150527 NWDWe’ve had an immensely busy week of dinners so far this week, covering everything from wedding and property tech, to street food, media coverage, investment and of course, playing the stock market. Next week, we see May’s dinners culminating with a fitness industry dinner on Tuesday and a sharing economy one on Wednesday.

After dinner talk from the Co-Founder of Tribesports
As part of our fitness dinner series, we have the pleasure in welcoming Andrew McDonough, CTO of Tribesports to this month’s dinner. He will share Tribesports story in an after dinner talk and informal Q&A.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 26 May at The Green, Clerkenwell

Sharing economy dinner with JustPark
After securing the largest ever equity crowdfunding round in UK history, it’s safe to say the CEO of JustPark knows a thing or two about the sharing economy, building a community and securing investment. Find out more from Alex, a global expert on the world-wide trend of sharing when you join him for dinner on Wednesday.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 27 May at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly, Soho

Click here to see a full list of our upcoming TableCrowd dinners.

For those of you who are new to TableCrowd – have a look at our video to see what it’s like when you join us for dinner:

My oh my, did we have a treat for our diners this week. Those of you who had the pleasure of joining us at NatWest‘s private dining room at Drummond, Charing Cross, had a truly exceptional evening filled with food, history, networking and business know-how. Before we venture any further into this dinner roundup, we must inform you our speaker invoked Chatham House Rule.

Which means:

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

So, whilst we can fill you in on what happened – we can’t reveal who provided the information or quotes that lie herein. But we hope you enjoy the roundup anyway!

swiftkeyThe evening began with a lovely mini tour of Drummond led by the Head Waiter, Guy, before everyone sat down for dinner, regaling the history of the bank, including a lot of anecdotes about famous clients and various artworks on the walls. With a stunning trio of starters, mains and desserts, diners were presented with a cheese course during which Eric started his speech.

With a background that includes being born in Alabama, North Carolina, attending Harvard Law School, working for AOL, Mobile Posse and now SwiftKey, Eric has a wealth of experience in securing distribution and monetising businesses. After his speech, the group discussion moved on to topics such as, how do you get engagement, and how do you get distribution? The succinct response was:

Viral. Good luck. Have fun – I praise you if you can do it!

When the group talked about mistakes, and what were the biggest people had made, the insightful answer was to identify what your assets are and work to your strengths. Too many people spend too much time trying to do things that they’re either not equipped to do, or simply not good at!

It was established that the success of a product, in the eyes of one diner, had nothing to do with “making a small tweak”. What it ultimately boiled down to was: Distribution.

And remember:

Time is not your friend.

Diners that joined Eric included: Purple Stone Rooms, LawBite, Airdates.co, Script Boutique, CaterClub, Eleks, My Vocal Therapy amongst others.

A massive thanks goes to our partner NatWest for providing their phenomenal private dining venue and Eric Collins for a fantastic talk and Q&A session.

Click here for a full list of our latest TableCrowd dinners.

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. – See more at: http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule#sthash.xqUkH7B1.dpuf
When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. – See more at: http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule#sthash.xqUkH7B1.dpuf

It’s almost the middle of May already – before you know it, summer will have whizzed right past us. To ensure you make the most of your time, next week is crammed full of dinners for you to meet and network with a whole host of people. So, without any further ado, here’s what’s happening:

NWD180515Hear how the pop-up scene has changed the way London eats
Join Jessica Tucker, founder of Urban Food Fest, for dinner and drinks and discuss the revolutionary way in which street food has transformed the London food scene. This dinner is for food entrepreneurs and enthusiasts looking to gain a valuable insight into the world of street food.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 18 May

Discuss the future of #WedTech and it’s effect on the £10 billion UK wedding industry
Join your industry peers and the discussion on WedTech, how it’s booming in the US and ready to explode into the UK market. See how your business can capitalise on this trend and the growing number of brides and groom spending up to 10 hours a week on wedding sites and blogs.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 18 May at Aubaine, Regent Street

Dine with Tony Wollenberg, founder of City Index: Playing the stock market
With decades of experience and market anecdotes, Tony Wollenberg is the person to garner information from relating to the stock market. Meet Tony informally over dinner and listen to this serial entrepreneur and stock market guru’s after-dinner talk.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May

Dine with an early stage investor from Accel
Find out what Luciana Lixandru, an early stage investor at Accel, looks for in the companies she invests in. She focuses on early and growth stage investments.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly, Soho

