? What is its USP?
A: 80 percent of what you do at work doesn’t matter! We help you focus on the 20% that really does. Our message to employees is simple: “Stop drowning under the weight of your mile-long to-do list and instead choose Teamly to start feeling on top of your work."
Q: How did you set about marketing the business?
A: Most of our user growth comes from existing users inviting other users, which is testament to the quality of the product and what users think of it. This growth through invitations is supported by online marketing including social media, blogs, press and paid advertising.
Q: What have some of your biggest challenges been so far?
A: In any business it ultimately comes down to people. I’m really fortunate to have found great people to work with, as it’s simply impossible to do it all yourself. Investing in networking and building relationships with people is a key skill which will serve you well in the future in ways you cannot even think of now.
Q. What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs just starting out?
A: If you want to launch a tech start-up I’d really recommend you learning as much as you can in advance. The temptation is to rush into it, particularly when you have an amazing idea. It often turns out that the idea is much less of a factor than a good team and good execution. So get a job in a start-up first, learn from others, while building your own network at the same time.
Q: What are your plans for the business moving forward?
A: We have ambitious growth plans for the rest of 2012 which will be supported with a significant round of funding. We will be working hard on improving our product, adding new features, and integrating Teamly with other software used in the work place. Our goal is to become the central tool which provides context in your work life, and helps improve individual and company performance.