Graduate: Andreas Kambanis
Course: Business Computing & IT, graduated 2009
Company: London Cyclist Blog
Gives new cyclists in London the information they need to get started and provides experienced cyclists with tips and advice on accessories.
The site also sells a downloadable eBook product with cycling routes in London as well as 3 iPhone apps.
How did you get started?
It started while I was doing my placement year in London. I was cycling to work but had various questions, and when I couldn't find the answers online, I decided to set up a blog myself to answer those questions for others and share what I was learning.
When I finished university I decided to run the blog fulltime. It took off and traffic went through the roof. The introduction of the cycle hire scheme in London was a huge boost and before I knew it I was interviewing Boris Johnson and being invited to press events.
The two biggest highs I can remember is when I first launched an eBook. I launched it just before catching a flight to Brazil. Upon landing in Sao Paulo I quickly discovered my eBook launch would be completely paying for my holiday. The second was my Bike Doctor iPhone app launch. So many hours had gone into preparing the material and when the app climbed to the number one spot in the Sports category of the Apple App Store I knew I'd made the right decision. There's plenty of lows to go with it of course. My website being hacked on numerous occasions is always stressful, as is when things don't quite go to plan.
How has your time at Aston helped you and your business?
My time at Aston was a true eye opener. A transition from a scrawny little school kid who spent his whole time playing video games to someone with a much wider view of the world and greater ambitions. It was the people I met there that made a difference, as well as my course.
The placement year at university was a real kick for me. I realised the corporate environment simply wasn't for me. Having said that the experience taught me so much that I would never change it.
How is the business going and how are you finding being an entrepreneur?
The business is going well. London Cyclist continues to build a big audience and more and more advertisers are keen to tap into that, so I'm finding I'm spending a lot of time building partnerships. My real passion however is product creation, so I continue to look into iPhone app opportunities as well as downloadable eBooks. I hope to one day be a published author.
The future looks bright as we expand into selling products that we've recommended on the site. Being your own boss is great. If a friend asks me to go on holiday I'll say "I'll check with the boss, he says yes". This year I've travelled extensively and haven't had to worry about work hours or playing office politics to climb the ladder. I like that my success relies on my actions alone and that ultimately I'm responsible.