NWD180515-2

Find out how to charm the Fashion Press with Fashion GPS and Tada & Toy
Obtain an insight into both sides of the story, from agency and brand, when securing coverage for a fashion business. The Global Director of Brand Development at Fashion GPS, Alison Levy will be providing an after-dinner talk, as well as Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of Tada & Toy.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

Dine with Ed Freyfogle, founder of Nestoria at our PropertyTech dinner
We’ve teamed up with Fixflo to bring you our third PropertyTech dinner for fellow entrepreneurs and professionals in the property industry to meet and network over food. Ed Freyfogle, co-founder of Lokku (who’s key consumer brand is Nestoria) will be talking after dinner, which includes an informal Q&A session.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 20 May at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

“Getting into the Glossys” dinner with Sarah Jossel, Glamour Magazine
Talk informally over dinner with Sarah Jossel, Glamour Magazine’s Deputy Beauty Editor, and Backstage Reporter for New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Find out how to get into the pages of coveted glossy magazines at this dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 20 May at Pescatori Italian & Seafood Restaurant, Fitzrovia

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our video to see what it’s like joining us for dinner:

For a full list of our upcoming dinners, click here.

Welcome to part 2 of our After Dinner Roundup for the mammoth week of dinners we had last week (find part 1 here). Last Wednesday saw three dinners taking place at three venues across London, with the founders of Bloom & Wild and Lexoo speaking to their fellow diners, and the EventTechOCD dinner series launching at The Green in Clerkenwell. Here’s what happened:  lexooLexoo
The dinner at The Noodle House in Soho, involved Daniel van Binsbergen regaling his fellow diners with the story of his business from launching his idea to investment and building an online marketplace. Starting in February 2014, Daniel managed to get funding for Lexoo early on, appreciating how lucky he was securing early investment with just two clients and a front-end website. Insights that Daniel provided included, in February they did £40K in legal work and 40% of their business comes from Google Ad words. However he did state that this was incredibly expensive and ultimately, depressing how much money they have to hand over!

When times are hard, Daniel tells himself, “It’s not supposed to be easy otherwise there would be nothing to build here.”

bloomBloom & Wild
Aron Gelbard, founder of Bloom & Wild joined diners for a lovely, intimate dinner at Aubaine, Heddon Street last Wednesday, providing a really interesting talk covering the story of launching his successful flower delivery service. With people commenting and asking questions right from the start of his talk, it quickly turned into a more comprehensive Q&A session covering the following:

  • Look into getting SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) grants
  • Set up EMI (Enterprise Management Incentives) when you start hiring
  • Read The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
  • Don’t underestimate the technical side of things.
  • When raising money, be clear about your objectives
  • Use third parties whenever you can

And finally, Aron’s top tip:

Don’t try to raise money in August or December – investors are on holiday!

eventtechocdEventTechOCD
James Morgan, founder of Event Tech Lab, hosted the first in a series of dinners relating to the EventTech industry, with last week’s dinner covering the topic, “The future of hardware”. Our very own Chief Diner and co-founder of TableCrowd, Kate Jackson, attended the dinner. She summed up the evening with the following:

After a delicious dinner, there was a round the table discussion hosted by James on the future of hardware and what we want the developers of the future to consider for the events industry. The key outcome went right back to the basics. Right now, the availability and quality of WiFi at events is a serious limitation and this needs to be improved to support all of the new great ideas and developments in the industry. Venue owners massively underestimate requirements and sometimes the importance to the attendees.

Diners for these dinners included: TreatNow, WishWant, Eureeca, Klusstr, Laura Ashley, Senselab, Street Stream, Kerbi, Monster Energy, Homejoy, DueDil, AllAboutGroup, LegalGeek.co, American Express, ThinkWall, IMEX, Reed Travel Exhibitions, Euromoney Seminars, Airfinance Events, Amazon, BrightBull amongst others.

Huge thanks goes out to our speakers Daniel and Aron, and host, James.

For a full list of upcoming dinners, click here.

 

edwinWhat a monumental week of dinners we’ve had to finish the month of April on a high. With seven dinners to cover, this is part 1 of 2 (find part 2 here), so we’ll keep this week’s round-up as concise as we can:

Edwin Smith on media coverage for your startup
Our first dinner this week was with freelance journalist, Edwin Smith and our partner Mangostorm Media at the scrumptuous Mint Leaf Lounge. As usual the atmosphere was electric, with everyone having lots to say to each other. Ed delivered a fantastic speech; his top tips for getting good coverage were:

  • Have a really good ‘About ‘ page on your website
  • Know what makes you interesting
  • Don’t always rely on PR agencies – sometimes a personal approach is better
  • PR should be the responsibility of everyone in the company
  • Don’t oversell yourself
  • Think of it from a journalist’s POV

Ultimately, you should ensure that you have a “good, concise, well written, interesting piece with relevant information and specific statistics and figures” available for journalists to review. This is vital for them to try and find info out about a company as quickly as possible.

