Causr is a location-based app connecting professionals on the go. Founded by James Eder, one of our young entrepreneurs who completed the Enterprise programme in 2005, we asked him to share his journey so far.
How did you hear about The Prince's Trust?
I’d heard of The Prince’s Trust but it wasn’t until I was at university that I was introduced properly to the charity and found out what the Enterprise programme involved. Taking part in the four-day Explore Enterprise Course gave me the support I needed when my first company – studentbeans.com – was in its early stages.
I was looking for an initial start-up loan to get the idea off the ground and had been rejected by the bank. So, to turn to The Prince’s Trust at this point was fantastic.
What’s been the biggest challenge and the biggest reward?
The biggest challenge was going from an idea to success; from a ‘coming soon’ web page to a real and profitable business. Today studentbeans.com is the UK’s leading website for students. Since launching in 2005, the website has signed up over 2m registered users and this is increasing every month. I’ve seen the company grow to over 30 employees and establish itself as a recognisable brand at universities across the world.
The Enterprise programme was invaluable, it provided me with the support and structure I needed to succeed. Monthly meetings with my mentors also provided an amazing opportunity to review the numbers, share the challenges and excitement of what was happening in the business. It was a chance to reflect, celebrate, be challenged and helped me focus on what needed to be done. They were always at the end of the phone and I often think if it wasn’t for The Prince’s Trust and their support I might not have put the right foundations in place to grow and scale the business.
Why did you decide to launch Causr?
Not long ago I was sitting on the Underground in London when someone came and sat in the seat next to me. They were clutching their CV, so I asked them where they’d been and what they were looking for. A few weeks later, we were sat together again, this time in the office of my old company.
Sometime later, I needed to speak to a specific person from a company. I left the office, was standing on the platform in Golders Green and happened to meet the exact person I needed to meet. I’d simply asked them if our train was coming soon, and it went from there.
These chance encounters made a real impact on my working life and it got me thinking about the other opportunities I must’ve missed over the years.
That’s why I wanted to create Causr. The idea of manufacturing serendipity, though a challenge, was incredibly appealing. I wanted to enable people to create connections that would otherwise be missed. It’s clear to me that these all-important conversations often don’t happen because people lack confidence, or don’t feel like they have permission to start talking to someone they’ve never met before.
Causr sees past that. It’s an enabler – technology that empowers previously unrelated people to connect in real time, face-to- face. It gives people the confidence to start a conversation that may lead to a meaningful opportunity, or simply pass the time and have a chat that might brighten their day. Our vision is to create millions of meaningful connections for people nearby, all around the world, every day.
How Causr connects people
It’s fantastic to launch Causr with a Prince’s Trust group, especially in its 40th year to bring together alumni, supporters and people passionate about making a difference. Just recently I was introduced to a friend’s family; it turned out the father was involved with The Prince’s Trust so we quickly had a conversation about how we’re both connected with the charity.
That is at the heart what Causr is all about; giving people context of who people are nearby and enabling a connection that would otherwise be missed. Whether I’m travelling for work, at an event, on a train or delayed at an airport if I knew someone nearby was a Prince’s Trust supporter it would give me a reason to start a conversation and who knows where it could go.
From simply an interesting connection, to a business contact, sports buddy, business deal or helping you find a new dream job, the possibilities are endless.