An interview with 21-year-old CEO Alex Gnyla
Alex Gnyla was just 21 when he came up with his idea for a business. A physicist at heart, his company, Redbrick Bills, (only in it’s second year of trading) is a projected to have a million-pound turnover this year, thanks to the thousands of students who share accommodation and the bills that go with it.
Alex came up with his idea when he was sharing a house whilst studying Physics at The University of Leeds.
“The first year I shared a house with seven others and paying bills was an absolute nightmare,” he said. The second year the landlord included our bills in the rent – this was worse – we we’re being charged a fortune for the privilege – I thought there’s got to be a better way!
“I waited until I’d graduated – I didn’t want to jeopardise my studies – I love physics. I’ve always loved physics – since being a student at Solihull School. I’m interested in the stars, and space, universe expansion and dark matter – theoretical physics.
“I think my love of physics has helped with the business. You need to be logical and understand processes, understand how systems work and how systems might be automated. To start with, the business was just me with a pen and paper, but now I employ six people and we’ve managed to automate most of the business functions. I’m looking at how AI (artificial intelligence) can help us refine the business and automate it further; I am striving for this business to be seamless.”
Alex added; “ When I first thought about Redbrick Bills I investigated the competition thoroughly – what did their business model look like? How many staff? Who were their customers and what sort of service where they offering? When I’d got this information and more, I knew I could do better – so I did.
“I’ve got big plans for this business – I’m going to continue to grow it and I want it to be a recognised in the student community nationally. I am pulling together a brilliant team, it’s important to have the right people alongside you.
Redbrick Bills has come a long way very quickly, but it’s been a restrained growth – I want to get it right. And I’m going to keep testing out things, trying new things and seeing what works.
We asked Alex what advice he’d give to his 16 year-old self – he said: “Think about what you really want to do instead of following the crowd, I have plenty of friends who joined graduate training programmes who aren’t happy- so, try not to drift, find that focus early on.”