Bringing you real-life stories from entrepreneurs, founders and industry experts with Jeet Ghose, co-founder and CEO of Mountbase

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In this episode, Legislate meets Jeet Ghose, co-founder and CEO of Mountbase, a streaming app were founders entrepreneurs and industry experts share their stories.

Jeet shares his advice on how to mitigate risk during international expansion, the importance of building relationships and his most inspiring founder stories.

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Charles: Jeet, thank you for taking the time, would you like to please share a bit of background about yourself and Mountbase? 

Jeet: Sure, and thank you so much for the intro. Mountbase is a streaming site where we're bringing together people and real life experiences so we're sharing stories from founders, entrepreneurs and business-minded people that have been there and done it. What we wanted to do is change the way in which people look at the business world, and interact with it really. We've combined tech, we're a media company so we produce a lot of in-house media, and we've combined that with storytelling in tech so we've sourced like one way you can watch all these videos on demand and inspired to the best life and also do what you love every day. 

Charles: What have been your most inspiring videos? 

Jeet: There's been quite a few different ones. I think, for myself, some of the really inspiring stories have been, you know, Ciaran Savage from CIP, just the way he started his business because he started one day with £100 and a backpack and he just went out and started selling card payment solutions to people. I think, as of last week, he's earning over nearly £5 million a year, he's been voted in Forbes 30 under 30, all without going to university and going down the traditional career path. That's been really inspirational for myself but you see a lot of founders that have these crazy inspirational stories, from no funding, all the odds stacked against them, everyone telling them they can't do it. Then from there, they go straight from that to these ground-breaking companies, like Thursday dating or QUO or James from Lunar, so those have been really good ones. 

Charles: I think the more someone says you can't do something, the more you're likely to do it. 

Jeet: Yes, exactly that. But also, I feel a lot of our stories share that we're all, kind of, in this together, we've all faced the same challenges and all of that doubt that you have of, can I do this or is it really going to work out, and then overcoming that, so that's been really inspirational as well. Seeing people that have actually been in those tough situations and all those challenges. 

Charles: From your personal experience, what's been your favourite moment with Mountbase so far? 

Jeet: I think so far, we had a really great moment a couple of weeks ago, we launched our web app so to be able to see the fruits of our labour just out there so anyone can download it or watch online and seeing subscriptions coming in from day 1 has been really good so. It's been great pay off for our team, seeing all their hard work pay off and actually seeing that you're getting that validation, that people want to watch what we're doing. I guess the other thing from our side that's been really inspirational is we had a, sort of, Meet the Creators panel a couple of weeks ago where we just invited the 15 people that we've gone with first to have a few drinks with us on our roof terrace and just hearing the feedback from them and how much they enjoyed it, that was really good. 

Charles: What do you wish you'd known before starting Mountbase? 

Jeet: Oh God, so many things. We started Mountbase in 2019 where it was just an idea with my co-founder and myself, but we went full-time in January of this year of 2022. I guess launching it on the tail-end of Covid, we wish we knew how much backlog there would be in terms of getting equipment in and all the set-up costs, sort of delays on that. But, I guess, you can't really plan for that. The other thing is, just the changing, how things change so quickly in the world of small business, I wish we knew a bit more about that but other than that, I don't think there was too much else. 

Charles: You've now got a web app, what's the plan or the vision for the next 5 years and beyond? 

Jeet: Sure. So we've got our web app, which is out now, we're launching our actual app for phones and tablets in literally about 2 weeks time so they'll be there to download globally. We've launched globally as well, so we decided to go big or go home. So in the next couple of years, we really want to expand our content out so we're working on quite a few different panels across the UK now, so we're shifting towards roles within a company so marketing, sales, that sort of side. But we're also creating really cool partnerships with universities and other businesses to get our subscriptions out to more people and we're also looking to expand internationally so we've got a couple of products lined up in the pipeline for America but also in Australia and some really cool conversations going on across there so that's on the horizon. Finally, I would say, it's just, kind of, we're going through a fundraiser at the moment so, fingers crossed we get a really good result and get some funding in to really scale up the business. 

Charles: What insights or tips can you share about going international so early on? 

Jeet: I think some of the biggest things that we've learnt is to not get too ahead of yourself, it's better to really plan it out and know what you're doing rather than just jump straight into it because, being in the UK, there's so many things we can control. Harriet and I have had experience having a company in the UK, we've had a company in Dubai as well before, so we have a bit of that international experience, but jumping into new markets is something you shouldn't take too lightly. What we're trying to do is actually build up those relationships way in advance of us actually going over there so we can make the most of our time, but we also really mitigate the risk that way. 

Charles: As a CEO, I imagine you come across quite a few contracts, so what are they and have you encountered any areas of friction? 

Jeet: Yes. In terms of contracts, we have a couple of different types. So we do have contracts with the people we partner with, so our content creators, so we have a, sort of, non-disclosure agreements with them, so anything that they film with us, we try and not get them to film with other people or to share that content out without a pre-agreed framework. Some of the biggest sticking points with that is, if we are happy and we really want to get everything out there as quickly as possible so sometimes sharing things that aren't ready to be shared yet, that's, kind of, a little bit of a sticking point. But the other stuff is around, intellectual property rights and stuff, so who actually own the content, what we can do with the content, how we can distribute it so. 

 

The way we work, is Mountbase and all the content we film there all ourselves sits behind our paywall and our subscriptions, so that is owned by us and not the actual content creators. The benefit for them is that we do collaborate with them very intensively and in the creative stages, we do have a lot of input from their side so, even though we own the content, everyone's, kind of, happy with the way this content looks before we make it public. But the otherside is we don't charge our content creators for any of the content, so that's the benefit on that, so it's not been too much of a sticking point, but sometimes it can get a little bit tricky with who owns what and what can be published where and that kind of thing. 

Charles: Do you have a legal team? Do you use any legal tools? 

Jeet: Yes, at the moment, we're still quite a small start-up, we don't really use that many legal tools. Something we've found really useful is having templates drawn up quite early on from a legal professional but the thing is, you know, you can't get templates drawn up for every project, right, you'll burn through that cash very quickly. So, having a platform where you can get all this advice or a template or something that you need quite quickly and you know is very sound legally and you can rely on it later down the line, if you ever need to rely on it, is really helpful. Also, it saves a lot of time, right, you don't have to go through a lawyer every time, get billed for loads of hours, but at the same time, you've got that assurance, that safety net that this is legal so, definitely that, that's really helped. I think especially with our employment contracts because, you know, we have a team of 6 now so, not having to draw up a bespoke employment contract every time is really good. 

Charles: If you were being sent a contract to sign today, what would impress you? 

Jeet: I think 3 things would really impress me. Number 1 is having it quite easily viewable, so in an online, digital format, having an easily editable format, a format where you can make notes quite quickly. For example, in some of the contracts we see, there's very small feedback that we like to put, so changing of wording or something like that, so just being able to put a note in the margin being like, 'Point 3, clause 5, can you just change this wording?' That's really good. Finally, like a digital tool, maybe so you can sign it digitally and then also, distribute that to basically all the relevant parties, so you can all just crack on without too much, oh there's been 1 word changed in paragraph 3 so we now have to go and sign 5 copies and send 1 to Manchester, send 1 to Cornwall and 1 in London or something. So that's what we look for. 

Charles: That's a great answer, Jeet. Thank you for taking the time. 

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