SEOAs many of us are aware, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a form of marketing that means your business will appear more highly in the organic search rankings on Google. It is important for credibility, awareness, traffic and ultimately, new customers. Done right, it can bring the highest ROI of all forms of marketing. So “doing it right” is the topic at next week’s dinner. with Simon Schnieder, founder of SEO agency Blue Array, and all-round SEO expert.

Previously Simon headed up SEO for some of the UK’s leading brands and start-ups including; Zoopla, Mail Online and Yell.com. Simon will be taking you through the Zoopla case study and giving plenty of SEO tips and tricks that can be applied to your business to make a measurable impact. Join us for this great opportunity to meet Simon, get the inside scoop, as well as to enjoy dinner and drinks with others who have SEO on their minds.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 3 August at The Happenstance, The City

announcement-icon copyUpcoming TableCrowd Dinners

10 Aug – Dine with 5x TED speaker & CleanTech founder, Laurence Kemball-Cook
24 Aug – What’s the next step for you & your business?
06 Sep – Dine with Seedcamp
07 Sep – Dine with Forward Partners

Sign up for free and start joining our dinners

edtech

The next EdTech dinner is firmly in our calendar so please add it to yours too; Bethany Koby, founder of Technology Will Save Us is joining as our after-dinner speaker next week. Technology Will Save Us creates the most accessible ecosystem of DIY gadget kits and resources that help families, educators and young people make, play, code and invent using technology. They recently won Best Hardware Startup at the Europas.

After Raising £1.2m from London-based VCs, doubling in size last year, and getting being stocked in John Lewis too, who better to chat with about succeeding in EdTech than Bethany? Book your place at the table to join the conversation, meet Bethany and to hear the Technology Will Save Us story – as well as to meet your peers over dinner and a glass or two of wine.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 26 July at The Happenstance, The City

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

Check out the full run-down of our upcoming dinners too.

500startupsSpeaking with Matt Lerner, London Partner of 500 startups at dinner last week, he covered the topic of how startups can get a big, fat yes for their application to join their accelerator programme. Here’s what you need to know:

How 500 Startups invests
To date, 500 Startups has Invested in 1500 startups, in 52 countries, with offices in 29 countries. That’s a total of $250M invested, with the biggest investment being $100K. They cover pre-seed up to series A, and companies have to have traction with at least $10K revenue per month.

Distro Dojo
The programme they’re running in London is called Distro Dojo and it’s for post-seed companies.

It’s an investment and training program for post-seed companies ready to level up with intensive focus on growth marketing and fundraising.

What’s it for?
Getting your product to market.

How?
They believe the best way to learn is by doing. So they bring people into the organisation for 1 month. They spend 3 months with a company and it is all hands-on learning. They map out goals and growth strategies to test your assumptions.

Why?
They believe they’ve figured out a way to grow companies quicker.

The results so far.
20 companies have completed the programme to date, as it’s new and only been going a year, they need a bit of time to see the true results they can achieve. But so far so good!

Getting on the programme
First and foremost, the main question the Distro Dojo team need an answer to is whether they would invest in a company. (Pretty important, right?) They know that 60% will go out of business, and that they’ll make their money back on only 10%. That’s some tough odds to work against!

The nuts and bolts of it all
Each company gets $200K, along with 3 months with 500 startups, one of those being in residence. They have 3 intakes per year, with the next one happening in Berlin.

Find out more at 500distro.co

 

 

015If you’re looking to do a spot of networking, why not get some insider knowledge while you’re at it? Up next week we have media expert Tom Maddocks talking on how to get journalists interested in your company, as well as Tracy Doree, founding partner of Spring Partners chatting about getting investment for your business.

Getting journalists interested in your company. Dine with expert, Tom Maddocks
Getting press coverage for your business can be vital to boost growth, drive awareness and reach new markets and customers. Join Tom Maddocks for dinner, for top tips and tactics for reaching journalists and getting them to snap up your story.

You’ll probably know Tom from his former role as a reporter on BBC2’s ‘The Money Programme’. He is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading authorities on media training and presentation coaching, having been quoted in publications including the Sunday Times, Independent and Financial Times. He has over twenty years’ experience as a journalist and broadcaster, working in TV, radio and the national press.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 July at Aubaine, Mayfair

Meet the investors: Tracy Doree, founding partner of Spring Partners
Tracy Doree understands things from your side of the table. She’s an entrepreneur at heart, with one the fastest exits we’ve heard of under her belt. She founded Llustre, an eCommerce business that designed and sold designer products and collections for homes – it was acquired by FAB after just 10 weeks of opening the doors for business!

Tracy is now founding partner at Spring Partners, an active London based venture capital fund.

