As summer is coming to an end, we have prepared some amazing dinners to kick start your Autumn. This week, we will be launching our first founders breakfast, with TableCrowd founder Kate Jackson. We will also be dining with Ken Valledy, who will be discussing how big brands work with startups. Read on to find out more:

nwdkenvalledyBreakfast on Tuesday #1: for founders
These relaxed meet ups over breakfast are for those people who are currently running startups and would like to build their network of like-minded individuals. Not only will it be a great chance to expand your networks, but you will also have the opportunity to share any problems and solutions with other founders in an informal environment. Our very own CEO, Kate Jackson, will the hosting the breakfast, and will be sharing her experiences as a founder of a startup company.
Breakfast is at 8am on Tuesday 8 September at Aubaine, Broadgate Circle.

Dine with Ken Valledy: on connecting startups with established brands & corporates
As a new business, we understand it can feel impossible to reach established brands and corporates, even when you’re offering them something of massive value. Ken Valledy, of Tech2Brand, will be dining with us and sharing from his experience how big brands approach working with startups, the types of ideas and deals that appeal, as well as tips on how to present your tech to a Marketing Manager. If you’re a tech founder or entrepreneur, come join us for dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 8 September at Private Room, Charing Cross.

Take a look at the full list of 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:

This week, our members have had the pleasure of joining launch dinners, with eToro’s first Traders’ Network dinner hosted by their CEO and Founder, Yoni Assia, and London Beauty Queen’s Hayley Carr celebrating the launch of The 30 Plus Blog Collective over dinner. A great crowd at both dinners, here’s what happened: etorotraderseToro Traders’ Network Dinner
Dining with a group of key players at eToro, a selection of their website’s social traders spent an evening at Mint Leaf Lounge speaking extensively about international trading markets. James Hughes, Chief Market Analyst at eToro provided the after-dinner talk and kept the topic relevant to current news by discussing the differences between China and the UK/US trading markets. With China’s stock market falling through the floor, and being a country that’s a big exporter of goods, it means that they will undoubtedly continue to face struggles.

Some of the more interesting points noted by James were that the US has been applying currency intervention for the last 10 years, shareholders in China make up 90% of the countries population, and that there are decisions being made by non-financial economic workers at the People’s Bank of China – with the effects of these decisions being quite noticeable by those paying attention. eToro will be hosting future dinners for their network of social traders, a great way to hear from those in the know about key stock market trends and predictions.

30plus2Hayley Carr, aka London Beauty Queen, to celebrate her launch of The 30 Plus Blog Collective
Hayley Carr hosted her dinner at Pescatori on Tuesday, and discussed the inspiration behind the 30 Plus Blog Collective and the plans for its future and what makes it so unique. Previously working within the industry has allowed her to provide the readers with honest perceptions and critiques regarding the products, instead of only being fed what a company’s marketing team has disclosed. There are currently 400 people in the collective, and is still growing! One of the main topics raised at the dinner was how the blog opened up a new age of conversation, which challenged perceptions and put them back on the agenda. Hayley described how this inclusive and positive movement is predominantly led by bloggers, which was encouraging for the diners, fellow bloggers and PR reps, to hear.

Our speakers were joined by: SilkFred, TreatNOW, MyBeautyMatches, Mrs Jonas Recommends, USPAAH, I Heart Beauty, The Beauty Hype, Taylor Made Beauty, Fighting Fifty, Found Some Paper, Russell & Bromley, Very Chic Geek, Rosalilium, Loved By Laura, Dream1ncolour, The Bookish ReaderTea, Cake & MakeMelissa Jane LeeLife & Lumes, The Body Shop, Blue Badge Style, 4D Data Centre and Solar Seeder amongst others.

Special thanks to our speakers James Hughes and Hayley Carr for making both evenings enjoyable for all.

