Supernotes simplifies your learning workflow by breaking down note-taking into digital notecards, instead of the traditional page format. This allows you to organise and personalise your notes in an incredibly flexible manner and seamlessly collaborate with your classmates. Helping you to focus on what's important, your studies.
1. Who are you outside of being the co-founder of Supernotes?
Outside of just startup life, I like having a good time, I go rock climbing and I used to be the president of the rock climbing club at university. University very much moulded me and helped me. People put so much emphasis on degrees, the emphasis should be on the environment you’re in, the independence you learn – they can be even more valuable than your degree. I’ve got relationships with really good friends. I have the same friends and same flatmates from university – we’ve been living together for four years now. Supernotes is very much a personal journey for me. So it was very much part of my whole journey within university and so now I’ve just graduated, I’m still continuing something that I created whilst I was studying.
2. Tell us about how Supernotes started – what was the founding moment?
Essentially, I was at university and I was shocked at the learning platform. It is called Keats which is a skin of Moodle for KCL students. They are learning management systems but the issue is that they manage students which is wrong because they don’t actually increase student-to-student interaction. In fact, by increasing the cohort size, universities indirectly decrease the rapport that some students have with their professors which in turn leads to an increase in mental health issues and the drop-out rate.
Sometimes, I would be on the bus and I wanted to revise but I didn’t have all my stuff with me. So what I created originally was a platform where I was able to write down all the information from one slide into one singular format so that I could revise on-the-go. I gave them to my mates for free – all the lecture slides, tutorial ideas and additional ideas I found on the Internet – this was the beginning of Supernotes. All my classmates started using it and then other university students and we ended up having over 1000 users. I hadn’t thought anything of it until one day my flatmate told me about a free lunch at the Entrepreneurship Institute, around exam season in 2017.
I went along and I bumped into the Accelerator manager, Ed Halliday. We began to talk, although I was very cautious with how much information I gave way – in the past I would tell people about my idea and they would actually copy them – he encouraged me to apply to the King’s20 Accelerator and then I quickly realised that I couldn’t do it alone. I had a great long-time friend, Connor, whom I met whilst waiting in line to by a drink, in first year – he came to mind. He is amazing at coding and has been coding since the age of 10! So, I focus on designing the front-end of the platform and he does the mechanical part, the back-end.
"We wanted to make learning more accessible for every student."
We made multiple test builds together and then in early 2018 we came up with the note-taking platform that is available now.
3. What is the importance of having people around you who support your vision and reflect your values?
I had this thing in first year where I would go out to everything I that I was invited to, I made myself say yes even if I was ill or didn’t feel up to it. Pretty much, 9 times out of 10, even if I didn’t feel up to it, I would really enjoy myself, have a great time and meet new people. By putting myself out there, I created a great friendship group. My friends, Toby, Ari and Chloe, have all been encouraging and driving me on, so given that Supernotes is very much a collaborative platform, it may not be where it is today, had they not supported me.
"When you go to university, you have to just get stuck in and not pull back. It's important you make connections to people right at the start because you then you end up having life-long friends."
4. How would you describe your relationship with learning?
To be honest, I always hated focusing on stuff and I loved procrastinating. I usually got really focused if I set myself an objective or went to the library with one of my friends. My flatmate Daniel (he introduced me to the Entrepreneurship Institute) and I used to go to the Maughan library together. Every morning, we would cycle in at 8am, get the same seats and we would motivate each other whenever one of us wasn’t feeling it, it was really nice to have that. I associated funny things we said or did with learning and I realised that’s one of the major ways that many of us learn. We plan to introduce a collaborative aspect to the Supernotes platform very soon which will enhance this side of learning.
5. What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking a similar journey to you?
Whilst you’re at university, get stuck in and apply to as many things as you can. Make sure you’re solving a real world problem. Seek third-party advice, not just advice from your friends and family. Go to people in that sector and really understand what it is that you’re proving, creating and solving.
Do the Mom Test.
"Once you've got that idea you can pretty much do anything about it if you're passionate enough."
If, for whatever reason, you feel like you can’t do it now, you can do it in the future. Put it away, think about it, keep it there. There are many resources available to help you within the UK, for example, look at Research and Development Tax Reliefs or talk to people at the Entrepreneurship Institute equivalent of your university or local area. Ultimately, they are there to help you, because if you do well then they do well.
6. What’s next for you? What do you hope Supernotes becomes?
I’m 100% in this. It’s really important to be 100% invested. It needs to be something personal because you can really understand what you’re trying to solve from all angles and be in it for the long haul. If you’re trying to solve something not really related to you, make sure you have someone on board who is personally connected to the problem at hand.
Ultimately, the vision is Supernotes being a digital education where students can have their learning and knowledge with them wherever they are and learning becoming a collaborative process.
"If we tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of a good idea. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life." -Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb
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