Meet David White, from our Cooper Project
David White joined the Cooper Project to develop his business ‘Papermill’. We chatted with him to find out more about the business, why he started it and how the Cooper Project has benefitted him.
Tell me a bit about the business
The business, Papermill, is a modern platform for document review which has been designed and developed specifically for people who work within the space industry – for those who build satellites and analyse satellite data.
Satellite design is often a lengthy process, it is also a process which is reviewed by multiple people across various countries. Therefore, Papermill is a platform which collates all information in one place – it enables people to avoid making mistakes, helps them to move faster when engineering a product, and it also helps to keep a log of each important stage of the project.
How did you come up with this idea?
I come from an academic background, so I was enthusiastic to do something for academia, to help people review scientific articles and manage conferences.
I’ve helped to build a satellite before and during the process I talked to individuals in the space industry who told me about the problems they were having with logging the design process. They sent me some examples of how they were trying to manage this process - from there I started working on a solution, as I thought I could solve it.
What is your unique selling point?
Papermill is innovative as it combines lots of elements of modern web technology that didn’t exist a few years ago.
How has the Cooper Project benefitted you?
The Cooper Project has benefitted me in many ways. I’ve gained a great support network, I’ve met and worked alongside other entrepreneurs, and I was able to join when I was in the very early stages of my business idea – which was incredibly helpful as it’s during the beginning phase when that extra support and push in the right direction is extremely valuable.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
You need to build something that people want, therefore it’s important to conduct market research to find out who your target market is and how to create a product that appeals to them.
I know this from personal experience, I’ve wasted a lot of time building things that people don’t actually need. I realised the most important thing to do is speak to people and find out what it is they want.
I would also recommend every entrepreneur to read ‘The Mom Test’ book, as it has lots of help and advice for those starting their own business.
What’s your biggest achievement?
I’ve learnt so many new technical skills and I’m proud of how much I have achieved so far - including managing to start my own business! It’s important to keep trying and not give up, even when things go wrong.
I feel like I’ve taught myself lots of business skills and hope to continue to do so. With help from the new network I have around me, I’m sure I’ll be able to do so.
What are your future plans?
My aim at the moment is to get customers using my products, and it’s important to get feedback from them so that I can improve my business. I’m keen to continue learning and taking on new challenges, so that my company can grow in the future.