We sat down to catch up with Jake Fox, founder of Paperound.
Who are you and what does your company do?
Jake Fox, Founder of Paperound.com. Paperound is a marketplace where busy startup founders can access intern resource, on-demand.
UK Students (‘Taskers’ on the platform) can be booked for as a little as one hour on a task-by task-basis, and founders only pay when the work is done.
For founders, we give them access to extra resource at the times they need it most, without needing to commit to a full-time hire.
For students, we give them a way to earn money and build their experience.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
I think, I’ve always wanted to challenge what’s around me. Even when I was young I was very inquisitive – “Why is it this way and not that way?”
This was then matched with my own desire to leave my own footprint on the world around me and face the challenges that came with that aim.
Also… I get bored easily. And entrepreneurship is never boring!
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
There were two things that really sparked the idea for Paperound.
Firstly, thinking about my own experience of starting my career – finding it hugely competitive to get an internship (especially in strategy consultancy).
Secondly, thinking about the environment a pandemic has thrown at us:
Where we need to be much more flexible, when committing to hiring someone can be a really difficult decision, and when we’ve adopted remote working and virtual connections as a mainstream way of working.
How did you come up with the name for the business?
Growing up, my mum made sure I learnt the value of a work ethic and that if wanted to get somewhere in life, I had to put the work in. What was that first lesson? A paper round.
PS – I saved up the paper round money to buy a drum kit 🥁
What is the most significant hurdle that you have overcome with your company so far?
We haven’t been going long so we’ve definitely got plenty to come!
Probably so far it’s finding the time to get things done – both my co-founder and I have other full time jobs while we’re bootstrapping Paperound, so we have to work around that and be respectful of our other duties. Interestingly, this has led me to be a customer of our own product…
Not having the hours to get around small businesses doing outreach has meant I’ve found it easier to get a Paperound Tasker to do that (I knew what the approach was, I just needed someone to execute for me).
What is the biggest challenge facing you and your business at the moment?
Probably funding – we’re happy with where things are at from a proposition and product roadmap perspective, as well as growth with users (word of mouth indicators have been great so far).
Admittedly we haven’t hit volumes to brag about yet – we’ve got small numbers but strong stories so far, so some investors have want to see more traction. Other investors are happy with what we have proved, and we are starting to see progress with them.
How will you measure your success?
I like to focus on the immediate and obtainable – so right now it is 1000 bookings over the next 12 months.
We also want to see Taskers hired after being discovered on Paperound – this works in to a wider story of why we exist. Ultimately, getting stuck in and doing a good job should be enough to open up more opportunities for younger people.
As an active member of the SeedReady Community, we had to get Jakes’s thoughts and feedback on the experience.
What problem(s) did you face before joining the SeedReady Community?
Making useful connections with founders – at an early stage, feedback is really important, both from target customers and founders who have been there as well.
What are three benefits you’ve experienced as a result of joining the SeedReady Community?
Audience – a large group to connect with.
Responsive – People are active. ‘Community isn’t just throwing people together, its actual connections. So an active group is a great thing to see.
Content – plenty of useful content and events to soak in.
If you were to recommend the SeedReady Community to another founder, what would you say?
The Community give you easy access to a group of driven founders who are likely to be great connections!