We’re really excited to announce our dinner for legaltech startups which is happening in a week’s time on 8th September. We believe it’s the first of its kind and we’ve teamed up with Jonathan Lea from the Jonathan Lea Network to host it.

The idea is to have a good meal, a bit of fun and also hopefully develop some useful conversations around the common problems we face and how some of the attendees may be able to collaborate in various ways.

We have an impressive guestlist, comprising London’s most exciting innovators in the legal space, with just a few places left. You can view the details and see who’s coming here.

We are looking forward to a lively night of conversation and insights on this exciting and growing sector.
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See all upcoming dinners here.

Following our dinner for founders and managers of coworking spaces in July, we wanted to find out more about some of the spaces that were represented at the dinner and share them with you. If you are looking for a home for you or your team, hopefully this will help!

East One Studios LogoWhat’s the elevator pitch for your coworking space?

We provide a productive, vibrant and cooperative environment in which to grow your business and flourish amongst other like minded people.

What were you doing before this?

I used to run a catering company and manage event bars predominantly for Secret Cinema.Head ShotWhat’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

Really obvious one but always write down any verbal agreement you make. People remember different versions of telephone conversations.

What will the rest of 2014 bring?

A little respite, a new business and holidays.

1 piece of advice for someone starting a coworking space?

Don’t do it, there are already too many, its not worth it. 

Explain why a startup might want to join your space in under 50 words.

There are a lot of different businesses at East One Studios which all benefit from sharing ideas and problems. By having a range of people from PR to music, fashion, events, travel and tech there is always someone who knows things that you may not.

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What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Currently Jose on Bermondsey Street – I want to own it.

You can see what happened at our dinner for owners and managers of coworking spaces here and here.

Following our dinner for founders and managers of coworking spaces in July, we wanted to find out more about some of the spaces that were represented at the dinner and share them with you. If you are looking for a home for you or your team, hopefully this will help.

What’s the elevator pitch for your coworking space?

Your Community to Create Impact.

One of 54+ locations, Impact Hub Westminster is your first step to connecting with a global community of more than 7000 inspired individuals.

We are a growing community engaged in creating sustainable positive impact on people and planet.

Launched in 2011, Impact Hub Westminster is one of the largest of a global network of locally owned collaborative working spaces. Our primary aim is to support organisations with positive social and environmental impact at the heart of their missions.

We believe early stage organisations struggle to survive in isolation. Our environment and services are designed to incubate the growth and impact of all our members through collaboration and support.

We provide flexible access to workspace and curate a supportive, collaborative environment for impact makers. Impact Hub Westminster also hosts a continuous flow of interesting and relevant events and programmes providing a stream of learning and networking opportunities for its members.

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What were you doing before this?

I’ve been supporting social entrepreneurs and the growth of social enterprise for the past 4 years. Running programmes for social entrepreneurs in the Impact Hub is a natural extension of this.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

That it’s difficult to communicate the value of community.

What will the rest of 2014 bring?

New investment readiness programmes and parties!

1 piece of advice for someone starting a coworking space?

Find the community first, then help them build it.

Explain why a startup might want to join your space in under 50 words.

To connect to a group of shared-value individuals, who want to see you succeed. To stimulate your creativity, and make a positive impact on the world. To be part of something bigger.

I just wrote an article about 3 ways stimulate innovation, and coworking space was at number 1.

What’s your favourite coworking space (not including your own)?

The Escape School. Their new space is still under construction, but I like the sentiment!

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Asakusa, Mornington Crescent

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Following last week’s Be The Change Journey dinner, we spoke to the brilliant hosts Rosie Walford and Hannah Smith and they told us all about it! We’ve included a few sound bites and photos below. If you missed it, you can meet Rosie and Hannah this week (21st August) – full details here.

“the diversity of people round the table – from an aviation consultant to an aspiring mental health nurse to former banker – where else does that happen?”

“how our ‘Conversation Menu’  (everything from ‘tell me about a meaningless moment at your current work’ to ‘do you act your age?’) got people into some gritty, cool, entertaining discussions from the get-go – way better than the usual opener of ‘so what do you do?”

“people said it was brilliant and comforting to meet others who want to explore fulfillment and purpose in their work – it’s not a conversation that everyone is willing to have, yet it’s an endlessly interesting one because it involves talking about who you are, and what you care about, as well as what you do.”

“it was wonderful overhearing Graham  (one of the Journey alumni) describing how he started the journey just knowing that he wanted to bring more happiness in the world, and left the journey with a clear sense of new areas he was going to pursue – and that’s what he’s now doing.  and wonderful too seeing how engaged people were in his stories of the trip itself.”

“several people were from banking and finance and had no idea of how their experience might be relevant to development and social change – in the city, it’s a bit of a velvet rut and people can’t see beyond – to worlds like philanthropic investing, microfinance, charity lending, ethical investing. It’s pretty exciting to watch their faces as these horizons open before them.”

“the energy in the conversations, people wanted more – and were making all sorts of plans to meet and support each other afterwards.”

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Dinner for London’s food startups to break bread, network, share experiences & contacts.