For those of you who are new to TableCrowd – take a look at the full list of upcoming TableCrowd dinners and make sure to  have a look at our video to see what it’s like when you join us for dinner:

With our next PropertyTech dinner on the horizon, we thought this was a great time to share our catch up with James Harrison, who attended our last PropertyTech dinner back in May. As the founder of BillHub (previously known as EasyBills), James is changing the way tenants live together. By bringing utilities into the 21st Century, they offer a digital solution that better fits the needs of the modern housing market. Find out more from James in this week’s #BusinessSpotlight:

11714415_10153347325936068_586245167_nWhat’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We’re revolutionising the way housemates live together. The technology behind our platform redefines convenience, transparency and security for renters. It’s free to use and perfect for housemates who are looking to simplify the process behind shared bills. The housing situation in the UK is fundamentally changing the way we live together and one area that has seen massive growth is shared accommodation. Currently, there’s a void in the market for products and services that adequately fit the needs of these types of renters, and that’s what we’re changing. 

What were you doing before you launched the company?
I was a commodities trader, specialising in energy. It was a great job and certainly suited my entrepreneurial personality. The pressure was immense and the hours were long, however, I can’t say much has changed since.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
Carlos and I met through a friend. At the time, we were working in a similar area of the City. He was working at a bank, developing high frequency trading algorithms for the energy markets, among other things. Although we were working at opposite ends of the trading world, we were both engaged in the same markets, so we started going to lunch, mainly comparing our views and different perspectives. It didn’t take long for us both to work out that we wanted to do something different.

What’s your biggest hindsight moment?
Before our recent name change, we shared a certain part of our name with an unnamed multinational company. Over the last two years, we’ve proved exceptionally popular; unfortunately this has put us in the spotlight, somewhat. After lengthy discussions, spanning more than six months,  we decided to change our name.

Screenshot 2015-08-25 15.13.14

What will the rest of 2015 bring?
We’re working hard to develop some great new features for September, which is a busy time of the year for our student market. We’re in a rapidly evolving industry within the property rental/utility market. There is so much opportunity for tech innovation that the possibilities are endless.

We’re also really interested to see how the property market moves forward post election. We think a BoE rate increase towards the end of the year would be good for the rental market as mortgages increase, although this seems unlikely until early 2016. 

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Just start. Whatever you want to do, there’s no time like the present! And don’t let the word ‘no’ stop you. 

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
No one likes talking about bills. We don’t want you or your house mates to have to think about bills, let alone discuss them. We make sure you’re getting the best deal for you and then we consolidate all your household bills into one. More free time for what you love.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector?
I love eMoov. I’d say they’re among the leading companies behind the property technology movement at the moment. 

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Shake shack, no doubt about it!

What’s your favourite meal?
Pizza. I’m slightly ashamed to say I’ve had my fair share of ‘Two for Tuesdays’…

unnamedFind more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

Next week’s dinners see us joining up with the team at eToro to launch their monthly Traders’ Network dinners, and Hayley Carr (aka London Beauty Queen) is also launching The 30 plus Blog Collective too. Read on to find out more:etoro2eToro Traders’ Network dinner
This is part of the series of monthly Traders’ Network dinners for eToro traders and community members. Yoni Assia, the founder and CEO will be hosting and will be joined by other members of the eToro family. The dinner’s topics will be on what’s happened in the markets since they last met and what’s going on now in the US and Eurozone.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 24 August at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

30plusDine with Hayley Carr, aka London Beauty Queen, to celebrate her launch of The 30 Plus Blog Collective
Have dinner, drinks and meet fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs to celebrate the launch of the new concept, The 30 plus Blog Collective, and discuss under-representation of 30+ women in the bloggersphere. Hayley will host the dinner and discuss why she launched the collective and the plans for its future.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 25 August at Pescatori, Fitzrovia

Take a look at the full list of 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:

Diners this week had the pleasure of joining Alex Dunsdon, the founder of The Bakery London for dinner at The Green in Clerkenwell, and Ross Williams, CEO and founder of Venntro, at Tom’s Kitchen, St Katharine docks. Here’s what happened at the latest TableCrowd dinners:alexdDinner with Alex Dunsdon, founder of The Bakery London & Investment Director at Saatchinvest
Tuesday night saw The Green packed out with a group of TableCrowd members enjoying dinner with Alex Dunsdon and hearing his viewpoint on the truth about venture funding. With CityMapper being his first investment, at Saatchinvest, they like logical and thoughtful founders.

