On 28th April 2015, Bloomberg’s Carolyne Hyde invited Eyetease Founder and CEO, Richard Corbett, and Head of Google Campus, Sarah Drinkwater, to their studios in London to discuss recently released figures on the UK economy and the “stellar growth” of the UK tech sector.
During the interview, Corbett gave a whistlestop tour of the growth of Eyetease – “born out of necessity” during the worst recession in over 100 years and now enjoying significant growth with the supply of its two disruptive technologies to UK and international markets.
Corbett went on to talk about the fallacy of British entrepreneurs who afford a disproportionate level of attention to fund raising. Instead, he encouraged entrepreneurs to focus on fundamental business activities: (1) getting the product right, and (2) the Business Model, so that they “know where the money’s coming from!” Corbett admits that too many entrepreneurs believe fund raising is the initial default position of startups, and this may be a result of entrepreneurs compensating for the lack of a solid Business Model. Corbett also mentions that with the British economy now doing so well, the lack of austerity may result in fewer people starting businesses. Which leads us to the big question: are the conditions right for startups to continue innovating, coming up with new ideas and disrupting the system, without the challenging conditions which cultivated the first generation of startups in the first place?
Corbett mentions the need to continue to drive connections between larger companies and startups in order to accelerate the rate of innovation, and increase the success rate of new product launches. Corbett asserts that larger organisations must recognize that “growth comes from innovation and new ideas, and that comes from startups” – so it is crucial to nurture tech collaboration within the UK ecosystem! Corbett speaks from his own experience working with US tech giant (Verifone) to launch the iTaxitop in the UK. He praises the US on their culture and appetite to try new things and collaborate with “relatively unproven entities.” He believes the UK should take notice of the US approach to growth and innovation – although admits that UK companies first need to challenge the current culture and ways of working to foster growth through innovation.
Drinkwater is confident that the UK economy is experiencing growth due to the expansion of startups. She believes that the UK now has the support needed for any entrepreneur to flourish, and that startups would be wise to start a business here. Drinkwater is confident that the first generation of startups, like Eyetease, have proven that they directly benefit the economy with their creative and innovative mindset.