This dinner is invite only to food and foodtech startups and food bloggers and journalists. Please get in touch if you think you should have received an invite.

We’ve chosen The Green in Clerkenwell because the space is great for our networking dinners and the food is delicious. We’ll be taking over the upstairs private dining room.

You can see who went to the last dinner here and the one before that here.

£34 per person (includes private dining experience, 2 course dinner & all drinks plus highly curated and relevant networking). View the details here.

Let’s #MeetandEat

For all enquires please contact hello@tablecrowd.com or @tablecrowd

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Next week, we have our first Be The Change dinner, for people interested in making a career shift into more meaningful work. We wanted to find out more about one of the hosts, Rosie Walford.

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What’s the elevator pitch for your business?

There are hundreds of bright and able people stuck in unsatisfying ‘velvet rut’ jobs. Meanwhile, what the world needs is more people shifting into meaningful work that makes a difference and brings them alive. 

Be the Change Journey is a life-changing eight days in India.  You visit pioneering changemakers who are blending business acumen with social purpose, witness the major entrepreneurial models for making an impact in the world and use specialised career-shift coaching to help you figure out where you can best apply you professional powers. So far, it’s been catalytic – sending people home focused and ready for meaningful work.

What were you doing before this?

 I’ve been taking groups of people up the spanish  mountains to think creatively about their lives and then make bold moves on a coaching trip called The Big Stretch for the past eleven years. At the same time I’ve been supporting leaders in large corporates to consider their ripples of influence in the wider world, and leaders of environmental campaigning organisations to be more impactful. And before any of that I was a strategic planner in a London advertising agency, where i cofounded an innovation unit. It was fascinating, but I couldn’t keep promoting cars and soap powder forever. 

Introduce your team.

We’re a remote team, living and working around the globe in a thoroughly modern way. I spend most of my time living on an island off New Zealand. My partner in crime is Richard Alderson, a serial entrepreneur who has set up an incubator in Mumbai which helps social innovators create businesses that change peoples’ lives. He connects us to hundreds of inspiring  pioneers in organisations both large and small across India. He’s also the founder of the brilliant website Careershifters here in the UK, so he knows a lot about helping people make career moves. Hannah Smith in Edinburgh reminds us to tell the world what we’re up to, and helps people navigate their path into social impact work here in the UK when they return from India. Heading up our India team, Naomi scouts out some incredible behind-the-scenes experiences  and an array of heritage hotels for us to stay in, so that whilst our journeys are challenging by day, they are truly restful at night.  

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment with the business?

It’s almost impossible to pinpoint our pathway into new, meaningful work while we’re stuck in our old career context. But when we get out and see an array of different organisations in action, some will really move us – and some won’t resonate at all. Those unique reactions are what we can draw on to clarify the cause that will get us out of bed in the mornings,  the kind of role we might play, what type of organisation and business model will fit our talents best.  

What will 2014 bring?

Growth in the expanding field of social enterprise worldwide and an ever-increasing trend towards social and environmental responsibility amongst more traditional corporates. All of which means opportunity for those seeking to make a difference through their work. (for example, almost 1 million green jobs were created in 2013 worldwide). 

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

Don’t expect traditional recruitment or business advisors to help you much in finding a conscious, impact career. These emerging areas of work require different patterns of thinking and searching. 

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

When your work meets the needs of the world as you see them, it will be meaningful. When it uses your talents, it will be joyful. Discover the sweet spot between your passions, the skills you bring, and innovative funding models, and you’ll never do another day’s work. 

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

Reality Tours. It takes visitors into Asia’s largest slum, using residents as the guides who explain the unexpected maze of businesses, and horrid working conditions within. Profits from these tours fund education projects and computer rooms. People see their own European waste being recycled by hand, and get a powerful, visceral sense of the interconnectedness of humanity worldwide.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

The Three Crowns at Old Street. Imaginative, exquisite british cooking in a quietly stylish room. 

There are spaces left at next week’s dinner, where you can come and meet Rosie in person as well as other Be The Change alumni.

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We dined with Jessal Shah at our last FinTech dinner. He is co-founder of Mayfair FX. We wanted to find out more about him and his business.

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What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Mayfair FX is the result of a vision by two brothers to change the Foreign Exchange industry and tackle the issue of price, transparency and quality of service.

For generations FX margins have been hidden from businesses and personal clients resulting in higher transaction fees. We believe this is not fair!

Using technology Mayfair FX is able to offer low, competitive and fair FX margins. Most important, we are transparent with our pricing. We treat businesses the same i.e. the same FX margin will be applied to businesses that transact the same amount of currency, unlike banks or brokers that usually decide the FX margin individually for each client.

Currently, in the UK alone there are over 110,000 importing and exporting SMEs with over $100bn daily average FX turnover by non-financial UK companies. We believe we are in the perfect position to assist this market by helping reduce their costs thus enabling them to grow further.

