Meet Dylan McKee & Nic Flynn, founders of Nebula Labs

Chloe Taylor speaks to Dylan McKee (pictured) and Nic Flynn of Nebula Labs – a software house based in Newcastle offering mobile app development, web platform development, and bespoke software development. The inspiring young duo talk about Newcastle University’s Foundership programme, their first six months in business and why they love the North East business community

Clutching his cup of earl grey, Dylan introduces the day to day basics of Nebula Labs – ‘We essentially develop software to solve problems. We help out brands – typically start-ups – who have an idea that they’re trying to prove or established businesses who have a problem to solve or are seeking improvement in their business. We recognise that technology can help in many cases to solve problems or improve efficiency.’

The vision for Nebula Labs sparked after recognising a gap in the market and running with the desire to adopt a career in something that they’re both passionate about.

‘Our differentiator is that we are very agile with our work. We have lots of experience working with start-ups and we have adapted our way to build solutions to problems as if they were start-ups – we take every project with that mentality.’

Nebula Labs is aimed at ambitious start-ups, entrepreneurs, and forward-thinking SMEs. Although most of their clients are from the North East, the pair love working with amazing partners around the country and worldwide. When asked how they meet prospective clients they explain that it’s through networking events, Campus North, referrals through university partners and indeed the Northern tech community.

Nic explains that while the pair had limited experience in business, just working in a business was enough to give them a steady idea of how a business is ran. They outsource their legal and accountancy support, acknowledging that having the right assistance is integral. They also emphasise the importance of selecting the right advisors, something they believe has helped them maintain their standard of work.

‘Not only can we not do everything ourselves, we wouldn’t want to! We would much rather spend our time doing what we love and are passionate about in order to produce high quality results. It’s important to do what you can do best!’

Nic continues that high quality is the essence of generating work and clients, and that good reviews are integral when it comes to word of mouth recommendation. Competition can be strong in the North East but it is something that Nebula Labs don’t fear, and only relish. They see their competition as partners and collaborators and people they could actually work with, not continuously look to be bigger and better than. When asked about advertising they explain that their best advert is their work and regularly updated portfolio that speaks for itself.

‘I think being an entrepreneur in the North East is good. There’s a really nice business community in the North East. People are generally friendly and want to help each other out. We even have some companies that we would class as competitors that actually help us out by sending work our way if it’s not for them and vice versa. We think this is a healthy approach to how it should work.’

Although many of his proficiencies are self-taught through programming and practice, Dylan participated in the Ignite Accelerator 10-week programme in which he helped a cycling app by working as the developer for the team – this in particular helped to build his business skills. The pair also took part in the Newcastle University start-ups Foundership programme, explaining that it gave them the discipline to succeed as a new graduate. The advisors provided guidance that at the time perhaps didn’t appear necessary but paid off profoundly, and the scheme allowed them access to funding for start-up costs and the opportunity to recruit and select appropriate interns when needed.

They reiterate the importance of proving your business idea and demonstrate that there is a market for the product, stressing that market research is vital to gage a genuine interest. When asked about advice for those starting out in business Nic urges others to just go for it.

‘Use your own devices, research, use free tools from the internet. Don’t pay hundreds of pounds for something that you can get free or wait around for help when there are things you could be doing yourself.’

Dylan and Nic both express their elation of achieving the goal of moving on from the university facilities to Campus North, they highly recommend the co-working space. A real sense of  passion for their work is so apparent when speaking to the pair, as they discuss their next goal of working with more interesting people, whether it be individuals or companies or innovations.

Nebula Labs

Words: Chloe Taylor