Virgin StartUp of the Week: Mindpipe
Businesses that bring something new and exciting to traditional industries are always great news - and one such business is Mindpipe, our Virgin StartUp of the Week. Founders Matthew King and Petya Kapralova work closely with bride and grooms-to-be to create really unique hand-designed wedding stationary, featuring personalised 3D computer-generated models of the couple. Mindpipe are supported by Virgin StartUp delivery partners Enterprise First.
We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on Virginstartup.org each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max.
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
Mindpipe design and create bespoke wedding and event stationery using customisable 3D computer animation characters. We make our character look like our customers and even make bespoke environments. Our designs are unique and personal to every customer.
Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?
We work from our home in Woking Surrey, and the internet and 3D animation space are our office.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
Our business model is based around bringing a new and innovate approach to a very traditional industry. We will be selling to a limited number of customers a year, with each customer using our product for more than the stationery basics. From there the business will grow, taking advantage of our established procedures to offer bespoke event designs to the corporate sector as well as branching out into other products with more of a mass market. The trick is maintaining our high levels of customisation whilst minimizing the man hours required to make it, which is what our product facilitates.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
Our competitors are other stationery suppliers, from independent designers like us to large brands like Debenhams who also offer event stationery services. However, no one does what we do.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
The level and kind of customisation we are able to offer with relative easy makes us a completely unique business. This, coupled with our genuine love of what we do and our flare for design, makes our product a fantastic and versatile addition to a very traditional market, with great potential for going even further.
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
We originally made our first design as a congratulations card for my partner's sister when she got engaged. They liked the design so much that they asked to make their stationery, and we made everything from invitations to wine bottle labels. It went down so well with both the couple and the guests that we knew it was a viable business.
Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
We have used it to improve our display at trade shows, and to exhibit at two major trade shows at the beginning of this year.
Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin StartUp Mentor?
Lee Perry, Corvus Business Support
Floor 9 to 10 – What’s the best tip they’ve given you?
Know your numbers; this has really helped us not only understand our business better but also to understand our interactions with other businesses.
Floor 10 to 11 – What’s your workspace like?
My workspace is a digital landscape spread over 3 monitors, and my partner's is a collection of drawers and boxes full of our card and paper stocks with a view of the garden.
Floor 11 to 12 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?
In the next 12 months we will be making a profit and working with a number of business partners to expand the business and develop new and more innovate products. We have plans!