winterIt’s pretty shocking that we find ourselves finalising the last week of dinners for TableCrowd in 2015. Where has this year gone?! As December gets pretty hectic with Christmas parties galore, we’re winding down a little and getting ready to bring an eclectic array of dinners just for you, starting in January next year. Until then, we strongly recommend booking on these last three beauties to finish your 2015 TableCrowd dining on a high:

Dine with early stage investor at EC1 Capital
Join us and your fellow entrepreneurs for dinner and drinks followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Yannick Roux, early stage investor at EC1 Capital, on what he looks for when he invests.

As a London-based early stage venture fund, EC1 Capital have a particular focus on disruptive software businesses in the internet and mobile sector. Trained in investment banking, Yannick’s own experience in investment includes the internet and technology industries. Since joining EC1, he’s led investments into Twizoo and Big Data For Humans, while sitting on the boards of City Socializer, Hands HQ and Evvnt.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 30 November at Drake & Morgan, Kings Cross

Dinner for digital agencies: get new clients, increase revenues
Join us for dinner, drinks & a chance to break bread with others working in marketing & digital, followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Amanda Francis, MD of Alchemis. For 20 years, Amanda has been helping her clients (mainly small-medium sized creative, digital and communications agencies) to identify and acquire new clients. This involves everything from developing a robust strategy and determining the best prospects to coaching on how to maximise opportunities.

Grab this opportunity to join Amanda and your fellow marketing and digital peers to network over a delicious dinner and a glass of wine or two!
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 2 December at Aubaine, Heddon St

Dine with Peter Briffett, COO of YPlan
We could not be more excited to invite you to join us for dinner with the extremely inspirational and experienced Peter Briffett, where he will be sharing YPlan’s story, with anecdotes and tips on how to succeed in the lifestyle/entertainment sector.

YPlan, one of London’s hottest startups is a mobile ticketing platform that’s aim is to be the global answer to everyone’s social life. They have secured $37.7m in funding to date, raising more at Series B than Skype, Twitter or LinkedIn did separately at the same stage in their growth, and they have the likes of Ashton Kutcher (investor) and Pharrell Williams (advisor) in their midst.

We’d definitely put these guys in the ‘ones to watch’ pile. So, grab the opportunity to dine with Peter and hear first-hand what they’re doing to super-charge the growth of the business.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 2 December at Aubaine, Dover St

Have a fantastic December and we will see you for dinner in 2016!

verb What is the secret to building a successful digital agency? We had the pleasure of dining with Chris Donnelly, from Verb, a digital agency based in Shoreditch who have grown from strength to strength. An intimate group of 8 diners, conversation flowed late into the night as we talked about what it takes to achieve success in the digital agency world.

Chris is a young entrepreneur, who actually started his business, Verb (though under a different name) when he and his business partner were still at university. Much of the groundwork in the early stages was done from home, rather than at an office, and therefore Chris’s Mum called this strategy the “boxers to business” approach! After a rebranding, the business became known as Verb, and they began to position themselves towards the luxury market.

But how do Verb get most of their enquiries now?

We are natural networkers.

Chris stressed the importance of networking and meeting as many people as physically possible to gain business. Verb run events as frequently as possible, to bring in new clients and create new business.

Meet 50 people a month, and do 2 favours a day.

verb2To this day, Verb do not invest in marketing for their company. They receive lots of leads every day from a variety of different areas.

Chris’s top tips for building a successful agency:

  • Pick a niche. Pick a sector that you love, and work it!
  • Become very good at rebuffing your clients’ apprehensions. Find a way of convincing them that you will give the best product.

For advice on pitching, Chris also recommends David Kean’s book ‘Pitch to Win’.

Our speaker was joined by: HostDgtl, Constant Contact, InspireDigital, UKStudyCentre, BPL Digital and Bungaloow amongst others.

More exciting events, check out the list of upcoming dinners here.



Making your company a ‘Talent Magnet’ before everyone knows who you are
Like any business, startups need to attract the best talent they can afford, in each and every discipline in order to make waves in their marketplace. This is particularly important when scaling up. Brands like Apple, Google, AirBNB and Burberry are of course talent magnets, and that’s all very good if you’re a multinational who’s invested in building a reputation around nurturing employees and looking after their future. But how do you go about becoming a talent magnet when you’re a startup that’s not a household name?

