A little over two years ago Simone Eyles, a graphic designer from Wagga Wagga, launched an app called 365 Cups which allowed people to pre-order coffee from their favourite café using their smartphone. The app has since spread across Australia, New Zeeland and across the world and delivered nearly half a million pre-ordered cups of caffeine.
As a fellow Telstra Small Business Awards 2014 finalist and Australian Mobile Awards 2013 winner, we asked Simone about what it takes to launch a successful app.
How did you come up with the idea for 365 Cups?
I came up with the idea of 365 Cups over a cuppa with my friend, computer engineer Mariusz, after lamenting that I did not have time to wait in long queues for my daily. Within weeks we had decided to give it a shot.
A lot of startups fail at the development stage. How did you take 365 Cups from an idea to a viable product?
It took a year of hard work. Mariusz and I threw themselves into research, copyrighted and trademarked the concept, applied for innovation grants and hired consultants to ensure nothing similar existed on the market. Within two days of approaching local Wagga café Premium Coffee Roasters, the app was up and running. I stood inside the café to explain it to customers and gather feedback on its use and as word spread, others wanted to get on board. I think the beauty of 365 Cups is that it isn’t just an app for the sake of it, it actually helps people.
How important do you think it is to protect your intellectual property as a startup?
Very important, it is a must and those who don’t usually pay for it in more ways than one later down the track … with registering a trademark you can protect your brand and any URL squatters, you hear lots of horror stories about people having to re-brand or pay thousands of dollars for a domain name that only should cost $30 to register.
How has being based in regional Australia helped or hindered the growth of 365 Cups?
I actually think the fact that we launched it in regional Australia has made it even more successful. It’s given it a point of difference. In the metro market it is highly competitive but being in regional Australia, we could really spend time with people and tweak and develop it into what it is today.
365 Cups is an example of the fact that women in regional towns could achieve just as much as those in the big cities. It just goes to show there’s nothing regional women can’t do – we’re living in a world where there are a lot of people who can build the technology for you and it can still be your creation. You could run it from your home, from a paddock, it doesn’t matter as long as you do the research.