Since officially launching in April 2014 we have been growing, helped by our online marketing and strengthening our referral network. Some of our current clients include clothing manufacturers, pharmaceutical wholesalers, recruitment consultants, travel agents and a range of UK start-ups.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

Jessal spent over 5 years at HSBC in the FX Sales looking after Corporate & Commercial clients. Miraj was studying Mathematics with Engineering at the University of Nottingham and then went on to achieve a Masters at Cass Business School in Mathematical Trading and Finance.

Where did you meet your co-founders?

We’re brothers, so I guess when we were born!

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

Realising we should have started earlier, we could have begun helping businesses sooner.

What will 2014 bring?

We are looking to continue spreading the word and maintain the rapid grow. We are already planning phase 2 of the platform with more tools for businesses.

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

Believe in your idea and do not be scared of the competition

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

We offer low, consistent and fair pricing on your currency transfers and international payments. We display our pricing on our website which banks and FX brokers traditionally have not done so. So you know how competitive we are, we openly display the mid-market rate when you make a transfer.

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

Transferwise – Althought they concentrate on the personal remittance market they have had an explosive growth, built great momentum and raised huge sums of money from the likes of Richard Branson.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

YauatchaGreat food and great restaurant

Mayfair FX - LogoIf you want to find out more about TableCrowd dinners, go here.

We had a great time at the Clerkenwell Kitchen for our #MeetandEat with Simon Menashy, our after dinner speaker from MMC Ventures.

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We were joined by some amazing startups, entrepreneurs and businesses including Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, Scarlett of Soho, DataSurgery, Heartcore Fitness, Fynder, Localoids, Double Double Studio, StepUp, SenseLab, Story Terrace, Hired By Me, Style Yard, ASF, StratexSystems, Adoreboard and more.

Simon Menashy is a member of the investment team at MMC Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm. They invest in early stage businesses in sectors where the UK is a world leader, including e-commerce, digital media, fintech and software/SaaS. He did over 24 deals in under 24 months in 2012-13!

Simon talked about the different stages of funding (from “Starbucks” to series A!). From the “friends, family and fools” round, through to seed, through to series A and onward to growth. Although in reality the rounds are not that clear cut. There was way too much content from Simon to share here, so just a few key pointers regarding seed and series A.

At the point a company is raising series A finance, they would be well on the way to proving their business model, they would be providing their customers with value, they would be successfully filling out the senior roles in the company and the economics would be working. It wouldn’t be unusual for them to be at £1-2m in annual revenues by this stage. This round would be raised from a VC and although hard to generalise, MMC would look for valuations of £1m+, for a stake of between 5% and 25%, with an exit of 5-10x investment.

Comparatively at seed round, there would be much left to prove but there would be a spark worth exploring. The company would need finance to provide runway to reach the point of being ready for a series A –  they would need to “professionalise’. A seed round would be funded by seed VCs or angels and (good news) the last 3 years has seen an increase in the availability of this level of funding. Although (bad news), angels still aren’t easy to find. There are some established networks you can approach (Cambridge Angels has a good rep) but it otherwise comes down to networking and selling yourself and your business (… I know a great site for doing this over dinner…)

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy:

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Thanks to everyone that joined the dinner and shared food and thoughts. See what’s coming up soon here.

Thanks to our sponsor Rackspace for their ongoing support and thanks to Simon and MMC Ventures for the valuable insights.

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Last night we had our third dinner of the week at The Green. We teamed up with Leo Wood of Winkley Studios and Richard Brownsdon of Inspiring Adventures and Impact Hub, to arrange the first #MeetandEat for managers and founders of coworking spaces.

Represented at the dinner in addition to Winkley Studios and Impact Hubs, were Level39, East One StudiosForward Partners, 90 Main Yard, Head Space Group, @Work Hubs, Desk Lodge, Ugli Campus, Rainmaking Loft, TechCityNewsMonkFeet, Propelia and more.

Our after dinner speaker was Adam Price, a former Member of Parliament, now working at Nesta and co-founder of fin-tech startup, Ideoba. He talked about his work on designing spaces for innovation and creativity. The ten commandments, including – colour (green, blue or flashing green), furniture shape (round rather than square), open vs closed plan, break out spaces, lighting (dim!), music you don’t like, clothes you feel comfortable in and non rigid work hours can all influence levels of creativity! Some unexpected insights.

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

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Thanks to our two great hosts, Richard Brownsdon (Inspiring Adventures & Impact Hub) & Leo Wood (Winkley Studios) for bringing the evening together. Many thanks also to our sponsor Rackspace for their ongoing support.

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Last night we turned Central Working in Google Campus into an after-hours restaurant to host our #MeetandEat for FashionTech startups, journalists & bloggers. This dinner was co-hosted by SilkFred and Grabble and we welcomed a tremendous line-up of businesses, each with a journalist guest.

SilkFred and Grabble were joined by Kovert Designs, Streethub, Rechannel, Cortexica, Virtusize and Bespoky. And their guests dining with us were Instyle, Brand + Commercial, Drapers, Vogue, Strategy Eye, Lela London, Wired, Tech City News and more.

Some photos from the evening for you to enjoy:

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To find out more about our upcoming dinners, please have a look here.

Thanks to our two amazing hosts for bringing the evening together and to our sponsor Blick Rothenberg for their ongoing support.

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