We’re always pleased when people manage to network successfully at our networking dinners. It validates our raisen d’etre!

We’re really excited to have been the forum for evvnt to meet Event Sneaker. They met at our dinner for events startups and within days, evvnt acquired Event Sneaker in a shares deal. Together they will be a very powerful force in the events industry. You can read the full story here.

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We’d love to hear more stories on your experiences about who you met, what you did and whether it made you happy. Reach us at hello@tablecrowd.com or @tablecrowd.

We have partnered with My Beauty Compare  and founder Nidhima Kohli to host a #MeetandEat for BeautyTech startups. Its happening on Tuesday 29th April at Central Working, Google Campus and is a chance for London’s beauty startups & beauty journalists and high profile bloggers to break bread, network, share experiences & contacts.

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My Beauty Compare finds the best beauty products for your profile. It combines the world’s premier beauty price comparison site together with your beauty profile to deliver personalised best product matches out of the 1,500+ skin care, makeup, body, hair and fragrance brands they work with.

We’ve invited 10 startups and each is bringing a journalist or high profile blogger as their guest.

Let’s meet & eat!

If you would like an invite, please get in touch at hello@tablecrowd.com or @tablecrowd.

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Introducing Zomato and Kimberly Hurd who we met at our recent FoodTech startups dinner.

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What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Zomato helps anyone who loves food and drink to never say ‘the usual’ again.   

We are the go-to source for restaurant information and help people make smart and personalised decisions for whatever type of eating or drinking experience they are in the mood for. In London alone, we list in-depth information for over 20,000 restaurants ranging from menus, photos, ratings and reviews to over 30 other details like the modes of payment they accept and opening times.  

For instance, we are the only way to find a restaurant open at 7am, which is dog friendly, serves ginger ice cream, has outdoor seating, and takes credit cards.

Whether you are looking for a local kebab shop for a quick takeaway or the most recent Michelin starred restaurant for a special evening, you’ll find it on Zomato.   

What were you doing before you joined Zomato to head UK?

Before joining Zomato, I was a Director at the World Gold Council, responsible for global product, partner, and market development in the financial services and have over 10 years’ experience in growth strategy, product management, and new product development in Asia, Europe, Mexico, and the US.  After exploring the world through my love of food, I came to London to do my MBA   at London Business School – which is how I became interested in entrepreneurship and start-ups.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

Not starting sooner.  

What will 2014 bring?

International expansion, product development and team growth. 

We’ve launched a revamped version of our product on 9th April – the changes were commissioned based on feedback which mostly came from our UK consumer base. Zomato now allows users to build and rely on their own network of trusted social recommendations. 2014 promises to be a good year for us otherwise too – we’re expanding into continental Europe, with Portugal and the Czech Republic already in the works, and continuing to expand in the UK – estimating 3x growth in the UK alone.

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

No market is so saturated that a good idea and a passionate and energetic team can’t crack it. If you have an idea that you believe in, go for it. Find the right people and the rest will follow.

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

Where can you get halal and vegetarian friendly brunch with a roof terrace and a bar on the 1 sunny day in London? Where do you go next for a quick bite and the last drink when the pub closes at midnight?  Who serves maple bacon burgers?  We know you have specific dining and drinking wants and Zomato has the answers. 

What’s your favourite startup in the food space (not including your own)?

Startups in the mobile payment and loyalty card space – hard to narrow it down, watching: TabbedOut, YoYo, Zapper, and Spleat just to name a few.  

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

I don’t believe in A favourite – you’d have to be more specific :)

Logo_500px X 500pxIt was great to meet Zomato and to hear more about their business. You can read more startup spotlights here.

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It was great to see Jessica and Anna, founders of Alkame Smoothies at last week’s Food Startups dinner. Here’s a bit more about them and their business.