Founders are everything.

The best startups Alex knows have all crowdsourced VCs from the very beginning, and they phone and distribute between their network whenever any major decision needs to be made. Much of what investors are buying is fragile and uncertain, so, it’s important for VCs to believe in the founders. Alex’s top tip for dealing with a VC is to get the barriers out. Get out of the selling mode and into a ‘working together’ mode. Ask them up front about what they want from you. Let them know what you’ll achieve and by what date.

To peek the interest of a VC, first send them a foresight teaser, don’t send a full deck.

Hustle, charm and excite us!

Alex says having an attitude about your product or service is a must, but remember getting investment from a VC is hard.

I have to crush 99% of people’s dreams.

Your job in the first meeting with a VC is to excite them. The last piece of advice Alex imparted to his fellow diners was to take the opportunity to interview the VC when you meet with them. By getting them to talk about themselves, you will be able to figure out how to pitch to them. Securing investment is definitely not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

rossw

Dinner with Ross Williams, CEO & founder of Venntro
Dining at Tom’s Kitchen on Wednesday evening, Ross, his fellow diners, and Sarah from our partner Mangostorm Media, discussed the way he has secured 45m consumers, 25K+ sites and annualised revenues of £50m from his third business, Venntro. Working within the online dating industry, Ross’ company has every conceivable dating site, from their own brands (datingagency.com, datingrepublic.com, love2meet.com, singles365.com) and offering white labelling to media brands (London Evening Standard, Closer, Xfm etc), to incredibly niche dating sites like dateginger.co.uk. You can easily see how they’ve successfully notched up over 25,000 sites spanning across the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Ross’ main topic of advice was the importance of having several different payment providers, as having a single one, regardless of your turnover, can destroy your business! Learning from experience, Ross found himself in a situation where his payment provider terminated their contract with him. As his company’s sole payment provider, this resulted in them having a £1.5m shortfall in cash flow, as they had no guarantee of when the money held by the credit card provider would be released to them. (Check your T&Cs for termination periods and how long the provider can retain your money!) Thankfully, their bank lent them the money which meant their successful business wasn’t about to close due to the termination of a single contract!

The time to get a bank on side is not at a bad one. Get them on side before you need them, so you can make sure they’ll be there for you when things go wrong.

So, for all those eCommerce businesses out there:

  • Be sure to know the terms of your contracts with your payment providers
  • Have multiple payment providers
  • Think about the processing time, not just your acceptance rate – remember they’ve got your cash!
  • Get on your bank’s good side early and before you need them
  • Back up, back up, back up

For the secret to being a successful founder, Ross divulged his strategy: simply employ people who are better at every single part of the business than you are. That way you are left being a shareholder instead of running the show. That is how you build capital value in your business. And above all, be sure to align your business model with the needs of your consumer.

Our speakers were joined by: ReChannel, Stylect, Sleekster Club, EarlyBird, WeMakeWebsites, Sun Park Living, W Kollective, Story Terrace, OpenPlay, Pivigo, Mysteryvibe, Ignition Law, Adcash, Sentenial, Racepoint Global, Care Across, Apparel Systems and IBDrelief amongst others.

A special thanks goes to our speakers Alex Dunsdon, Ross Williams and our partner Mangostorm Media.

Mangostorm-logo1

breakfastAs you know, we’re all about community; introducing you to experienced founders, investors, journalists and each other, at our favourite time of the day – dinnertime!

But we have now discovered that having dinner with us is just not enough, you want breakfast too! And who are we to not deliver on such a request?

