INTERVIEW : Check out our email interaction with Jonny Grubin, CEO of SoPost, one of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies, and Living North Entrepreneur of the Year Award shortlistee. Jonny began coding at the age of eight. Jonny lives in the United Kingdom and is grateful for SoPost’s year on year growth.
This might sound cheesy, but my team inspires me. They really do. The mountains they move and the commitments they’ve made to help me realise SoPost’s mission are phenomenal.
Where did the concept for the business come from? What inspired you?
When I quit uni, it was to go full-time on a venture that was trying to turn a person’s Twitter handle into a physical delivery address. To put it lightly, we failed miserably, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
When I started SoPost, my vision was to create a dynamic postal address, linked to social IDs rather than a postcode. I’d set out to solve two problems: firstly, that I’m rarely at home and often miss deliveries; and secondly, that I don’t know anyone’s actual address.
The idea was that your phone number, email address or Facebook ID could act as a proxy for where you were or where you wanted stuff to be sent to, and SoPost would be the intelligent data layer that dynamically re-routed deliveries to the correct location.
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About two weeks before launching the concept, I met a guy who was looking after Noel Gallagher’s digital marketing. Long story short, he was trying to find a way to generate more sales of a tour DVD, and, to generate some PR for my venture, we built a really simple website that let people buy the band’s DVD for a friend. Our gimmick was that, instead of entering the friend’s delivery information, the buyer just tagged them on Facebook, and we took care of the rest. Someone pretty high up at Avon saw this, got in touch and asked if we could develop the concept for her. Everything we’re doing today has spawned from that email in January 2013, and my recognition of the fact that she had some deep insight that I’d be stupid to ignore.
What does the average day look like for you now?
I’m not sure there is an average day. Sometimes I’m waking up at the crack of dawn for a flight or a train, and other times I take advantage of our flexible working policy and enjoy a lie-in. My days are really varied, but generally involve meeting a lot of people, and working on SoPost’s strategy. As the business has grown, my role has shifted from being involved in the minutiae of everything to not doing so much of the day-to-day execution, but I still like to dive in when I can – particularly in meeting with our customers and building out our product roadmap.
Who inspires you at work?
This might sound cheesy, but my team. They really do. The mountains they move and the commitments they’ve made to help me realise SoPost’s mission are phenomenal.
SoPost was named alongside Deliveroo as one of the fastest growing technology firms in the UK, how does that make you feel?
I’ve never looked at awards as a benchmark of success, but Deloitte ranking us as the 13th-fastest-growing tech company in the UK was huge. As a founder, it’s often hard to recognise your achievements, and this was one of those moments that made me stop and think, ‘Hey, we’re doing ok.’