Secure your spot at the table and get the lowdown on how to fundraise successfully from Tracy, who’ll be drawing on her experiences as both an investor and a business seeking funding.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 20 July at Piccolino, City

brekkiwWe also have a fab, intimate breakfast happening just for founders. Our CEO, Kate Jackson, hosts a relaxed and informal breakfast for you founders to expand your network whilst sharing problems and solutions with other founders.
Breakfast is at 8:45am on Tuesday 19 July at Aubaine, Broadgate Circle

 

recruitmentAs a high-calibre mentor in the valley in the US, Matt Lerner, 500 Startups’ London Partner, has been hiring and building growth team for 10 years. His main tip about recruitment for his fellow diners at the recent dinner he spoke at was:

Hiring the best people is critical.

He looks for people who are:

  • Humble. People are failing all the time; some people try to hide it.
  • Curious. People who are intensively asking questions.
  • Motivators and know how to move. Collaborative and team working can really influence behaviour.

For more great tips from our speakers, check out our Top Tips posts, although nothing beats hearing from them in person. So, why not join a dinner?

Screenshot 2016-07-25 12.53.02We had two fab dinners this week with none other than 500 startups’ Matt Lerner talking on things growth and the MetaSpeech ladies helping their fellow diners to perfect that pitch and own the room.

Public Speaking dinner with MetaSpeech
We mixed it up a little on Monday night when Emma and Marianna, co-founders of MetaSpeech joined us for dinner at The Anthologist. With a wonderfully intimate group, Emma and Marianna wove their public speaking workshop into our TableCrowd dinner format. With the fab members getting stuck in, the whole table was really engaged with the lessons that Emma and Marianna shared. Our host, Claire gave us a superb account of her experience, you can read all about it here. And, the MetaSpeech ladies sent over some top 5 tips to share via our blog. Take a look at them here.

Screenshot 2016-07-25 12.53.11Dinner with Matt Lerner from 500 Startups
Dining at the scrumptious thai restaurant that is The Clerk and Well on Wednesday evening, TableCrowd members were in for a treat with Matt Lerner, London Partner for 500 startups. As a foreigner who’s sponsored by his German wife, Matt brought up the Brexit vote and its impact not only on foreign investors (like him) but for startups too. He invests millions of dollars each year into the UK economy. As an investor and also for startups, what does Brexit mean? First off, startups need capital and people, and that is a result of trade agreements. Most startups have at least one person from a foreign country. However, London still is the best place to start a company by a mile. When it comes to investors (and investment), they don’t like uncertainty so this could mean that it will be harder to raise money for the next 6 months onwards, which is not a great story for innovation. At the end of the day, only time will tell.

Matt spoke extensively on the 500 startups programme, covering how they invest, requriements for getting on the programme, as well as deal breakers (which are always good to know). Check out what it takes to join 500 startups here.

He also covered the traits you want to find in people when recruiting, read his 3 point list here.

Finally, Matt’s top tip was:

Drive your business like you stole it!

Our fantastic speakers were joined by DK, Outcomes Based Healthcare, MyGravity, Raremark, Starcom MediaVest Group, INK, OneLane app, Host Digital, Solely Original, Zenlikefocus.com, Accomable.com, JobLab, Techspace, tosay, VisionaryLab, Wells Park Communications, Good Stories, Buto, Williams Powell and Friends Recommend It amongst others.

Special thanks to our speakers, Matt, Emma and Mariana, along with our partner Taylor Wessing.

metaspeechOur wonderful host, Claire (who’s also the CEO of Grow Movement), had such a great time dining with Emma and Mariana founders of Metaspeech that we had to share her report verbatim.
I love public speaking as part of my day job as CEO of a charity. I love to talk with passion about what I do. But how often do I get feedback? Not very often. As our story is so exciting and impactful rarely do I get feedback on my presenting style usually on the topic. So, having been public speaking in front of large operational teams in India for BT and in front of funders and volunteers at Grow movement, I felt some what nervous to do this. After so much experience, had I been doing it wrong all these years?!
The great thing about the event was the MetaSpeech instantly made everyone feel like a team. Relaxed and all in it together. The top tips they gave during the workshop were always backed up with a why and an example which made learning easy.
So how did Claire do? Well, here are her top 5 tips she took away from the dinner:
  1. The presentation starts before you reach the stage. The style of walk you have gives you confidence.
  2. When you arrive at your speaking spot, pause before you start talking.
  3. Limit hand gestures. Use for emphasis. Too much movement without purpose takes up brain space in your head and, for the listeners, it distracts them from what you are saying.
  4. Look at your audience by moving your shoulders.
  5. I stand funny! I stand naturally with my right hip out. This reduces my height and presence on stage and can give me a girly appearance, which is not what I want when I am after donations!
So does Claire feel like she’s been ‘doing it wrong’ all these years?
No but I can do better!
For more great tips from our speakers, check out our Top Tips posts, although nothing beats hearing from them in person. So, why not join a dinner?

subscribeA subscription business model can help form the strongest possible connection between your brand and the customer. Done right, it can continually add value for the customer and create certainty for the business – as well as appealing to investors if you can show the history of the customer life-cycle.

