Meet Radar: Sussex’s latest entrepreneur success story
We caught up with former Sussex students, Nick and Dean, to chat about their business since leaving Sussex.
Whilst in their 2nd year and still studying at Sussex University, Nick Musto and Dean Altass teamed up as part of the Sussex University Start Up scheme to work on an idea that Nick came up with whilst taking in the enormity of Brighton.
Originally from a small town, Nick felt overwhelmed with the amount of options for nights out and events going on in Brighton and felt that if there was a place where he could see all of these events in one go it would make his life much easier.
And thus, Radar was born.
Radar is both an app available on both Android and Apple and a website dedicated in recording all of the nightlife events happening in Brighton. The cherry on top is that the app will also get you on guest lists as well as discounted drinks at clubs in Brighton.
You may have seen them during their takeover at East Slope last year however the company has now evolved in a huge way.
Radar now employs seven people, has a office, and has expanded into Bristol with the hopes of expanding to six other cities this year. Internships and other working opportunities are available at Radar and those with coding and tech experience are encouraged to get in contact for potential work.
On Saturday, Radar will be starting what will be the first in a series of free shows. Talented artists and free entry are on offer when you show the Radar app with the guestlist. The first show is this Saturday in association with DONUTS.
We caught up with Nick, Dean, and intern content creators Kieran Mallon and Nick Sadeghian to see how life has been since graduating from Sussex and working on Radar full time.
So guys, Lets talk about the early stages of development for Radar, how did you agree with the name?
Dean: *laughs* We came up with so many different names and different logo designs that we tried to wrap our head around. We spent most of our 2nd year in Nick’s bedroom as we didn’t have any where else to plan. We had three desks in his bedroom so it felt right.
With names, we toyed around with the name ‘Ignight’ (ignite) for a while and a bunch of other really shit names too. We were originally called ‘Club Radar’ but that name was already taken on the app store. The guy who owned that app claimed to be doing some big works with it but after three months his app was discontinued. By that time we stuck with name ‘Radar’, it’s like a hub. You can be ‘Club Radar’ ‘Bar Radar’ ‘Holiday Radar’ and so on.
To this date what has been your biggest achievement
Nick: It has to be securing new investment through a private investor. It allowed us to reinvent what we had and work on some new things to add to the app. You know when someone puts in money into your idea it becomes more than just an idea and it becomes physical. That is a really nice feeling.
You must have made mistakes in the early stages of your business, what would you tell me to avoid when starting out a business?
Dean: I think the biggest thing is getting the right people in to do the right job, there also can be some conflict when working with friends as they may not be the right person for the job.
Nick: We went through stages of growth where we were in our bedrooms, to an office, and I guess back to our bedrooms whilst we sort out our move into new space, but something that really helped us out with getting our feet on the ground was Entrepreneurial Spark and…
Entrepreneurial Spark? What’s that?
Nick: So it’s a business accelerator and we were one of the top 10% of businesses that could do the full 18 month program, this gave us some office space, professional help, help with how to do our taxes, and a bunch more. We joined up in 2015 and left just around a week ago. They were pretty cool with mentoring.
Do you feel you could mentor someone else now?
Nick: I actually help out in the Start Up Sussex Scheme still, I come to sessions every now and then. That reminds me, we did win the startup talent competition where we won around £50k. This was not pure money but in services and other things to help us.
Ok, so do you work long hours each day or is it different every day?
Nick: We tend to start at 10am each day but last night I ended up leaving the office around 11pm, you also work on the fly too so you can never escape it. We’re working on a lot of new additions at the moment so that’s quite difficult.
That leads me perfectly to my next question, what do you have in the pipeline?
Nick: We’re currently working on live DJ mixes to share on our site that people can download and listen to, we constantly get free gig tickets to cover events via reviews or previews. This Saturday is going to be our first joint event with Donuts where we will work alongside them to host a night where we promote downloads of the app. People with the app will get discounted entry. We’re going to try to do a series of events to promote up and coming DJs
Dean: So we would do things like entry would be £5 without the app and free with the app. We’ve done events at East Slope and did some marketing outside clubs which were really well received. The next stop was really hosting our own night. When we did our takeover at East Slope the management said it was one of the busiest nights of the year.
Nick: Something we are really interested in is VR reviews.
So how does the VR work? (Check it out here)
Dean: We felt it is all well and good that promoter can say a club is good but until you’re inside and they have your money it’s too late. With VR, people can use the app to see a 360 degree angle of the club to see if they like it or not. We put our VR camera in a spot and it will stream onto the app.
So Kieran, you are one of the interns at Radar, how has it been?
Kieran: really good, I have a surprising amount of creative control with what I do. I mainly put out articles and previews to generate traffic for the site and it’s been good so far. It’s really cool to have a idea and being allowed the space to pursue it. It’s different to other jobs that I have worked at before.
Nick S: There’s a lot of breathing room here which compared to other jobs that are regimented it is a nice change of pace.
Sell me your app
Nick: If I asked you, do you know what is going on tonight that is how I would go about it. Tonight we have over 22 listed events with guestlist and drink deals available and it’s all for free. Rather than spend ages chasing up what is good and where it is we have already done it for you in one simple app.
Kieran: It also shows you things that you may not have even known were going on, rather than go to the same spot over and over the app compares events to each other so you can go for the one you really want.
Have you got any internships for Sussex students?
Dean: If you can code, you are welcome to join us. If you have a interest in starting a business you are also welcome to come and join. We offer opportunities to learn as well so if you’re not a master we can help you become one. Most internships are 10 weeks but there is a 12 week and a 4 week program.