Come for dinner with Mark Hardy, CMO of Viber who achieved just this in the early stages of Viber, and global C suite marketing headhunter Jules McKeen of The Talent Business who lives and breathes this challenge.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 23 November at Aubaine, Heddon St

Financing options in The City, dine with Guillaume Taurignan, director at Jeffereies
Enjoy dinner and drinks followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Guillaume Taurignan, Director at Jefferies, who’s going to give an overview of financing options in The City, from private equity transactions through to IPOs.

Guillaume Taurignan covers Internet for Jefferies in EMEA and has been a Technology & Internet banker for 12 years, advising high-growth clients on M&A, IPOs and other financing transactions. He has a wealth of information to share, particularly in relation to tech companies.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 23 November at Tom’s Kitchen, St Katharine Docks

Don’t forget we also have the next Breakfast for Founders happening on Tuesday 24 November at Aubaine, Broadgate Circle.

Fancy checking out what else is happening at TableCrowd? Take a look here.


We were over at Obicà this week to have dinner and drinks with Andrei Brasoveanu, from Accel Partners. With over 30 years of experience in the field of start-ups, Accel Partners has a long history of partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and Andrei himself has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies focusing on software, data and fintech businesses.

Obica 1Our guests were treated to a discussion about what investors seek in new companies who are approaching accelerators such as Accel Partners. Andrei spoke about his role at the company and their work with early stage investments. One of the key questions we all want to know is:

When is the right time to approach a VC such as Accel?

Andrei says:

We like to meet people early and then follow them to see their evolution. We want to see if you’ve achieved the goals we talked about at an initial meeting.

Andrei encourages companies to get in touch in the early stages of your business as Accel Partners are comfortable backing two-people teams with an idea and a solid business plan. So what is the major reason why an early stage investor would say no?

Market size – we hope to return a small fund from an investment. It may be a solid business plan, but if the market is too small, we can’t take it on.

Andrei also highlighted the importance of momentum from fundraisers when trying to launch a business. This kind of momentum is key to getting other potential investors involved, and hopefully, ignite a spirit of competition among them.

TOP TIP: It’s important to get investors excited at the same time. There should ideally be some competition between investors.

Andrei finished his informative talk by stressing how although as an early-stage investor, Accel wants to be there for their companies, ultimately, the best entrepreneurs are the most self-sufficient.

Obica 2Our speaker was joined by: Pearlshare, Grow Movement, Synasource, OpenBet, 93Digital, ClearMacro, Sentenial, Huge, PressUp, OneLane, GameBench, Texuna Technologies, NBC Universal, Playabl, and Hudson Mackenzie amongst others.

Looking to hear more from investors and relevant speakers? Check out our upcoming dinners here.


This week’s dinners are all about being successful. Whether it’s as an individual or as a business entity, success is the driving force behind the ambitious. So head to Aubaine on Tuesday night, to get the inside scoop on building a successful digital agency, then skip over to The Happenstance on Wednesday (if you’re female that is – sorry guys!) and hear the founder of Sheerluxe talk about the path to being a successful leader.

Building a successful digital agency
Join us for dinner, drinks and a chance to break bread with others working in marketing & digital, followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Chris Donnelly, founder of Verb, a digital agency based in Shoreditch that specialises in building websites and mobile applications for luxury brands. Chris will be talking about building Verb from the ground up into a thriving agency with a growing team, providing tips and advice that will be invaluable when developing your own business.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 17 November at Aubaine, Heddon St

Dine with Georgie Cole, founder of Sheerluxe, on being a successful leader
Hosted by Tamar Beck and Randy Nyssen, this ladies only dinner is for women to share ideas and learnings around personal and professional development. Georgie will talk after dinner about the transition to become a leader, ensuring a friendly environment for your team whilst inspiring leadership and authority, as well as raising your profile in your work environment.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 18 November at The Happenstance, Ludgate Hill

std-novFor a full list of upcoming TableCrowd dinners, head here pronto!


Following this week’s dinner with Cate Trotter from Insider Trends, this post delves into the *future* to see what the world of retail will be like in 5 years time. Grab your hover boards!

