We recently caught up with Alice Revel, founder and Editor of Running in Heels at our dinner with James Wise of Balderton Capital. Take a look at this week’s #BusinessSpotlight, delving into the future of her startup.

ALICE PIC 4

What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?
Running in Heels is an online magazine for intelligent, stylish women: think Vogue meets The Economist. Our USP? Opinionated, in-depth features on society, culture and politics alongside sophisticated, stylish content on fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle. It’s also the only online magazine that mirrors content with an eCommerce offering, enabling readers to buy what they read about in a seamless experience.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?
I studied languages at UCL and then worked for a magazine in Italy, as well as consulting for luxury fashion and beauty brands on digital strategy and future trends.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I was introduced to Caroline Rolfe by a contact of a contact! Caroline is a real asset to the business – she has over 12 years experience in launching and running websites for luxury brands including Clinique, Belstaff & Links of London. She’s also a member of the Institute of Digital Marketing’s Digital Council and lectures on their digital marketing diploma course.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
Nope, no regrets, ever! I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason and always learning from your mistakes. They’re what make you stronger, both professionally and personally.

Screenshot 2015-03-26 13.17.00
What will 2015 bring?
Running in Heels is already an established brand with a desirable and engaged audience – it’s a highly scalable business model, which is why we’re in the process of seeking investment. There’s absolutely huge potential for revenue growth, so this is a really exciting opportunity.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Get as much advice as you possibly can from people in your sector. I’ve found that most people are incredibly generous with their time and sharing their experiences which can really inform how you run your business. Remember to be generous with your time, experience and contacts too!

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
Bored of gossip, diets and celebrities? Want more from a magazine? Our unique mix of substance and style is what you’ve been waiting for.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
In terms of online magazines, I think Get The Gloss is fabulous – well-written, informative, fun and a great on-the-go read. When it comes to eCommerce, I love what Lyst are doing and Buy My Wardrobe is definitely a game-changer. Apps-wise, DePop and Stylect are two of my favourite recent downloads.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Far too many to list! If I have to pick just one….I really love Sunday in Barnsbury for their sublime brunch menu. But it’s like asking me to choose a favourite parent!

3f533cec0ec2c1cde9d28329b8c228fa_400x400

You can read more #BusinessSpotlights here.

Our partner Alma CG has kindly whizzed over their infographic on the myths behind R&D Tax Relief. So whether you were under the impression that it doesn’t apply to your business, or if it’s completely new to you, we definitely recommend taking a look at this little gem:

Alma R&D Tax Relief Myth Buster infographic 12.11.14 final

Mangostorm-logo1Sarah Maxwell, Director of Business Development at Mangostorm Media, is an avid fan of TableCrowd, and we have had the pleasure of her joining us for dinner on numerous occasions. Our resident namecard artist thoroughly enjoys drawing a ‘mango storm’ every time! So, we were over the moon when Mangostorm decided to be one of our esteemed partners. Here’s an interview with Sarah herself, to give you an insight into Mangostorm Media and what they do.

Sarah Maxwell Linkedin Photo

What is Mangostorm Media?
Mangostorm Media is a Digital Marketing Agency dedicated to helping emerging and established companies build their brand awareness and acquire new customers. We specialise in helping businesses in the lifestyle, health, beauty and sharing economies sectors.

What’s your role?
Director of Business Development, I actively attend numerous networking and tech innovation events to gain marketing insights and to meet prospective clients that I can tell are poised for great success and helping them to achieve affordable results quickly.

What were you doing before you joined Mangostorm Media?
I worked in NYC, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley as a Marketing Consultant with a variety of clients in Digital Media, Hospitality, and Entertainment. I have always had a passion for all things that add value to people’s lives whether it is in Wellness, or new Technologies. I worked with a company that helped to make television interactive, hence in-flight entertainment and the ability to cast your vote to a show like The X Factor. I like to see “the power to the people” effect.  I truly enjoy helping businesses grow through strategic partnerships, smart marketing and supporting entrepreneurial spirit.

What were the firm’s [or industry's] biggest developments in 2014?
We added a number of suppliers and platforms to our service offering that have enabled us to be much more highly targeted with our digital marketing efforts as well as have very detailed analytics. We also grew our team to offer more brain power and experience.

