Steve Thompson's Story
I was interviewed as a Zapnito advisor recently - here are my responses...
Please tell us a little bit about yourself
My background is in financial research and portfolio management, specifically Continental European equities. I spent ten years with SLC Asset Management ultimately as Head of European equities. I decided to leave ‘the City’ behind and challenge myself in a more physically demanding career. I went into property renovation and building services with my father, a qualified electrician, for the next decade. I then started a family and became a stay-at-home Dad, until Zapnito came calling.
How did you end up becoming a Zapnito advisor?
I met Charles at antenatal classes and we became friends. Through this I was aware of the idea and concept of what ultimately became Zapnito and was actually with Charles and our families at London Zoo when Nature signed! After a chat one Friday evening about what to do with myself after my son started nursery, Charles suggested joining the team to help with the accounts and admin work (as well as any DIY), which quickly became a minimum of 3 days a week. I've subsequently taken part in the fundraising process both as an Angel investor and Advisor. Over the next 6-12 months I am looking to increase my role helping to identify business development opportunities.
Why is Zapnito necessary and important today?
Trusted expert knowledge is a crucial element underpinning the exchange and dissemination of ideas. This is under threat from noisy Social Media and 'Fake News' and our Knowledge Network platform is helping lead the fight back. Our current customers are predominantly Publishers but this concept is easily applicable to many other sectors and situations. Zapnito is perfectly positioned to help these businesses flourish.
How do you see Zapnito’s business developing in the next 5 years?
So far we have focused on traditional publishers in the STM area. Looking forward we will broaden our customer base into different industries, helping them to boost the collaboration between and impact of their experts. We are also working on further automating our systems to deliver our products more efficiently to new customers.
What in your opinion/experience is the single-most important skill in running a successful start-up?
Flexibility. You must be able to adapt and to lend support and skills wherever needed. Being available to help others with their work is vital to any successful start-up.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt in your career to date?
From my property development days, I’d say pay for quality/experience. It really works out better in the long-run to go for this over ‘cheap and quick’. At Zapnito we have always invested in skilled people and although this hasn't always worked out in certain individual cases, it is a strategy that overall has helped grow a proper business, that is now ready to scale, in a relatively short period of time.
And what is your main career goal for the next 5 years?
To help Zapnito fulfil its potential as a business.......and in the short term to personally develop a lead that becomes a customer.
If you could advocate one company to the world (aside from Zapnito & your own), what would it be and why?
Lego - they encourage creativity and imagination, provide therapeutic play and are great fun for everyone.
Everyone has a brilliant app idea. What’s yours?
A Statistics Verification app. In public discourse, particularly politics, no one seems to accept the fundamental numbers underpinning the debate and spend more time arguing about the veracity of the numbers than they do looking for a solution to society's problems.
If you had £1 billion and had to invest it in only one of the following three, which would it be and why? 1. Virtual Reality 2. Artificial Intelligence 3. Renewable Energy
Renewable energy - I think climate change is the most likely cause of a catastrophic event on our planet. We need renewable energy to help protect its stability and sustainability.
And that’s me and my background. Please do contact me if you would like to learn more about Zapnito or even to get in touch about my work.