Startup Spotlight on Charles Wiles, co-founder of Zzish

We can’t wait to meet (or catch up with) the startups that will be joining our Education startups dinner next week. We’re getting a head start with our interview with Charles Wiles, Co-founder of Zzish:


What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Zzish is an infrastructure and toolset for developers to build state-of-the-art mobile learning apps.  Many people would love to create educational learning apps, but building a fully featured app with personalised learning that’s ready for use in the classroom takes a lot of work.  Zzish lets people build high quality learning apps for a fraction of the time and cost it would take otherwise.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

I was the Managing Director of VisualDNA where I created the Media Business and took the revenue from zero to $3m annual in two years.  Before that, I was Google’s first Product Manager hired outside the USA and helped build the first version of Android.

Where did you meet your co-founders?

I met my cofounder Samir at Silicon Milkroundabout, twice. I met him first when I was recruiting for VisualDNA and then again a year later when I was recruiting for a CTO for Zzish. Fortunately we didn’t hire him at VisualDNA or we wouldn’t be working together now!

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

With hindsight I would have started talking to potential customers earlier. When delivering new technology it’s always tempting to want to build the technology first and then show it to your customers, but this can mean you invest a long time building stuff that nobody actually wants. The first step of a startup’s life should be validating whether you have product/market fit by finding customers who are willing to pay you for it if you built it! 

What will 2014 bring?

We hope to get our first 1,000 developers using our platform to build amazing learning apps that make a real impact on the way people learn.

1 piece of advice for someone starting a business in the sector?

Proactively grow your network. Work out who the top 10 people whom you would like to get advice from in the world and then work out who you know who might know someone who knows them.  Then ask for an introduction and keep on going. Always finish any new meeting with the question “Who else do you know who might be able to give me some advice?”

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.

Mobile learning is going to be a $38b business by 2020, and today’s startups will be tomorrow’s leaders. With Zzish you can now build a state-of-the-art mobile learning app in days instead of many months.

What’s your favourite startup in the sector (not including your own)?

Code Kingdoms. A mashup of Scratch and Minecraft for teaching children to code.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

I’m a regular at Patara in Soho. Great Thai food at a decent price.  Lunch sets are particularly good value.

ZzishWe are looking forward to meeting Charles and hearing more about his startup next week. To read more Startup Spotlights go here.

Thanks to our sponsors Taylor Wessing and Propel London for their continued support.

T.W Propel

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