Our tech start-up of the week is Startacus, an online platform for entrepreneurs. Based out of Derry, the new online venture just went live two weeks ago as a means of creating an online community for self-starters to connect and support each other as they grow their businesses.
Alastair Cameron is the brains behind Startacus. Having worked in the recruitment space in Derry for eight years it was last year that he was made redundant and he says he made the decision to go down the entrepreneurial route.
“I wanted to create something that would help other people in my position become self-employed and take that next step,” explains Cameron.
So what type of entrepreneurs is he hoping to reach? He says the site will be aimed at all types of self-starter in Ireland and the UK, both nascent and established entrepreneurs, and people who may have an idea for a new venture.
At the minute Startacus features what Cameron calls ‘magazine-style’ content for entrepreneurs, while there is also a community section whereby site users can converse in the members’ forum.
“We have plans over the next while to make the community area much more interactive. In the autumn, we will be launching the third part of the platform where members can add projects and ideas and create and connect with other members of the Startacus community.”
Despite having just launched two weeks ago, Cameron says that there has been positive feedback about the site.
“There has also been a good reaction about the sense of community that Startacus is trying to create around the whole subject of self-employment, which can be quite a lonely and difficult journey.”
As for funding, he says that he got some support from the Northern Ireland Arts Council, as part of its Creative Industries fund, to help get the venture up and running.
And the aim for the remainder of 2012? “First and foremost we want to build an active community of self-starters on Startacus, which for many community platforms, can be the hardest part. We also want to further develop the site and make sure that the platform best reflects the needs of the self-starters who join.”
He says that the main challenge during the start-up phase has been time-management.
“It’s very easy to get totally consumed and driven by creating something that it can take over every waking hour. It’s really important to have a balance so at times it has been tough always remembering that!
And Cameron’s advice for those who may be considering starting a new venture?
“If you have an idea for a business, take the time to plan, research and prepare. You might only get one chance to get it right so don’t rush something out too soon.”