With Scotland fast becoming a center of excellence for entrepreneurship, it can be difficult for a start up focused event to stand out from the many taking place daily throughout the Country. Yet, I felt genuinely excited to be attending my first Startup Grind event on behalf of ESS last week. Everything about this event series, from its branding to the use of the word ‘grind’ in its name suggests a barebones, no holds barred approach to preparing entrepreneurs for the road ahead – with the passion, gusto and enthusiasm so reflective of Scotland’s vibrant startup community.
This month’s guest speaker was Mostafa Afgani, CTO and Co-Founder of PureLifi, who expertly occupied the hot seat as our host, Lisa Thomson, guided him though a brilliant question and answer session. What really struck me about Mostafa’s talk was its honest and unscripted nature – just an intimate and authentic interview detailing the bumps in the road to success and how to overcome them.
The key things that took from Mostafa’s talk was his movement from academia to the commercial business world – taking cutting-edge technology developed within a university laboratory and transforming it into a consumer product. The product that PureLifi have developed allows the transfer of data across light as opposed to “traditional Wifi”. This offers huge benefits such as improved security and the ability to have a high-speed connection in places otherwise impossible (one example of this would be underwater in a submarine!).
Mostafa was also on hand to provide some help and advice to budding entrepreneurs:
- Fear: Don’t be afraid to take the plunge, what you get from the experience is incomparable
- Team: Pick the right people and build a great team, it’s not all about the CV. You don’t know everything so bring on people that know more that you. Measure new recruits against the culture in the team
- Failure: Don’t be afraid of failure, any start-up company will have to go through multiple iterations before you get it to where you want it to be.
By encouraging Mostafa to talk about those bumps in the road, Startup Grind created a true sense of community and reflected an unwavering commitment to educating entrepreneurs about the challenges they will face on their journey and the ways they can be overcome.