Nifty Drives found its success through Kickstarter and hasn’t looked back since. I invited the CEO of the company, Piers Ridyard as he shares the story of its success.
Hi Piers, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Very good thanks! How about you?
I'm fine thanks, glad to be having this interview with you.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I am 27 years old, naturally ginger, Cornish man living in Manchester. Very mixed discipline background covering everything from aerospace engineering to law.
How did the idea for Nifty Drives come about?
I got a 128GB MacBook Air and filled it up within about 2 months. None of the existing solutions allowed me to add the storage I wanted without being a pain to lug around or voiding the warranty.
What is Nifty Drives? And what are you trying to solve with it?
It's basically a very simple little adapter that allows you to use a microSD card to expand how much storage your computer has while sitting flush with your SD card slot.
This allows you to add plug and play storage to your MacBook, but takes up none of the USB slots and does not interrupt the computers lines. It is designed to be plug-and-forget storage that blends into the MacBook.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
Getting the back end processes right so that scaling is possible. It is amazing both how little and how much a small team is able to achieve, depending on how well implemented your systems are. If you start out planning for scale, even if you don't buy the systems while you are small, you will be in a much better position to profit from a wave of interest.
How did you initially get traction?
Initially we got only a small amount of traction. We ran a failed Indiegogo campaign where we only got about 60 backers, but it gave us enough finance and encouragement to make the first proper version of the MiniDrive and take that to Kickstarter.
It was as much down to the efforts of those first 60 backers from Indiegogo as from ourselves that the Kickstarter campaign was such a success from the very start.
Tell me about the Kickstarter experience, what made you put it on there, were you surprised with the backing and demand?
We put it up there as we did not have the funds to pay for the tooling for a true production run. In the event we were quite literally overwhelmed by the response.
Would you say that was a turning point in the growth of the business?
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
Grow our team and use the powerful existing tools out there to create a logistics and customer service system that can deal with a decent volume of people on a daily basis.
They are so many challenges that entrepreneurs go through trying to build a company or making it successful, can you share a challenge you faced and how you overcame it?
Keep trucking. It's never over until you think it is. Keep positive, and take a moment to think about how to deal with challenges that come up rather than jumping in immediately. If you can, run your ideas past someone you trust, but ultimately the decision is yours to make, and you must make a decision. The worst thing you can do is to not make any decision and just let the problem fester. Leaving something as it is can be the correct decision, as long as it WAS the decision, rather than burying your head in the sand or ignoring it and hoping it goes away.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
The team. We have an awesome time working together - the work is long and hard, so the people you choose to work with have to be people you love spending time with.
How do you define success?
Seeing someone I don't know, and have no connection with, using something created by my company in a way that makes their life better.
What should we be expecting from yourself and the Nifty Drives team in the next coming months?
We have a few new products in the works - a little more ambitious than our last one, but not too much :-D
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Do your homework. It is tempting to believe you have come up with a super invention and think because you have never seen it, it doesn't exist. Verify that is true; it will only take a couple of Google searches.
2. How can you scale your business model? Make sure you also consider the increased time needed to be dedicated to customer support as you scale.
3. Try to avoid adding features. Focus in on the key USPs of the product or service and make sure you do those superbly.