AlexAlex Hanson-Smith, co-founder & CPO of inploi, joined us for dinner with The Food Corporation recently, when they spoke on the topic of succeeding in the FoodTech industry. Here’s what Alex had to say about his company, inploi.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
inploi is an on-demand jobs platform that makes staffing in hospitality smarter, cheaper & more efficient. Our web & mobile apps connect job seekers with suitable roles allowing them to get hired, get paid & get reviewed.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I worked for Ogilvy & Mather in Hong Kong providing digital strategy for brands across Asia-Pacific.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met Matt (my co-founder) a few weeks after returning to London from Hong Kong. Matt is South African and had just completed a MBA at the Said Business School in Oxford. After many coffee-fuelled late nights of researching and brainstorming we decided to pursue inploi full-time.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
We tried to save time and money by having our technology built in South Africa, with a twist of irony this ended up costing us time & money. Coordinating the build with a team you have never met in person on the other side of the world doesn’t work. Getting your technology stack right is essential and cutting corners will come back to bite you. We were fortunate enough to learn this lesson relatively ‘cheaply’ and have since brought on Chris – our CTO – who has allowed us to get to a place where we have complete confidence in the security, scalability & agility of our technology.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
Launch! We launched the iOS & Web version of our platform in early July with an Android app following soon after. We are lucky enough to be working with some brilliant clients including Deliveroo, Bill’s, Daylesford & You Me Sushi and have been overwhelmed by how many job seekers have pre-registered to use inploi.

inploiOne piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Get a co-founder. I am in awe of anyone who starts a business on their own. Having someone standing next to you in pitches, sitting opposite you in the office at 3AM (this happens a lot) and picking you up when you are down is invaluable. You don’t need to be best friends (in fact, it is probably better if you aren’t) but you do need to be equally committed and able to be entirely honest with each other.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words
inploi will change the way staffing works, forever. Employers post jobs, for free, from wherever they are. Job seekers apply with a virtual resume with a video introduction. Employers view matches, hire the staff they like, pay short-term staff via the app and provide feedback. Job done.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Well, if by sector you mean hospitality, I think Pronto is pretty cool. It is an online food delivery business with a great (and reasonably priced) menu. All their ingredients are high-quality & sustainable.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Barrafina on Frith Street, Soho. It is the best Tapas in London.

What’s your favourite meal?
I am part Danish so I have been brought up on smorrebrod or ‘open sandwich’. My favourite is with thinly sliced rare beef and crispy onions.

inploi_logo_red_web

Find more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

Philip_smallPhilip Kallberg, CEO of EatAbout, recently joined us for dinner with The Food Corporation, covering the topic of succeeding in the FoodTech industry, along with grabbing breakfast with our CEO, Kate Jackson at one of her regular Breakfast for Founders meet ups.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
EatAbout is your own private restaurant in the home of a chef, bringing you closer to your food than ever before. You’ll meet and interact directly with your chef in the most immersive and comfortable setting of all. You’ll love the food, and because we cut out traditional restaurant overheads, you’ll like the prices too.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was working in the tech industry at Google and Spotify, and most recently at the cloud computing startup Cloud 66. My co-founder Felix comes from a chef background having worked gala kitchens serving over 200 guests, as well as management consulting.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met my co-founder Felix over 10 years ago in Brussels, Belgium, while in French class.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
There’s so many – every day in business provides a new learning opportunity, and that’s what I love about it. In particular, a big “hindsight” moment has been to see the challenge of achieving brand awareness in a competitive market, and reaching organic bookings was a big milestone for us. I wrote a blog post on how we got there: How EatAbout achieved organic bookings in 2 months IMG_2656What will the rest of 2016 bring?
2016 will see us conquer corporate bookings as well as improving the experience for all guests booking with EatAbout. We’re also working on some fantastic partnerships to help us further spread the EatAbout love.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Competition for awareness and customers in this industry is fierce, so make sure you’re ready to work hard and have something unique that sets you apart.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
I love what Pronto are doing in the food delivery space – as they own the entire supply chain they can provide fantastic food for really good prices.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
I love MasterChef finalist Emma Spitzers food, available through EatAbout.

What’s your favourite meal?
This is such a hard question as there’s so much good food out there. I’m a sucker for good seafood though, and it helps that my parents live on the coast of Portugal.

