Each week, we'll be hosting an interview with one of Launch22's many brilliant and inspiring members. We'll be asking them about their business, their ideas and their philosophies with a focus on the theme of entrepreneurship. Without further ado...allow me to introduce Sammy Pahal, the managing director of the UK PropTech Association!
Hi Sammy, so what's the deal with UK PropTech Association?
The UK PropTech Association is a trade association that supports property technology companies and promotes engagement between technology companies, property companies and their potential clients.
We do this through producing market insight reports and articles and organizing of events throughout the year granting our members the opportunity to network with each other, build relationships and gain insight into the latest happenings in the industry. We also seek to open opportunities abroad, last year we attended conferences most recently in New York, the South of France and Paris.
Furthermore, we represent our members in larger initiatives such as influencing government policy and legislation.
Currently, we have 56 members and counting!
Tell us a bit about your background?
I joined UKPA last year in July as the head of memberships and my role gradually developed. Previously I had been working at Ordnance Survey, a government-owned digital mapping agency for Great Britain for five years in various roles.
Corporate to startup....that's quite a shift, what made you want to make the transition?
I was introduced to the Chairman of UKPA, it was a good point in my career and I was ready for a new challenge.
It's been a learning curve, to go from working in a team of fifteen people to effectively working on my own which comes with a lot of pressure. Within Launch22 people have been very supportive, many are in similar positions so it's possible to lean on them for support.
It's completely changed my approach, I've had to be a lot more proactive and think a lot more about developing our organizational structure whereas before it was something I would just ask about.
What excites you the most about running a startup?
Having the freedom to come up with a new idea, being able to implement and see how it works. Whereas In a large company, you would have to go through various approval boards and other processes before you could test anything.
Learning various different things from sales to marketing, to tech aspects. Finding out the different online tools and software you can use to grow your business.
It's helped me to develop and grow in confidence especially when it comes to going with my gut feeling because you've got no choice really, you have to just go with what you think.
What are the most challenging aspects of working in a startup?
The number one challenge is learning to do more with less, not being able to do all of the activities that I would like that would add value to our members to grow the business as we have to rely on organic growth. It becomes a chicken and egg scenario where we have to grow our membership in order to add more value to our members.
What advice would you offer someone who was in a similar situation as you and someone thinking about starting their own business?
For those in the corporate position, there's really nothing to lose plus the corporate experience can be beneficial. If your passionate about an idea and you've got the right sort of support from the people around you that will improve your prospects.
Be creative and don't be afraid to lean on others for support where possible. Some of our members have been very forthcoming in offering their spaces for events so try to leverage these relationships.
Build partnerships, try to find companies that have common objectives where you can add mutual value to each other.
......And lastly, how has working at Launch22 helped you?
The people are amazing, they're really friendly, it's a supportive environment. Working in a startup can be lonely and there is a lot of responsibility on your shoulders so being able to bounce ideas off other people whether they be members, mentors and staff.
Also the opportunity to influence decisions, feedback is usually well received and goes into the plan to improve the space which is great to see.
Are you a startup interested in working in a social hub with supportive individuals? Then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in and say hi!!!