Last week 25 professionals and entrepreneurs gathered in the upstairs dining room at the Green to discuss business and technology links between the UK and Africa, all over a delicious meal and wine. We were happy to welcome Leslie Onyesoh, CEO of Kwanji, to speak about his entrepreneur journey in this space over dinner.

Kwanji is a UK based tech start-up working to simplify foreign exchange mechanisms for small businesses. Leslie started his business to make a change in the way international trade and payments are carried out, a system that, according to him, is unfair and unethical. In his insightful after dinner talk he covered the importance of building a good team, selling to your neighbour, racism in fundraising, international expansion plans for Kwanji as well fielding questions from the room.

Here are some helpful tips we picked up from Leslie for succeeding with your business:

1. Expect to get your hands dirty

2. Be passionate. Expect knock backs and deal with them!

3. Give people access to your product

4. Find key strategic partners

5. Your customers know best -see how they use your product

Here are some photos of the night to enjoy, taken by Peta Grewal from Kwanji:

africa9 africa8 africa6 africa10 africa5 africa11 africa1

We dined on a lovely 2 course meal courtesy of the Green in Clerkenwell.

Thank you to Rackspace for partnering with us.

Rackspace

We’re hosting a dinner on Tuesday November 11th to explore the what, how and why of Bitcoin with a special after dinner speaker Pamir Gelenbe. Pamir is a Partner at Hummingbird Ventures where he currently focuses his efforts on virtual currencies. He is also the founder of CoinSummit, a series of events in the US and Europe focused on virtual currencies.

Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; it is open-source, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. But what does this really mean? Who can take part? What value does it add for me or my business? As well as enjoying a nice meal with like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs, we’ll hear from Pamir and discuss these questions over dinner.

bitcoin-logo

Pamir bitcoin

In a recent article in tech.eu, our speaker for the evening Pamir Gelenbe said the following about Bitcoin:

“While there are still considerable obstacles to mainstream adoption, the bitcoin industry has evolved significantly over the last year. It is no longer a fringe libertarian movement but a commercial industry in its own right that is attracting strong talent and significant investment. But, while venture capital investment in bitcoin is accelerating with around $200m flowing into bitcoin companies in the U.S. over the last year, so far we have seen just a handful of much smaller deals in Europe.

One of the biggest challenges is user adoption. It is something of a chicken and egg problem, not unlike what we saw in the early pre-broadband years of the Internet. It is by no means easy to understand how bitcoin works or decide whether it is safe to store bitcoin holdings. Even the process of buying bitcoin remains far too complicated for the average consumer. The rise of bitcoin’s value is also turning wallets into a target for all kinds of cyber attacks.”

We’ll be dining on a delicious 3 course meal at Italian restaurant Piccolino’s and sharing insights around this fascinating subject.

Hope you’ll join us on Tuesday 11th November – book your seat here.

#MeetandEat

SwiftKey has been branded London’s hottest startup so who better to speak at our upcoming dinner on 4th November about growing your online presence than Ruth Barnett, who heads up their Global Comms & Media Coverage. Before joining SwiftKey, Ruth was a political & tech journalist at Sky News and many moons ago, media’s first ‘Twitter Correspondent’.

SwiftKey’s mission is to make it easy for everyone to create and communicate on mobile. It uses AI to understand the context of what you’re writing to accurately predict your next word. The SwiftKey Keyboard has been No 1 on Google Play in more than 58 countries and thanks to strategic partnerships, their technology features on more than 200 million devices worldwide. They recently launched SwiftKey Keyboard for iPhone & iPad, which went to No 1 in the US & UK and hit 1m downloads on its first day. They have won coverage across the mainstream and technology press, including the BBC, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Guardian, Telegraph, TechCrunch, Forbes, Sky News, Stylist, Recode, Engadget – and cult web comic XKCD.

Here’s an interview with Ruth about SwiftKey to give you a little taster:

If you’re interested in growing your online presence and gaining media coverage, you’ll want to book your seat at the table. It’ll be a great chance to meet like-minded people in the startup space and chat with Ruth informally over dinner.

Dinner is on Tuesday 4th November in London. See you there!

swiftkey logo

We had a great evening last night at the Noodle House in Soho with a lovely bunch of FinTech folk. The private dining room downstairs was buzzing with talk on the latest FinTech innovations, the new Innovate Finance initiative presented by Head of Memberships Axel Katalan at the start and an insightful talk by the CEO of iwoca, Christoph Rieche, at the end. It was all wrapped up with a lively Q&A over green tea.