What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Alkame Smoothies makes fresh green smoothies. Our smoothies are packed full of natural ingredients and contain mainly leafy greens and some fresh fruit. They are additive and preservative free and contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fibre.  Alkame’s aim is to offer a green smoothies and health food (think chia seed puddings, raw brownies and vegan cakes) delivery service to corporates in the city to offer a hit of healthy goodness to those keen for greens and non processed snacks while stuck in an office. We hope to then open up individual drops to areas such as Notting Hill and Chelsea.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

Both of us started out as lawyers in the City. Anna still is working for a US law firm and Jessica is working part time alongside Alkame.

Where did you meet?

We met at university and have been friends ever since.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

We are pre launch, so nothing major as yet. I would say one hindsight moment would have been the time initially spent worrying about the name and logo. I think we procrastinated a bit on that, when we should have been worrying about it less and cracking on with the idea!

What will 2014 bring?

Good things hopefully! 2014 is a big year for Alkame Smoothies as we are hoping to launch in the next couple of months. We are targeting a number of corporates in the City for our delivery service as well as the health and wellness community. We are also speaking to some coffee shops about possibly stocking our smoothies, which is exciting.

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

Get in touch with the rest of the foodie community, we have found that people are very approachable, encouraging and supporting willing to share ideas.

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

Fresh, green and delicious smoothies made from all natural ingredients and full of leafy greens that provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fibre as well as a natural energy boost.  What more could you want from a smoothie?

What’s your favourite startup in the foodtech space (not including your own)?

The Whole Pantry (health food blogger turned app maker) and Graze

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Petersham Nurseries in Richmond as the food is fresh and delicious and the setting is lovely. The Dock Kitchen in West London is another favourite. Jessica is holding her wedding there in the summer. The food is again, fresh and delicious and the setting is really cool and design led (being owned by Tom Dixon).

You can read more startup spotlights here.

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We are very much looking forward to our Sharing Economy startups #MeetandEat. The table is booked for Thursday 24th April and the venue is The Green in Clerkenwell.

With Global Sharing Day on 1st June fast approaching, we wanted to bring our Sharing Economy startups together over a good meal. We’ve partnered with Compare and Share to host this dinner and Benita Matofska, will be our after-dinner speaker.

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Benita is Founder and Chief Sharer of The People Who Share, a global campaign to build a Sharing Economy and the pioneers behind Global Sharing Day. She’s also Founder of Compare and Share the world’s first comparison marketplace of the Sharing Economy. Dedicated to social innovation and the power of ideas, she is the winner of the Ogunte Women’s Social Leadership Awards for Best Social Business Leader UK & World 2013, Winner of the Natwest Venus Business Awards in the category of Inspirational Woman 2013, an RSA Fellow, an Innovator in the Finance Innovation Lab, an Innovator in WWF’s food sustainability initiative, Tasting the Future and pioneer of future conscious business models via her work with UnLtd Future. Her 25-year career spans broadcasting, communications, business development, community development and charity campaigns.

Do come along to meet Benita and to talk one on one about what you’re working on, over a delicious meal.

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You can book your place at the dinner here, or check out other upcoming dinners here.

 

Last night we dined at The Yard in Shoreditch. One of TableCrowd’s old favourites, one of the reasons being the yards of pizza which are great for sharing!

We were joined by some regulars as well as some new faces including Get2Growth, One Fine Stay, Bla Bla Car, DreamScape, BMG Connections, My Car Gossip, Mendeley, My Dog Buddy, StepUp.io, Pinipa, Lowdown and others.

Our after dinner speaker was Tom Maddocks. 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. He has over twenty years’ experience as a journalist and broadcaster, working in TV, radio and the national press. Tom shared some gems on how to get journalists interested in your business, including the merits of using a PR rather than going it alone, the importance of great soundbites, showing an interesting trend through running a consumer survey, using external events to help build your story and piggy backing on existing stories to capture the interest of the press. All really useful stuff and helpful for the businesses in the room.

Here are a few photos from the dinner for you to enjoy:

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photo 1 (2)xThank you to everyone that joined the evening and do keep an eye out for upcoming dinners that might be relevant for you here.

