Trang Tran, COO of Archangel Imaging

Photo of Trang Tran

Trang is currently working as the interim COO at Archangel Imaging, with wide experience in various business areas since joining the company. Archangel Imaging develops ‘AI eyes for land, sea, and sky’, detecting targets and sending alerts in real-time, all without internet, to help our customers making decisions quickly. We recently won a competition with BT Augmented Intelligence (2018) and successfully demonstrated our product in the deep forests in Borneo, helping animal researchers save time checking their traps. With a current small team of 7, we are looking to start raising funds ourselves soon to scale our team and product launches.

What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I came to Oxford in 2015 to build on my practical experience in biomedical research, with my mind set on creating useful medical products for people. Fast forward one year, I joined Archangel Imaging to absorb what it’s like to build an AI start-up from the ground up, and have been happily growing myself since!

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Archangel Imaging Logo

Going from 0 to 1, creating something almost out of nothing so you have to be resourceful, able to make tough decisions, and be very quick to adapt as the team scales up, market changes, and new problems occur.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?

We started with support from Innovate UK and ESA business incubator, then we got more support, won awards, received potential customer interests, that we just knew, we were heading the right direction.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?

Think ahead (be aware and strategically act on top reasons why start-ups fail), leadership (able to lead and motivate others to persevere the (harder) early stage with you), and communications (convincing stakeholders, customers… to take risks with you)

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?

Personal growth, stretching your comfort zone across multiple areas.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

Google. Unconventional, moonshot, ambitious thinking.

If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?

What is the minimum that they would focus on if they haven’t had as much money at the start?

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?

Being able to lead effectively and communicate clearly was not intuitive to me.

How have you funded your ideas?

Grants support and commercial terms contracts.

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?

Innovate UK

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?

+ Access to talents, lots of support.
– Expensive to be able to grow a team in Oxford, difficult to find suitable offices.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?

Probably this to start with: Home - OxLEP Business

Any last words of advice?

You need to enjoy it. It will be stressful. Stress is damaging if you perceive it to.