Say hello to the first ever mobile app that’s been created to bring creatives closer
Valentine del Giudice is the founder of SSSHAKE; the app that’s connecting communities of local artists which allows them to grow their network, exchange skills and collaborate on exciting opportunities with one another.
Early stage startups should definitely receive more help to be able to focus on building a great business with happy customers
Tell us what SSSHAKE is and what your business offers?
SSSHAKE is a London based cross-disciplinary creative network. It is a safe place for up-and-coming artists to grow their network, exchange skills and work on exciting opportunities. The SSSHAKE app is a networking app dedicated to creative collaborations. The app locally connects creatives from different industries to help them discover new projects together. Additionally to the app, we offer tailored video production services. We curate unique multi-disciplinary teams by sourcing available talents from our community to help businesses transcript their creative vision through video.
What was it that inspired you to set-up your own business?
With almost 10 years’ experience as a creative freelancer in various fields, I wanted to help creatives to activate more projects and build their network faster. Being a freelancer can be very lonely sometimes especially at the beginning. Furthermore, collaboration is becoming essential in the increasingly competitive creative landscape. To inspire creative collaborations and to help creatives to team up easily in order to deliver bigger and stronger projects, rather than wait to be selected by clients or agencies, was very important to me. The main inspiration behind SSSHAKE is to drive more proactivity in order to put the power back in the hands of creators.
Do you think an Entrepreneur ISA and a Small Business Savings Allowance would have helped aid your company’s growth in the early stages?
It would surely have. Raising money and managing cash-flow is very difficult, especially at the beginning of the journey when your product or service is not launched yet. We were lucky enough to raise money through a Kickstarter campaign that exceeded our expectations. This allowed us to build and launch our Minimum Viable Product . Being a bootstrapped business is empowering as an early stage entrepreneur as you can really take your business in the direction who want without having to justify anything to anyone. However, I wish I had more options besides trying to raise money through investors. Getting ready for angel or VC investment is a very large amount of work that almost forces you to put the development of your business on the side. Although this is completely doable for later stage startups where the business is up and running and may have employees who can help. Early stage startups should definitely receive more help to be able to focus on building a great business with happy customers rather than spend the majority of their time looking for investment.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Learning everything from scratch about building an app was a real challenge as I had absolutely no knowledge in tech before. But juggling with my freelance work and managing my own company is definitely my biggest daily challenge.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
I would say start with what is available. Think about smart solutions that you can build directly to test your market. If you do not have the required skills, team up and don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you really believe in your ideas, you should be able to make people believe in them too.
Second advice would be to take time to test everything you do along the way. It seems quite obvious but once your product/service is launched it is really easy to forget about what your audience really wants. Don’t forget to meet your customers in real life if possible, to send out surveys, and to always put your product in many different hands in order to constantly improve.
What is your proudest achievement to date as a company?
To have been able to create a strong community of creators who believe in the same values is an incredible achievement. It has been a long journey, but every up and down has been really worth it. Every time I hear about a new ‘SSSHAKE collaboration’ between members of our community or receive positive feedback from freelancers we have been working with, it makes me so happy and reminds me why we are doing it.
Valentine del Giudice is the founder of SSSHAKE.