Our #MVPtoVIP series celebrates the inspirational journeys of some of the fantastic founders in our Farillio network. This time, we're chatting to Elemi Atigolo, founder of Buildily. Get to know him better below...
1. How would you sum up the concept behind Buildily?
Buildily is a Business ‘Accelerator’ Platform created to help startups and businesses and their entrepreneurs to ‘Start, Build and Grow Easily’.
We’re a startup, helping other startups accelerate through our team and network of experienced entrepreneurs, founders and advisors.
Our mission is to help entrepreneurs overcome critical obstacles that often come up within a business' life cycle.
We created a platform designed to help startups and businesses every step of the way. From tools to help businesses get started and launch, to building traction and accessing mentors and funding we are there to help.
Buildily was created to improve lives and help support entrepreneurs get their business off the ground. With this intent, Buildily’s mission is to contribute a portion of every purchase of our Startup Package on our platform.
This portion of the sale will be contributed to the organisation Lendwithcare – an initiative of poverty fighting charity CARE International UK. Lendwithcare, is a revolutionary CARE International initiative to help some of the world’s poorest people work their way out of poverty with dignity. Lendwithcare makes micro credit loans to entrepreneurs in 10 countries to start up and build their own businesses.
2. What were you doing before you set it up?
Before founding Buildily, I was a partner at one of the UK’s largest private wealth management firms St. James’s Place Wealth Management. I successfully built a business and client base from scratch to managing GBP20 million for high net worth/ultra-high net worth private clients and businesses. I advised CEOs, managing directors, partners and entrepreneurs on areas such as mutual funds, private equity, early stage investments through Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Schemes and business planning.
3. When did you realise that you wanted to run your own business, and what led to you achieving it?
I have always been interested in business from a young age – I remember even in school I ran my own tuckshop (sweets and snacks) as part of my schools entrepreneur programme (Business Club). Although this was my first taste, it really started for me after I completed my postgraduate Master’s degree at business school.
After graduating, I started my first company at the age of 24 – an online platform for creatives and musicians to showcase their talent – ‘think NME meets Facebook’, which in 2004 was a new concept – but like most entrepreneurs, this first idea lacked a lot of the business structure and fundamentals I felt it needed and I closed the service, as I felt I didn’t know enough about building a business instead of ‘just a good idea’.
4. How did you find the process of launching Buildily?
Although having experience, advising at some of the highest levels to both business owners and heads of corporations, and having built a business from scratch, I was still a startup entrepreneur and went through the same thoughts and feelings most entrepreneurs go through.
I had set myself a huge goal – build a startup to help other startups and businesses to start, build and grow; I had been used to working efficiently and effectively making time in my day, instead of trying to ‘find time’.
Something I learnt and recommend to all businesses owners is make time, never try and find it. I worked 12–13 hour days building Buildily, waking up at 5 am to start my day at 6 am, building, coding and creating. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the process and launch, I also had my challenges.
Creating a network and partnership list of leading companies such as Google, Amazon and Hubspot, partnerships and founding partners of established businesses to help support entrepreneurs was difficult. Although I had been used to making presentations and investment pitches, presenting my unique idea to gain support from these companies, experienced entrepreneurs and partners was a challenge – however, after many hours, emails and phone calls later, the results surfaced.
5. What is the most challenging aspect of being a business owner?
For me, the most challenging and empowering aspect of being a business owner is that the responsibility for the success or failure of the business is all down to you as owner, whether you are team of 1, 5 or 5,000.
It is challenging but also empowering in that if you take responsibility that it is all down to you as the owner and things are not going right, you have the power to change it – as if you got yourself and the business there, you can get yourself and the business out and correct the course.
6. What does the future hold for Buildily?
Continue to help entrepreneurs and businesses building the platform to provide even more. We are also launching Founder@ an exclusive social network just for founders – free for life for the first 10,000 users www.founderat.com
7. How did you find the right people to help you build Buildily?
I was fortunate that I had a background in UX & UI design as I completed my undergraduate degree in distributed information systems and computer programming, and so I was able to build the framework of Buildily myself. I benefited from surrounding myself with great partners and a network of leading companies and entrepreneurs.
8. What’s the most important piece of legal advice you’ve ever needed?
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) advice – its an area now that, through our network and partnership including the Farillio service, we are now able to help other businesses understand and implement successfully.
9. What’s the one legal document you wish you’d had when you were starting out?
Luckily, I was introduced to the team at Farillio at the very beginning of my journey building Buildily, and so I have been able at accelerate and get access to the legal documents I needed starting out.
Want to read more inspiring startup stories? Join the conversation using the hashtag #MVPtoVIP.