Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 : FIDO
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with Victoria Edwards — CEO and Co-Founder of FIDO. FIDO’s mission is to help the world accurately detect leaks and save water. With FIDO AI Anytime, their technology enables water companies to detect leaks – accurately, easily, efficiently. FIDO participated in our second United Utilities Innovation Lab.
Tell us about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey?
After being told in my last year at university that I was “unemployable” after just two company graduate milk rounds, leaving me cold, I started out on my own with a very small local publishing company. There is an instinct to create, to challenge, that is at the heart of most entrepreneurs; the thrill of the new. My eclectic career has included: deciding to produce a TV series with Eddie Jordan called “Bad Boy Racers”, opening a French restaurant and Jazz café, setting up a WiFi engineering business, a data analysis company, and then, finally, feeling settled for the first time, and at my most happy with all that is FIDO.
How did your business idea come to you?
It was Neil Edwards’ idea in response to the challenge of NRW and water resilience, and we crafted FIDO into what it is today learning and creating by listening to the industry; UU (United Utilities) and their innovation lab in particular. Without the Innovation lab we would not be where we are today. FIDO AI tackles one of the world’s biggest challenges; water leakage and Non revenue water by identifying leaks and their size from analysing any audio file; FIDO AI is completely sensor agnostic so it can take an audio file from any acoustic logger, hydrophone, FIDO’s own Bugs; it only needs 1 second of audio to give instant results of leak/no leak and leak size.
As your company grew, what were the primary challenges?
Learning to let go. You can not do everything, be in every meeting. Growing from 4 to 32 in 18 months meant you had to have trust in everyone else: we call it the FIDO faith – we will do what we say we can do. You have to accept that mistakes will be made and failure encountered, but they are drivers for advancement, development and ingenuous innovation. Company internal communication is key, especially during this terrible pandemic and even small individual gestures are really appreciated.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
It is only with FIDO that I feel that real drive every day. FIDO makes me smile; I call FIDO a thing of beauty as it grows, evolves and takes on a life of its own. I am motivated by pride in the FIDO team and what they have achieved and the excitement and buzz of what I can see on the road map.
Being told something can not be done, and proving them wrong.
What advice would you give to other women entering the entrepreneurial world?
- Relish and remember the highs and embrace the lows in the knowledge that they will pass.
- An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur. It does not matter to me if you are a man, woman or kangaroo. Being a woman is just the icing on the cake!
- Self belief and complete focus. Scope creep is a killer.
- Find that “hedgehog concept” . What can you do where you will be the best in the world – and do that day in, day out.
What’s been the most rewarding moment of your journey as a founder/entrepreneur?
- When you get that butterfly feeling, seeing FIDO delivering a world 1st – leak sizing.
- When you introduce yourself as “Hi I’m Victoria Edwards from FIDO” and they go: “FIDO. We’ve heard a lot about you”.
- When you get a zoom invite from China saying, “FIDO we need you”.
Where do you see your business in the next 12 months?
We are about to launch a joint offering with a global giant in the software space; so anything is possible. We hope to carry on this rollercoaster ride and to have the opportunity to take FIDO to where water leakage and water resilience is a matter of life and death.
I remember having a meeting with the UU Head of procurement and they told us not to try to sell them a flying car, well, Neil and the team are working on something pretty close; that ultimate FIDO AI driven find and fix (no digging required)