Cate’s key trends for the future of retail

  1. All superfluity will be removed from the consumer journey; e.g. going to a shop and finding that the item that you wanted isn’t in stock.
  2. Minimising returns. Companies like M and Co are already working with a data analytics company who are predicting which items are most frequently returned and pulling these items from their stock. This preventative procedure has saved them £400,000.
  3. No more queuing! Qudini are a company who let customers ‘virtual queue’ on their smartphone. This is a lot less frustrating for the customer who is more likely to think well of the brand.
  4. Offline stores will soon have the same functionality as online sites. Stores can now start to use analytics to track where people are in the store geographically to get people moving through the store. It can analyse which displays attract the most attention.
  5. Targeted marketing for high value customers. Ometria can very quickly analyse if someone is a high value customer.
  6. Personalisation. Cutting out irrelevant marketing.
  7. Invisible retail. Removing the need for tills, as customers will be able to trust the brand and scan the items they’d like.
  8. 3D printing to create personalised luxury items.
  9. Stores as ‘spaces’ – a three-dimensional space to sell products.

For more information about retail trends, see what happened at Cate’s TableCrowd dinner.

Retail InstagramThis week, we were over at Jamie’s Italian with our speaker Cate Trotter,and guests, to discuss the future of retail. Cate started Insider Trends, who help global brands create world-leading and profitable retail ecosystems. Her client list includes Marks and Spencer, Chanel, Unilever, Absolut Vodka and more, so it was fantastic that we were lucky enough to hear her speak this week at a TableCrowd dinner about what lies ahead in world of retail.

What will the world of retail look like in 5 years time?

Cate shared some of her predictions with us over dinner, and explained a bit about how the use of technology will affect the retail industry as a whole.

Some may say the role of the store is becoming obsolete, but Cate thinks differently about the future of shops.

Stores will still be relevant, but their function will be different.

The journey of the consumer which will be affected by technology from start to finish. Cate described the journey of a consumer in the year 2020, a journey which will largely be controlled by your smartphone. Each consumer will have a data profile, created from data harvested from our previous spending, and this profile will affect how we shop. She explained how these profiles will affect our every day retail journey:

  • We will be able to share all of our information with brands. Our location, our heartbeat, our favourite colour – all this intimate detail will be available on our profile, if we choose.
  • Within our data profile, we will be able to set up new shopping journeys.
  • Details of items will be beamed directly to your phone. If you are searching for an item on Google, you will receive directions for how to get to the store.
  • There will be micro-navigation in the store itself, to take you to the correct floor or section of the shop.
  • Items will be delivered to you, so you won’t have to physically pick it up.
  • Store assistants will be alerted when you arrive – and they will know your name!

These predictions are all incredibly exciting, and are mainly focused on making the retail journey as seamless as possible. There may even be an option, for example, to hold your phone up to the mannequin in store to find out all the details about the item.

For more discussion on the future of retail, check out Cate’s further predictions.
Our speaker, Cate, was joined by WickedUncle, Insider Trends, Travelex, CC Group, Porter Novelli, Deloitte, and KNOMI amongst others.

Hungry for more? Check out our list of upcoming dinners here.

investmentWe’re always interested in the minds of investors and what leads them to invest in a company. Andrei Brasoveanu, an early stage investor at Accel Partners will be providing an after-dinner talk next Wednesday on what he looks for when he invests in a company.

Accel has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies, many of which have defined their categories, including Alfresco, Angry Birds (Rovio), Atlassian, Cloudera, ComScore, Dropbox, Facebook, Gameforge, Groupon, Imperva, Kayak, Nimble Storage, Playfish, QlikTech, Spotify, Supercell and Varonis, Deliveroo, GoCardless and

Grab the opportunity to gain an insight into how to get investment for your business from this global team of investors.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 11 November at Obica, Poland Street

std-novTake a look at the full list of upcoming dinners here.

What better way to learn about how to grow your start-up than by speaking with successful entrepreneurs who have already climbed the mountain standing in front of you? That’s exactly what we did this week; on Monday, we enjoyed an intimate dinner at the spectacular Lima Floral with speaker Andrew Humphries and guests. Andrew is no stranger to the start-up process, and conversation carried on well into the night. We also had the pleasure of chatting to Ross Williams, CEO of Venntro media group, and hearing his tips on building your business on your own without the support of investors.

