Philipp Muellauer (MSc Finance 2011) had a background as a research analyst and implementation portfolio manager before he successful launched London App Brewery, utilising his knowledge of business needs.  In this interview, Philipp tells us how the business came about and how his time at the Business School helped him with the necessary skills required to launch his business back in April 2015.

What gave you the idea for your business?
The idea for the London App Brewery started while running some informal workshops with friends where we taught each other how to make our first mobile apps. I ended up enjoying teaching so much that I thought to myself ‘Hey, I could turn this into a business’. No one in London was offering intensive, weekend crash courses in app development, so this is how the London App Brewery first got started.

How did it feel when your business launched?
Every entrepreneur hitches a ride on the same emotional rollercoaster. Excitement. Fear. Empowerment. Helplessness. Stress and sleepless nights. The joy from landing your first client. Medium is littered with tales of the trials and tribulations of start-up founders. 

What was the greatest challenge you faced in starting out?
The most difficult part is getting noticed. When you start out, no one knows you exist. Page 10 on Google gets no visitors. Getting the word out to both people as well as the ranking algorithms that curate our information is more important than having the perfect product.

What have been the key lessons learned from the whole process?
Budget time off for yourself or face burn out. Have at least one day a week where you don’t check emails and don’t look at work related topics after 19:00. If you do have to work late, my top tip is to use Flux on your computer and mobile device, which reduces the amount of blue light emitted from your screen, thereby reducing both reduce eye strain and help you sleep on days where you work late.

Any advice to budding entrepreneurs?

Design elevates. Good design can make your start-up look bigger and more established than it really is. In that sense, design has subversive side. Make your logo, website, Facebook page and other parts aspects of your online presence look beautiful. If you are not a designer yourself, find one and take them up on their advice.

Are there any memorable situations you have been in on your start-up journey?
One of the things we do is run events to build a community through our meetup group, which at the time of writing has well over 5,000 members. We often partner with companies like Amazon, Google, or Twitter to bring in speakers and discuss the latest developments in tech. We recently hosted an event on Voice-User-Interfaces (VUI) in collaboration with the Amazon Alexa team.

And people have never fail to surprise me. I’ll never forget the chap who wanted a refund for his ticket …. to a free event!

How did your time at the Business School prepare you for setting up your own business?
Imperial equipped me with a range of transferable skills that came in very useful. In particular, working on my thesis allowed me to hone my programming skills in Matlab.

Also, from a pedagogical perspective, I borrowed the teaching methods from my favourite seminars and tutorials which I found most effective and implemented them in our own courses.

London App Brewery has hosted many successful events which aim to enable people from non-technical backgrounds to quickly understand and get up to speed with the latest frontiers in technology. They provide a whole range of bespoke corporate educational events, as well as investing back into the community with public courses on programming, design and digital marketing.

Find out more by visiting the website: http://www.londonappbrewery.com

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