Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Bobby Drewett, Co-Founder of OUNO App

Bobby Drewett is the Co-Founder of OUNO App, the first ‘invite only’ executive ride hailing platform.

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To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’ve been in and around the startup space for what seems like a lifetime now, around 14 years, specifically the luxury travel world for the last 7 years. Coming up with the concept for OUNO over 3 years ago now was without a doubt that real lightbulb moment, and that feeling of ‘this is the one’ that I could imagine so many founders have experienced, multiple times to add!

I’m currently the founder of OUNO, building the most exciting brand, the team growing every day, without a doubt the most responsibility I’ve had in my career, but it’s something I’m thriving in and really enjoying.

Fundraising has been something I’ve been involved in for many years, which has been typically difficult and for small amounts, OUNO on the other hand has been a completely different experience with almost £1mil raised with some incredible names forming the seed round.

What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I’ve really changed my routine over the years. Previous businesses I’ve founded had me waking up at 3am for many years building a practical business, which was just not enjoyable or sustainable!

So now I really value my sleep and my rest, I try to wake up organically (but have that safety blanket of my hounding alarm), I’m not a gym goer, so its wake up and order my OUNO to the office, drop my partner on the way and always try and get feedback from the appointed driver. My first task of the day is clearing the inbox.

I love to try and get back to everyone within the first hour so it gives the receiver all day to respond and converse and solve any issues within the working day. I try and speak with everyone in the team, find out what they’re working on, share any information or contacts I’ve found that they should be reaching out too and then most importantly try not to step on any of their toes (majorly tough for me, as many founders will understand, a complete control freak!).

After work I try to head straight home, I’ve never been part of the ‘after work drink’ culture, which is crucial now building a start up in its infancy, clear heads are needed at all times.

What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work-life balance is something I’ve always struggled with up until recently. The young me thought whoever works hardest or longest got the best results, I couldn’t be more wrong! I use to only go away on holidays for 1-2 days so I could rush back, fly through the night, not sleep to rush back to work (and feel awful!).

I’ve really learnt to now leave stuff in the evening until i’m in the office the next day if it’s not important, which I think comes with structure for sure. For me though the office is the place where magic happens, especially when building a startup, it’s great to have everyone together after COVID and bat ideas across the table.

Watching light bulb moments happen is a personal favourite, seeing the team get excited in what they are doing is a real highlight and something you don’t get with remote working. With that in mind, it’s about making the office an enjoyable place for staff to come, a purpose for getting out of bed and fighting the train strikes to come in and be productive!

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In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’ve been fortunately blessed with good genetics so I don’t have to workout or go to the gym everyday but I understand it will one day catch up with me. A very good friend of mine is an elite strength and conditioning coach, Perform365, and although he bores me to absolute tears with his obsession with his profession he has taught me ONE thing. Daily Non Negotiables, and my 1 daily non-negotiable is trying to reach 10,000 steps per day, which I am obsessed with to my partner’s humour as she may find me marching around the house at 10pm if I’m on 9,628.

Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Strangely enough, against the grain as I can imagine, I’m trying to stay away from books and podcasts while OUNO is in its infancy and we are still building! I’ve seen so many young founders get pulled pillar to post with other entrepreneurs’ routines etc and I’d never want someone to follow mine.

I want young founders to read this and understand they need to carve out their own routines, what works for them, and create a new path. I’d love to share my story in the future when the books close, but I would hate it to be a distraction for a young founder trying to find his own way through this rollercoaster of a journey. 

If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I’d love to read more about Richard Branson, he’s always been a huge inspiration for me. The way he’s spread himself across so many sectors and still looks great and most importantly happy. If anyones got the secret, Richard Branson has!

Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

If it makes you unhappy, walk away, don’t worry about what money it makes or how popular it is, walk away. Being happy in your work allows you to be obsessed, which ultimately leads you to the best opportunity to succeed.

Family and friends out of hours are everything you need, if you’re lucky enough to have both, you’re halfway to success already. See the world when you are young, travel and explore other cultures, knowledge is everything and the goal in life for most entrepreneurs is to build global brands, you have to see it to achieve it.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.