nanovertHuw Evans is the Co-Founder and CEO of nanovert. Nanovert is an easy to use platform providing tools for businesses to boost the value of promotions with authentic exposure from local nano-influencers. The concept is simple: brands offer promotions (discounts or freebies) to nanovert users who in return post Instagram stories providing effective and authentic exposure to the relevant brand. Nanovert is an early-stage, pre-seed venture but has already attracted over 1500 users and numerous paying brand partners with almost no spending.

What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
As a student, I worked alongside my studies as a Social Media Manager at Beautiful Destinations. It was this exposure to the power of social media and influencers that sparked an idea that this power could be utilised on an even greater scale by allowing all social media users to harness the power of influence they held. In turn, this would also allow businesses to harness that same power at a fraction of the cost of using conventional social media influencers whilst also getting more authentic, locally targeted, and more engaged with social media advertising. Loads of businesses offer discounts anyway, why not use the same/similar discounts to encourage customers to provide authentic exposure on their Instagram story?

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is putting new and innovative ideas into action.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
I believed in the idea from the start. Key milestones in cementing that belief were, firstly, the attraction of approximately 200 users with zero advertising spend and without a brand partnership even confirmed. Secondly, receiving payment from a business for the first time rather than offering our service free of charge confirmed that what we were offering was viable and attractive for businesses.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Motivation – no one is going to do anything for you!
Belief – you’ve got to believe that what you’re doing is capable of succeeding.
Leadership – you’ve got to bring a team together, communicate well, and motivate others.

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
Seeing ideas come to fruition.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
At the moment – Marcus Rashford. He’s using his public platform to fight for justice well-outside of his day-job and has been unrelenting in his pursuit of what is right.

If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
I’d love to discuss his life and how it’s driven him to fight for the cause. I’d love to discuss how more sports people/celebrities could be encouraged to stand up for issues of social justice.

What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
Running the overwhelmingly successful nanovert Virtual Freshers’ Fair in October 2020.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
There have been times when I haven’t capitalised on momentum or communicated clearly enough with my team. It’s a learning process – I’m still very new to it all.

How have you funded your ideas?
No funding! Everything we’ve done has been with practically no cost. Any minor costs (subscriptions etc.) incurred have been self-funded but these are now far outweighed by the revenue we’ve brought in.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
Oxford is a tight network and put to use correctly can help a brand like nanovert expand rapidly. Lots of support available and peers with a wide-range of skill sets in the university community keen to get involved with entrepreneurship also helps. Being a student, the only bad thing is having a degree to juggle alongside nanovert!

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
Firstly, I’d tell them to look for people within their own network who have the skills they might need. Then I’d point them towards the Oxford Foundry.

Any last words of advice?
You’ll never know until you try. Don’t sit on an idea.

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