This week we caught up with Emma Owens, co-founder and CMO of Rormix, a startup from Manchester that discovers music videos of emerging artists. She began her co-founder journey at just 23-years-old which is a huge accomplishment for her already.
Q: What has been your journey so far in tech?
A: I was introduced to tech when I met young entrepreneur Amman Ahmed after graduating Uni in 2012. We met and chatted about his startup and I came on board working with him on his first business, roundwaves.com, as a marketer. To explain briefly, Roundwaves works with artists in developing countries and creates music with a solution e.g. sleep music, concentration music and my personal fave, dog music! In terms of revenue Roundwaves is a YouTube Ad Network and Itunes structure.
I was given total freedom to do as I wished, something which was very alien to me but definitely my favourite part of working in a tech start-up.
At Roundwaves I improved viral growth by 250% and created a social media community. With Roundwaves automated, we moved on to build a new tech startup, funding it from the revenue of Roundwaves.
Now at 24 I am a co-founder of tech company Rormix – Discover Emerging Music Videos, something that I’d never imagined but is now my proudest achievement. Now we are a team of five and we have the best job working on the Rormix app. Every week is a different adventure.
Q: What have been your biggest challenges so far as a young co-founder?
A: As a young co-founder I have found that my biggest challenge is probably facing myself. I think I should be more confident as I am sometimes concerned that people may think I’m inexperienced. Interacting with VC’s and investors can sometimes be a challenge when you are a young tech team. This is where the knowledge of mentors is so important so I think that is something that is essential to incorporate. In general I have found that being a young co-founder has probably played in my favour as I can adapt to situations easily and I am so eager to learn. Plus all the experience I am gaining feels very valuable.
Q: What have been your biggest challenge so far as a woman co-founder?
A: To be honest, when I came into tech I didn’t realise that there were so few women in this industry, so when I went to my first few networking events and was the only woman there, or one of two women there, I was really surprised. I love being a woman in tech because I want to encourage other females and show them that this is the best industry to be in if you are passionate about it of course. However I also find it extremely difficult at times. At certain events I have been treated very differently to my male colleagues, even though we are at the same level. Some men will not shake my hand, even if I started the conversation. Some guys will not make eye contact and it has been something that is so obvious that other people have noticed. So this is something that I am very keen to change since the most successful technology companies are made up of both genders. It’s quite shocking how such a forward facing industry can be so very backward in this way. I don’t want to sound like I’m against men because that’s completely untrue I just want to make women feel more comfortable in a tech environment and that is everybody’s responsibility.
Q: When was Rormix launched and what are the company’s accomplishments to date?
A: Rormix the app was launched at the start of October on both iOS and Android. Since then we have got 4500+ downloads in more than 100 countries and have had some great feedback. We’ve also been featured in The Next Web twice as one of the top music discovery apps next to Shazam and some other huge players. Something we were really proud of.
Q: Tell us about your current role and responsibilities as co-founder and CMO at Rormix:
A: At Rormix I cover a lot of things (typical startup) but my main role involves user acquisition, marketing and social media management. I’m trying to get the app out to as many people as possible so I plant seeds in as many places as possible. I reach out to users to get feedback – so for example I spoke with Reddit users about the Android app and this was a massively important point for us because we changed the app based on their feedback.
Q: Is there anything new you’re planning on learning or focusing on to become a more well-rounded entrepreneur?
A: I would love to learn to code, even on a basic level but at the moment all my time is going into Rormix. I am just keen to keep learning – I seem to hear new things everyday, which I love. In terms of the future I am keen to push for change for women in tech. I want to see more women at events, speaking and generally having more of a presence, plus any prejudices that are currently in place need to disappear and I would like to help towards that.
Q: What is one piece of advice you’d offer other girls interested in tech?
A: Use being a woman to your advantage, be strong, be a pioneer, ask questions (so you can learn!), push yourself forward through the ignorance and enjoy it!