What will 2015 bring?
We are very excited about the dynamic new technology clients we are bringing on board as they are revolutionary in nature and feel strongly that they will be leaders in their industry. One is designed to enhance the customer experience in fashion and the other is aimed at making presentations easy to share on Twitter and in Social Media and with live engagement from the audience.

Convince someone to use your service in under 50 words?
At Mangostorm Media we have a truly dedicated and talented team. We are committed to the success of our clients to help them grow and prosper. They are so pleased with the results that most have stayed with us year-on-year, as well as sent many referrals, which is the best form of testimonial you can receive.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The Modern Pantry, the savoury and the hazelnut croissant. Super yummy.

Join Sarah at our upcoming dinner with Rich Pleeth, on mobile tech and marketing insights.

150325-adrThis week we had three dinners going on, we started the week off on Monday with diners joining Solvej Biddle, a dragon’s den success story and an inspiring female entrepreneur. Tuesday night saw a collective of beauty bloggers and brands hear Hayley Carr of London Beauty Queen blog talk on digital beauty, as well as Joel Freeman, the co-Founder of Grabble discuss the success of his fashion app. Here’s the lowdown on what went on:

The recipe for success – mix courage, humility and passion in equal measures
Monday night’s dinner with Solvej Biddle was a classic TableCrowd night at Aubaine, Heddon St. To set the scene, 12 ladies dined in an intimate setting around a huge and beautifully laid table, with delicious food and fascinating conversation, each sharing their stories and ideas. Solvej spoke knowledgeably throughout the evening on three main topics:

  1. Having a decent idea
  2. Finding and making contacts
  3. Passion

For the first topic, Solvej talked about her original idea of creating an intimate dark space for babies to sleep, the highs and lows she went through, including being a woman running a business, being a sole founder, and the work involved in building a brand. She moved on to the need to surround yourself with people who know more than you in order to gain knowledge. This will help your business in more ways than you can imagine. Finally, and the most important subject of all, Solvej covered the underlying need to be passionate about your product or business, so much so that it is infectious and is passed on from buyer to buyer.

If you are courageous, have humility and keep your passion through all the hardships – you will get there!

The evening was concluded with a lovely round the table discussion with answers to such questions as, is being a sole founder a good thing? What are the difficulties of negative social media? And trying to understand the surreal world of trade shows.

colvej

Use buzzwords to impress people
The diners at our fashion dinner at Rocket, The City, with the co-founder of Grabble, Joel Freeman, heard the whole story of Grabble including all the mistakes they made to get to where they are today. Humour was scattered throughout Joel’s talk as he provided his top seven tips for how to get funding; with a big one being to ask the investor at the end of the first meeting if they are going to invest in you. This way you won’t waste any more time with them if they’re not; it also means that you have the opportunity to find out why they’re not going to commit right there and then. An honest reply can be really hard to get in follow-up emails. Joel emphasised the importance on the way you talk about your business, and how much of a difference it can make.

Don’t take no for an answer!

beautyEngagement and interaction is key
Our final dinner of the week was co-hosted with MyBeautyMatches and featured London Beauty Queen blogger, Hayley Carr, speaking on social media for the beauty industry. Dining at Jamie’s Italian, Piccadilly, our diners argued over who had the most delicious dessert! Hayley’s talk covered the social media landscape and why we can’t ignore importance of social media in 2015.

75% of companies are not investing at all in social media.

What Hayley really honed in on was the importance of your audience, to reward them, to interact and engage with them, and to mix up your content across your social media channels. Find out when they are online, establish the best time to engage with them, and use questions to get your audience to interact with you. Make it clear what you want them to do – explicitly tell them if you want them to ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ something. Interestingly, only 8% of bloggers make a full-time living from blogging. If there’s one thing to take away from the evening, it would be using the 80/20 rule for content on social media; 80% of content should be about related topics, with the remaining 20% being about your business.

Our speakers were joined by: Le-Ster, Seren, Brilliant Basics, Street Stream, Auburn&Ivy, StreetHub, WonderLuk, TreatNOW, Yours Truly Organics, I Heart Beauty, Benefit Cosmetics, The Library of Fragrance, ila-Spa amongst others.