Andrew H 1

Start-up journeys with The Bakery’s co-founder
Andrew Humphries is co-founder of The Bakery, the world’s first dedicated accelerator for the advertising and marketing industry. Previously, he co-founded two successful technology businesses raising over $42m in venture funding. For Andrew, the key to a successful start-up is learning about what drives you.

Every single company started from one step.

One of the key questions that was asked this evening was about how to know when you’re actually going somewhere with your business? When does the switch come?

The switch will happen somewhere on that journey. You have to be completely committed to your vision, otherwise it won’t happen. Get the vision right, and everything else will drop into place.

For Andrew, the life of a start-up is a journey! Who knows what will be the next big thing?

There is uncertainty. There is no magic formula. It just goes where it goes.

Andrew Humphries 2

Building a successful business without funding
Over at Aubaine on Wednesday night, we were joined by our speaker and proud sponsor, Ross, from Venntro. At dinner, Ross spoke about his background and how he grew his business into an empire. In the the mid 2000s, Ross found himself single. At the time, he himself was using online dating, and he saw an opportunity to launch his business, White Label Singles. Between 2003 and 2007, he grew the business, and at that time, Ross didn’t really know about VCs or angel investors. So this is how he did it:

Without any external funding, my agency, Raw Net, built the business. My partner put in £30k by re-mortgaging his house. However, we got into debt. We signed up for six credit cards each (e.g Egg, Mint, Goldfish etc) – something you just can’t do now! It was a slow process; it took us four years to go from 0 to £3m annualised revenue

In 2007, Ross dropped his other business, Raw Net, and decided to focus on Venntro. Ross explained during his talk how he believes that if you have two businesses on the go, then ultimately, you have to choose one.

You have to commit totally. You cannot be hedging your bets! It’s all or nothing.

One of Ross’s tips for start-up founders is to make yourself redundant; find better people for different roles at the business. Ross sees himself as an entrepreneur who is a shareholder first and foremost.

Focus on the execution. Execution is everything. Likelihood is, someone else has got your idea, so make your execution slicker.

Ross Williams 1

For more of Ross’ tips on how to grow a business, check out his post here.

Our speakers were joined by: Taylor Wessing, Mangostorm Media, PressUp, Texuna Technology, The Food Rush, Tagme, Experience Travel Group, The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, SilkFred, Story Terrace, TKG Group, PixelPin, Global Personals, Mind Agilis, SwapForex, Sentenial, Carspring, Moorhouse, Lifeshifter and Fast Growth Forum amongst others.

Special thanks to Andrew and Ross, our speakers, as well as our partner, Venntro.

Venntro logo


With Christmas shopping just around the corner, retail is on our minds next week. So what does the future of retail look like? With the growth of e-commerce, will we even need shops any more? Next week we’ll be focusing on key trends and the future of retail at a dinner with speaker Cate Trotter from Insider Trends. Why not pop by for dinner and drinks next Wednesday with Cate…

Key retail trends and the future of retail

The future of retail isn’t about selling, it’s about creating an experience.

Cate Trotter is Head of Trends at Insider Trends, who help global brands create world-leading and profitable retail ecosystems. Their client list includes Marks and Spencer, Chanel, Unilever, Absolut Vodka, Clarks, Philips, BNP Paribas and Lego. Cate will be talking about the future of retail, including key retail trends, the use of technology and omnichannel retail. These vital insights will be invaluable for your own plans, so this dinner will be perfect for those with fashion or retail start-ups.
Dinner is at 6.45pm on Wednesday 4th November at Jamie’s Italian, London Bridge


Also coming up next month:
> Building a successful digital agency with Chris Donnelly on Tuesday 17th November
> Being a successful female leader with Georgie Cole of Sheer Luxe on Wednesday 18th November
> “Fashion Techonology” dinner with FashTech founder and Head of Marketing Development at Cortexica on Wednesday 18th November
> Making your company a ‘talent manager’ before everyone knows who you are with Mark Hardy, CMO of Viber on Monday 23rd November

Take a look at the full listing of upcoming dinners here.

We hope to see you very soon!