Luke Campbell, CEO and Co-founder of Vxt
Still right in the thick of his university studies, Luke and his Co-founder Lucy have launched a very impressive business around a common pain point of checking voicemails, that all of us have experienced at one point or another. Luke communicates a wisdom and maturity often seen in people over a decade older than someone in their early twenties. He speaks proudly about the amazing team that have joined in Vxt's journey and is excited about what the future holds. Thanks for sharing your story, Luke.
How would you explain to a five year old what it is that you do?
We make it easier for people to work together.
And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?
We save you time and help you improve customer satisfaction & retention with voicemail transcriptions, voicemail to email, smart greetings that change depending on who’s calling, time of day and more.
“..I’ve been very passionate about space and physics for a very long time, in fact I’m still studying physics part time at the University of Canterbury”
Was building a tech company something you dreamed about doing as a kid? If not, what was?
I’m not sure I ever thought that I would get into tech when I was growing up. However, I’ve been very passionate about space and physics for a very long time, in fact I’m still studying Physics part time at the University of Canterbury (Graduating 2021). Going to space has been a dream for me for a long time.
I’m extremely passionate about startups now, as a fun and exciting way to empower me to achieve my dreams.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and what inspired you to start Vxt?
I started Vxt, with my co-founder Lucy, while we were both studying at UC. Before working on Vxt I’d been interested in entrepreneurship for a while and was thinking about some different projects. At the time I also happened to be doing a course which taught me some fundamental thinking about business, like focusing on real world problems.
Coincidentally, I was receiving a bunch of voicemail at the same time and it sucked. Now it doesn't.
Who have been your greatest role models and what have you learnt from them?
Carl Sagan & Elon Musk have probably been my greatest role models. From each of them I learned a great deal about how we should be persistent in chasing our dreams and how we can use communication to change the world.
Where do you hope Vxt will be in five years from now?
Five years from now I hope we’ll have created an extremely valuable platform that helps hundreds of thousands of small business owners grow their businesses.
“If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll gain skills in a period of months that might take you years in a traditional career. ”
How does Vxt build and develop people to be at their best?
At Vxt our team mates support each other and build an environment where we can feel safe taking risks, trying new things and learning quickly. In our team you have the opportunity to be exposed to any area of the business, not the obligation to.
If you’re particularly interested in an area of software development then you’ll probably end up working on it. If you’re an engineer interested in business strategy, you’ll learn that too. You’ll also be given significant responsibility and ownership over the projects you work on.
For some people this can be quite intimidating which is why we make sure to support our people at every step. If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll gain skills in a period of months that might take you years in a traditional career.
“Obviously this isn’t immediately beneficial to the company. We lost two brilliant staff. However, I would prefer to work in a team that had my best interests at heart.”
What does culture mean to you and how do you ensure this culture is maintained with everyone at the Vxt?
Culture is a set of beliefs that help govern the behavior of members of a community. Hopefully these next few examples will tell you a little bit about ours. We haven’t codified our culture yet, we’re taking our time because a real enforceable culture has serious consequences and should inform hiring and firing decisions regardless of someone's ability to do their job.
We encourage work-life integration, within reason, you get to pick your own hours and location of work unless the task you're working on demands otherwise.
Open & honest communication is extremely important to us, you will be required to give and receive constructive feedback. Shortly after joining our team you’ll have your first one on one session. I’ll ask you among other questions, “From what you’ve seen so far how would you describe my weaknesses?”.
I don’t necessarily expect to get an honest answer to this right away. I do expect that asking this question will help emphasise how important it is to us to be comfortable raising objections and providing each other with constructive feedback.
Our work environment is extremely supportive. Josh & Sam from Vxt are very passionate about hardware, in fact they are studying Computer & Mechatronics Engineering respectively. They work part time for Vxt and are excellent software engineers. They told me they’d like to work in a hardware business over summer so I decided to help them find work and after sharing their story on LinkedIn they were both offered internships.
Obviously this isn’t immediately beneficial to the company. We lost two brilliant staff. However, I would prefer to work in a team that had my best interests at heart. I’m sure you’re the same and in that way, hopefully, you’re more likely to join our team. Josh & Sam are coming back to work at Vxt after their internships.
Lastly, as Vxt continues to evolve, what kind of talent do you want to hear from in the coming months?
We’re currently looking for experience in machine learning development, specifically a recent graduate in any discipline where machine learning makes up a significant portion of study. No specific experience is necessary, but you must have graduated with a masters or PhD within the last 12 months.