Cally Russell, Mallzee CEO

Written by Alan Robertson on 13 November 2015 in Feature

For 100 days, Connect is running through our Tech 100 for 2015, profiling the key figures driving the digital agenda in Scotland

Cally Russell (@CallyRussell)

Job Title/Organisation: CEO and Founder, Mallzee

What does your role involve?

I’m the CEO and founder of Mallzee, the original Tinder for Fashion app. My role is a really diverse one but I spend the majority of my time working with our retail partners, growing our user base through leading edge marketing or fundraising to ensure we can become a global company in the years to come. Over the past six weeks we’ve grown the team dramatically so I’ve also been doing a lot of interviews.

What do you consider to be the most imminent challenge in your line of work?

For a young company like ourselves our total focus is on growth and how we can take advantage of the huge opportunity that mobile shopping now is. With a market like this and with such opportunity there is always a threat from competitors. But we’ve built a great team at Mallzee that has ensured in 2015 we’ve been the most downloaded none retailer shopping app in the UK. Our last round of investment also saw us team up with Royal Mail group and I think this will really set us apart in the future. 

What has been the most rewarding piece of work you've undertaken?

The most rewarding piece of work to me has been everything we’ve achieved in the past 12 months. As a relatively young team we’ve grown to serve hundreds of thousands of shoppers around the world, raised over $5m from leading investors and are one of the leading mobile shopping companies in the world. Over the past year we’ve also started our B2B arm which helps retailers make better marketing, merchandising and stock decisions. 

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

I think the digital skills gap is a really interesting challenge that faces the whole industry currently. In my mind it’s not actually linked to not developing enough people but is more about ensuring they stay here and build a life. Edinburgh is a great city to live in and has a fantastic quality of life, but too often the fantastic young people we develop leave after they graduate for the bright lights of London or further afield. I think if we can tackle this problem we’ll make a major impact on any perceived digital skills gap. 

Which new technology excites you the most?

I’m currently sporting an Apple Watch and I’m loving some of the apps on it. I think too often people end up focusing on just a technology angle and don’t really understand what it does for the user or how to personalise the experience for them. 

What's your favourite app and why?

Mallzee - cause it’s my company and I like to dress well! Outside of this I’m a bit of a Twitter addict and I would be pretty lost without Skyscanner and Spotify as I travel a lot. 

What, for you, will 2016 be the year of from a technology/digital standpoint?

I think we’re going to see the continual trend of mobile and reliance on mobile devices. When we started something like 6 per cent of people in the UK had purchased on mobile, this year it’s going to be over 40 per cent and I expect next year this will be in excess of 60 per cent. 

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