Young Innovators Success Stories: Matthew Richmond, Prompt, Wales
The friendly motivation management app prompting users towards action
When Matthew Richmond started using mindfulness apps during lockdown, he found the pre-recorded scripts distracting and impersonal. The 24-year-old Cardiff University graduate set out to create his own app that would record the user’s breathing and help them better understand their meditation.
The business was in the idea stage when he won the Young Innovators Award. However, during the course of the programme, he realised he needed to pivot.
“It took about six months of research, interviews and focus groups before I realised that what we were building just didn’t have commercial viability within our space,” Matthew says.
“Fortunately, after some searching, we pivoted to a different area and were able to use the information collected to build a better product that people would be more interested in being involved with.”
Pivoting the business
Matthew describes his decision to pivot the business as “monumental and incredibly stressful”, but the Young Innovators programme gave him the confidence to move forward.
“With the support of the Young Innovators Awards network around me, a mentor to speak to and finances to fall back on, I felt confident that I could grow from the experience,” he says.
His new business, Prompt, is a motivation management app that gently motivates users to complete activities. The minimum viable product (MVP) is currently in its second round of development, after a successful run with the first iteration.
Like many young business owners, one of Matthew’s biggest challenges over the last year has been impostor syndrome.
As he explains, it can be intimidating to see other founders who are much further along the process with their businesses. However, he’s learned that there are benefits to working alongside people with more experience.
“Throughout this programme, I’ve learned to leverage my newness and ask people who have more experience than me candidly about their struggles. I’ve also learned to accept what I cannot change,” Matthew explains.
He credits his business mentor with providing support and direction during times where he felt unsure of himself.
“I have been so fortunate to have a business mentor in my corner. Without them, I would be lost. My mentor has been incredible, giving me someone to lean on when I’m feeling unsure, direction when I don’t know where I’m going, and someone I can be accountable to,” he says.
“I am so excited about what is happening with my business now, and a lot of that can be put down to Innovate UK’s ongoing support!”
Over the next year, Matthew hopes to continue to build up understanding of his target users and develop the Prompt app further.
“We are steadily building up the understanding of our customer segment, creating a fantastic experience for them and starting to make revenue. We also want to successfully partner with another education company, as we feel that this service would be incredibly impactful to students.”
Matthew’s firm belief in the importance of customer research is echoed in his advice for future Award winners.
“I have been part of many startups and I have seen many fail. In my experience, there are two key ingredients that create a successful startup: building the product and speaking to users,” he says.
“It can be very attractive to spend your time doing anything else, but if you can direct any of the resources you get into these avenues, your chances of success are much higher.”
Join us and become part of the Young Innovators community. Find out more about the programme here.
Read the other Young Innovators’ success stories here.