Charlie Butler is co-founder of Bounce Insights, an ‘’all-encompassing market research tool that can ask any questions companies want, to any consumer they want, faster and cheaper than any current alternatives’’, and a final year Trinity Global Business student. Outside of this, he is also the co-founder of the charity Tribe and a Founding Board Member of the Irish Graduates Network. I chatted to Charlie about what it takes to run a company as a young Irish entrepreneur.
Firstly, I wanted to know if consumer insights was an industry he always had a passion for, or whether it is simply a seized opportunity. ‘’It is definitely a combination of both, I don’t think anyone aged 22 has a burning passion for market research! Anyone who builds their own company from scratch becomes obsessed with the industry, and that’s the way it has to be’’.
The unpredictable nature of startups encourages many students to work in a graduate role, whilst maintaining their business on the side until it grows sufficiently. Not Charlie; ‘’anyone who knows what Brian (my co-founder) and I are like, will know that this was never just a ‘side project’. This has been something that has been our first priority since we started working on it in January 2019. We have always wanted to run our own company, and we are so excited to finally finish college so that we have no other distractions’’. Considering they are in the final stages of their seed round, this makes things manageable.
What is less manageable, however, is working on a company and a charity whilst in final year of college. I wanted to know how Charlie manages it; “it’s just down to time management, a ridiculously supportive team, family and friends, and working as hard as I possibly can.” More specifically, Charlie notes that ‘’every minute of my week is planned to make sure I am managing all of my tasks effectively. That includes my relationships, and looking after my own mental health, which is essential for me to maintain productive and happy in what I am doing’’. Personally, I would also side with this methodology, having recently began planning extensively and bearing the fruits it offers.
One aspect of running a company at such a young age, which has yet to be covered in the Start-Up Spotlight Column, is whether age acts in favour or to the detriment of young business people. For Bounce Insights, thus far, Charlie believes it has been advantageous. He is of the opinion that students have a ‘’free license’’ to meet and chat to anyone, irrespective of rank, company, rival companies etc. One exception, which must be borne in mind, is that investors may understandably have concerns putting money towards such young ‘’first-timers’’. But, Bounce Insights have surrounded themselves with ‘’incredible and experienced advisors that have negated such an issue’’.
Charlie seemingly welcomes every opportunity that comes his way. In his view, ‘’if there is ever something I can help someone with, I think it is always worth making that effort and, from my experience, good things usually come from it’’.
Bounce Insights is evidently on a positive trajectory, and so it’s with little surprised that Charlie highly recommends launching a company whilst still in college. In fact, he visualises it as ‘’one of the most unique times in your life where you will have minimal hours a week in college, you are surrounded with exceptionally talented people, and have 3 or 4 years to pursue something creative or unique’’. That’s an interesting angle to view it from, and perhaps one we can all learn from. I hear you; working this hard during your college years might sound laborious, or, worse, might expose you to a failure. As Charlie puts it though; ‘’if you fail, who cares? You’ve probably learnt more than you would have in any other job, and you can have another go. Everything is about attitude, and I would love to see more students pursuing entrepreneurship in the years to come’’. Wise words to end on, and ones I hope resonate with a few of you reading; you could do much worse than striving to emulate some of Bounce Insights’ successes.
Alex Lohier – Deputy Editor