Q&A with Ben Corrigan, Co-Founder & Marketing Director, PouchLast Updated: June 1, 2019
As co-founder of the tech startup Pouch, Ben Corrigan has been a ingeniously disruptive e-commerce figure, helping discount-savvy shopper to save time and money. Here, he speaks to AGENT about his first forays into business and reveals why he always makes his bed first thing in the morning…
Although he’s only 26, Ben Corrigan has effectively been living the entrepreneurial dream for the past dozen years. An active eBook seller on eBay by the age of 14 while also designing and selling websites, Corrigan knew for sure by the age of 16 that he wanted to run his own business.
And by September of 2016, he had arrived, setting up Pouch with his co-founder Jonny Plein. Pouch is a free browser extension that tells you if online discount vouchers are available for products on websites, as you browse them.
The idea is that you never have to leave a site to search for a voucher code, and the brilliant simplicity of the pitch made an almost unprecedented impact on BBC Dragon’s Den. On that occasion, for only the third time in the history of the show, all of the notoriously skeptical Dragons made an offer of investment—some achievement for a startup co-founder who, as he reveals below, has a horror of public speaking!
Pouch is an ingeniously and subtly disruptive idea that has appeared at exactly the right time, and the future looks bright at the startup, where Ben Corrigan says the mission is to continue refining Pouch into a multi-faceted technology entity, working across a range of platforms and devices to help users save time and money when shopping.
11 Questions for Ben Corrigan Co-Founder, JoinPouch
Ben Corrigan freed up some time in his busy entrepreneurial schedule to talk to AGENT about Pouch and his earliest forays into business, and reveals why he always makes his bed first thing in the morning…
1.Briefly tell us about your business and your business goals.
Pouch is a free shopping tool that saves our users time and money. We automatically present the best available voucher codes as you shop on over 3000 UK websites so you never had to leave a site to search for a voucher code ever again. This makes shopping much more seamless for users, and also dramatically reduces website abandonment rates for retailers.
Also, because we sit in the browser, we allow retailers to target their ideal customers as they shop on any website in the world including on their competitors own websites. We hope this will completely disrupt digital marketing and eCommerce in the UK.
We aim to be a multi-faceted technology company working across a range of platforms and devices to help users save time and money when shopping.
2. What age were you when you realised you wanted to run your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak. I had an eBay business selling eBooks when I was 14, and I was designing and selling websites from an early age. I knew for sure that I wanted to run my own business from about 16.
3. Who are your business icons and inspirations?
Tough question. I have many business idols, mostly from the Valley. Sir Martin Sorrell, Marc Andreessen, Elon Musk, Ben Horowitz, Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, Chris Sacca, Tim Ferris, Jack Ma, Peter Jones, Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg. Obviously also Jobs, Gates and Wozniak, but doesn’t everybody include them in every list!?
4. What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you surmount it?
Personally, my biggest challenge was in preparing for our Dragon’s Den appearance. I get particularly bad anxiety when it comes to public speaking, so the thought of going on national television was absolutely terrifying.
We ended up over-preparing. We must have practiced our pitch 500 times, and we even hired body language and speech therapists for 3 sessions in the build-up to the show. But it paid off. We ended up receiving offers of investment from every single Dragon, which has only happened twice before in the show’s 15 year history.
5. What gives you the most satisfaction in business?
Building cool products with my best friends and people that I respect profoundly. Every single day is different and poses different challenges, but there are always incremental improvements to the company, which is very satisfying to see over time.
6. Work-Life balance: is it possible? How do you achieve it?
I believe it is possible. It just requires effort to pull yourself away from work. I have two other co-founders which makes things much easier. We share a lot of the administrative and decision making responsibilities that would ordinarily consume and burden a sole founder.
It is important to take time for yourself, especially on weekends. Otherwise you may begin to resent your own company and the negative affects it has on your personal/social life.
7. What is the first thing you do every day?
Very recently, I have made an extra effort to make my bed as the very first thing I do. Admiral McRaven says that if you make your bed, you will have already completed one task, which sets you forward to complete other small tasks throughout the day.
And even if you don’t complete any other tasks in the whole day, you will at least come back to a bed that you made yourself!
8. What screen saver picture is currently on your phone?
So boring… the generic one that Apple provides as standard, of the sea and the sky. I have been meaning to change it to my company logo.
9. What is the most important app on your mobile phone, and why?
Tough question again. I an obsessed with podcasts, so the podcast app is the most used app on my phone. But Gmail is the most important.
10. What is the last thing you Googled?
“Most populated cities in Europe”… random.
11. What item do you never leave the house without, and why?
Headphones, to listen to my podcasts.
12. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out in business?
Well, I am only 26 so I still have a lot to learn. However, I would tell myself to take my work a bit more seriously and to be a lot less frustrated and bitter when things don’t go my way.