EatAbout-Logo

Find more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

fabricebFabrice Bernhard recently spoke at a dinner for non-technical founders on building your first tech product. As a co-founder and CTO of Theodo, Fabrice’s business is effectively a ‘tech-team-for-hire’ working with both startups and large corporations. Here’s what he had to say when we put his business under the spotlight.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We build web and mobile solutions in a leaner, more cost-effective way. Our teams of very smart coders focus on the 40% of functionalities that really matter to solve your business problem. This allows for faster time-to-market and more focus on the end-user needs which in turn maximises the chances of success of the delivered product.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
Before starting Theodo, I co-founded, as a student, a first Internet Startup called Allomatch.com. Allomatch helps you find the pubs and bars where to watch sports games in France.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met my co-founder during my military service. Bored by casern life, we took charge of the organisation of the monthly parties together. I guess that is the first time we realised that even though we were very different in terms of personality, we were a good match to get things done.

What’s your biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment?
A key moment was when we started using the services of external experts in 2011: first an executive coach and then an agile coach, lean coaches, marketing experts, etc. To radically improve, you need expertise and distance from the day-to-day, which only good external consultants can bring.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
We just got elected best startup to work for in France in the HappyAtWork ranking! I wonder what else 2016 can bring, for the moment I’m focused on structuring our London office.

theodoukOne piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Advice that is valid for any tech startup: I recommend hiring very smart developers and involving them in the the business. The most important bottleneck in most tech startups is not solving tech problems, it is understanding and implementing the right tech solution to the current business problem. Only smart developers in direct contact with the business can give you the right competitive advantage.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
On average in software, 60% of the features built are never or rarely used. Work with one of our teams of smart coders to ensure you focus on building the right product, in record-time and in the most efficient way to out-distance competition.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
I am impressed by Palantir‘s immense growth in a similar sector as ours.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The food at Piquet is excellent. And it is exactly the kind of cultural collaboration I love; great French cuisine by an English chef.

What’s your favourite meal?
Good food, good wine and great discussions on a warm summer evening.

theodo-logo-large

Find more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

541355_10152119697490037_622171298_nIris Anson, founder of Solely Original first joined TableCrowd in January this year, signing up to one of our popular women’s only dinners. Since then, Iris has been a major TC advocate and heavily involved in the networking experience joining 12 dinners so far this year (with two more lined up for September too!). Catch up with Iris either at the dinner with Seedcamp, or DN Capital, and find out more about what she’s doing for the retail industry below.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Solely Original challenges the fashion norm ‘beauty is pain’, so we have brought the personalised design choice and fit of made-to-measure female shoes online. We have developed an online platform so that women can experience the service from the comfort of their own home. Using the 3D designer, an image of one’s shoe design is only a click away: by selecting the style, heels, materials and colours. By using the Fitting Sock at home or 3D Foot Scanner at pop up stores, Solely Original can capture the measurements of one’s foot and make shoes that fit perfectly.

Studies reveal that on average British women own 17 pairs of shoes, yet only wear 2-4 pairs on a regular basis because of comfort issues. This reflects the problem of today’s high street shops which are full of standardised footwear made for average foot shapes. Everyone is unique, people’s left foot could be different from the right foot, so with Solely Original there is no reason why people should compromise with standardised shoes when they can be made to fit at a reasonable price.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
Prior to Solely Original, I was a fashion conscious city professional, I decided to leave behind my career as a tax consultant to pursue a solution for women like me, who had trouble finding fashionable shoes that are comfortable to walk in. Having studied and researched into the production process and footwear design, I came to realise how unhealthy and flawed the current mass market footwear industry is. I challenge the fashion norm ‘beauty is pain’, therefore I created Solely Original to afford every woman the luxury of comfortable and stylish heels fitted to their own measurements. In the rapidly developing technological and consumer-driven world, mass customisation is achievable, healthy beauty and sustainable beauty is also possible.

What’s your biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment?
It was more of an emotional build up from daily experience wearing uncomfortable fashion shoes. I was very frustrated and eventually led me on the route to build something myself for a solution.

SO04 2What will the rest of 2016 bring?
More design options on our website.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Don’t rush into launching your brand, make sure the entire operation runs smoothly first!

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
You don’t need to choose between fashionable or comfortable shoes anymore! With Solely Original, you can have it all -designing a pair of shoes that matches your outfit, then you can get them fitted to your exact measurements.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Grabble (mobile shopping app)

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The Tiroler HutAuthentic Austrian Cuisine with Original Live Music