We were joined by brilliant people from Satago, Clari Group, MyCheck, Mayfair FX, Ebury, AT&A, Unicredit, Proplend and lots more.

Here are some snippets of conversation about the night:

fintech twitter oct

Diners enjoyed the delicious spread of South East Asian food at the Noodle House in the heart of Soho.

See you at another table soon!

Thanks Innovate Finance, Taylor Wessing and Blick Rothenberg for partnering with us:

sponsors fintech

Are you confused about how companies are valued and want to find out more?

We’re hosting dinner for professionals and startups to do just that on Wednesday 29th October. We’ll enjoy dinner and drinks followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Karri Vuori, Director or Corporate Finance at Charles Stanley Securities, who’s going to shed some light on this often complex topic.
company valuations

Karri is a brilliant speaker with a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. He focuses on both mergers and acquisitions and on fundraising – private equity transactions through to IPOs. Constructing (or deconstructing!) company valuations is integral to what he does. Karri has advised, among others, on the recent £84m sales of System C Healthcare to McKesson Corporation, the £195m take private of Nord Anglia Education by Baring Private Equity Asia and the sale of Pearl & Dean by STV Group. You’ll have the opportunity to ask Karri any questions and discuss the topic informally over dinner.

Here is a little taste of what he’ll be sharing on Wednesday:

“Looking forward to lifting the lid on the dark art of company valuations. Having worked across buyside and sellside M&A as well as IPOs and fundraisings, the issue of what a company is worth is always at the forefront of the most difficult issues to tackle. For example, how can a pre-revenue tech business worth hundreds of millions when its profitable competitor might be worth a fraction of that? What do buyers look for and how do sellers maximise their valuation? How and why do valuation metrics vary across industries?”

karri

To book your spot at the table at the lovely South Italian restaurant Apulia on Weds 29th October, click here.

Last night, a lively crowd of entrepreneurs and professionals came together in the Clerk and Well’s private dining room to share insights about growing their business over a lovely meal. After dinner, we heard from the founders of successful tech startup Mopp (an online marketplace that allows you to book a trusted home cleaner in under 60 seconds). The charismatic Pete Dowd & Tom Brooks answered lots of questions about how they scaled their business, raised funds, and secured their recent acquisition by Handy. 

Hayley Conick, Country Manager for UK at Elance-oDesk said of the evening:

“Thrilled Elance-oDesk were able to support TableCrowd last night: it was an outstanding evening all round with a lovely, eclectic crowd (including an ex-pro footballer, a singer-songwriter, someone who used to work with Boris and a great guy who sold his first business to his dad) and a frank, funny & fascinating talk by Pete and Tom from Mopp. Thanks Tablecrowd!”

Here are some snippets of conversation and photos of the night:
Mopp twitter
mopp2

mopp1

We dined on a tasty 3 course Pan Asian feast courtesy of Clerk and Well in Clerkenwell.

Thank you to Elance-oDesk for partnering with us.

Screen shot 2014-09-18 at 10.03.13

Africa is definitely rising. International tech powerhouses like Microsoft, Intel, Google and IBM are increasingly targeting Africa for investment, opportunity and growth. We’re hosting a dinner with the Africa Technology Business Network to build a bridge between the tech communities in the UK and Africa. The goal is to foster collaboration, skill sharing and co-innovation between the two tech ecosystems.

We’ve got a brilliant after dinner speaker lined up, Leslie Onyesoh, CEO and founder of Kwanji, a UK based tech start-up working to simplify foreign exchange mechanisms for small businesses. He started his business to make a change in the way international trade and payments are carried out, a system that, according to him, is unfair and unethical.

leslie kwanji blog

He wants to create a level playing field for global e-commerce from which all businesses can benefit, regardless of size or location. Kwanji achieves this by developing a comprehensive and complementary suite of tools which together bring ‘point and click’ efficiencies to international trading. The Kwexc platform, the first service to be delivered by Kwanji, is an online foreign exchange portal which enables small businesses from all over the world to choose the best foreign exchange mechanism and transaction rate at the touch of a button. It can best be described as ‘Match.com’ for foreign exchange.

Leslie says:

“We saw that businesses are at a competitive disadvantage when trading internationally. Foreign exchange is complicated, time consuming and expensive- SMEs just do not have the expertise or resources to get the best deal. We have developed Kwexc to level the playing field.”

