Liverpool-based Cemos is a cloud-based digital platform developer that use their platform to create mobile applications that are tailored for health, fitness and wellbeing.
Chris Mitchell is the Managing Director of Cemos. Cemos received £150,000 of equity funding from MSIF in 2017, through the NPIF Maven Equity Fund.
Why did you create Cemos?
Three years ago I exited the marketing agency I founded of nearly 15 years and felt I needed a completely new challenge – one that put to use my marketing experience, but was less based on providing a marketing service to other brands and more of selling a my own product.
What is Cemos?
We have developed a digital platform that facilitates the curation, scheduling, personalisation and automatic daily delivery of packages of related health, physical activity and wellbeing education into mobile apps to encourage healthy habits and positive behaviour change. We’ve recently launched an exciting range of products designed for Workplaces, Schools and Beginners under our Virtuathon brand.
What was the initial stage of setting up the business like?
The first two years were completely self-financed. We launched numerous iterations of similar products to test different markets until we decided that we had gone someway to proving one of these products – over 130 charities had registered in a little over 4 weeks. It was at this stage that we sought external investment.
What is it like to manage a growing business?
I grew my previous marketing and design business to 25 employees at it’s peak, working with household brands such as Warburtons, Radley, Staples and Fujifilm – all of whom had specific marketing and creative challenges which we provided solutions for. These problem solving and analytical skills have stood me in good stead, but certainly didn’t prepare me for the resolve required to actually conceive, develop, (continually) refine and launch completely new products into very challenging markets.
How did you find your search for funding?
Although I had organically grown a business this was the first time I had successfully sought external funding – looking back now I guess I was somewhat naive! We explored different options and had interest from various sources, but after extremely positive meetings I decided to accept the offer from NPIF through MSIF.
What has been your greatest business achievement so far?
We’re currently delivering an eight-week Workplace Virtuathon programme with daily health, physical activity and wellbeing education to First Community Credit Union employees distributed in 29 offices over 4,732 miles away in Oregon, USA. They searched in the US but “couldn’t find anything even close to what Workplace Virtuathon offer”.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Resilience. Providing a service to established clients to market their existing brand is very, very different to developing a new product. I’ve had to develop new skills that have been required to identify, define, create, commercialise, launch, market and sell our new, unique and innovative health, fitness and wellbeing products.
How did you feel about having an equity investment?
Initially, I was apprehensive about ‘giving away’ equity in a business that myself and my family had put everything into financially and emotionally. However, I can honestly say that MSIF have been incredibly supportive and I certainly haven’t ‘given away’ equity, rather enhance my team with fantastic partners.
What are your plans for the future?
The technology has been developed to deliver content daily across different timezones throughout the World, so with the success of our first Workplace Virtuathon client in the USA, I’m very excited about the potential to capitalise on this and also to export to other international markets.
If you could give one piece of advice to others looking to start their own business, what would it be?
Research. Plan. Analyse. Refine. Repeat! Whatever it is you’re thinking of selling, whether it be a service or product, it’s unlikely to be the final version so don’t be too precious and continually re-evaluate and refine your offering.