His first business was when he was 8 years old, he said. One weekend, he went around the house and gathered up the family jewelry and “prized possessions.”
He brought them all out front where he held a sale of work (yard sale) and earned a nice sum for an eight year old.
“I both impressed and horrified my parents,” he told the Last Tuesday meet up for entrepreneurs in Dublin, Ireland.
Leddy (@FuriousLeddy) is now CEO of Furious Tribe, a mobile development company with offices in three countries and a work force of 27.
His first real job came in secondary (or high) school. There he was as a self-employed magician — The Great Padini, no less. He learned magic tricks and re-invested in his business.
For a teenage magician, that means buying a cape and a rabbit.
But the money was good for a kid that age, and it was very useful entrepreneurial experience, Leddy said. “I was always in to creating something out of nothing,” he said.
It was also during high school that Leddy first began doing business on the web. He set up review sites for towns north of Dublin and sold advertising.
Leddy continued that work and soon found himself taking on projects for a hotel group. And although he incorporated put an official-looking front on the business, he still ran it from his parents’ house.
That meant the facade could slip. One phone call for “Mr. Leddy” was answered with the reply, “He’s in the shower. I’ll have to get him to call you back.” On many other occasions, the family dogs could be heard barking in the background, he said.
Leddy went to college and still ran his business. “I was pretty much wearing a suit in college, which was kind of weird,” he said. However, he got his degree and landed a desk at the new incubation center that had just opened at the school.
But he began to grow weary of the web business. The range of skills he need to master — project management, development, marketing, information architect, IT, diplomat — was huge.
“You have to wear too many hats,” he said. Then there are comments that a niece or nephew could do the same thing for free or that “my husband doesn’t like that shade of navy,” Leddy said.
Move From Services
It was this frustration with services that led Leddy to develop his first product. Working with someone in the production business, they tried to build a web app for film producers.
“It died an absolute death,” Leddy said. “The problem is that people are very set in their ways in film.”
Lessons learned, it was back to web work to pay the bills.
Around that time, mobile technology was changing. Although there was still no iPhone, rumors were rife that Apple was developing something big.
Leddy started learning the technology and said, “That’s it. Let’s go mobile.” It was then that he founded Furious Tribe.
Although one of the first in Ireland or Britain to get in to Apple’s Beta program for the new phone, there was no mobile business in 2008, Leddy said.
Burning through cash and bringing none in, he said, “It was a really, really tough time.”