We hope you’ll join us for his fascinating talk and a chance to meet him and other entrepreneurs over a relaxed dinner. We’ll be dining on a 2 course meal at the lovely Green Restaurant in Clerkenwell.

Book your seat at the table on Thursday 23rd October here.

Let’s #MeetandEat

We’re happy to partner with Rackspace for this event:

rackspace_startups_logo_colors_v2-1-01

The private dining room at the Green Restaurant in Clerkenwell was packed full of brilliant people and travel startups last night. We dined on a delicious 2 course meal & wine and enjoyed the after dinner talk by Lee McCabe, head of travel at Facebook. He shared his tips and knowledge for travel marketers on how to best make use of this popular and influential platform. The Q&A at the end sparked some lively discussion and lots of useful connections were made.

We were joined by some incredible travel startups and companies including Much Better Adventures, Travelex, Sumak Sustainable Travel, Localoids, Touriocity, Tripster, What Now Travel, Travelex, BlaBlaCar & many more.

Travel logos

Here are some photos of the night for you to enjoy:

3 2 1 4-2

Here are some snippets of conversation on the night:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 10

Untitled

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 10

Good times were had and the roast lamb courtesy of The Green went down a treat. Thanks to Rackspace for partnering with us.

rackspace_startups_logo_colors_v2-1-01

Check out our upcoming tables here.

We’re looking forward to seeing Prash tomorrow night at the travel dinner with the head of the travel at Facebook Lee McCabe as after dinner speaker. It’ll be a lively one and we’re excited to hear new insights, make interesting connections and enjoy good food & wine. We caught up with Prash ahead of the dinner to find out a bit more about his travel startup Localoids. Over to you:

What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Localoids is an international community with a simple aim: we want to help each other with anything we can, whether we’re travelling or at home. It could be local advice or experiences, language practice, skills and knowledge or hospitality. We want to create international friendships and, ultimately, a helpful global neighbourhood.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

I worked as a wealth manager for over 10 years, but I’m now free of the corporate noose.

Prash Localoids

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

In hindsight I would not have wasted several months negotiating with potential tech founders, only to be let down. I would have started building straight away with freelancers, as I’m doing now.

What will 2015 bring?

We’re very excited at Localoids and hope to get the business and social model working really well, before expanding across Europe and eventually, around the globe.

1 piece of advice for someone starting a business in the the sector?

Don’t waste time trying to find a tech co-founder. Try to prove the business model with research and customer development, then hire freelancers to build it. Once you have something tangible, you’ve got a much better chance of finding people to join you. By the way, I’m still building.

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

If you love meeting interesting people, learning new things and helping others out, you’re a Localoid. We connect like-minded Travellers and Locals for fun, adventure and understanding. Join our growing tribe and help bring the world a little bit closer together. What are you waiting for?

How would you describe TableCrowd to someone who’s never heard of it before?

TableCrowd is a platform that connects people around interesting topics, to chat over a nice meal. It brings together like-minded people for networking and lively discussion. Once you sign up on the website you can join a table or create one of your own, based around whatever you want. Others can join and voila, you have a dinner party with interesting friends you haven’t met yet!

localoids logo-01

Connect with Prash and Localoids

Thanks Prash and wishing you all the best with Localoids! See you at the dinner table soon.

We’re looking forward to hearing from Mopp founders, Pete Dowds and Tom Brooks, over dinner on Wednesday October 15th.

Pete, an ex-lawyer and Tom, and ex-trader, best friends since university, have gone from working in the city to taking on the cleaning industry with a simple & innovative model. Mopp is an online platform to book a trusted cleaner for your home for a flat rate of £10 per hour.

Mopp-founders-Pete-Dowds-and-Tom-Brooks1-1024x682

Since starting their business 18 months ago, they’ve been busy. They raised a $1.5 million seed round at the end of the last year from a leading European VC, grew their team to 35 people at HQ and expanded to 10 cities. Mopp has seen its user base grow more than 900 percent in 2014, and it now processes more than 10,000 bookings per month. They’ve also recently been acquired by Handy in a multi-million dollar deal to establish stronger market share for Handy’s home services business in London.

mopp dinner

This dinner will be a great opportunity to speak to Tom and Pete about raising funds, scaling fast and their recent acquisition. We’ll enjoy a lovely Pan Asian meal at the Clerk & Well, drinks & a chance to meet fellow entrepreneurs, followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Mopp.

We hope to see you there next week. Book your spot here.