“The focus on the product is far more valuable in the early days of a founder”

Meet Edward Ward: responsible for our founders journey at SURFnCODE, and a founder himself, he shares an overview of our process for creating startups and building the best products.

"We don’t succeed if our founders don’t succeed. Simple."
Safaris, bicycles and coding - you have a varied background.

For sure! One of my first jobs was working for a specialist tour operator. We organized safaris in Africa. But then I designed a bicycle light called the Veglo Commuter X4, that came second in the British Inventors Project, at the Gadget Show in the UK. I ran a Kickstarter campaign to get it funded and also won the Shell Livewire Entrepreneur Award. I was second out of 4000 competitors in The Pitch UK - and this launched my company. Some PR and press later, I manufactured more lights than ever and had distribution in 500 retailers around the world. But I wanted to leave all the logistics behind and focus in tech, so after selling the company and doing some consulting, I launched Le Wagon coding school in London. Le Wagon built over 100 tech products with founders, of which 5 to 10% are in operation now. I was also a mentor at Wayra, a Telefonica tech accelerator. So all this gave me valuable insights on the processes a founder goes through when starting work on their idea! Looking for a new challenge, I moved to Portugal.

What do you think is different about SURFnCODE?

We’re product focused, we don’t offer just money or mentorship. The focus on the product is far more valuable in the early days of a founder. When we work with founders we apply our strength in product guidance which saves time and money, because we - as founders - have succeeded and failed enough by now to know exactly what works and what doesn’t. SURFnCODE supports founders validating their ideas, reaching a market fit, producing an MVP. We know the stress it brings to have to worry about returns to investors when still validating an idea, so our process de-risks innovation for our founders.

How, exactly?

The overall goal is to accelerate the development of their concept, and identify opportunities for growth, validating their business models and go to market strategies. In earlier stages we focus on reviewing the current product or idea, identifying opportunities, reaching out to potential customers and solidifying a possible business model. We work with founders to reach a go to market plan, tracking every metric along the way. After a certain stage you can start focusing on the product to build, so we do product acceleration - build a user funnel, test, optimize, repeat; identify new features; apply insights after continuously validation with the target audience. We support product building through funding, but post funding as well. We help founders identify the best partners and investors, build their teams with our hiring assistance, develop a product roadmap and a product team. If needed, we can even step in as acting CPO ou CTO.

What’s the ultimate goal?

It’s very simple: we don’t succeed if our founders don’t succeed. Every fundraise adds valuation to a company. That’s the desired outcome, after a product is successfully worked on. The second measure of success would be helping a startup scaling up. We are able to accompany founders in various stages, not constricting work in a timeframe but actually developing and co-creating as the product and audience evolves. That’s what makes us great partners - we share a vision and a goal with founders.

"We don’t succeed if our founders don’t succeed. Simple."