Meet Yoav Farbey, Founder and Managing Director of The Start-Up Magazine. Having studied Computer Science at Bristol university whilst simultaneously building his first start-up, Fibixio, Yoav knows a fair bit about becoming an established entrepreneur at a young age. Upon graduating, Yoav made the tactful move to work as an Analyst for some of the fastest growing start-ups in London including Hailo, competitor of Uber. Having learnt the tricks of the trade in a condensed time frame he’s now building an online magazine, providing everything you need to know about the city’s start-up ecosystem. We dropped by to hear exactly how Yoav got to where he is today: running his second company, leading his team and working out of one of London’s infamous co-working spaces, Rainmaking Loft.
Getting to Know Yoav
What’s the Founding story behind The Start-Up Magazine?
It started as a blog. After I Founded my first company I became interested in everything that was happening in the start-up space. My friend and I had spent a year and a half running a mobile app agency; at the end of which we sold our clients onto other local agencies. In my blog I wrote about my experiences as a Founder and it wasn’t long until I realised more people than just my Mum and Dad were reading it. Since it was just a personal blog I nearly called it ‘Yoav’s Blog’. I’d had a few jobs post-uni with start-ups, so it reached the point where I had to decide whether to continue employment or branch out on my own to make something of this blog. I decided to go with it.
Was it a natural transition to leave a full time job and pursue The Start-Up Magazine?
In reality, you need to be a bit bold and foolish to go ahead with any entrepreneurial journey as there will inevitably be some things that are out of your control. It’s easy to have a great idea, but the hard part is delivering. I was aware of the risk I was taking when I left my full time job to create a start-up, yet I felt I’d put myself in a position where I was able to take that risk. I’m also at a stage in my life where I only have responsibility to pay for my own things; I’m not married and I don’t have kids. Each individual needs to judge their own situation to assess whether they should dive in at the deep end and go full time with a start-up or whether they should build it alongside something else. Whether you’re 15 or 50 years old, your individual circumstance is unique and your approach has to be one which is best suited to your needs and ambitions.
“It’s easy to have a great idea, but the hard part is delivering.”
How is The Start-Up Magazine funded?
I applied for a start-up loan as soon as I left my last job. Thankfully, my application was successful. With start-up loans you can only apply as a sole-trader. Although I’d spoken to a friend who I proposed worked on the business with me, we agreed the loan would be under my name. The loan is measured up against your personal bank account payments, which is not always clear when you first start the process, but once they appoint you with a loan delivery partner the whole process is made a lot easier. The relationship you have with the delivery partner is an important one as it lasts the whole length of the loan and they can help you out with other things along the way. The money itself isn’t owed to the start-up loan agency itself, instead it’s owed to another financial company. I’d definitely recommend it as an option for funding if it feels right for you. However, make note that the delivery partners get commission from each successful loan application so don’t rush into it too quickly!
How do you stand out in a flood of content relating to start-ups?
We trialled a handful of non-conventional approaches to creating an app, creating social media campaigns and creating slightly outrageous marketing stunts. Most of them failed. It turned out that the more traditional approaches worked better than the more innovative approaches we were taking. On reflection, it was too early for us to be experimenting with non-traditional techniques given the stage we were at. The most important thing was to invest in our volume of readers and community as a whole so people were valued as more than just numbers. You want people to visit your site who are genuinely interested and engaged with the content, rather than having a million robots bulking up your stats. It was a crucial lesson to learn as a media company.
“On reflection, it was too early for us to be experimenting with non-traditional techniques given the stage we were at. The most important thing was to invest in our volume of readers and community as a whole so people were valued as more than just numbers.”
What would you advise others also looking to start-up?
Sell your product before you make it. Although it can be difficult, you can now achieve a lot with very little resource. This brings the benefit of hugely decreasing the risk element of your business. It means you have someone buying into your products of the future. Ensure you also get feedback from potential customers and practice getting crazy good at research and due diligence before you dive into anything. Companies will do this for you later down the line but whilst you’re starting out you need to commit an hours’ worth of research before agreeing to anything. Look at who you’ll be working and partnering with. Use your time wisely as it’s the most valuable commodity when you’re still early stage.
“Use your time wisely as it’s the most valuable commodity when you’re still early stage.”
How do you maintain your health whilst running The Start-Up Magazine?
By sleeping well and doing exercise during the day, even if it’s in small doses. Going on a quick 20-minute walk is also incredibly refreshing.
What’s your definition of success?
Running a business where you know you can be out of the office for a good few days and return knowing that everything will still be in hand. We’re quite far away from that at the moment; it’s an ambitious thing to happen within a year but it’s definitely a goal.
Rebel Wrap Up
What do you think of London as a tech hub?
It’s good to think of London as part of Europe where there is a rise of start-ups worth billions. These companies are receiving hundreds of millions of investment which makes it an area of interesting economic activity. As a result, people want to know more about the European start-up landscape and are increasingly willing to spend money when it comes to being involved in the London ecosystem.
“people want to know more about the European start-up landscape and are increasingly willing to spend money when it comes to being involved in the London ecosystem.”
Who inspires you?
Not so much the heroic entrepreneurs from around the world, but more so the small group of people in the start-up community who I know well and who are similarly working to pursue their own venture. I find those who are in the earlier stages of the journey particularly inspiring. What’s great is that it’s very easy in London to catch up with them at events and in their own co-working spaces. Keeping in touch with those one the same path helps to both keep you both grounded and feel supported.
Which is the most rebellious start-up in your view?
Transferwise. Their PR team have been incredibly disruptive with a completely unconventional approach to marketing, especially in their early days. How they’ve managed to position themselves is impressive. Of course, they have a disruptive business solution on top of this. To have the combination of a good product and good PR is the perfect concoction for any start-up.
“To have the combination of a good product and good PR is the perfect concoction for any start-up.”