We took a look back on the progress Podtime have made in the last six months, turning their business model on its head to break even in their first year.
In this second article of our new ‘Where Are They Now’ series, we’re taking a look back on the progress Podtime have made over the last six months. When we first covered Podtime in March this year they had recently installed a suite of their sleep pods in Canary Wharf, London. The pods were equipped with interior digital clocks, ear plug sets, and foam and faux-leather mattresses, all designed to offer busy workers a place to recharge their batteries during the day. However, since then they have completely changed their business model, rethinking how best to make the pods profitable. Founder John Gray told us, “It’s been a busy 6 months for Podtime, in no small part thanks to our first Springwise article which marked the launch of me renting pods for power-naps in Canary Wharf back in March. The article itself attracted the interest of an investor from the hotel industry who saw potential for the pods in a range of applications; from offices to airports to youth hostels.” Following the advice of this investor, the pod rental service in Canary Wharf was closed, giving John time to focus on improving the pods in preparation for sale to a range of industries. With Podtime now looking to sell their pods, it was necessary to change the design so that they could be produced quickly and in larger quantities. Work began on a new version of the pod which could be manufactured for sale quicker than its predecessor. It was also deemed necessary to invest in new tooling, which enabled Podtime to further reduce manufacture time, as well as enabling them to produce the pods from their own facility at an affordable price. To cope with the demands of the new business model, four extra staff were brought on board, and Podtime set up representatives in France and the US. As well working on further expansion projects — with eyes on China and India next — much of this new workforce’s time is now spent promoting the scientific benefits of short rests, which forms the backbone of the Podtime marketing campaign by highlighting the need for the pods. When asked about the differences between starting a project and developing one, Gray commented, “Starting a project is based on some research, but largely on gut feeling of whether something will work or not, as you get to the development stage you start to see if the idea actually catches on. We have introduced a product for which there was no known market in Europe, but thankfully we see this perception changing every day, it’s a very exciting project to develop, we’ve learnt that development requires a watchful eye over our capacity to expand while constantly innovating.” Podtime are looking to break even within their first year, and are hopeful about future expansion plans. Their success so far, as we saw with MyKea, is largely due to their willingness to adapt. Switching their business model cannot have been a decision made lightly, but the ability to step back and assess situations with fresh eyes is a valuable skill for any entrepreneur, especially during development stages. Other entrepreneurs, take note! Read our original article on Podtime here, or visit the website here. If you live in the US, don’t forget to enter our competition to win a $500 home office upgrade by commenting below!
10th October 2011