Steffan is the co-founder of Droplet, which enables customers to pay merchants only using their phone.Tweet
Welcome to our very first interview feature with Steffan Aquarone from Droplet. He talks about the company, entrepreneurship, fun things about startups and finding the next load of "very smart people" to work for Droplet:
1. We love Droplet! Can you give us a quick run down of the company please?
Droplet is a mobile money app that lets you load cash onto your phone and send payments to anyone, for free.
For our merchants, Droplet makes taking secure, cashless payments fee-free. This saves small and large merchants thousands of po
unds a year and means they can pass on savings to customers who pay with Droplet as well as offer unique promotions and loyalty incentives.
Our users tell us they enjoy paying with their phones and that Droplet makes them feel part of a community. The latest version of Droplet offers advanced discovery so that users can find new merchants and browse special offers.
2. What’s next for Droplet?
Droplet was born in Birmingham in 2012 and since then over 120 merchants and 3,000 users have signed up in both Birmingham and London and Droplet is now expanding nationally.
From July the Droplet Tools platform will let merchants offer customised options within the Droplet payment experience to make things like buying with their phones, offers and loyalty easier and more convenient for their customers.
3. Tell us about your background, how have you ended up here?
Will's a technology entrepreneur but my background is in projects that involve collaboration between large groups of people with a common interest. In 2009 I produced a feature called Tortoise in Love that was made by (almost) the entire village of Kingston Bagpuise in Oxfordshire. The film premiered in London’s Leicester Square where the red carpet was flanked by tractors and watched live by 5 million people and was then released around the world.
Will and I have worked together before but we started Droplet because we believe the world of banking and finance is ripe for disruption and that we can apply the power and freedom of the web to make money work in a more equitable way.
In the same way that Skype and VOIP made it harder for telecoms companies to price international calls at a premium, by routing transactions over the web (encrypted of course), we expose a truth that the payment industry doesn't want to face up to: that moving money is free.
4. What advice would you give students looking for jobs in startups like Droplet?
Go out and meet people. The tech industry is very sociable and there are lots of events you don't need an invite to come along to. But you will have to do your research - unsolicited CVs rarely get opened.
5. What do you look for in a potential employee?
Capability, intelligence (of which there are lots of different kinds) and aptitude. It's much easier to train people in skills (that often change anyway) than any of these fundamental things.
6. What’s fun about working in startup world?
Most start ups are trying things out which means you get a lot more opportunity to experiment and fail in a supported way, as well as succeed. Often things like job descriptions and processes are much less formal than in more established businesses so you could get lots of opportunities to try different things within the business too.
7. Anything else you’d like to add?
Droplet's vision is to change the way the world uses money. To achieve this we're going to have to hire some very smart people and our aim is to increase the average intelligence of the team each time we hire. This was easy at first but getting more difficult!
Find Steff on Twitter here.