This Is What A Founder Looks Like – anet360
Having first experienced entrepreneurship running a cafe in his home country of Hungary, Ferenc Boroczky got a taste for it. When he moved to the UK in 2006, he knew he wanted to start another business, but launching anet360 has been quite different to running a cafe.
anet360 is an immersive learning experience platform. Ferenc explains that it “maximises the capabilities of smartphones and allows people to have immersive training using their own devices and mobile VR headsets”.
He says: “The idea is to help companies to recruit, train and upskill their employees. That's what we do. It's not about technology, per se. It's more about the learning experience that we can create through technology.”
While it couldn’t be much further from his experiences with the cafe, Ferenc says that there are definitely some transferable skills between the two. “It's things like service design and how you think about the whole experience, there are similarities between the physical and the online work. It's different, but there are some things that you can apply across both areas.”
But how did Ferenc go from running a cafe to creating a tech business? Well, the idea all came about when a friend of his tragically lost his life in a cycling accident. “I realised how short life is and I wanted to do something meaningful, I wanted to leave my mark somehow. I think improving road safety is something that most people support, it's good for everyone,” he says. “So I set out to create a way to improve the training that HGV drivers receive.
“I started to contact fleet operators and told them about my idea. They told me my idea was crazy but I showed them the prototype that we had created and they thought it would be good to use for professional driver training. And that's how it all started.”
Ferenc received a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp in 2018 to help get his idea off the ground and that turned out to be a key turning point in the business. He explains: “Virgin StartUp gave us credibility. After that, it was a bit easier. It's not just a loan. It's much more. You have to put together a business plan and you have to think about what you’re going to do.
“Virgin StartUp gives you trust and confidence in what you're doing. This is why it was really good to work with them because they give us this credibility and then it was easier to move to the next stage because it's a recognised name. It's a big, big help for start-ups.”
The business hasn’t been without its challenges though. Convincing the DVSA to certify anet360 as an approved training centre was difficult because “it’s completely new technology in a completely traditional market”. In the past, HGV drivers would sit through presentations and be taught in a less interactive way. But, using Anet 360, they can now enter into an immersive learning environment.
And the events of the last two years have presented a great opportunity for anet360. Ferenc says: “I think when COVID happened, companies realised that they had to change the way that they train people.
“With the current driver storage, if the industry wants to attract the younger generation to choose driving as a profession, then they have to change the way that they train people. For the younger generation, I think using VR, AR, smartphones is natural. And in the long term, I think we will be in a good position to be at the forefront of this.”
Got a great idea for a business, but don’t know where to start? Visit Virgin StartUp for Start Up Loans, advice and guidance.