No one who was present at Seedcamp 2007 when Ryan Notz, founder of MyBuilder, made his acceptance speech could have failed to be moved.
Without any of the "Oscar gushing" , Ryan very simply explained what his mission to build his marketplace for builders and consumers meant to him and his family.
Here was a guy with real passion and deep knowledge of his industry.
A stonemason turned internet entrepreneur was always going to be a great press story - and so it proved.
It wasn't all that obvious, however, that Ryan would also build a really good business.
This he has done - or certainly is in the process of doing. The company has been profitable for a number of months now and is growing strongly.
Marketplaces are notoriously difficult to build successfully. It takes time to build critical mass and before reaching this point, your utility to both buyers and sellers is pretty limited.
Bringing the giant Travis Perkins/Wicks on board as shareholders certainly helped. They have been outstandingly supportive, contributing meaningfully to board debate and providing access to the right parts of the organisation. The direct involvement of Geoff Cooper, CEO and John Carter, COO has been meaningful and a great example of how a corporate partnership can be made to work for a small web start-up.
Now, MyBuilder welcomes 4iP to the fold. See Techcrunch 21 Sept.
4iP is Channel 4's
Channel 4 have dominated the TV landscape in the field of Home Improvement with such programmes as Grand Designs; Location, Location, Location; The Home Show etc.
The 4iP investment will be used to accelerate growth and to build out the strong team that Ryan is assembling.
"4iP (4 Innovation for the Public) is a significant new initiative designed to stimulate public service digital media across the UK. The 4iP Fund aims to deliver publicly valuable content and services on digital media platforms – this means supporting great ideas for websites, games and mobile services which help people improve their lives."