The company in this week’s Start-up Spotlight tackles a problem many of us faced during our Leaving Cert years; making a study timetable. myStudyPal, founded and run by Mark Nealon, aims to tackle the issues that students face when attempting to create a robust, flexible timetable that meets their specific needs.
With an avid interest in life sciences and business, Mark took the route least expected by his parents; instead of migrating from 6th year into a safe, secure business course, Mark deferred his college studies by one year to start myStudyPal. He then went on to study Biomedical Health and Life Science student in UCD, which he is still currently studying. This bold move is what drew me to Mark and his company; following such a bold path is not the norm at that age and is proof that young people can become successful entrepreneurs at a young age.
The start-up is operational and already servicing students, offering them a free personalised study timetable. Mark’s existing priorities lie in optimising their sales funnel and retention metrics, with the aim being to secure investment. The company is achieving this through a combination of data analysis and direct customer feedback. Mark believes that ‘too many start-ups rely solely on data to solve their problems’, which is why myStudyPal are speaking to their customers to seek measures of improvement that would benefit them.
As with all startups, funding is an ongoing obstacle which is hindering the pace the company could be growing at. Happily, the company is struggling with this less than it had been in its early stages. Nowadays, myStudyPal has built credibility for itself, which makes securing investment slightly less complicated.
It’s very clear that Mark has a hectic schedule; juggling studies and running a company is evidently time-consuming. When I asked him how he manages both of these and finds time for a social life, the answer I get is quite ironic; ‘I manage to balance everything… by timetabling every hour of the day’. Meetings and college work take the bulk of his time, with operational work being carried out in between. Mark thinks it is ‘completely counterproductive to enter into the hustle mentality’, and so is more than happy to take Fridays and Saturdays off. This is a refreshing stance from most entrepreneurial mindsets, and perhaps even a contributing factor in the company’s success. If you take anything away from myStudyPal and Mark’s story, this could be it.
Alex Lohier – Deputy Editor