Interview with Graduate Entrepreneur and Founder of 'Yatterbox' Matt Freckelton
1) What inspires you to be an entrepreneur?
Good question, I wouldn’t say there was a defining moment. More a series of events and a general changing of perception of the world while I was at University. Having got involved with the Student Enterprise community at The University York, which involved being a Student Intern at our Enterprise Dept. for two years, being a committee member of the Student Enterprise Society called The York Entrepreneurs and setting up my own venture called York Student Market I came by a lot of opportunities and realised that you can create a career path by becoming an entrepreneur. I think it provides a far more interesting work life then working for a large company such as Deloitte or any major Graduate programme. The focus is definitely on you to get the work done, which I think also makes it far more rewarding when you create real value for people out of products and services that you are passionate for.
2) Tell us about ‘Yatterbox’ and where did the name come from?
I find that the name creation aspect of any business is one of the most difficult and frustrating parts. In all honesty I didn’t have a lot to do with it; we needed a new name after we concluded that SocialUK wasn’t going to work. Which was our original name. So two of my work colleagues in the office starting brain storming and going through the thesauruses and just started shouting out names, we must have spent a good hour of me just saying no after every name. Eventually they came across the idea of “Yatter”, which means inconsistent talk, hot air. This worked well as it could be used as a way to describe what comes out of politician’s mouths. However I felt we needed something else to add to it, and “box”, seemed to fit quite nicely, moreover the web domains were also available for the .co.uk and the .com. So I agreed but didn’t take too much notice of it as at the time I was busy filling out some forms which I needed to concentrate on. It wasn’t until I added it as my place of work on Facebook that I realised it was quite a good name and it would work well as a brand.
3) What day to day tasks are you involved with in the running’s of your business?
I wish there was a set day to day, as it would provide some consistency. Every day is different which makes the work a lot more stimulating as you never know what’s going to happen. On average though;
- Touching base with the web guys and making sure we all know what we’re doing and working on.
- Communicating with various Directors of the Company on different issues.
- Keeping up to date with the latest news and information in our sector.
- Evaluating new technology to integrate into the website.
- Arranging meetings with various people.
- Continual product development and ideation meetings.
- Keeping in touch with our office in London and making sure they are on track with their work.
- That’s just a very quick snapshot, some days there may be more than just that. Other days a lot less.
4) Do you feel going to university, changed your mindset or helped you in any way to pursue Yatterbox?
Yes, without trying to repeat myself from the previous question they certainly changed my mind set. With regarding to help, they certainly have also supported me in the areas that I have need advice with. Through the Enterprise Dept. there was a small proof of concept grant of £1000 I was able to access. Using this I was able to leverage some money from Angel Investment which was then used to gain so proof of market grants as well. The grant itself required a far bit of paperwork but I was able to access help from the Research and Enterprise Office through their network of Business Development Mangers. Moreover we’re also based within The University in a special start-up incubation area within a building called The Ron Cooke. So all in all, the support has been great.
5) Do you feel entrepreneurs have certain traits that others do not possess? Or is being an entrepreneur a viable option for all?
Its question that is going round a lot recently, can anyone be an entrepreneur? But it really depends on your definition of entrepreneur. You can still be an entrepreneur without having to set up your own business; you could work within a very large company but work in a very entrepreneurial style. I think there are some traits which are found within all entrepreneurs, the most basic one of which is the want to create and make a difference and actually getting of the sofa and doing something about it. Rather then just watching the world go by.
6) What tips do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
Not trying to sound too much like a catch phase, but certainly it’s important to fail, don’t be afraid if this happens. People in the UK certainly don’t have the same opinion of failing as they do in the USA. Also a really person to find is a good mentor, this may take time to find the right person, but you should defiantly make this one of your top priorities. Someone who is willing to help for free because they recognise what you are doing as they have been there and done it already, if they ask for money tell them to get stuffed.
7) What are your plans for the future?
We got lots of stuff in the pipeline; I can’t talk about too much but we’re looking at a trip out to the USA next year to meet some people who want to have a chat with us.