“I can’t see why anyone would want to start a high tech business without the services of SETsquared. Most importantly, there’s the credibility of saying you’re a SETsquared company and the access to so many valuable contacts, as well as high quality advice. Then there are also fantastic facilities on tap and good value accommodation.”
Peter Lilley, co-founder and CEO, iGeolise

Fast facts

  • Start date: 2009
  • Website: www.igeolise.com
  • Market sector: online
  • Location: Surrey
  • Investment raised: £160,000
  • Number of employees: 2 plus up to 10 contractors 

SETsquared support

  • premises
  • mentoring
  • events
  • Investment Showcase
  • networking

Company overview:

iGeolise has created a software platform called Travel Time, which enables users to search for online content by how much time a journey takes rather than its distance away. It is licensing this technology to websites such as estate agents and local search engines.

What was the vision for the company and what problem were you aiming to solve?

“Charlie Davies, my co-founder, had identified that everything on the web was done by distance. You might search for a house on a property website within a certain number of miles from your office, but knowing how long the commute would take is more useful. So we set up iGeolise to build the technology that would enable online searches by travel time.”

Company successes:

April 2011: secured first angel funding
June 2012: visited San Francisco with UKTI trade mission
October 2012: secured angel funding to match TSB grant
October 2012: won UK leg of European Satellite Navigation competition
June 2013: went live with project for major car manufacturer in Thailand

SETsquared support:

“We started iGeolise in a loft above my garage, but after a meeting through a contact, we joined SETsquared in 2010.”
“SETsquared has helped us in three main areas: premises, introductions and advice. We went from the loft to fully serviced offices, with blazing fast internet, that are open 365 days a year. They provided all the facilities we needed at an affordable rate, minimising distractions.”
“SETsquared is great at making introductions, and through them we’ve met useful contacts, suppliers and investors. For example, they recommended a lawyer that was experienced at working with start-ups.”
“As a result of an introduction via SETsquared, we were able to go to San Francisco in 2012 on a mission organised by UKTI for app developers. On the mission we met Google, Apple, PayPal and eBay, and doors were opened that would never have happened otherwise. We’ve now gone live in the USA, which we wouldn’t have done without this trip.”
“In terms of advice, we have regular formal business reviews every six to eight weeks with Ben Partridge and Sarah De’Lacy at SETsquared. On top of that, it’s the informal, 10 minute conversations that make a big difference. SETsquared also has a roster of very well-qualified mentors with whom we have thought-provoking meetings.”
“When we first joined SETsquared, our plan was to build a content-rich website with travel time searching. But SETsquared challenged us on how we would deliver this, and whether there was a simpler way of doing things. As a result, we decided to just focus on our technology, and changed our business plan.”
“Without SETsquared’s advice, we would have carried on with our previous business plan to build a consumer-facing portal, and would have stayed with that idea too long. As a start-up, it’s essential to be flexible and aware of what’s going on around you, so you can change when you need to.”
“Through SETsquared, we heard about the European Satellite Navigation competition. We subsequently won its UK leg, which led to an article in the Guardian. About an hour after the article appeared, we got a call from a large firm of estate agents, which has now become a major customer.”
“About £150,000, nearly half the money we’ve raised, has been without selling equity. We’ve done this through grants, which we mostly wouldn’t have known about without SETsquared. You have to work hard to secure grants, but apart from that they’re free money. Investors look favourably on companies that have received grants, because it makes their own money go further.”
“SETsquared has also helped us present ourselves better to investors, including competitions that enabled us to hone our pitch. Without their help, our presentations would have been too product-led – and it would have taken us longer to realise that’s not what investors are looking for.”
“I’ve worked in a start-up before, and it was hugely different to having SETsquared’s support. If I ever start another business, I’d look to work with SETsquared again.”

Future plans:

“In the near future, we expect to go live with a major UK customer, and to roll out our service across an additional 43 countries, which demonstrates our technology scales well. One day, I would like travel time to replace distance in every search on the internet – and it would be fantastic if all of those searches were driven by iGeolise.”