From students to successful digital entrepreneurs - the story of Louis and Chitresh
Louis Schena & Chitresh Sharma graduated from The University of Strathclyde with Masters Degrees in International Marketing. They are now the Founders and CEO’s of Swipii, an innovative digital loyalty program that customers can use at multiple local businesses. They launched in May 2014 and are working on their business full time.
How Swipii got started
Louis and Chitresh came to Scotland to study at the University of Strathclyde. They met during their one year course and started to develop an idea together for a website and app that would help students who were new to a city, discover which nightclubs to go to. The idea changed as they spoke to people in the industry but they always wanted to support local businesses.
“We realised that this idea could actually work for any kind of business.”
What happened next
Louis and Chitresh secured investment from a local technology entrepreneur and began to develop a business plan with guidance from Business Gateway and Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network. They also set up their first office with help from Digital Enterprise Glasgow (DEG). In 2014, they won SIE’s New Ventures Competition and were awarded £10,000.
“Winning the SIE New Ventures competition was a big help, it gave us great exposure, valuable new contacts and of course helped our cash flow, all of which helped get us ready for our beta launch.”
Swipii officially launched late May 2014 and was successful from the start. Within the first few months, thousands of users signed up and 45 local merchants bought into the program.
“After a lot of delays in launching our product, we learned that the product does not have to be perfect. There are a million things which we wanted to include to make it ‘perfect’ but continued to delay us so we focused on the core features in order to actually get the product into customers’ hands.”
Louis and Chitresh allowed local business owners to compete against the national stores by giving them the right tools. They also hired their first employee to manage the marketing side of the business and allow them to concentrate on finishing the beta phase of Swipii.
Next steps for Swipii
Louis and Chitresh are continuing to expand Swipii. They already have 45 locations in Glasgow and plan to launch in 10 major cities within the UK. They also have future plans to expand internationally into Spain and Denmark initially.
“I really like the fact that you create your own working environment. We decide on what we want the office to be like, what we want our employees to be like. I really enjoy our waking up in the morning and knowing that I’m going to go and do something I like”.
Louis and Chitresh are turning their idea into a real life business and encourage everyone to develop their ideas.
“Don’t waste time on making things perfect. Go try your idea and see what people have to say”.