This week was quite typical in that it was an unusual mix of many of the things that I get involved with as a mentor and that I have written about in the past. There was some international, some regulation, some cyber security, lots about women in business, and yet again on advisory boards and raising finance.
For many startups, the process of fund raising can be quite daunting. What method of raising do you use? How long is it going to take? To say nothing of the fact that it’s the time when founders and entrepreneurs have to stick their necks out and ask other people to invest and commit to their vision.
One thing that I have learned over the years is the importance of cooperation and working with the right partners, and this has only been reiterated during my activities as a mentor. By working with others that have skills or experience in areas that you do not, then 2+2 can, quite literally, equal 5.
This week, almost to underline my comments in the first of this series about not knowing what each week will bring, was almost entirely different to last week. Last week was full of face to face meetings and there was no particular thread to my week, other than of course the fact that it revolved very heavily around early stage businesses.
Concerns about AI technology, in general terms, boil down to the quantity and areas in which it’s used to replace human tasks. Establishing the limitations of AI and unique skills innate to humans, provides insight into its future application, and alleviates some of the worry that one day AI will take over the taskforce.
Unbound Festival this year saw an influx of tech for good innovation, propelling the industry towards a bright and influential future. Spearheading the mainstream market today is a boom in self-care apps from mindfulness to sleep assistance, while location-based apps designed to tackle physical inactivity are making scenic walking as easy to find as getting an Uber is to order.
It doesn’t matter whether a business is for enterprise or not for profit - to create a successful business, you need more than just an idea. You need to identify a problem/need to create an attractive market. It’s much easier to start a business if you have a unique product/solution, and a scalable, profitable model.
Why building meaningful values into your brand leads to the culture you want
Creating and sustaining culture can feel a little bit like a chicken and egg situation in a startup. You need to define your culture early on in order to attract the right employees, but culture itself is largely driven by people, so until you have the people in place, how can your culture be expected to flourish?
For founders looking to start a business it is imperative to get the culture right - as getting it wrong can lead to bad investor, customer and employee experience. At Women of Silicon Roundabout 'Founder Focus' workshop track, CEO and co-Founder of London-based foodtech startup Feedr, Riya Grover delivered a thought-provoking workshop titled 'Defining your culture blueprint to hyper-charge growth', and explained why it is so important to get it right from the start.
At the LeadersIn Tech Summit during London Tech Week 2019, a roundtable was held discussing the benefits and drawbacks of partnerships between corporates and startups. At the table, Anna Jones from FieldHouse Associates, Ryan Haynes from Ryan Haynes Marketing, Ben Rudman the CEO of MMT Digital, and Denise Glee from MagnaCarta Communications, lent their personal expertise to the debate.
Peak Labs, the digital health company, started with four co-founders (Gerald Goldstein, Itamar Lesuisse, Sagi Shorrer and Xavier Louis) in 2013 who set out with an aim to be the number one digital health brand using technology to help people’s wellbeing. Fast forward six years later, and you’ll find a 50-member strong team which has raised up to ten million dollars over three rounds of funding to accelerate and grow the company and its two digital products, Peak Brain Training and Rise.
When it comes to marketing a startup, there can often be some misconceptions: Is it too soon to start thinking about? Is the company too small? Some people think marketing isn’t a priority and budget should be spent elsewhere (something that bigger corporations also fall foul of), or that any type of marketing is good.
Another finalist of the Subcon launchpad awards, ES Precision is a provider of laser processing services for marking, engraving and surface/thin material processing. This is the first year the launchpad awards will take place at the Subcon show and six engineering and manufacturing startups have made the final to try and impress and win a lump sum of money plus a stand at Subcon 2020.
In a demanding industry like manufacturing and engineering, admin holding you back is the last thing you need. Elements Technology, a multi-award winning developer of simple digital solutions for manufacturers has come up with a solution for this, and have also been listed as one of the finalists for the Launchpad awards at the upcoming Subcon show.
The next generation of aspiring startups are hoping their technology will change the world. But what about the technology that is changing startups? I’ve spent the last few years working with some of Europe’s biggest startup success stories, helping them put in place the right business platforms to support rapid growth.
Last week’s article focussed on Business Plans; what should be in them and why you should write one. One of the key pieces of information required is of course sales figures, both actual numbers for historic sales and those forecast for the future. It is also very important to include the assumptions and how you market your goods in order to achieve those sales. It is those subjects that I am going to focus on this time.
Over the last five articles I have tried to set the scene in terms of outlining what help is available to early stage businesses, and certain aspects of finance, including a valuable but often overlooked tax refund. In this article and the next I wanted to focus on two fundamental issues that will determine how your business develops and how you grow sales.
South-By-Southwest is an annual assemblage of conferences and festivals that takes place in Austin, Texas in early March to celebrate the convergence of film, music, interactive and other industries. Created to foster both professional and personal growth across multiple levels, the ten-day event prides itself on truly being all things to all people.
In the last two articles in this series I have looked at various aspects of finance and this time I am going to stay with the financial theme but from a very different angle – tax. But tax is a very broad topic and I wanted to focus on one unusual aspect of the UK tax system, and that is R&D (research and development) tax credits, and it is unusual in the fact that this time it is HMRC giving you money rather than taking it.
When you’re travelling around the UK and spending hundreds of pounds on train tickets, you expect a good rail service. You expect trains to arrive on time and no unexplained cancellations. Unfortunately, for many travellers it has become something of a rarity to see the 5.34pm train from London to Birmingham arrive on time… if it even arrives at all!