We did an interview with Jonathan Simkin, CEO and founder of Swyft. Swyft is a real-time transit app that helps people find the best means of transport, helping you save time and energy. Jonny started his first startup at the age of 22 and he hasn't looked back.
In this interview he talks about creating a startup and using goals based communication model.
He also has a message to millennials: „don't start a company to make money.“
- What is the main thing you need to create a successful startup?
I believe that every successful business starts by solving a problem. Many companies focus too much on HOW to market their product, HOW to hire new employees, etc. In my opinion, creating a successful company starts with the WHY. Successful startups understand WHY they do what they do. They understand who their customer is and the problems that customer faces. Then, only once they understand WHY, do they move forward with the HOW.
- What are your suggestions to millennial entrepreneurs?
Don’t start a company to make money. I’ve heard so many fellow founders talk about how much money they’ll make, when they sell the company they've started. This is all wrong. You should start a company because you want to solve a meaningful problem. If you’re not passionate about a meaningful problem, don’t start a company.
- How do you set up an internal communication system for a modern business?
Communicating with your colleagues is critical to a successful business. I’ve seen bad communication destroy startups from within. I think the tools you use are less important than what you communicate.
I prefer to communicate via goals – we create weekly goals/tasks and then try to hit those goals by the end of the week.
- When you started SwoopThat, did you have any problems due to your age? Is it harder to start a business when you're young and have to prove yourself?
Absolutely. I started SwoopThat when I was 22 with no track record. No one wanted to bet on me. However, with the support of great co-founders, family, and friends, we were able to create a successful business.
There are many times in life when people won’t see your vision or won’t bet on you. Part of what makes someone an entrepreneur is the ability to look past hard times and make sh*t happen.
- Mobile apps have already evolve a lot with a few years. Where do you think Swyft, and the entire industry, are heading?
This is a pretty open ended question. The average American already spends ~3 hours a day on mobile devices. That’s more than any other device category (desktop, laptop, wearable, etc).
It’s an intimate experience that is contextual to the user, based on their location, social graph, etc. However, if you look at advertising channels (print, radio, TV, internet, mobile), the amount of money advertisers spend on mobile is a fraction of what they spend on other mediums, even when normalized for consumer time spent on that medium.
I think ad spend will shift to mobile. At Swyft, we're looking at alternative revenue models because we don't want to diminish our experience with ads, but this is our prediction for the mobile industry.
- What do you think the main challenges will be for running a company in 2020?
I hope I’m wrong, but capital. The market is pretty loose right now and companies are able to raise capital fairly easily. In 5 years, we may not be so lucky.