Pointy: A tale of relationships, real innovation and why finding the right partner, in business as in life, is make or break

Pointy co-founders Mark Cummings & Charles Bibby

True entrepreneurship and success does not come overnight, and those who are truly struck with the bug to challenge the status quo and reshape staid industries are often compelled to do so again, and again. 

Yesterday Pointy, founded by Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby, announced plans for an acquisition by Google. We couldn’t be more excited for the team and there is no greater validation for the work the team have put in over the past six years. Joining forces with Google will help supercharge their growth and push them into new markets and territories in a way that wouldn’t be possible without deep pockets and wide-ranging reach.

“Seedcamp was a transformative moment”

What many of you may not know is that Pointy was not Mark and Charles’ first rodeo, nor our first interaction with them. We first met Mark at a Seedcamp week event in London in 2009. Back then, the European startup ecosystem was in its infancy and the well known Seedcamp events were very much a hub for building and connecting this emerging network of entrepreneurs with investors and seasoned operators. Mark pitched his first company, Plink, at the event and was shortlisted alongside 20 other companies including Brainient – who went on to be acquired by Teads (and whose founder we just re-invested in with his new HealthTech business, Ezra – but that’s a story for another time!)

At that Seedcamp Week event in 2009, Google met Plink and went on to gobble them up just before we could invest. Mark described his Seedcamp experience in this post as a “transformative moment” where, “we met a lot of angel investors and other company founders, which gave us a much better sense of how the startup world operated.”

Mark went on to sell Plink to Google and learned many lessons along the way. In spite of the lengthy process, and fully aware of the realities of building and running a business, he felt the urge to go again and we were one of the first ports of call when he moved back to Ireland and started to build Pointy, a software and hardware play to help physical retailers get online and make their products discoverable to shoppers, with no extra work. 

The idea was bold, we all know hardware is hard, and on top of that the go-to-market strategy was as contrarian as could be; doing things the old school way and going door to door to sign up retailers. They quickly captivated the Irish market, proving demand from small retailers, and we could see that Mark and Charles meant business when it came to taking this business internationally. 

They thought big early-on and turned their focus swiftly to the US, attracting the attention of different partners and striking a relationship with Google in 2018. By 2019, they’d managed to get 1% of the US retail market online using Pointy and the potential to truly scale this, with the right partner, was evident. 

We think Google is the perfect home for Pointy on this next stage of this journey and the potential with these two joining forces feels truly limitless to help small businesses get online across US and Europe of course, but Asia, Latin America; quite truly, the world. 

To the next stage, we wish the team a huge amount of success and if/when the bug strikes to build that third company, you know where to find us! 

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