What’s your favourite meal?
English Roast Dinner

full-logo

Find more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

DSC_1684CAlex Price is a seasoned TableCrowd member, who first joined us back in May last year when Tony Wollenberg, founder of City Index spoke after dinner. As a regular diner at TableCrowd, we’re pleased to have caught up with him earlier this year to put the spotlight on his business 93Digital. If you want to meet up with Alex, you can join him for dinner tomorrow, where Simon Schnieders will be talking all things SEO. In the mean time, here’s what Alex had to say about his business.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We’re a niche digital agency that works exclusively with one technology – WordPress. WordPress now powers over 25% of the entire internet (including the TableCrowd blog!) and we specialise in delivering complex WordPress design and build projects for large clients.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was still studying. I had my first clients as a freelance web designer, developer and digital marketer when I was 15, so I had a bit of a head start! When I was 20 everything was going so well that I decided to drop out of university at King’s College London and founded the ‘agency’. It was still just me for a year or so after that, but after a few big client wins I took the plunge, opened our first office and started to grow the team. In just over 1 year we went from just myself to a team of 8 people, having to move into a bigger office along the way.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I’m the sole founder. Sadly! I say this jokingly – I count myself very lucky to still own 100% of my business, but every now and then wish I had someone to share in the lows of running a business with me!

What’s your biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment?
I realised after I dropped out of university that there are a hell of a lot of opportunities out there without needing a degree. I don’t regret going for the one year that I did, but it’s hammered into us from a young age that without a degree we have no future. This couldn’t be more untrue, particularly in digital. No client has ever asked me about my education, ever. I would never encourage someone not to go to university, but I would definitely urge them to consider all of their options before committing to years more education as well as the large costs involved these days.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
The list of clients we’re working with is becoming ever more exciting and we’ve recently added a few new team members to 93digital. We have plans for a SaaS product related to WordPress as well, so 2016 looks set to bring more growth on all fronts.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Put the customer first. We operate in a very competitive service industry – we know we’re great at what we do when it comes to web design and WordPress development, but unless we have happy clients none of that matters. Client satisfaction is key!

Screenshot 2016-08-02 14.06.38Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
If you’re looking for a WordPress site, we will deliver it to a higher standard than anyone else. Speed, security, SEO – we consider everything and produce our websites focused on results – our goal is to understand our clients ambitions and help them achieve them.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
WP Engine – they are the best when it comes to WordPress hosting and have grown explosively, having raised nearly $40m in funding over the last few years.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Boopshi’s in Fitzrovia is my favourite hidden gem – the best schnitzel in London!

What’s your favourite meal?
A good Carbonara is always a winner for me.


93digital-logo-sponsor-wordcamp-london-2016-300x85
Find more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

pavegenJoin award winning entrepreneur Laurence Kemball-Cook for dinner next week, and hear the story of Pavegen, a flooring technology that generates electricity from the kinetic energy of footsteps. That’s a pretty neat piece of tech!

Laurence will be sharing tales of fundraising and rapid growth (their CrowdCube raise exceeded their target by 253%), trade missions globally, rubbing shoulders with governments and the UN and playing a key part in inspiring environmental change around the world. This dinner will give a great insight into the clean-tech space as well as the entrepreneurial journey of taking an idea and turning it into a valuable business. So, grab a seat to meet with Laurence in a private dining setting and talk to him about what you’re working on, as well as to hear about his achievements and success with Pavegen.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 10 August at Aubaine, Regent Street

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.

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

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.19.42This week’s dinners covered the topics of marketing and fundraising, with speakers from the investment and media worlds. Tom Maddocks, ex-BBC2 reporter and now one of the UK’s leading authorities on media training and presentation coaching.

Dinner with Tracy Doree, founding partner at Spring Partners
As part of our ‘Meet the investor’ series, Tracy Doree spoke extensively about the fundraising process and how to do it successfully. Having experienced fundraising from both sides of the table, Tracy was perfectly positioned to assist with her fellow diners questions about being at the helm of a business that was seeking funding.

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.19.58

Dinner with Ex-BBC2 reporter and Media Expert, Tom Maddocks
With some 20+ years experience as a journalist and broadcaster, working in TV, radio and the national press, Tom Maddocks was a fantastic speaker for our TableCrowd members joining him for dinner at Aubaine in Mayfair this week.

As a former reporter on BBC’s The Money Programme, Tom turned his experience in the media industry into making him one of the UK’s leading media training experts, having been quoted on the subject in The Sunday Times, Independent, FT and other publications too. Tom shared his knowledge with his fellow diners to help them get coverage for their businesses. With top tips and tactics for reaching journalists shared over dinner, each diner left with the tools to help drive awareness for their business to boost growth and reach new markets and customers.

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.20.19Our fab speakers, Tom and Tracy, were joined by Friends Recommend It, Attest, Sivgen, Hatch, Reed Travel Exhibitions, Pixelgroup, Decca Capital, Jamae Immigration Law Group, Veyring, thebrunettecupcake.com, REVL, USPAAH, Faber Novella, Unocodrinks, CityMunch, Inn Style, Silver Curve, AtlaSense, tosay, INK amongst others.

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.