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AMA: Rosie Higgins, co-founder of Grapevine

AMA: Rosie Higgins, co-founder of Grapevine

Table of Contents

Mark Zuckerberg isn't the only one embracing 3D virtual worlds! Software developer Rosie Higgins is the co-founder of Grapevine, a 3D virtual environment where friends and co-workers can connect.

rosie-higgins

Hi Rosie! Tell us a bit about your company.

Grapevine is a web platform that allows you to chat, collaborate and work in a 3D virtual space, bringing the depth and quality of real-life interactions into an online world.

Grapevine allows you to drop in and out of conversations in a natural way, nip over to someone's virtual desk with a quick question, and seamlessly break off into groups just like real life, this allows teams to work and solve problems in the same way that they did in the physical world.

With spatial audio, beautiful customizable 3D worlds, and a plethora of collaborative working tools, Grapevine can recreate that feeling of togetherness and presence thereby improving people's wellbeing and productivity.

How did the idea for Grapevine come about?

I was inspired by how people were using video games to socialise during the pandemic, hanging out with friends and family in Animal Crossing, Minecraft, and Among Us for hours on end.

None of my friends or family were into gaming, so at first, I wanted to create a social platform where people could hang out in a 3D environment and just chat and explore without the overhead of signing up to Steam or buying a Nintendo Switch.

We wanted to make something immersive yet accessible, so easy to use that your mum could use it.

After showing the platform to some contacts we quickly realised how well this technology could apply to remote teams, creating a shared space where you can collaborate with your colleagues and friends.

How do you keep your team aligned?

Our favourite tool is the daily huddle. This is really important to us, and it only takes about 15 minutes each day.

Every member of the team is present, we start with a shout out to all the achievements from the previous day, then we share any completed tasks, then we go through new ideas and assign tasks to people, finally, everyone has an opportunity to ask for help or talk about any other business for a couple of minutes.

This structure helps us to focus, resolve problems quickly, and stay up to date with everyone's progress. 

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Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?

Well, naturally I would say to use a virtual collaboration tool like Grapevine!

Of course!

But in all seriousness, I’ve been working remotely for years. My partner and I ran a software consultancy for years before starting Grapevine.

My tips would be to make sure you always have frequent and clear communication with your team/clients but don’t allow yourself to spend too much time in unnecessary meetings!

It’s also good to establish a strong routine and try to go for a walk/ do some exercise every day. And don’t forget to take some vitamin D in the winter!

Do you have a share or option scheme in place for your team? 

We will soon, hopefully, it will help people feel ownership over the business which is good!

That's great news!

In an early-stage startup there's obviously a lot of risk involved, so it’s good to know that people have a stake in the company that will pay off in the long run.

What is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

In my previous company, the biggest mistake we made was undervaluing the service that we were providing due to being new to the game (as a business) and wanting to win contracts at any cost.

If you were going to invest in a startup business and you could only give one piece of advice to the team running that company, what would it be?

Focus on building something that people want, don’t get carried away with other stuff like startup street cred, and meetings that you know deep down won't get you anywhere.

At the end of the day having an amazing product that solves a real problem is what counts.

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What’s your morning routine?

5 AM wake up and yoga, followed by a mindfulness meditation session with my life coach...only joking! I get up around 7.30/8 AM, make a pot of coffee, check emails and do a bit of scrolling on Facebook/TikTok, then work!

Who’s your favourite band or musician?

Not sure! Red Hot Chilli Peppers were my favourite band as a teenager and I haven’t picked out a favourite band since then. I spend a lot of time listening to NPR Tiny Desk Concerts these days.

Favourite film?

Nerdy, but it’s got to be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Nothing has ever topped that in epicness for me.

Excellent choice! Thanks so much for your time, Rosie.

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