Founder Talk: Grace Regan of Clippet

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There is no doubt that more and more women are starting to take on entrepreneurial roles in business, which is inspiring other women to have the courage to get out there and start their own thing.

What’s even more inspiring is seeing some of those women as young as Grace Regan, 23-year-old co-founder of audio news app Clippet.

We caught up with her this week on working in startups, what inspired her to do this app, and why traditional news outlets need to change the way they do things.

Tell us about Clippet.

Clippet is an audio news app, which mines news from around the world to curate and create audio ‘clippets’ that last no more than 60 seconds.

We’re aimed at young professionals, university students and metropolitan commuters. We know our users seek a deeper understanding of the issues of the day but don’t have enough time to wade through various news platforms. We therefore do the hard work for them, curating, researching, writing and recording short digestible news clippets, which keep our listeners up–to–date with what’s going on in the world. 

What are your thoughts on business being so content marketing focussed in 2014? Did that inspire you to start Clippet?

I think the trend towards content–focused business is a reaction against previous tendencies for tech–led companies to simply aggregate 3rd party content and regurgitate it without thinking about the consumer and their needs. I was inspired to start Clippet because I believe news journalism needs a facelift – it’s become stale, old fashioned and irrelevant to a modern audience. The content of traditional media has become almost impenetrable; it’s incredibly time–consuming to pick apart. Why not just put information in the simplest, clearest and most conversational way possible? This is the ethos behind Clippet’s content. I think this is a general trend amongst new media content. I was excited to read Sir Howard Stringer’s report on BBC News and his suggestion that the BBC must understand it’s audience more and make their news more relevant to them. In order to engage people with your content, it must connect with them on a personal level. 

What have been your biggest challenges being an entrepreneur?

I think the biggest challenge has been learning to know when you’ve made a mistake and act upon it. So much of business relies on gut instincts. There were occasions in the early days of Clippet when myself and my business partner circled around taking action/changing direction on something because we didn’t trust our natural instincts enough. We’re getting better at this! It’s also challenging to keep pushing yourself to improve when there’s no (or few) people breathing down your neck (like in a normal job!). I’m learning to constantly challenge myself and push myself to keep improving.

What have been your biggest challenges being a woman in an industry driven by men?

To be honest, I haven’t noticed my sex getting in the way of my day–to–day work. I suppose both the journalism and tech industry are dominated by men and this has been very noticeable (especially when you go to panel discussions with industry experts and there’s no women!). The fact that we’ve built our own team of young journalists, producers and developers means that traditional gender hierarchies simply don’t exist within Clippet. That being said, I do find that ‘business talk’ and ‘tech talk’ is often a domain reserved for men. I’m often given a surprised look whenever anyone hears that I work in the app world and I think it’s this assumption that women and tech don’t mix that needs to change.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments in your entrepreneurial journey so far?

I think it would be spending months and months researching and developing our audio content (tone, style, format etc.) and coming up with a formula I’m proud of (although we’re constantly developing and improving it!). The most satisfying part of this has been being able to pass the ‘Clippet style’ onto our team of journalists and editors and watch them learn and grow into the Clippet mind–set.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Hard work pays off! Around this age I really began putting my all into everything (I was a bit of a disorganised mess before!). Looking back, I’ve realised that every achievement (no matter how small) so far has been down to pure grit, perseverance and hard work.

What advice would you give to girls/women interested in joining tech or startups?

Just do it. Ignore all the preconceptions of tech being a male–dominated world (it will never change if girls continue to think like this). There’s nothing more rewarding than working for a start up – it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it. Also, keep challenging yourself – whether it’s trying something new at school or leaving your current job to pursue something you’d rather be doing.

 

 

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