Women in STEM
This dinner was a first for us, bringing women together from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries, however it went down a storm with the ladies. A big thanks to our partner Mendeley for adding a personal touch with branded napkins and chocolates – what a treat! Taking place at The Green in Clerkenwell, Nasrin Hafezparast from Outcomes Based Healthcare spoke passionately about her experiences of being a woman in STEM (and being dual-qualified no less!) she had the attention of the whole room during and after her speech, with the majority of diners burning the midnight oil with her.

bloggersFashion eCommerce with Chloe Thomas
With our partner Attraqt, Tuesday saw a group dining with Chloe Thomas, author of eCommerce Masterplan who spoke about her history in eCommerce and international selling, which has led her to now help other businesses. She does this by absorbing what happens in the market and looking at the options, to find out what can be done by eCommerce business owners. Chloe concentrated her talk on the core of eCommerce, specifically CBT (cross border trading, otherwise known as international selling), as well as understanding the customer.

Did you know?

  • The UK leads the world in eCommerce
  • UK consumers spend on average £1145 each online per year
  • Trust, experience and convenience are the three main reasons that people enjoy shopping in stores rather than online

Top tip:

Take the tactics being used by the big players and use them in the smaller market. E.g. Claire’s Accessories sold on Amazon in three countries to find out which one had the biggest traction so they could set up shops in that country.

The Bloggersphere with Hayley Carr and Jane Cunningham
Tuesday night’s dinner at Jamie’s Italian in Piccadilly Circus took the TableCrowd experience to a whole new level thanks to Hayley Carr (London Beauty Queen) and Jane Cunningham (British Beauty Blogger), who turned our Q&A session on its head by introducing the #honestanswers question box. All our diners got to put questions to our speakers completely anonymously which meant the PR crowd could ask the nitty gritty questions they’ve always wanted to ask!

As independent bloggers, both Hayley and Jane run practically every aspect of their blogs and describe blogging as a 24/7 job, “a regular job would be easier” explained Jane. As the bloggersphere is becoming more commercial, both bloggers predicted that the future will see blogs being primed for sale and sold off as commercial commodities. The main topics stripped bare and discussed were:

  • PRs can be influential in a blogger’s journey, and should focus on up and coming blogs
  • Bloggers know their audience, and they know what works best
  • They do not “play with lipstick all day”
  • A great blogger works really hard across all channels and has constant content as well as their own opinion
  • There’s always a thirst for knowledge and this usually involves a change in the reader’s life initiating a need for knowing
  • Understand the longevity of a blog post, two year old blogs are still being read today

They both agreed that what makes a good PR is someone who listens, someone to create a relationship with and who wants to build on that relationship. But most importantly of all, know who you are pitching to!

Big thanks to our partners Mangostorm Media, Mendeley and Attraqt, along with our speakers Nasrin Hafezparast, Edwin Smith, Hayley Carr and Jane Cunningham.

attraqtmendeleymango

For a complete list of our upcoming dinners, click here.

adr230415-2  What a great week of dinners we’ve had. The dinner with Ari Helgason, an Early Stage Tech Investor at Dawn Capital on Monday started the ball rolling, and his successful dinner was quickly followed by a double whammy Tuesday with the founder of SaVse Smoothies dining with food and beverage startups, and Tim Jackson from Lean Investments talking money. Dinner with Mikey Howe, Founding Partner of Escape the City, finished up the dinners for this week leaving our diners truly inspired about their future aspirations. Job well done to all – here’s a quick look at what went on:

Joining the dark side
Diners at Aubaine on Monday, had the pleasure of hearing from Ari Helgason about the step-by-step process of looking for funding, how to apply for it, as well as what his company looks for when they invest. Originally coming from the entrepreneurial side of things, Ari provided an overview of his startups before he moved over to the “dark side of capital funding”. Providing everyone with tips on what you should and shouldn’t do when meeting a VC, including:

Be prepared; do your research on the investors before you meet them.

