Being a start-up founder can be a lonely and isolating experience. Luckily, our featured customer helps avoid this, by running a three month intensive Australian startup program, which along with the education, gives founders a chance to meet one another and forge long term bonds.
We spoke with the talented Sam Mead, program head at Fusion Founders, which is a start-up studio based in Perth, Western Australia. Sam walks us through what a start-up studio is, and how they use 6Q to measure the success and happiness of their founder cohort.
Thank you Sam for chatting with us today. Let’s start by asking you, what is the Fusion Founders program all about?
Fusion is all about helping improve the success rate of startups in Perth. We’re all about customer validation, market validation, and building products that create real world value.
Too many people start companies with an idea for an app and a ‘build it and they will come’ attitude, which 99% of the time results in a huge amount of time and money spent, and no customers to show for it!
Sounds fantastic. What sort of start-up founders are involved, and what are they learning about?
Our founders have a huge cross section of knowledge and experience. In fact the only thing they have in common is that they’re all working scalable, web based products.
We’ve got founders working on their first startup, founders working on their fifth Australian startup, and everything in between! We’ve got founders who are extremely experienced in their industries, and founders who are looking to disrupt industries from the outside. We’ve got founders who are building their own products, and founders who have difficulty sending emails. Just goes to show that all you really need to start a company is passion, and the willingness to evaluate your market opportunity in the right way!
They’re learning how to talk to their target audience, so that they can be sure that the products they’re creating are going to create value for their customers. We’re also working on market validation, content marketing, branding, pitching, and overall creating companies that are investment ready.
This is all part of the Atomic Sky group, right? What is Atomic Sky in a nutshell?
Right. Atomic Sky is a Startup Studio. What that means is we provide the services and advice that startup founders need to fill the skills gaps that they have in their company. Sometimes we help technical founders commercialise their products, sometimes we build apps and websites for founders who aren’t technical themselves, and sometimes we invest in startups that need a little bit of help to get to their next milestone.
We also have a coworking space that gives startups a place to work on their companies where they are surrounded by like-minded people. Collaboration is hugely important in startups – and rubbing shoulders every day with people may have recently solved a problem that you’re up against is invaluable.
Collaboration is hugely important in startups – and rubbing shoulders every day with people may have recently solved a problem that you’re up against is invaluable.
If you could only give one tip, based on your experience, what’s the best way to engage with your employees?
Well, I think the key thing is that whatever the method you use to engage with employees, you do it regularly and consistently. That’s one of the main reasons I like using 6Q — it allows you to be super consistent.
Of course it’s still important to engage face to face, but using 6Q allows you to achieve that consistency even when you or your employees end up swamped with work.
— Studio Orange (@StudioOrangeAU) June 4, 2015
You’ve been a customer of ours for a while (a big thank you!); what’s your favourite feature of 6Q?
I’m going to cheat here because I actually have three. The first is that all the feedback you receive is quantitative. That means it’s straight forward to see trends over time, which is important for monitoring the effectiveness of any initiatives you have on the go.
Secondly, as I mentioned above, because it’s automatically sent out to your employees, you always gather information on engagement even if you end up snowed under with work unexpectedly.
And third, I like how simple the product is. It’s not bloated with confusing features. It’s just a pure, easy way measure of your employees’ engagement.
I like how simple the product is. It’s not bloated with confusing features. It’s just a pure, easy way measure of your employees’ engagement.
Have you noticed anything interesting with the 6Q responses from these founders? How has 6Q helped you from a teachers and students scenario?
Well, every week I ask a question that relates to the founders’ confidence levels. It’s interesting to see how the topics we’re covering affect their confidence — I’ve noticed that when we cover topics that are particularly challenging there’s usually a corresponding dip in confidence.
That’s extremely useful to know, because we can revisit those topics and make sure everyone’s comfortable with what’s going on.
I’m also measuring happiness, which to me is the most important metric. Happy founders are productive, effective, innovative founders!
What are your plans in the near future for Fusion Founders? When do you expect the next intake to be?
Good question! We’re actually planning a Fusion roadshow over spring and summer, so you might see the Atomic Sky team cropping up in some exotic locations in the not too distant future. The idea is that we get out of the city to help boost the startup scene in some regional areas.
But of course Northbridge is home so we won’t be away too long! We’ll have more details of the next full program soon over on the Atomic Sky website.
Thank you for your time, Sam, we appreciate it.
Customer success stories such as this one, iterates to us how we’re on the right path. We are so pleased to hear from passionate customers such as Sam, and deeply value what they are doing for the Perth startup ecosystem.
Sam’s favorite features of 6Q are;
Thank you again, Sam, for your time, and we look forward to hearing further success stories as Fusion Founders grows!