Dine with growth expert, Felix Rossknecht, where he will be speaking about building a successful subscription business model. Working with both startups (like Pact Coffee & HelloFresh) as well as big, established brands (like Nectar & Visa), Felix is your man for this hot topic.

Felix will be sharing the three main factors to focus on to make it successful.

The quickest way to make progress with your business is to spend time with people that have “been there” to learn about what they did right and wrong and to hear their experiences. Don’t miss this chance to meet Felix informally over dinner and to get into the fundamentals of how to succeed with subscriptions in your business.

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

Check out the full run-down of our upcoming dinners too.

 

StartupGrownup

We had a fantastic evening with Andy Batty, General Manager of onefinestay where he spoke at dinner about taking a company from start-up to grown-up. (Read the #AfterDinnerRoundup here.)

What limits start-ups is a perception that a shortage of funds is the problem.

Here’s Andy’s top tips for start-ups:

  1. Create an employee brand as well as a company brand.
  2. You need to try to keep your staff… Start ups often recruit then cull as money runs out but acting like this means you lose your skill and talent, creating a culture of fear of job loss.
  3. Go for the minimum level to prove your concept; avoid paralysis through perfection. Invest in tech but do it cheaply.
  4. For tech, only build in-house what is totally necessary. Try to work with what is already available.
  5. Don’t break the brand.  With hindsight, the team at Tough Mudder realised they’d expanded too quickly and that affected cash flow. This meant when they entered the German market, they had a limited product in order to save money. This in turn impacted the customers’ experience which essentially ‘broke’ the brand concept.
  6. Both Tough Mudder and onefinestay use the Net Promoter score as they’re both customer-focused. It is key to any customer-specific business. A high Net Promoter score drives repeat business. Use this!
  7. Have a strong brand. Think Tough Mudder’s Orange Headbands. Understand what your customer wants.
  8. Understand what your customers are willing to pay for. Make sure everything is of value and is really what the customer wants. (They may think they want it but will they if you take it away?)
  9. Employ People Managers. Make sure your people can see a career path; accept that staff won’t be there forever as people don’t have a ‘career for life’ anymore. Good people managers are game changers. They save money. They keep the work force happy and improve quality.
  10. It is better to have 100 people who love you and they will tell everyone else. One person will tell 10 people about a bad experience. One person will only tell one person if it was a good experience. Look after your first 100 customers. (TC Editor: Although social media takes this concept to a whole new level!)
  11. Have amazing customer service and satisfaction. The turning point for onefinestay was when AccorHotels came along and they needed to buy us because they realised we had fab customer service and satisfaction. And an amazing brand, of course.
  12. Control and management. You need this. You need checks and balances. Ensure you have clear KPIs. onefinestay takes smart decisions about cost cutting and demonstrated to AccorHotels that we had the right people and the right expansion plan.
  13. Have two important guidelines and principles to operate by. For onefinestay, they are:
    - How would you want your grandma treated if she was a customer?
    - How would you want your friend’s house treated?

For more tips and tricks from our speakers, check out our top tips blogs. Although, nothing beats meeting our speakers in person – so come join us for dinner!

Screenshot 2016-07-06 15.25.31  This week we had the pleasure of Andy Batty, London’s General Manager of onefinestay speak at our latest travel and hospitality dinner. Dining in the private room at Jamie’s Italian on Denman Street, Andy’s fellow diners chatted about the process of taking a business from start-up to grown up.

Coming from an entrepreneurial family, it came as no surprise that Andy would delve into the world of startups. After a short stint in the army, where he learned valuable people leadership skills, Andy embarked on a career in running operations with Mars. Following a big organisation design change he orchestrated in order to make the business more efficient, Andy started an online business for Mars that created and delivered personalised chocolates to its consumers. After running the pilot for a year, he moved on to AnyJunk, then Tough Mudder before arriving at onefinestay, starting as the Operations Director before becoming the General Manager.

Screenshot 2016-07-06 15.25.41At onefinestay, they’ve pioneered a hospitality brand that gives guests the chance to stay in a distinctive home while the owner is out of town. Each home is prepared to 5 star standards, every guest is shown around, has the access to a 24 hour concierge and is provided with an iPhone that comes pre-loaded with all the info about the house. If you’re thinking it sounds like a complex logistical challenge – you’re not far wrong.

We have a complicated business model that covers 100 sq miles of London. Everything is bespoke. Each home is unique; Each house is vetted and provided as a product. We have over 6,000 sets of keys, 1,000 home owners, 10K+ of guests, and 250+ London staff alone.

After recently announcing their strategic deal with AccorHotels, Andy spoke extensively about how to overcome certain limitations of a startups – read all about it here.

Special thanks to Andy Batty for speaking, he was joined by: Dark Blue, Localoids, MyFriendsRoom, velocity, Unocodrinks, Sauce Communications, Inn Style, and Accomplish Financial among others.

Looking to network with your peers and hear from experts in their field? Why not join us for dinner?