All in all, the charming Ari provided a wonderfully insightful speech, covering a plethora of in-depth questions with incredible detail and knowledge.

adr23.04.15Push, stalk and pester buyers
Starting with a background in sales, Guka Tavberidze, spoke passionately about the beginnings of his business, from taking inspiration from his Mum by making drinks like she always did, to being determined to make his smoothies cold-pressed. Interestingly, companies like innocent and Naked pasteurise their drinks which strips the fruit and veg of their nutrients. After being told cold-pressed drinks were impossible to produce many times, he finally found the right people to help him achieve his idea.

With getting products stocked being high on the agenda of many diners at this dinner, Guka spoke about how he decided to go high end straight away, targeting Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. His top tip for getting stocked in stores was, ultimately:

You have to push, stalk and pester buyers until they try your product.

Speaking regularly and highly of his team, Guka stressed the importance of hiring the right people to ensure their level of commitment and passion for the brand mirrors your own. He is a major advocate for always doing the hiring for your business yourself.

It’s hard to talk
Next up was Tim Jackson’s hugely anticipated dinner talking all things money, investment and fundraising. To set the scene, Pescatori did a fantastic job of creating a beautiful ambiance with pretty fairy lights and candles decorating the room. Tim began his speech by regaling a story about his trip to Tokyo, and how there’s a saying that,

If you go to Tokyo for a day, you come back and write a book;
If you go for a month, you write a small novel;
If you go for a year, you write an article, and
If you go for five years you won’t write anything.

Tim explained that talking about fundraising is very similar, in that, the longer you are in the business and have experience in fundraising, the harder it is to talk about it.

His speech included a summary of his past experience in startups and being a VC – so he has experiences on both sides of the industry – although he followed this up with saying, “I don’t claim to have great expertise, in fact, the longer I do this job, the more I realise I don’t have any!”

However, what he has done along the way is observe mistakes that have been made, and that was the key driver for Tuesday night’s speech. Tim covered the six key questions to ask:

  1. Why raise capital?
  2. What’s on offer?
  3. How much to raise?
  4. What’s the valuation?
  5. Who from?
  6. How?

As an example, Tim spoke about the company 37 Signals and how founder Jason Freed never got outside funding; 100% of the business belongs to him.

When you raise money, your company is a cake and you are giving away a slice of your cake. You very rarely get that slice back.

Essentially, Tim summed up fundraising with this point and explained, that you should be careful of how much you are asking for, what you’re giving up, and check first – do you really need that funding?

adr230415-1Jumping through hoops
A lot of us know the story already, getting stuck in a corporate job after going through all the ‘right routes’ of good grades, university, and jumping through the expected hoops only to end up in job that you didn’t really want in the first place! Mikey’s talk at last night’s dinner covered exactly this well-known narrative, as not only the beginnings of Escape the City, but also the backdrop for many of the members joining their community.

Covering the story of how Escape the City came to be, included hearing how much Mikey hated his job and spent countless hours hiding in the toilets reading about new entrepreneurs on his iPhone, as well as the original light bulb moment. It can all be traced back to a single interaction between Mikey’s business partners’ Dom and Rob, when Dom whispered to Rob, “This is pretty shit, isn’t it?” Cue blogs, mailing lists, a huge fanbase and going global! A book deal followed shortly after, and thanks to crowdfunding from their members the team built their company into what it is today; a place for people to find exciting career opportunities and network with like-minded people.

Diners this week included: Shine Holistic, Verb Brands, Maintaino, Inspired Escapes, Lima, PixelPin, Network Locum, Streethub, UnderTheDoormat, Popcorn Kitchen, BananaBerry, CHO Gazpacho, Cinnamon Bridge, NRJ Drinks, Urban Food Fest, Virtue Ice Tea, Cocomojo, SocioApps, Much Better Adventures, PM EVO, MapSit, 1ROOF, USPAAH, The Friction, MyGravity, WishWant as well as others.

Big thanks goes out to our speakers Ari Helgason, Tim Jackson, Guka Tavberidze and Mikey Howe, as well as our partners Alma CG and Taylor Wessing.

alma&taylor

Take a look at all of our upcoming dinners here.

 

We first met Colin White, co-founder of Sumo Insight at our #MeetandEat for AdTech startups back in January. Here’s the business spotlight on his mobile market research app.

ColinCollider What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Sumo Insight is a ‘designed for mobile’ market research platform disrupting the consumer insight sector. We bring brands closer to their consumers by using the power of the smartphone to engage with consumers at the right time, and in the right place, for richer, deeper insight in traditional question format and multimedia responses such as video answers.


What were you doing before you launched your startup?

