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60 seconds with … Chris Mccullough, co-founder of RotaGeek


Meet Elevator Pitch alumni and co-founder of online employee scheduling software RotaGeek.

Chris McCullough, Rota Geek

In one sentence, what does your company do?

RotaGeek allows businesses to make staff scheduling smart and data-driven, which saves businesses time and improves operational efficiency whilst also empowering staff to manage their work-life balance.

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Where are you based?

We have offices at the cool RunwayEast co-working space in Finsbury Square, London and the currently hot Melbourne, Australia.

How did the idea come about?

I was working as a doctor. The way we schedule staff in the NHS is archaic and not good for staff or patients. I teamed up with Roy Pounder and Nick Mann and we co-founded RotaGeek. We use the latest technology to make scheduling a truly co-operative exercise, developing optimal schedules for the organisation and staff.

What did you do before?

I graduated from Edinburgh as a doctor in 1998 have trained to work with dead people (pathology), old people (care of the elderly), clever people (molecular biology) and in my last job, unlucky people (accident and emergency). I have trained to work hard over long hours, under pressure, dealing with uncertainty. Running a startup is the hardest thing I have ever done, but lots of fun.

What’s been your absolute lowest point of running the company, so far?

Christmas just gone was the hardest. Combination of very long weeks, too many weekends working, not enough family time, challenging decisions, a difficult product phase and slow business progress (at least slower than I wanted). From that I learnt an important lesson about balance.

What’s been the highlight of running the company, so far?

Our team. One of the challenges in the NHS is that you can’t pick your team. In RotaGeek, I get to pick the team and they are outstanding, dedicated and talented. It’s such a buzz to see this small group deliver innovative solutions to complex problems for large companies.

If you were an animal what would you be?

I have always wanted to learn to play the drums. When I told my wife, she laughed and said that I’d remind her of Animal from the Muppets. So, I’d be Animal (playing the drums).

What’s your favourite TV show at the moment?

Suits. I’d love to be more like Harvey Specter, but, I suspect like most entrepreneurs, frequently feel more like Mike Ross (an imposter). When RotaGeek is bigger, I’d like a kick-ass PA like Donna. I’d love to work with Louis Litt – a totally flawed character with a flagrant lack of insight.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?

Louis Litt, who would run a mock trial of Jeremy Hunt (defendant) accused of destroying the NHS, and Aneurin Bevan (prosecuting).

You can only eat one thing for the rest of your life. Strawberry jelly or pork scratchings?

Pork scratchings. They have better nutritional value than jelly.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Cold War Russia.

You can only hear one song for the rest of your life. The Macarena or Gangnam Style?

Gangnam Style. Two and a half billion YouTube views can’t be wrong.

Would you rather be in the A Team or the Ghostbusters?

The A-team. “I pity the fool … who still schedules on spreadsheets”

Would you rather have a sausage for a nose, or bacon for ears?

I saw a man like that in A&E. He had a sausage in his nose and bacon in his ears. He asked “what’s wrong with me”. I said, “you’re not eating properly”. I’d go for a sausage nose – bacon ears would just look weird.

This article first appeared on edition 10 of Tech City News popular tech magazine – The Blockchain Issue. Take a look at it online here and subscribe to receive upcoming issues delivered straight to your door for free.

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