Alumni interview: Matthew Dunne founder of Local Vets.Sep 08, 2016
As part of a series of interviews with our alumni, we spoke to Matthew Dunne, founder of Local Vets, a network of independently owned veterinary practices, about his crowdfunding journey.
When did you realise you wanted to start a business?
When I realised that I wanted to try something other than being a solicitor. I spent a lot of time advising successful businesses and thought that I had what it takes to give it a go myself. It’s not an easy decision to step away from a steady career into the uncertainty of a start-up business, but it’s been an exciting rollercoaster ride so far.
Now you’ve successfully funded, what’s the money going on?
We have ambitious plans to expand our network of independently owned vets practices across the South West and nationally. To support that we are currently engaged in a wholesale rebrand and overhaul of the products and services we provide to both vets and pets owners. Once we have everything looking and feeling right, we will implement a structured sales and marketing campaign targeting vets practices, and the investment will help us put that together. We’re also redeveloping our website and content management system to enable us to scale more quickly and effectively. Even though on the face of it we are not a technology business, the services we provide are underpinned by online technology and it’s important we get that right before we seek to grow the business. Finally, the funding will enable us to launch our pet insurance product to the market and in doing so boost our profile significantly
In a nutshell, what was it that made you decide to get help with your raise, and why ISQ?
Crowdfunding sounds simple, but it’s anything but. Without the advice of Kirsty and the ISQ team, we wouldn’t have known how to approach the business of crowdfunding. Raising investment of any kind is a complex and time-consuming process, but when you’re crowdfunding it’s also a very public one. If you get it right then you’ll be introduced to a whole host of new contacts and supporters for your business. If you get it wrong, it will be there for the whole world to see. The ISQ programme introduced us to the formula for crowdfunding success and the team behind were there to help us at every step of our campaign. We knew that by working with ISQ we would set ourselves up with the best chance of successfully funding, and we were right!
If there’s one piece of advice you could give to people looking to Crowdfund their business what would it be?
You mustn’t underestimate how important it is to get your own network on board with investing in your campaign. If you can’t write down the names and contact details of 100 people who might be interested in your funding pitch, you’ll probably struggle to get your campaign off the ground. It doesn’t matter that they won’t all invest in your business, and it doesn’t matter that some will only invest a tenner, but what does matter is that you bring your own crowd along with you to build early momentum for your campaign.
Thank you so much, Matthew, we will be following your progress every step of the way.