Startup Stories: Mude Founder, Shooby Kandel

Tell us about your startup/ company

Mude is a boutique agency providing creative solutions for a range of organisations from startup to SME, corporate and government, across Australia and globally.

At Mude, we believe in combining good strategy backed by data and experience, with breath-taking creative work that captivates audiences through branding, websites, videos, and marketing campaigns. We work with ambitious founders, big business and small. All across Australia.

Most brands we work with benefit from greater market distinction, direction and purpose, stronger cultural alignment, and an increase in brand performance.

 How did it all begin?

I was in my second year of university, getting bored of all the theory, and looking to start my own business to get more practical experience. I heard about an entrepreneurship program called ‘Innovation ACT’ from a colleague and started attending their networking sessions.

This is where I met my co-founders who were talented in video/music production and looking for a 3rd agency partner to focus more on the business side. We were in our late teens when we started the agency and have steadily grown it into a full service brand and marketing agency with 10+ staff across Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the 7 years since.

What were you doing before you started your company?

Studying Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UC. I knew I wanted to run my own business but hadn’t quite made the leap yet besides a couple small side hustles.

What is your ultimate goal?

To do high impact, fun, and purpose driven work with amazing people and to build a great team + network, to pursue new and exciting ventures.

To build the brands that people prefer.

What has been your biggest win so far?

  • Won Innovation ACT in 2015 with a grant prize
  • Employing a team of 10 including myself through an organically grown business
  • Raising 500k in funding for a startup
  • Working with Government and national brands on large creative, web and marketing projects (notable recently PM&C Sydney Energy Forum, BreastScreen Australia, Amazon Music, Defence, Minerals Council, Site Skills Training, Bubble Me and ASPI)

What lessons have you learnt along the way?

  • You’ll get 10x further with a core team that’s strongly aligned and motivated.
  • Ability to communicate well is just as (if not more) important than skill.
  • You’ll only get what you ask for. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Brand awareness and availability trumps having a better product/service.
  • Brand is important. Build it well and it will pay back dividends.

What does innovation mean to you?

To innovate is to be original in any way, shape, or form.

“Innovations are often not the output of any single individual but the result of collective and incremental efforts over time. Concepts, ideas, and discoveries of predecessors inform problems anew, such that designs may be honed, flaws corrected, and efficiency increased”

 What advice do you have for someone about to kick off their startup?

  • Find a team or co-founders, it’s harder alone.
  • Don’t waste money/time on things like business cards that only move you an inch forward. Identify your top measures for success and use them to guide your daily actions.
  • Tap into support networks like CBRIN and their educational events, find mentors, network with more experienced people and learn all the basics.