20 years working for blue-chip enterprises such as Toshiba and Orange.  However, I had a busy 12 months prior to starting Sumo Insight as part of the core team that re-branded Orange to EE and launched the first 4G network in the UK. The deadlines were tough but what we achieved under NDA conditions was huge for the industry, bringing forward the introduction of 4G in the UK by at least 12 months.  

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?

A mutual friend introduced us. She knew we were both looking to do the same thing!


What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

So many to choose from! In hindsight though, I think we would have brought our technology to market in smaller steps. Our MVP was quite developed and some of the functionality could have been brought to market in smaller stages. It’s a better process to focus the mind one step at a time!
sumotriotransparentWhat will 2015 bring?

2014 was about early adoption of our tech by brands and agencies eager to benefit from introducing mobile in their market research mix, which has brought in revenues, but, more importantly, has allowed us to work closer with real clients in real scenarios and introduce these learnings in to our business. We’re working on a Proof of Concept now which will evolve our product based on client feedback and we’re looking to launch as a MVP later this year (learning from our hindsight!). We’re also just starting to raise further investment under the SEIS scheme following our initial investment round through Collider.io last year.  

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Look to the USA for guidance. The market research sector is innovating faster in the US.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.

Traditional research doesn’t add context to consumer insight and it’s often slow. Capturing consumers’ stories, emotions and feedback, in-the-moment they are made via a consumer’s personal smartphone, captures a level of raw honesty you don’t get from other methodology. Faster, deeper consumer understanding! Try us with a brief!


What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?

Mfour – doing similar great stuff in the USA.


What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Well, if you’re going to treat me, it’s Hakkasan. Big bold tastes of Asia with an electric atmosphere. If you’re not, then it’s a Pulled Pork Burger with an egg on top from The Joint, Brixton Market.


What’s your favourite meal?
One word, Pizza!

Sumo Logo centredFind more of our #BusinessSpotlights here.

 

nwd20.04.15Get ready for two weeks crammed full of dinners to send your entrepreneurial spirit into overdrive. From dining with a journalist and two of the UK’s top bloggers to networking with other women in STEM or understanding the future of fashion eCommerce, there is definitely something for everyone coming up. Before we bring you a quick overview of next week’s dinners, don’t forget it’s not too late to book on this week’s either:

  • Dine with early stage tech investor from Dawn Capital tonight [SOLD OUT]
  • Join the Founder of SaVse Smoothies for dinner tomorrow night
  • Dine with Tim Jackson from Lean Investments for our dinner on fundraising options, also tomorrow night
  • Join the Founding Partner of Escape the City for our dinner on rapid growth and building a profitable business on Wednesday night

nwd20.04.15-2Here’s what’s coming up next week:

Women in STEM: Dine with Nasrin Hafezparast, Tech Lead at Outcomes Based Healthcare
Interested in science, tech, engineering or maths? Come and enjoy dinner and drinks with your fellow female entrepreneurs working in STEM. Nasrin, the Founder of Outcomes Based Healthcare will provide an after-dinner talk, followed by an informal Q&A session. She will share her story as well as tips and insights for female entrepreneurs and women in STEM.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 27 April at The Green, Clerkenwell

Dine with journalist Edwin Smith, contributor to The Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Evening Standard and more
Securing coverage for your startup isn’t easy! Join Edwin Smith for dinner and enjoy an after-dinner talk on how to get on a journalist’s radar. Ed is a freelance journalist, feature-writer and editor, writing about everything from culture to business, tech, sport, food & drink, style, politics and ‘slebs’.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 27 April at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

The Future of Fashion eCommerce: vital trends and insights for your business
Dine with eCommerce expert, Chloë Thomas. Find out where the fast-moving world of eCommerce is heading, what you need to know, and how this will affect the industry. Chloë is an online marketer, business owner, eCommerce consultant, and author of eCommerce MasterPlan.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 28 April at The Green, Clerkenwell

Ask them anything! Dine with two of the UK’s biggest bloggers [SOLD OUT]
Hayley Carr from London Beauty Queen and Jane from British Beauty Blogger are hosting a dinner for both brands/PRs and bloggers, followed by a brief overview of the current state of the bloggersphere.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 28 April at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly, Soho

EventTech Dinner, #EventTechOCD
Join us for dinner with other EventTech entrepreneurs and professionals who can’t stop thinking and talking about EventTech. These regular working dinner sessions provide diners with the opportunity to talk about our obsession. This month’s session is centred around the development of hardware that can give greater audience engagement at events.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 29 April

Dine with the Founder of Bloom & Wild: from idea to launch and rapid growth
Looking to shake up the industry you work in? Then, join us for dinner with Aron Gelbard, co-founder & CEO of Bloom & Wild. They are reinventing flower gifting; ordered online or via their app, flowers arrive through the recipient’s letterbox the very next day. What a genius idea! Aron will share his story from idea inception, through the launch, seed funding and their rapid growth.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 29 April

For a full list of our upcoming dinners, take a look here.