It was great to meet Madolyn and Inna at last week’s foodtech startups dinner. Today’s spotlight is on their startup, Beetroot & Beluga.

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What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Beetroot & Beluga is made up of two food loving friends who eat, A LOT. We’ve developed a taste and a knack for what’s good, and know what’s going to be popular. The B&B website is a personalised portal for navigating the best and ‘must know’ new openings, restaurants, bars and foodie events in London. We’ve got a growing website which runs alongside social media and a popular monthly newsletter, taking the ease out of ever needing to ask the question ‘where’s good to go for dinner?’.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

Inna, aka Beluga, is a Chartered Accountant with an awesome business sense. She is a devout lover of food; a passion which expanded massively during her extensive travels in Europe, and from always visiting the latest restaurants on the trendy London dining scene. After kick-starting a solo voice through her blog Caviar Girl, Inna approached her long-time friend, and now business partner, Madolyn, to take on the foodie tech world with a new lifestyle diary-esque site.

Madolyn, an experienced Marketer and Producer of theatre and comedy and also Events Manager at the National Portrait Gallery, has an inherent passion and belief in the importance of bringing experiences and audiences together to encourage conversation and immersive experiences. With expertise in copywriting, content, social, SEO and all things digital communications, she delights in designing creative content, while with a keen producer eye can recognise what has the potential to excite and make people tick. Madolyn makes up Beetroot, in Beetroot & Beluga.

How did you meet?

We’re two long time Australian friends, who love, experience and natter about food. After over three years of running our own independent food and lifestyle blogs alongside one another, we decided to embark on a new collaboration which supports the London emerging and independent food and events industry.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

Beetroot & Beluga is based on the Weebly digital platform. Over the past year Weebly has provided an adequate platform for the evolving site. However we are now in the position where Beetroot and Beluga is growing faster than Weebly can keep up with, leaving the site with limitations, occasionally hindering what can be achieved digitally. Weebly user tips are always welcome!

What will 2014 bring?

Beetroot & Beluga is constantly growing and expanding with on trend information, new features, additional genres and exciting topics. This year we aim to see an increase in reader giveaways which we know our readers will love, and that also support start ups, independents and new brands. We also intend to achieve further growth in audience reach through social media and networking sites.

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

Find your niche! There is loads out there and it’s what sets you apart from the others that will drive success. We like to think we have found a niche through a curated style, personal endorsement and tone of voice.

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

There are loads of blogs and listing sites around, but you can’t always trust the authors opinion. We trial and test anything generating hype and wade through what’s worth visiting, so you don’t have to. Our eyes, ears and taste buds are constantly on the pulse of the London restaurant and food industry so when something is hot, you will know about it.

What’s your favourite startup in the foodtech space (not including your own)?

Hot Dinners is what inspired us and got us started. Those two are always on the pulse, featuring absolutely everything from the newest chain restaurants to the coolest places we’ve been waiting years to open.

What’s your favourite London restaurant

Duck & Waffle – they love us, and we LOVE Them! Since opening nearly two years ago, D&W have consistently delivered outstanding service and an exciting and creative menu from brunch to dinner. The signature dish may be the Duck and Waffle but Head Chef Dan Doherty is constantly adding new dishes to the menu, one of the most recent hits being Ox Cheek doughnuts, which you may have seen has picked up a fair bit of press. The incredible views will also make you feel sky high, but the prices won’t! 

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The girls had some great insider tips for me. Many new places to try….

You can read other foodtech startup spotlights here.

We’re hosting dinner, drinks & a chance to meet fellow entrepreneurs, followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Tom Maddocks on the topic of getting journalists interested in your startup. The dinner is happening next week on Monday 7th April.

