Q&A with Majella Edwards from Sortal
Sortal team members Majella Edwards and Sarah Smith met when they both attended CEA’s Startup Weekend. At the time, Majella was a freelance photographer looking for a new project and Sarah was a software engineer in need of a challenge. After much discussion, the two teamed up to tackle a problem that incorporated their unique skill sets – using artificial intelligence to manage and sort large digital databases.
We sat down with Majella to discuss their startup journey and the struggles they’ve faced along the way.
1. What steps have you taken to ensure you stay ahead of the pack?
To be honest, it’s hard to know whether you really are ahead of the pack, or not. I try to focus on why we’re doing this, rather than who else is. It helps us to stay true to our goal which is to solve a very first world problem. We pay attention to what our competitor is doing, but we don’t let it cripple us.
2. What struggles have you faced along your startup journey?
Money! Also, inventing something that people don’t really understand. I’m waiting for the light bulb moment when someone can have a physical interaction with the product and it all just clicks.
3. What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?
I love my team because we both share the same vision, passion, and excitement to solve this problem collectively. I believe that our unique experiences, when put together, will produce something amazing. My photography background combined with Sarah’s expertise in artificial intelligence really equips us with the skills needed to solve this problem.
4. What’s your biggest obstacle?
Right now, our biggest obstacle is the legal framework of security, data use and privacy. The nature of what we do can be global, but each country is governed by a different legislation on how data is used. Staying on top of that will be quite challenging.
5. Where do you see Sortal within the next five years?
I’d like for Sortal to be well established in the business to business market with a consumer solution started shortly after.
After taking out the first prize at Startup Weekend, Sortal (then named Artlife Digital) went on to be accepted into CEA’s Collider Accelerator. After twelve intense weeks of workshops, masterclasses, and mentoring, Sortal were able to present a working version of their app. You can check out a beta test of the product on their website here.