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Name: Owen Williams
Company: Invent Me

Tell us what your business does…
Invent Me is a collaborative invention platform that takes the ideas of everyday people to market using the power of crowd sourcing.14322435_1071234299663944_2656300401752248639_nWhere did the idea for your business come from?
You can call us dreamers, or even super product nerds if you’d like. The fact is, we believe that by collaborating with talented individuals, funding bodies and other companies, we can make sure that best, most exceptional products will be developed without unnecessary barriers getting in the way.

We’ve managed to do this while also ensuring that these products have an even better chance of succeeding. We don’t just have a passion for superb inventions and original ideas. We’re also driven by our enthusiasm for harnessing the power of the crowd so that everyone can contribute to the products they believe in.

With a dedicated community behind us that pitches in time, specialist skills, and resources, we have the ability to create innovations that really have an impact.

What were you doing before starting up?
Myself and Ollie were running a product and graphic design consultancy. The idea for Invent Me actually developed after frustrations we found with the traditional product development process. Having run a small product design consultancy for couple of years, we noticed that people would repeatedly come to us with great product ideas, but often had no budget or time to fulfill their product’s full potential.

Our agency could only do so much to help them materialize their ideas on limited budgets, before having to turn them away.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Hell yeah! But not for the profit margins. We’re in it for journey and the freedom of being self-employed. We want to shape the way the UK portrays ‘invention’ and creating a company to deliver that message just made sense.

How did you raise funding and what challenges have you overcome?
A combination of savings, borrowing and income from the agency. We’ve managed to self-fund the platform up until now, but we’re now seeking funding from various angles. We’ve recently paid off all of our initial legal fees, which was a huge milestone for us.

What was your first big breakthrough?
Receiving over 20+ invention submissions two weeks after launch, signing up over 30 community members and adding two full time members to the team.

Why should you check out the Leeds Startup Weekend?
Having a team of like-minded individuals by your side when you’re starting up is invaluable. These sort of events attract top talent in tech. Who knows, you might even meet your co-founder! Also, the Leeds tech community is genuinely unrivaled.

If you had one piece of advice?
Life is like a theme park, no-one really cares about how much money you make, as long as you fill it with colorful rides.

Helena Habdija