So, without any further ado, allow us to introduce our relaxed and informal breakfasts, happening on Tuesday mornings, 8am sharp, hosted by our very own CEO, Kate Jackson, at Aubaine, Broadgate Circle.

Breakfast on Tuesday #1: 8 September 2015

Breakfast on Tuesday #2: 15 September 2015

Breakfast on Tuesday #3: 22 September 2015

These breakfasts are strictly for founders who are actively running startups.

What are you waiting for? Come join us for breakfast!

Let’s #MeetandEat

P.s. If you’re new to TableCrowd, take a look at our video to see what coming to dinner is all about:

 

DF London Hyghlyne - Jeroen

After joining our dinner with Piton Capital on investing in online businesses with network effects, we recently caught up with the founder of Hyghlyne, Jeroen Vanderhaeghen, a regular TableCrowd diner, to discover more about his business. Here’s what he had to say:

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Today, brands and retailers face enormous challenges building relationships with their consumers and driving sales from those relationships. Newsletters don’t engage and social media doesn’t convert. With Hyghlyne, we bring a Mobile Consumer Journey Product to market. We help brands and retailers to get, keep, and grow consumers by offering them a personalised discovery, shopping and brand-belonging experience on a mobile application. How it works? Get in touch!

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was a strategy and operations management consultant working along the lines of Business Process and Data Design. I performed this type of work in many business functions across the globe. After a couple of years I found out that really nobody was applying these skills and knowledge to the world of marketing. Hyghlyne was then born.
Cover MultibrandIf you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
My co-Founder and I have multiple touch points. We met each other first at college, we studied together for a while at university, and our brothers are best friends.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
Do not underestimate the power of networking. I believe it is the most important component of building a successful business.

What will the rest of 2015 bring?
The launch of our product with a larger London headquartered lifestyle brand.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Network. Network. Network. Work less – get out of the building more!

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
Digital marketing tools today let consumers either discover, shop or experience. Hyghlyne lets you do all in one – in-store and online. The result? Get, keep and grow consumers with less consumer frustration and more sales at a fraction of the price you pay today.
Cover Web 1What’s your favourite startup in your sector?
My favourite startup would be Soundcloud. The way they use design and collaborative filtration to match music styles and bring a discovery journey creates a truly amazing experience. Who wants to go flipping records at the record store now?

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The Market Brasserie (18 Shepherd Market). Best “Souppe de Poisson” in London.

What’s your favourite meal?
“Endive And Ham Au Gratin” – As a summer-person, this is the only thing which makes me look forward to winter (Belgian endive is a winter vegetable).

Hyghlyne-Logo-Black-with-Baseline-CutFind more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email hello@tablecrowd.com with the title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

We had the great pleasure of welcoming Obica to our fantastic network of restaurants that put on our TableCrowd dinners. London Beauty Queen and British Beauty Blogger hosted their latest dinner at Obica’s Charlotte St restaurant, and Leila, founding partner of Spring Partners, spoke at the equally delicious Lima Floral, Covent Garden.lbqbbbDinner with London Beauty Queen & British Beauty Blogger
Hayley Carr (London Beauty Queen) and Jane Cunningham (British Beauty Blogger) hosted a dinner on the changing landscape of the blogging industry and how it is now ‘unrecognisable’ compared to the days when Hayley and Jane started.

Following their usual format of getting their fellow diners to write their questions down, Hayley and Jane used most of the evening to run a Q&A session from the submitted questions. These questions were mainly focused on commercialisation:

  • How do brands determine your worth?
  • How do you commercialise blogging?
  • When is the best time to ask for sponsorship?