 

aubaineThe wonderful weather we’ve had this week was the perfect backdrop for not only our TableCrowd dinners but also for us to celebrate in the launch of Aubaine‘s new venue in Broadgate Circle. The great team there delighted us with their fantastic French cuisine resulting in a rather long lunch break for us all. Big thanks go to Aubaine for inviting us to their soft opening in preparation for their launch yesterday.

This week we had a great turn out at our first Fitness dinner at Aubaine, Heddon St, hosted by Niall Smith of BeInspired Fitness, who said the best way to describe the dinner was “Fitness meets Tech”.

The discussions were all very different as we had individulas from startups, VCs, Tech brands and fitness professionals (personal trainers & nutritionists). Even with the different skill sets, it was a great group of people as we could talk about a wide range of topics. The venue was really good and the food was great.

We also had the Thinkadelica dinner hosted by James York on Wednesday evening, along with the #WINdinner at Mele E Pere hosted by Amalia Agathou. The Thinkadelica dinner is a bi-monthly dinner for professionals across the tech and startup sector, whilst the #WINdinner is specifically for female VCs. If you’re keen to be invited, do connect with James or Amalia via the TableCrowd site.

Diners this week included: Piton Capital, Dawn Capital, Techstars, Rainmaking Loft, LampKicking, Metaform Technology, Sport on Spec, Fynder, The Leisure Database Company, Mind Agilis, Live Fit, Wireless Fitness and Total Training amongst others.

Here are some snippets from the evenings:

Screenshot 2015-04-16 13.47.09Screenshot 2015-04-16 10.51.19  Screenshot 2015-04-16 10.42.38

Screenshot 2015-04-16 10.42.10 Screenshot 2015-04-16 10.33.36

To see all of our upcoming dinners and to secure your seat, click here.

This week’s #BusinessSpotlight is none other than James Middleton, a regular diner at TableCrowd who’s currently working on two startups, Street Stream and Kerbi. The two services go hand in hand, so with Kerbi launching this spring we thought we’d find out more about its big brother, Street Stream.

James_profile_picture

What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?
Street Stream is a bit like Über for couriers. We make arranging a delivery or shipment as easy as hailing a cab is now, thanks to Über and Hailo. You simply enter the pick up address, delivery address and package details on the website and submit it. An alert goes out to nearby independent couriers (on bikes, motorbikes and in vans) and they submit quotes. You can rank the couriers on prices, proximity to pick-up point and customer rating. You can “favourite” your preferred couriers.

The market for deliveries in London is huge and many small businesses are badly served by the large courier companies. The aim is to de-mystify the world of couriers and make it simple and friendly to use. Remember what a nightmare it was getting a mini-cab before Über – you had to dial through a series of numbers not knowing who was available, who was reliable, who knew their way around the city etc. The courier industry is much like that now. The plan is to change that.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?
I was working as a financial economist in the City for a large asset management company.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
There are no co-founders at the moment. It’s entirely bootstrapped.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
All IT projects take much longer than you think and you have to be patient; don’t buy things unless you know you will really need them. I have definitely wasted some money.

What will 2015 bring?
Street Stream is launched in London and the plan is to get it up to scale here, as well as moving to other cities. Street Stream’s sister product, Kerbi launches in the spring.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Network! Bounce ideas off people. Talk to people about their areas of expertise. There is an unofficial currency of favours among entrepreneurs who know that what goes around comes around. If nothing else, it provides emotional support when you are wrestling with the headaches startups have.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
Street Stream is an easy-to-use way to arrange deliveries. Whether you are a small business sending samples of your product, a shop trying to impress customers with a same day delivery, or whether you are an individual who simply wants to arrange a delivery at a convenient time and location, then Street Stream should make your life easier. It is simple to use. The goods are insured and the couriers on the platform are all conscientious.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
I’m a big fan of Bizzby which has a similar model but for handymen and cleaners.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The Reading Room at Claridges but it’s for special occasions only!

What’s your favourite meal?
Chinese crispy roast duck.

streetstreamFind more of our #BusinessSpotlights here.