I’m sure you guys can still remember the first time you heard about Kilian Palop and Glenn Buchan on YHP, the two university students who created a company called Adspad, A creative way to advertise to students by using A3 paper placemats in university.
I decided to have a chat with them, you could call it a quick trip down memory lane on how Adspad was born and what direction they are looking to take the business.
Hope you enjoy the interview!
Hello Guys, How are you doing today?
Hello Joseph! We are both doing very well today. The sun is shining and we think summer has finally reached Scotland!
Can you kindly give us some brief details about your background?
We are Kilian Palop and Glenn Buchan. We founded a marketing company in 2009 called Adspad Limited. Adspad enables businesses to gain exposure in front of the student population and it does this by producing A3 paper placemats which appear on trays in university trays in both Aberdeen University and the Robert Gordon University in Aberden.
Tell us the story on how the company was born?
The idea was born around 2 years ago when we were sitting having lunch in university. Whilst eating our lunch we noticed the tray was quite dirty and it was really boring to eat from. We saw an opportunity to do something amazing with this space and on that day Adspad was born!
How is it been going so far?
We have both been really pleased with everything up to now! Since starting the business in 2009 we have won many awards and we have several nationally recognised clients such as Cineworld Cinemas, Scottish Opera, Aberdeen Performing Arts and Union Square. Hopefully if we continue our hard work then it will continue to pay off going forward.
How do you manage your time between studies and starting up a business?
Both of us are full time students at university. Kilian is studying towards a PHD in Engineering and Glenn is currently in his final year of an undergraduate Management degree. This obviously takes up a fair amount of our time but at the same time we have been able to manage this challenge effectively. We both have different university commitments at different times of the year and if one of us is very busy then the other doesn’t mind taking over.
How have you been marketing your product? What has proved to be the best marketing strategy so far?
As our main service is a marketing tool, we market ourselves through the placemats! We feel this our best way of marketing as we are directly in front of over 30,000 people a month for about 30 minutes at a time. We have gained a lot of business from potential clients witnessing Adspad in action and being impressed. We have also gained a lot of our business through networking and just generally speaking to people about our company!
Winning the shell livewire award, how did that help your business?
We were delighted to win the Shell LiveWire grand idea award and we were able to put the £1000 prize money to good use and quickly we were able to use the money to grow the business which doubled our turnover in a few months. The award not only helped us financially but gave us a lot of credibility and exposure around Scotland. The whole process was a lot of fun and worthwhile and we got a lot out of it.
Apart from the shell live award, how else do you finance your business?
Fortunately for us we didn’t require a lot of capital to get the company off the ground, but the £1000 we received from Shell LiveWire was very helpful. We also were able to gain several other grants from organisations such as the Scottish Institute for Enterprise.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most and why?
Even before we started the business we were always inspired by other young entrepreneurs. One of these was Fraser Doherty and his company ‘SuperJam’. Fraser started SuperJam at such a young age and now the company supplies some of the biggest supermarkets in the UK and SuperJam is an iconic Scottish food brand. We love the product and Fraser’s story is so inspirational.
What qualities have you developed as a result of running your business?
I think we have both built up a large variety of transferrable skills since starting the business and this has will form a key part of our professional development for the future. Invaluable skills such as negotiating, marketing, communication, self belief, risk taking and public speaking are so crucial in a business environment and we will defiantly take these with us going forward.
In your opinion, what is the most important an entrepreneur should possess?
Self belief is such an important skill to have as an entrepreneur. Not everyone will be as enthusiastic about your ideas as you but you have to believe in your business and yourself. This will not only keep you motivated but will help you to drive your product or service forward even in the most difficult situations.
What book has inspired you the most?
Glenn – What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School (Mark McCormack). This book will tell you everything you don’t learn sitting in university. An essential bible for anyone who wants to know about business in real life.
Kilian - One of the books that have inspired me the most in this entrepreneurial world is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book highlights the real life of two families towards money, which in turn will influence their future life. A really inspirational and motivational book that makes you realise that entrepreneurship is part of our daily life. You only need to open your eyes to see it!
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Glenn- I enjoy web development, photography, playing the guitar and keeping fit. All of these keep me busy in my spare time.
Kilian - I would say thinking about business is part of my non-work time; I don’t feel I am working as I am doing what I enjoy doing it! I am also passionate about sports, as I have been practicing since I was a kid. Sharing time with my family and friends is always something that I am looking forward and if possible outdoors enjoying a lovely sunny day, the only problem that it rarely happen in Aberdeen!!
Do you have any plans in expanding your business soon? Can you give some insight what you are planning?
We are planning on growing our business to many other universities throughout Scotland and perhaps further afield. We have developed a successful business model in Aberdeen and we are looking forward to taking it around the world.
What are you currently working on?
We have just launched our final edition for 2009/2010 and we are now planning ahead for next year’s Adspad which will be launched in September 2010. We should have a lot of exciting news for you by then!
What is your advice to anyone starting their own business?
So many people we talk to have such brilliant ideas, however, they are always frightened to start their own business, or don’t realise their potential. Our success proves that even the simplest ideas can be successful.
Being an entrepreneur not only gives you financial rewards, but it is also a huge learning curve. We have learnt so many transferrable skills and met many important contacts since starting the Company. There’s a lot of support, advice and help to keep you right and you will be rewarded for having the initiative to take your idea to the next level.
Where do you see in yourself and your business in the next 5 years?
Adspad will be the complete marketing tool to promote businesses to students, advertising huge brands to the student population all around the United Kingdom. We will have also have developed other sides to our business to ensure success. Both Glenn Buchan and Dr Kilian Palop will have graduated from university with fantastic degrees and will be shaking up the UK marketing industry with their innovative ideas and concepts! Fingers crossed...
Thanks guys for your time, Will be expecting to hear from you soon.