They encouraged their diners to collaborate with brands early on instead of charging money, but to always understand their value. The second batch of the Q&A saw Hayley and Jane covering the topic of finding your niche. They recommended writing about your passion, as that would then become your USP.
springpartnersDine with Leila Rastegar Zegna, founding partner at Spring Partners
Leila joined an intimate dinner at Lima Floral to discuss using your network to grow your business. With her investment experience, Leila introduced her fellow diners to an investor community fund in San Francisco called, ‘First Round Capital’ that’s turning investing and the VC world on its head. They connect entrepreneurs with the tech, resources and the community they need straight away, with their goal to make a lasting impact.

There’s a tremendous benefit that comes from being a part of a community, and another firm she spoke about, Upside Partnership, takes this notion one step further by incentivising its community.

The average venture investor sits on 10 boards – that’s too many.

Rather than being the single conduit, it makes sense to create a community around an investment, for Spring Partners at least, they much prefer to take a smaller piece of a bigger pie.

Our speakers were joined by : Zoom Labs, Limeclip, Littledata, 93digital, Pivigo, TRULY, LexStep, Khunu, Face Place, I Heart Beauty, Baby2Body, Glowology, Accenture, Taylor Made Beauty, Beauty Seen PR, Natural Beauty Yearbook, Shiny Red, Alchemy PR, GPMD, Wonderlusting, Boots, Amie Natural Skincare, rewardStyle, Elemis and others.

Thanks to our speakers Leila, Hayley and Jane for doing a fab job this week.

AlexandRossWe’ve got a great line up next week, covering fundraising from a venture capitalists point of view, and hearing from one of the world’s leading online entrepreneurs.

Dine with Alex Dunsdon: The truth about venture funding – insights from the inside
Getting an insight into the minds of investors can be valuable for those looking for investment or who want a better understanding of venture funding. Join us for dinner, drinks & a chance to meet fellow entrepreneurs, followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Alex Dunsdon, founder of The Bakery London, which runs tech accelerator programmes to get startups and scale ups to market with big brands.

Alex is also an Investment Director at Saatchinvest and puts between £50k to £300K in at seed stage for simple, disruptive ideas. Within this role, he acts on the boards of many of the companies he invests in.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 11 August at The Green, Clerkenwell.

Dine with Ross Williams: on 45m consumers, 25k+ sites & annualised revenues of £50m
With 20 years in the eCommerce game, Ross Williams achievements are immense, having built his business from the ground up into an empire with 45m consumers on 25,000+ sites with annualised revenues of £50m.

He’s one of the world’s leading online entrepreneursand has a whole host of awards under his belt! When it comes to digital marketing and monetising your database/audience, Ross has a wealth of knowledge to share.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 12 August at Tom’s Kitchen, St Katharine Docks

Take a look at the full list of 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:

MyQaa, the mobile app for events and conferences, started a new initiative to recognise female leaders in the emerging events industry, and we are extremely proud and honoured that our CEO, Kate Jackson, was listed as one of the top 5 women in event tech!

KateHeadShotA jury panel of influencers within the industry submitted their nominations of women who ‘are currently working in event technology companies and have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of women and the industry’. Following the review of the nominees, the jury panel chose their Top 5:

We’re also pleased with the fact that Kate’s also representing the UK in the list as well! Be sure to read MyQaa’s full blog post on their initiative as they’re hoping that ‘this group of positive role models will inspire women to join our sector and to achieve their career goals’.

We also want to recognise the other nominees as each and every one of them is doing their part in promoting women in event tech:

  • Jane Baker, 2Heads Global Design
  • Tamar Beck, GleanIn
  • Lea Bloom, MCI Group
  • Midori Connolly, AV Girl Productions
  • Stefania Conti-Vecchi, The Eventagist
  • Alda Egurrola-Wienke, Cvent
  • Iris Goldman, OLE On Location Engagements
  • Melissa Ooi, ASP
  • Steph Pfeilsticker, Hybrid Events Authority
  • Melissa Pinard, InitLive, Inc
  • Tal Shoham, Evolero
  • Courtney Stanley, eventmobi
  • Anne Tsai, DoubleDutch
  • Leonora Valvo, insightXM

Keep up the good work ladies!