Here’s some snippets from the evenings:

Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.55.42 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.56.07 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.56.36  Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.57.20 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.57.39 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.57.50  Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.58.26 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.58.32 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.58.42 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.04.52 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.05.47 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.10.03 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.10.46 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.10.56 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.11.18 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.11.23 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.11.41

Big thanks go out to Solvej Biddle, Hayley Carr and Joel Freeman for speaking, and our partner Taylor Wessing.

TAYLOR WESSINGTake a look at our upcoming dinners and book your seat today.

Propelia-Dannie_10Dannie-Lu Carr, the pioneer of Crestworks recently hosted a dinner with us to introduce Crestworks, a new methodology and approach to valuing and creating a shared language around the creative process. We caught up with Dannie-Lu to hear more about her new business, Crestworks.

What were you doing before you started work on your project?
I have worked for 20 years in the Performance industry as an actor, writer, director, acting coach and business coach. Crestworks is a response to much of my experience in this field.

What’s the elevator pitch for your project? 
We are living in a world where creative works are released into the public domain too soon, en masse and without any distinction. In short, Hypercycling.If we continue down this road then soon we will end up with a cultural wasteland with no transcending leading figures or work emerging whatsoever.

Crestworks seeks to re-orientate culture by putting the process rather then the result at the core of the work. In doing this then the emerging work, when it is ready to be released into the public domain, has a different charge to it, engaging audiences and creators in a deeper way.

If we were to look to emphasise and invest in the process, the thing which, to date, has mainly been mysterious and unspoken, then we seek to emphasise what is the most valuable thing to our culture now. We also seek to address the cultural malaise of being Crestfallen which is a result of too much Hypercycling.

If we start to have the conversations about our own experiences of these states and we begin to refocus our own practise, then we stand a good chance of re-orientating culture and rebuilding the wasteland we currently find ourselves in.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I have no co-founders per se but I have been working with Propelia, a leading thought agency, on the concepts of Crestworks since Dec 2013. We were introduced by a mutual friend.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
That nothing can be hurried if it isn’t ready. You have to go through a lot of vulnerability and discomfort if you want to get to the real heart of any matter.

What will 2015 bring?
A big engagement of people working with Crestworks, some keynote speaking engagements and the development of an animation.

One piece of advice for someone working in your sector?
Keep your integrity and speak up when you think something is important, wrong or right.

Convince someone to buy into what you’re working on in under 50 words.
Imagine what would be possible if we put our energy and resources into the creative process rather than all of our focus on the end product. We would have pieces of work emerging that would be progressive and smart. Without them our futures look pretty scary.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
L’Auberge in Putney – but sadly I haven’t been for years.

You can read more business spotlights here.

150323 NWDThey say three is the magic number, so we imagine it’s no coincidence that we have three dinners happening this week and next. Before we get underway into all the good stuff going on next week, it’s not too late to book onto this week’s dinners:

  • Grab a seat at our ladies only dinner with Solvej Biddle tonight
  • Join tomorrow night’s beauty dinner with MyBeautyMatches and London Beauty Queen blogger, Hayley Carr
  • Sign up to our fashion dinner with Grabble’s founder Daniel Murray, also tomorrow night

Next week, we have:

Social Impact Investment Dinner
Enjoy an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Mike Mompi, the Director of Early Stage Investment at ClearlySo, the UK’s leading firm working with businesses that have a positive impact on society and the environment. If you’re thinking of fundraising or interested in finding out about impact investment, join us and meet other entrepreneurs and talk to Mike informally over a delicious meal.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 30 March at The Green, Clerkenwell

MobileTech dinner with GetTaxi
Those in the know say that MobileTech will dominate 2015, so this dinner is one not to be missed. Rich Pleeth, CMO of GetTaxi will be joining us to share GetTaxi’s story, including its rapid growth, and useful tech and mobile insights covering his own passion for mobile penetration in the developing world.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 31 March at Rocket, City

Dine with TechCrunch’s International Editor
Every business longs for media coverage at one time or another, so how do you get on the radar of a journalist? Dinner with TechCrunch’s International Editor, Ingrid Lunden will shed light on this as she shares her story along with offering tips and advice for those looking to secure coverage for their startups.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 1 April at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

We can also announce some new dinners too:

All of our upcoming dinners can be found here.

Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.35.02

We had two fantastic dinners this week, with a group of entrepreneurs and founders dining with Julian Blake, editor of TechCityinsider, at Mint Leaf Lounge, and our sharing economy dinner with Compare & Share and Jumio at City Social, Tower 42. Here’s a quick catchup on what went on:

Getting media coverage is all in the timing
There were questions aplenty at Tuesday night’s dinner with TechCityinsider’s Julian Blake. The evening was supercharged with a buzzing atmosphere and a group of chatty diners. Julian spoke knowledgeably on how best to sell your startup story, putting particular emphasis on what he would be interested in as a journalist. It was a great opportunity to identify what separates startups that are featured by TechCityinsider and the ones that don’t make the cut.

One of the most important pieces of information garnered from Julian was that the most important element is timing; a startup needs to be at the right stage before they approach the journalist. During the lively Q&A session, which included answers to what makes one business stand out from another, and the best ways to contact a journalist, there was a discussion about the use of PR companies. Whilst there are benefits and pitfalls, Julian did explain how he works closely with some PR specialists and, at times, relies heavily on their recommendations. Ultimately, it was a successful evening spent dissecting the mind of an experienced journalist.

City Social has the best toilets in London. Fact.
Our sharing economy dinner definitely experienced private dining with spectacular views at City Social this week, which was the perfect backdrop for, Chief Sharer at Compare & Share, Benita’s talk on her bizarre sharing economy experiences. The dinner was also a fantastic opportunity for diners to meet the Jumio team, and find out more about their technology that improves ID verification processes which is vital for sharing economy companies. James Fletcher of Jumio said:

The evening had great food, an interesting crowd and was well organised by hosts. TableCrowd is an all round good experience I would recommend.

Diners this week included RentMyItems, Grub Club, TrustedHousesitters, GoCarShare, GetTaxi, Girl Meets Dress, Liftshare, UnderTheDoormat, 1ROOF, TheJobPost, Street Stream, GrantTree, DayThrill, Rawduck as well as others.

Here are some snippets from the evenings:

Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.24.23Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.32.26 Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.31.56Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.32.05 Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.30.16 Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.29.44 Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.29.08 Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.24.41  Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.24.14Screenshot 2015-03-20 14.32.54

Thanks to our partners Alma CG, Compare & Share and Jumio for the involvement in these dinners.

partners

For more TableCrowd dinners, take a look here.

 

150316 dinnersBefore we cover next week’s dinner, it’s not too late to join our dinner with Julian Blake, TechCityinsider’s editor. Julian will be talking about how to tell the story of your startup, whether to attract coverage or generally progress your business. We also have our much-anticipated sharing economy dinner which is invite-only and being held at the fabulous City Social, Tower 42.

Next week, we have:

Dine with Solvej Biddle
Another of our ladies only dinners, this time Female Business Owner of the Year, Solvej Biddle will be sharing her story, as well as tips and insights for other entrepreneurs. As a successful Dragon’s Den business investment. Solvej is the founder of Content & Calm, a multi-award winning range of children’s travel products. The business currently boasts supplying the UK’s biggest retailers as well as retailers and distributors in 21 countries.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 23 March at Aubaine, Heddon Street

MyBeautyMatches’ digital beauty dinner
Social media is key to any business these days, so we are incredibly excited about our latest beauty dinner, hosted by MyBeautyMatches. London Beauty Queen’s Hayley Carr, who will be talking about using social media to accelerate your brand, as well her top tips and insights, will join diners for this upcoming instalment.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 24 March at Jamie’s Italian, Piccadilly

Dine with Daniel Murray, Grabble’s founder
It’s the ‘Tinder for fashion’ app that everyone is talking about, after all, it has just been named best app by Apple in 34 countries. Daniel will be discussing his journey with Grabble, including smart marketing and his top tips for others in the sector. Grabble has just closed a £1.2m seed round, so you can also expect plenty of insight into fundraising for your startup at this dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 24 March at Rocket City

Finally, we can announce our exciting new dinners just for you:

For all complete rundown of our upcoming dinners, click here.