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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. Tom founded Media Training Associates in 2000, and as a coach and trainer he has helped improve the communications skills of individuals up to CEO/board level in a wide variety of sectors. He started his career in local radio in the midlands and north-west, and went on to become a national news reporter for Independent Radio News. He has also presented business and financial news on Radios 4 and 5-live, Channel Four TV and written for magazines and newspapers including The Times and Mail on Sunday.

We can’t wait for this dinner and there are already 20+ diners booked on. Make sure you don’t miss out and book your seat here.

For any questions about this dinner, you can reach us at hello@tablecrowd or @tablecrowd.

Oh we had a few too many wines at last night’s food startups dinner at The Open Kitchen, Hoxton. We were joined by over 38 food startups / connected businesses as well as our partner, Taylor Wessing, who provide an invaluable service to startups in TechCity and beyond.

There was plenty of networking, eating, drinking and card swapping. Edd Read, co-founder of Graze was our wonderful after-dinner speaker. Edd built the original website for Graze and is now responsible for the online user experience. He highlighted a few parts of his journey with Graze, including how a Royal Mail strike forced a shift in their offering which they didn’t turn back from, how not talking to customers when they were writing the spec for the product meant it was initially more complex than necessary and how being relentless paid off – after almost two years they found a company that could produce a machine to automate folding their boxes. Edd spoke about Graze launching in the US at the end of last year after running trial dispatches from the UK and the individual differences between the Brits and Americans, particularly the need to adapt the language used in marketing!

A massive thank you to Edd for being part of the evening.

Thanks to everyone that made the evening what it was and here are some photos for you to enjoy.

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Why not check out our upcoming dinners here.

Thanks to our partner:

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In the lead up to tonight’s FoodTech dinner, we’re spotlighting the companies that will be joining us. Today, it’s PandaPay.

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What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Imagine, you just had a wonderful meal with a great group of friends, the food was excellent, the service was awesome and then awkwardness… How do you split the bill?

PandaPay is a restaurant digital wallet, operating in the $235bn industry, bringing instant relief from splitting the bill.

The 2 biggest consumer problems with the dining experience are:

- waiting to pay, AND

- the awkwardness of how to split the bill.

The restaurateur’s problems? There are 2:

- slow paying consumers resulting in slow table turn

- waiters waiting for large groups to pay

The solution?

Allow consumers to pay how and when they want!

How the journey looks with PandaPay…

Consumer place their order with the waiter, as usual

Order is entered, as always.

BUT

with PandaPay, consumers just need to reach for the phone, instead of fumbling for their wallets, tap on the screen of what they’ve had from the table’s bill, and then they’re good to go…

The Result?

Happy and satisfied consumers. And, more profit for the restaurateur.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

Carl is an experienced startup CEO – who sold one company for over $1 million and has been involved in plenty more since.

Last year, Carl was noted in TechCity UK’s Top 100 Entrepreneur’s that are defining the next generation of creative digital businesses.

Stevehas been with the British Army Intelligence Corps for almost 10 years. Skilled in Operational Intelligence, he transitioned into a startup in Silicon Valley before coming back to London to join the PandaPay team

Carlos has extensive experience in the hospital industry and was initially barman.  He’s worked in 2 other startups and now I’m the Lead Developer for this project.

Where did you meet your co-founders?

Carl & Carlos met while running previous start-ups. The two Carl’s met Steve at the Lean Startup Machine, and they though he rocked, so we wanted him to work with us on PandaPay…and he accepted!

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

Not doing more faster.

What will 2014 bring?

2014 will bring instant relief to all those awkward moments that people have been feeling when the restaurant bill arrives after such a fabulous meal.

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

Know the players in the market.

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

What if you could leave restaurant when you want. What if you could just pay for what you consumed.

Imagine if you could assist in saving the 1,600 Giant Panda’s left in the wild by just eating at a restaurant?

PandaPay allows you do this and so much more!

What’s your favourite startup in the food space (not including your own)?

Orderella & Paddle

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Brasserie Zédel as they ran the first PandaPay trial.

Thanks PandaPay and looking forward to seeing you at tonight’s dinner.