Omid Moallemi (Product Design 2006) is co-founder and CEO of Prsnt, a gifting app that allows users to instantly send someone a present from more than 100 household brands.
Omid joined Sussex as a mature student, graduating with a BSc in Product Design in 2009. He worked in design development and consultancy for 10 years before launching Prsnt with his four co-founders in 2021. In 2023, Prsnt won the New Business of the Year Award at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards.
What made you choose Sussex?
I chose Sussex because of its strong reputation for academic excellence and its vibrant and diverse community. The university's commitment to interdisciplinary studies and its innovative approach to teaching and research appealed to me. The campus is an amazing and unique place to be situated in, and despite being born and bred in Brighton, no other university stood out over Sussex.
How did your career journey lead you to app creation?
My career journey took a turn towards app creation when I realised the growing importance of technology and its impact on various industries. I developed a keen interest in leveraging technology to solve real-world problems and enhance user experiences. Through my experiences and exposure to the tech industry, I recognised the potential of mobile apps to address specific needs and provide innovative solutions.
How did you and your co-founders come up with the concept of Prsnt?
I am naturally innovative, something Sussex helped me grow in during my time studying Product Design, and I have always looked to ask “why” things are the way they are.
It occurred to me that gifting needs to be much easier for the sender.
We are often notified on the day of a person’s birthday through social media, and it’s too late by then to get them a gift. We then default to the wrong tool for the job, such as WhatsApp message or DM, when you actually want to gift them.
This led to Prsnt, being able to add maximum fun and thought, whilst adding a tangible gift delivered digitally was the clear and obvious direction. Prsnt includes being able to be reminded, gift suggestions from £2-£1000 that can be delivered in 15 seconds to a person’s smartphone and all without single use products like wrapping paper or greetings cards.
Building a strong and diverse team is crucial. Look for individuals who share your passion, complement your skills, and bring diverse perspectives."
What do you do to relax outside work?
I tend to be quite hands on and design and make things, either around the home or creating something that I think will be useful. I guess creating things is just what I enjoy doing!
What parts of your Sussex experience have helped you in your career?
My Sussex experience provided me with a solid foundation in design and equipped me with valuable skills and knowledge. The university's emphasis on research and analytical skills honed my ability to solve complex problems. Moreover, the supportive academic community and the opportunities for networking and collaboration have been invaluable in establishing professional connections and gaining exposure to different industries.
As a Brightonian what is your favourite view in the city?
So many to choose from, but I would say on the promenade on the bottom of West Street. It is a great view whichever way you look. I can look in any direction and evoke memories from my first clubbing experience, watching Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Boutique, right back to the early 80s walking to the Palace Pier with my Nan.
What top tips would you give to someone working on their own startup?
- Define your vision: Clearly articulate your long-term goals and vision for your startup. This will serve as a guiding light throughout your journey and help you make critical decisions.
- Surround yourself with the right team: Building a strong and diverse team is crucial. Look for individuals who share your passion, complement your skills, and bring diverse perspectives to the table. Collaboration and shared values are key.
- Resilient – Being an entrepreneur in a start-up is tough, every week there will be an issue and sometimes you just want give up. But you have to be able to problem solve and think your way out of scenarios…there’s always a solution to a problem, you just have to find it!
- And most importantly, MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!
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