Justin Lai (aged 26 and pictured far left) is the founder of Snip and Share, a Google chrome extension that makes sharing online content quick and easy. The start-up has recently been featured on product hunt and already has 327 upvotes. We interviewed Justin about his start-up.
Hi Justin, can you tell us a little about your background, education and your team?
I’m the co-founder of SnipandShare based in London and studied Management Science (Bsc) at Loughborough University
. After graduating university, I took a year out to learn mandarin in Shanghai and immersed myself in the culture. Being a British Born Chinese (BBC) I felt it was the right thing to get in touch with my roots. Inspired by my experience and the people I met, I returned to the UK with a passion to start something myself. I attended many start-up events and met a guy called Ripul, the founder of SnipandShare.
Before SnipandShare, Ripul studied Digital Electronics Engineering at Sheffield University
. After graduating he spent a couple years working at Citi Group as an investment banker before deciding to pursue his own path as an entrepreneur.
We have an extraordinarily global team for a startup we think. Although SnipandShare’s HQ is based in London we have team members based in Scotland, Russia and Macedonia.
Our core team is made of up myself (UK), Ripul (UK), Phil (UK), Graham (Scotland), Peter (UK), Marjan (Macedonia), Boris (Russia).
How does Snip and Share work?
Once you’ve downloaded the Chrome extension its as simple as our name says. Snip
any part of a web page (text, image, GIF, video) and instantly Share
it publicly on Twitter or privately via email, with other platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook coming soon. Most importantly you don’t leave the web page.
Where did the idea come from?
The origin of the idea came from actually creating another application where we finally decided that it was overly complicated and not quite the product we were looking to create. So we learned from our experience and essentially “pivoted”. SnipandShare was the result of re-thinking our concept.
We thought, sharing a screenshot to Twitter takes 13 steps. If you ask me, that’s way too much wasted time and quite a frustrating process. We can do the same thing in 3 steps
. Also, most of the time you only refer to a single part of the page, and we allow you to do just that.
What pushed you pursue your own ideas?
I think for me personally, I’ve always wanted to follow my own path. I have a suspicion that it has something to do with my parents owning a Chinese restaurant of their own. Watching them grow the business from nothing has and is the biggest inspiration
How are you funded?
We raised £150k SEIS through a consortium of Startup funding Club
and partners of Star Capital Partners
in 2014. And recently raised another £150k EIS through some established angels including CEO of Star Capital partners, Tony Mallin.
What major challenges have you had to overcome so far?
As I mentioned before, we are a super global team
. Working around the time differences has been an incredible challenge. Not everyone in the team is Full-Time which adds an additional layer of complexity to aligning timings for meetings and staying connected.
Luckily we live in an age where communication technology has really developed in our favour. We use Slack, Skype and of course SnipandShare to stay connected across borders.
Your site is currently in the beta testing phase. How long do you plan on staying in this phase? And when will Snip and Share be available on other browsers than Google Chrome?
Our decision to be in beta isn’t based on time – it’s based how users respond
. If users ask for a feature, we will build it!
There’s a lot to do on Chrome for now so we want to make sure we get it right on one platform first. But moving to other platforms is simple enough - again, we will have to listen to the user voice!
Your future plans for Snip and Share?
It’s hard to say, we had no intention of being posted to Product Hunt
, and that has given us lots of momentum to work with.
We are currently working on certain business models which can help us monetize the product
since we’ve had interest from certain business who have requested to work with us on tailoring the app to their needs. But it’s all still too early to tell how things might turn out and we’d rather not jinx ourselves.
And lastly, your best advice for young entrepreneurs?
The biggest learning for me is that being an entrepreneur isn’t something you do casually. It takes 100% of your focus and determination to succeed. It's about sticking with the bad times and riding along with the good times! Yes, there are good times too!
At the early stages of your start-up, I would highly recommend that you stay as open-minded as possible. Becoming too attached to certain parts of your idea can cause you to spiral down a dark hole. Get off your butt and talk to people on the streets about your idea. You’d be surprised how willing people are to bounce ideas around with you.
Finally, remember that Rome was not built in one day
. Take each goal and break it down into manageable tasks and you’ll find that nothing is really that hard in life if it’s broken down.
Thanks Justin! You can follow Snip and Share updates on their Twitter and Facebook pages.