This week we talk to Sticky.to cofounder James Garner. Sticky help companies make apps that are both digital and physical through NFC stickers and a “low code” dashboard. Sticky is a really new company founded towards the end of 2019 with James and his team right at the start of their journey. We thought it would be awesome to get a view from the early stage as it’s where so many of us in the Decksender community are right now.

James has been a member of the Decksender start-up community for a while and it’s been great to see him at some of our events. Hopefully when lockdown eases we’ll have a chance to catch up again in person.

What’s the immediate impact of lockdown been on Sticky?

Despite being very early stage the team at Sticky had already started some exploratory conversations with investors. These have been put on hold but it’s not stopped the team progressing. Lockdown has actually worked a little to their advantage giving them the time to double down on product development with a view to focussing on investment when the landscape looks better.

I admire James’ pragmatism here. Frequently investment is sought at the expense of seeing how far the bootstraps actually reach and it’s often surprising to founding teams what can be achieved without investor money. As James says the closer they can get to revenue is only going to put them in a better position when they do seek funding further in the year.

What’s the trajectory for Sticky?

The original premise for Sticky was about saving the high street. Lockdown has somewhat refocussed this but it’s opened up new opportunities beyond applying digital principles to the physical world. What the team has found is that the digital storefronts they have created are now centre stage, which opens a huge number of doors for the product set.

At the moment their team is small, 2 full time and part-time help. This has been somewhat of a learning curve for James, asking for help doesn’t always come naturally. But, there’s never been a better time to reach out to people, investors included.

A refreshing attitude to the current situation.

It’s hard right now for everyone but it’s clear that James and his team have moved on from panic made and have knuckled down to work through the problems. I think this is a story other founders need to hear especially if they’re thinking of chucking in the towel. The world is crazy right now, some change will be permanent but a lot of things will come back. If you believe in your idea stick with it.

Where is the high street heading?

Given Sticky’s relationship with the high street I wanted to get James’ take on where it’s heading. Like many he believes strongly in a move to a more experiential high street. In his opinion this means a host of more traditional retailers are going to go out of business. Let’s face it this is mainly down to a failure to change and grasp what the consumer is looking for. It’s far too easy to say online shopping is killing the high street. Online shopping is killing businesses that have failed to understand that they need to create strong reasons for people to visit their stores beyond buying the same stuff Amazon sells.

What’s your view on the Government schemes?

Like most of us in start-up world James applauds the fact that the Government is looking to help start-ups it’s just the detail that is an issue. Furloughing workers is impossible, accessing loan schemes unworkable so where can then turn? The answer, which is true for so many of us, is nowhere right now. It feels like a lot of the noise made towards start-ups is grabbing headlines but having little effect. He would have preferred the Government made more of schemes like SEIS and EIS perhaps making these more attractive right now would have been a better move.

What i take from this interview is really positive. Sure nobody wanted to be where we are right now but I truly admire the way James and his team are making the best of things, refocussing on where the opportunity lies and getting stuck in. I think it’s a great story for anyone at an early stage to be inspired by.

Lastly all that’s left to say is a thank you to James for his time and to wish the team at Sticky good luck for the months ahead.

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Get in touch with Sticky.

About James:

A deep tech founder James is focussed on ubiquitous computing, hyper-personalisation, semantics and building the future.

Social media:

Twitter – @jadaradixLinkedIn – James Garner

About Sticky:

Reality’s application layer. Sticky helps companies make apps that are both digital and physical through NFC stickers and a ‘low code’ dashboard. Sticky’s flagship app is Stickyretail which reimagines the in-store+online retail experience, allowing consumers to check out in under 5 seconds.

Sticky social media:

Website – sticky.to Twitter – @stickyadv Medium – medium.com/sticky-adventures