Josh Rathour, 34, founded UNiDAYS in 2011 after spotting a gap in the market for the digital verification of students by brands wishing to offer discounts. The Nottingham-based firm has since struck partnerships with 600 companies, such as Apple and McDonald’s, and ranked at No 9 on the 2016 Sunday Times Tech Track 100.
What inspired you to start your business?
My daughter, who was five years old, asked me how we know who people are online. That made me think about verification technology and how to create more trusted relationships between people and services.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Like other start-ups, we faced a chicken and egg situation; initially we had a great product, but had to find customers. We focused on first principles – proving our technology worked, marketing and distributing it. Establishing product market fit was critical.
What has been your best business decision?
We built an initial product that we were very proud of, but were told by the market that the tech was too advanced. We realised we needed to make it simpler to gain traction.
What has been your worst business decision?
Not starting sooner. The need for our technology had been there for a long time, but had been overlooked.
Which business leader would you most like to share a meal with, and why?
Serial tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, for his ability to apply himself in so many different industries by introducing disruptive models and products.
What company do you most admire, and why?
WeWork, which has grown from a traditional serviced office provider to create a community around its product and engage at an emotional level.