Standing out in the social networking world, which remains dominated by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is no easy task, which is why Anthony Rose (pictured left) and Ernesto Schmitt, founders of 6Tribes, have taken a different approach to their social networking app.
Founded in November 2014, the 6Tribes team developed and tested the concept of a social network based around the idea of being linked to tribes of people who share the same interests rather than being linked by location, education or social circles.
Four months of development later and 6Tribes was ready to launch. Now based out of offices in Borough, London, the startup sports a team of 12, comprised of hand-picked data scientists, user interface designers and software developers.
We put Rose, who was responsible for heading up the development of the BBC's iPlayer in 2007, under our startup spotlight to find out more about 6Tribes.
Tell us more about 6Tribes?
6Tribes is an app that's a new take on social networking based on the concept of tribes. It helps you find your tribe and connects you with the people who love what you love.
Whatever you're into, you'll be part of a community that absolutely gets you. Post what you like, share what you want and content that you love.
Unlike existing social networks, 6Tribes connects people based on their interests rather than who they went to school with. 6Tribes provides users with a new way of meeting people, discovering great content and belonging to a group.
The 6 in 6Tribes comes from the idea of six degrees of separation, and how the concept of tribes changes that by connecting you directly with others who share your interest. And it gives us many fun concepts and messages to develop further, like "three's a crowd, six is a tribe".
Tell us how you got 6Tribes off the ground?
The usual combination of luck, serendipity, timing and hard work.
What technology do you use?
Like most startups we use Amazon Web Services; everything is cloud hosted. We code in Scala and Python, plus Swift for our native iPhone app. So your developer readers should know that we're hiring.
Are you based in an incubator or startup centre?
Incubators are good for teams of up to four to six people, after that you really need your own dedicated space. We're delighted to have really nice offices in the Metal Box Factory complex in Borough, London.
What level of funding have you received so far?
6Tribes is funded by seed investment.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
From experience, I'd say any startup faces three challenges: getting its product position right, attracting funding and building the right team.
We were fortunate to get our funding arranged quickly and to build a great team. Which left the biggest challenge: coming up with something exciting, innovative, useful and unique. I hope we've done that.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business to date?
Building a wonderful team and a new world of connecting people which we believe in.
What does your company do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
We have a team lunch or dinner, or head to the pub. Right now as we near launch, we could definitely do with a few more of those.
What did you do before starting up 6Tribes?
Prior to 6Tribes, my colleague Ernesto Schmitt and I co-founded Beamly, the social TV app. Before Beamly, I headed up BBC iPlayer.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
The joy of a dot-com startup is that you can do absolutely anything. No committee meetings, no stakeholders to ask permission, no endless middle management people to get sign-off from.
But in a world where anything is possible, it requires tremendous discipline to define a goal and stay focused on that goal.
Plus, unlike in a large company where you can always call on someone to help with a problem, in a small startup trying to do something new, there is no one to call, no helpline to give you an answer. You have to figure it out yourself. And for many that's a scary thought.
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which company would it be?
Every company, product space and era is different, you can't point to a company, say "let's do that" and expect to have the same outcome.
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
I believe having everyone in the same office is key to a creative, collaborative and efficient way of developing new concepts and software applications.
Smart or casual?
Casual and generally black.
Coffee shop of choice?
Flat White in Soho.
Beverage of choice?
I don't drink much, so I couldn't really recommend any bars.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
As this isn't our first startup we were able to skip the getting-started challenges that first-time founders encounter, and we were able to go straight from idea to a founded team in our own office space. But for any first-time entrepreneur, incubators are invaluable.
Can the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
The tax breaks available to entrepreneurs and investors funding tech startups have been invaluable in turning London into a truly international tech hub in the last 10 years.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from cleaner-seeking iOS and Android app Hassle.com and background checking service Onfido, to gaming social platform gamesGRABR and e-location tech firm Locpin.
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