In recent years, getting to Inbox Zero has become heralded as the ultimate pilgrimage to productivity, with solutions popping up to facilitate this journey. Data-driven business communication and task prioritisation startup Fantoo takes the task a step farther.
Fantoo presents users with only the information that matters to them, offering a people-centric view of one’s working environment and enabling employees to easily define and prioritise required actions.
CEO Jordan Fantaay was driven to found Fantoo by his own experience of email overload and anxiety over his productivity as a business user. Perplexed by the lack of innovation in this space, he sought to deliver an effective solution to a universal problem.
But Fantoo isn’t Jordan’s first foray into the tech startup space.
Jordan: I’ve had three former startups. The first one was a high-end hi-fi company, which I started in parallel to studying, to compete with the likes of Bang & Olufsen and Bose. The second startup became Europe’s second largest supplier of fitness entertainment products for the health and fitness industry. The third had the most successful interactive entertainment screen product across the US, selling to Nasdaq-listed fitness chains. In summary, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur in the technology space for the last 20 years.
SR: What made you want to start Fantoo – did your inspiration stem from passion, frustration or something else? What gap are you trying to fill?
My belief is that inspiration starts with yourself – you have to be truly inspired to create and sell your vision to all those around you. I’ve been in business for 20 years and have been a typical business email user. I’ve seen not a lot change in this regard and simply thought, there has to be a better way, I will create one. Many, many people will benefit, and that was truly inspiring to me.
What differentiates Fantoo from existing products (e.g. Slack)?
Fantoo is improving how people in the corporate space communicate and collaborate. Every day people have to deal with lots of noise, information overload and distractions in their daily work lives. This all adds to workplace stress, which in fact is the greatest type of stress to affect people globally.
Fantoo provides a smart messaging and collaboration platform which minimises this daily noise and distractions to intuitively get people to what is important through a fresh new user experience that’s unified from desktop to mobile. Unlike competitors such as Slack, which ultimately seek to move message traffic from email to chat, Fantoo seeks to power outcomes, ensuring people are doing the things that make a company money.
What help have you received along your journey so far?
Fantoo has attracted many great people and capital. The team today is composed of 15 people and four advisors, including the CEO of Dell UK and our Chairman, who has personally founded and sold a company to Hitachi for $500m+. With regards to capital, the company has attracted £2.1m in equity investments and we have maximised grants available to the company via the government’s Innovate UK, which is a total of £350,000. Lastly, we have benefited from Michael Dell and Dell Computers supporting our growth with a monetary value of £200,000.
How would you describe your office culture, and what do you look for when hiring?
Similar to most fast-rising technology companies, the culture is very open and flat in structure. Being a small team, we like to ensure we empower our members to act and feel they are entrepreneurs in their own right. People at Fantoo could earn much more in the market; they are driven by the work they do and making a difference with their work, building a legacy they can be proud of. We are very selective when hiring, we ensure we attract the right people based on our current culture. This ensures we continue to attract the right people and continue to grow with a purpose and passion for what we do.
Being an entrepreneur is no easy life and requires you to tackle new challenges on a daily basis. What helps you day-to-day and motivates you to keep going?
My past experience in building and running start-ups has certainly helped. I am aware of and know how to tackle the demands and challenges that can be presented to an entrepreneur on a daily weekly basis. What helps me daily are the team, the people I have surrounded myself with. They act as my counsel and support, they help to make decisions and drive the business. What motivates me to keep going is to bring the vision to fruition, every day we get closer, every day we can see how our vision inspires other people.
What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs?
Ensure you have a clear vision for your venture and become the chief evangelist for it. Only you are going to get people excited about becoming involved and partnering with you. Perseverance is key, a lot of entrepreneurs throw in the towel too early. Growing a global company is not a short ride, it’s a marathon – albeit on a rollercoaster.
What is your vision for Fantoo’s future?
I believe a vision should be concise and yet broad. Fantoo’s vision is to be the end user communication-collaboration interface for business users globally.
Fantoo is currently raising funds on SyndicateRoom.