Striding ahead: from side project to successful business

It started as a hobby, but for Hana Sutch and Steven Johnson, the enjoyment, health and wellbeing benefits they get from the simple act of walking has made it much more than that. It’s now a funded and flourishing business called Go Jauntly. The Go Jauntly app makes it easy to find hidden and lesser known walks in your area, and to create and share your own. But rather than being about calorie counting and fitness like so many others are, it’s about wellbeing, mental relaxation and happiness outdoors.

To fully appreciate the team’s inspiration and how they progressed so quickly from hobby to growing business, we went on a jaunt with Go Jauntly and heard from Hana about how and why her side project has grown into something so much more.

Step 1: find an idea that you really care about

For me, walking has so many underrated benefits. It’s amazing how just being surrounded by nature, jumping in puddles or finding a really good stick can bring out such childlike happiness and make you feel great. With Go Jauntly, we wanted to spread and share that happiness and create an easy way for more people to find enjoyment in the great outdoors.

Step 2: using what you already have

As we already run a digital agency — Furthermore — we knew that taking on Go Jauntly was going to be a big commitment, but we also had established processes in place that we’d used at Furthermore than we could use for Go Jauntly.

First we did a huge amount of research and gathered a lot of information from charities, from abroad, from competitors. The more we learnt, the more excited and determined we got about the proposition. Our experience at Furthermore meant we knew how to get designs together and clarify the concept so we were eager to get started on the next steps.

Step 3: facing up to your barriers

For (cofounder) Steven and I the main hurdles were that we have many other commitments and didn’t know how much time we could give to Go Jauntly, and also that we really wanted to bring other people onboard, as collaboration and partnerships are really important to us.

Step 4: building a team by distributing equity

We found out about Vestd through a KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network) event where Naveed was giving a talk about the equity economy and Vestd, and how they were running a competition where the prize was to bring one startup onto the platform for free. We applied — and won! Doing the application gave us the kick we needed to put as much as we could into Go Jauntly and gave us the validation that what we wanted to do was worth the effort.

One of the best things for us is how easy it is to collaborate with people using equity through the platform. We’ve been able to cherry pick the best people for the team and what’s amazing is that because we’re collaborating for equity, they’re all just as invested in the business’s success as we are. It’s a fantastic human motivator.

Step 5: thinking big for the future

At the moment we’re pushing ahead with the Go Jauntly iOS app to get out a minimum loveable product but want to expand the areas where we’re creating walks. We have so many ideas in the pipeline that we’re keen to roll out — lots of creative ways to get people active outdoors, but we’re taking it one step at a time to make sure we get things right.

Thanks to the progress we’ve been able to make, we’ve also now won funding from Geovation. This means we can continue to make some really significant steps forward while still using Vestd to reward team members and grow the business in new and creative ways.

Step 6: advice for other founders

My advice is that even if you already have startup experience, getting validation from a totally new place is so important. Not only does it give you the confidence boost you need, but also gives you the kickstart to get creating!

If you are looking to grow your business using equity, get in touch.