Member Spotlight: Piers Ridyard of Nifty Drives

It's no secret that TechHub loves hardware as much as software. We're happy to introduce Piers Ridyard, a member of TechHub Manchester since last Monday, who's working on some super cool integrated hardware for Apple Macbooks.

He's kindly also brought in his 3D printer for members to use (paid for by the grams of ink used); find the 3D printer and you'll find Piers!


So Piers, what is your background and how did you end up becoming an entrepreneur?

In the past I have studied engineering, Chinese, business, finance, economics and law. I have worked as an investment banker, wealth manager and a trainee solicitor. Some time during all that I started a couple of companies, some of which succeed, and taught myself 3D design, rendering and some very basic rules of aesthetics.

My love of entrepreneurship comes from a great love of creation; bringing something into being that is helpful or solves a problem or makes life easier, richer, or more convenient, even in some small way. Once I get an idea in my head, I get an itch, an obsession about bringing it into being. An itch that can usually only be calmed by action to bring the idea closer to reality.

One particular itch turned into a well executed scratch, and so a company called Nifty exploded into being around it.


Tell me about the Nifty MiniDrive, theniftyminidrive.com

It all started with the MacBook Air. We wanted to create an easy way to add memory to the MacBook, without having to rip it open with a torx screwdriver.

The easiest way to do that of course is to use an external hard disk drive, but as that is not really integrated with the computer and we thought we could do better.

Thus was born the MiniDrive; designed to be an integrated solution to that problem by using the SD card slot on the MacBook range of computers by Apple. While a normal SD card sticks out by about 1cm from the body of the computer (when fully inserted), the MiniDrive is designed to sit completely flush with the body of the MacBook, becoming a semi permanent part of the computer.

To make sure it properly fits in with the Apple aesthetic, we also finished the end of the MiniDrive in anodised aluminium, so that it blends in beautifully with the finish of the computer. Lastly, we made sure that it was user upgradable - all MiniDrives are compatible with any microSD card up to 2TB(!!). At the moment, the biggest that is available is 64GB, but for someone with a 128GB MacBook Air, that is a serious addition to their available storage.


What do you like most about Manchester?

The rawness of it. It is lean, hungry and ambitious in a way that London cannot be.


Why did you choose TechHub Manchester? Has the community been helpful?

TechHub is attractive for many reasons. A few include:

  • the quality of the members

  • the ability to use all the different locations around England and the rest of the world

  • the talks, events and resources they have to help facilitate your business rising to the next level


What's a piece of advice you would give to a budding entrepreneur?

Haters gonna hate.

Just because others say something is a bad idea, or it can't be done, or that there is no market for it, doesn't necessarily make it so. However, merely believing in yourself or your product does not make the reverse true. Listen to criticism, but don't take it too hard. Welcome success, but don't take it too lightly.

Everything is a balancing act of contrasting advice. The key is judgement. Listen to the opinions of those that you trust, but at the end of the day it is your company, and your call. No one can make that for you.


One random or silly fact about yourself

I don't like cooked fish, but love sushi & sashimi.


Thanks, Piers, for bearing with our light grilling. Congrats on reaching your Kickstarter target and hopefully the backers will keep rolling up.

You, too, can support Piers' Nifty Drives campaign here!