We’ve been extremely busy at TableCrowd HQ this week, with five dinners and some phenomenal feedback about the amazing speakers that joined us. If you haven’t read it already, check out our roundup of our International Women’s Day dinner, before reading on to find out all about what else happened this week. seedcamp Seedcamp stole the show
For those of you who frequent our dinners regularly, you’ll know there’s a recipe we use to make our dinners so successful for our diners. Carlos, from Seedcamp, flipped this on its head and took the entire dinner into his own hands. And we love him for it! After answering everyone’s questions, talking about Seedcamp and what the company do, Carlos opened the whole room up to a dry pitch workshop. What an unexpected turn of events for our diners. The volunteers had three minutes to pitch their business, this was then analysed, dissected and the room gave constructive feedback on how they could improve the pitch for next time. All in all, the focus in the room was amazing, with Carlos leading the whole evening with clarity, passion and a huge amount of knowledge.

beveragesFreebies galore at Beverages #MeetandEat
In a beautifully intimate setting, our beverage industry group dined on Wednesday night at Aubaine, Regent Street. James Shillcock of Vivid drinks gave an honest and open account of each stage of his businesses growth, providing the diners with lots of tips and advice. His audience were transfixed throughout his after-dinner talk and came away feeling inspired and armed with copious ideas to move their businesses to the next stage. He also handed out his yummy Vivid drinks to everyone at the dinner. Another diner, Dave from ¡Cho! Gazpacho, also followed suit providing his ‘salad in a bottle’ drinks which are truly delicious!

ecommerceHumble CEO puts business needs first
Our eCommerce dinner at The Noodle House, Soho was one dinner that burnt the midnight oil – with our speaker Ivan Retzignac, founder and CEO of MedicAnimal, answering questions ranging from the rapid growth of the business and the importance of fundraising, to the idiosyncrasies of dealing with company culture and staff moral. An extremely down-to-earth, straight-talking person, his talk covered the journey of MedicAnimal from its humble beginnings as a two-man band to over 250 people in six years. As a late starter into the online pet industry, they were seen by many as the underdog, but what Ivan believes has made them so successful was the reason behind their business; they are on a crusade to bring the veterinary world and manufacturers into the 21st century.

There needs to be a higher purpose; it has to be about more than making money.

Our speakers this week were joined by: Fruveju, Food Startup School, Cinnamon Bridge, ¡Cho! Gazpacho, Cocomojo, Berry Clever, Dyn, BorrowMyDoggy, Quill Content, The Webinar Vet, Zoom Labs, Modern Times Group, Pinipa, Bill+Mar, Vernez, upReach, Snappetite, Hyghlyne, MICEBOOK, The Sweat Experience as well as others.

Here are a few snippets from the evenings:

Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.53.39Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.56.45Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.58.51Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.46.02 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.51.24 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.53.13 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.53.13(2)   Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.54.59 Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.55.15 Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.55.26 Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.55.40 Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.55.59 Screenshot 2015-03-12 09.56.20

Special thanks to our partners Alma CG and Rackspace.

Alma1

rackspace_startups_logo_colors_v2-1-01

We’ve got some more great dinners coming soon, take a look here.

As a business with a female CEO, we’re obviously huge ambassadors for women social entrepreneurs. So a dinner celebrating international women’s day was really a no-brainer for us. Facilitated by Servane Mouazan from Ogunte CIC, the evening was extremely successful and everyone clearly enjoyed themselves immensely. There was plenty of selfie-taking and inspirational talk between the various female CEOs, founders and high-level career women that joined us.

Conformity is mediocrity

IntWomensDay iwd

Diners included: ClearlySo, PTAsocial, Space Synapse Systems, Ogunte CIC, Insane Logic, LEYF, Third Door, Soul of Africa shoes, London Farmers’ Market, Inspired Escapes, goodbeans, Dream Learners, Sweet Cavanagh, Mazi Mas amongst others.

Here are a few snippets from the evening:

Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.51.03 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.50.37 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.49.59 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.49.39 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.49.22 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.49.04 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.48.55 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.48.43 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.48.20 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.48.10 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.46.55 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.46.33 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.46.20 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.46.09 Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.45.49Screenshot 2015-03-11 08.45.42

Thank you to both Servane and June for their rousing and inspiring speeches and for facilitating this dinner.

Check out our upcoming dinners here.