scalingPartnerships are vital for every business, but are especially vital for new businesses with limited resources.

We’re pleased as punch to have Jonathan Keeling, Head of Partnerships at Crowdcube, spill the beans on how to effectively build partnerships into your marketing strategy over dinner and a few glasses of wine next week.

At Crowdcube, the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, Jonathan is responsible for building quality partnerships to sustainably scale the platform whilst generating significant value for both entrepreneurs and investors alike.

Secure your spot at the table and get the lowdown from Jonathan on how to partner up successfully as well as how you can work with others (perhaps those around the table..) to further grow and develop your business.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 31 May at The Anthologist, The City

announcement-icon copyUpcoming TableCrowd dinners

7 Jun – Building a successful challenger brand
9 Jun – Ladies only dinner on assertiveness and confidence
21 Jun – Run your business better22 Jun – Practical tips & real life examples
& more

quiff (square)We last saw Luke Razzell, Founder of Weaver Digital, at our FinTech dinner with Travelex back in February. (He’s a bit of a finance fan when it comes to TableCrowd dinners!) Building his business as a solo founder, and helping others transform theirs, Luke and his team of freelancers have quite the list of clients under their belt (*cough* WorldPay) so we were more than happy to have Luke take part in our #BusinessSpotlight interview series.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Weaver is a London-based design agency. We work with our clients to design powerful and intuitive solutions across their business. We are renowned for our ability to deliver compellingly simple solutions for complex and rapidly evolving problem spaces. Weaver also provides design and communication skills training.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was a piano teacher for 15 years.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
No co-founders — I am Weaver’s only full-time employee. We work with a network of freelance associates across the UK and Europe to deliver projects.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
That changing careers in my mid-thirties was pretty risky, particularly as I had almost no experience in business, tech or even design. After a couple of dicey years early on, it’s worked out pretty well though.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
The launch of Weaver’s new first-impressions testing service Peeq, and growth hacking of our innovative language learning app, Yarn. Yes, we do our own startup projects as well as provide client services. :)

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Dare to be different while making sure you don’t re-invent the wheel.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
We’re really, really good. And concise (which is part of what makes us good).

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Us Two has rocked the “agency plus startup projects” model for a while now, and their Monument Valley is a thing of beauty.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Has to be Gokyuzu & Kervan in Wood Green. Lovely food in ridiculously large portions, served by super friendly staff.

What’s your favourite meal?
Anything my wife cooks. :)

logoFind 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!

How to secure VC investment for your tech startup - EliteBusinessMagazine.co.uk_48b89ffa3eb9a1bcecc0b58f0e9cfe85As the weather continues to turn warmer, and the nights become longer, there really is no better way to spend a weekday evening than doing a spot of networking over a delicious meal (and a glass or two of wine). Next week sees us hearing from the founder of Index-backed mobile banking app, Osper on FinTech, fundraising and changes faced in the banking industrty on Tuesday night. Wednesday’s topic is all about when and how to fundraise, with Tracy Doree, founding partner at Spring Partners providing the after-dinner talk.

Dinner with Osper’s founder
Join us for an evening with Alick Varma, founder of Osper, a mobile banking app for young people and parents. Over dinner, Alick will be sharing his story including tales of fundraising and succeeding in FinTech, as well as the changes that are shaking up the banking industry as we know it.

Osper has raised over $10m of funding and is backed by Index Ventures and a whole host of entrepreneurs, including lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman and the founders of Skyscanner and Soundcloud. Join the conversation at the table, meeting Alick and your peers discussing new banking, fundraising and the future of FinTech.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 24 May at Aubaine, Regent Street

Dinner with Spring Partners’ Founding Partner
Get the lowdown on fundraising! When’s a good time to do it? And how do you go about securing those vital finances for your business?

Who better to answer those questions than Tracy Doree? Not only is she a founding partner of Spring Partners, an active early stage venture capital fund based in London, she’s an entrepreneur at heart, with one of the fastest exits we’ve ever heard of under her belt. Tracy founded Llustre, an eCommerce business that designed and sold designer products and collections for homes – it was acquired by FAB after just 10 weeks of opening the doors for business!

Secure your spot at the table and get the lowdown on how to fundraise successfully from Tracy, who’ll be drawing on her experiences as both an investor and a business seeking funding.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 25 May at The Clerk and Well, Clerkenwell

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our short video to see what it’s all about:

olegTwo great dinners this week covering the tech story of how Freelancer.com became an IPO, with a dash of growth hacking thrown in for good measure, and what role a startup accelerator can play for founders and entrepreneurs building their dream.

Dinner with Freelancer
On Tuesday night, we were joined by Joe Griston, Director of People and Talent at Freelancer for dinner at The Happenstance. Joe’s after-dinner talk covered the Freelancer story, from tech startup through to IPO.

Whilst living in Australia, Joe met a guy (Matt Barrie) at a dinner party who had set up Freelancer. Matt told him the story of how he was looking for someone to do data work for him, managing to find him online. It was a difficult process and he thought there was something to develop here. So, Freelancer was born.

freelancerWith an abundance of passion for growth, Joe spoke about how in a start up you do everything you can to help the business. He set up HR in 6 months, and was responsible for doing the IPO. Having never done it before, he met with everyone he possibly could.

Don’t ever do this if you have a heart condition!

When Freelancer IPO’d they had the most successful first day of trading, starting out at 50 cents, by the end of the day they had reached $2.5 Australian dollars.

Joe explained over dinner that when you scale, people want more product. From Sydney, Freelancer opened up in Manila, then launched in Vancouver, London and now Jakarta and Buenos Aires. As a Director in the company, he was responsible for growing it and the HR people side of things.

Joe’s top tip when it comes to hiring people was:

We only hire people that we think are better than us, that blow us away.

And there No.1 rule is: Don’t run out of money. At Freelancer, they always make sure they make a return on what they’re doing. Spending 15% on marketing, the run the business to break even. All the profits go back into the business. Using this process, the business has doubled in size every two years in both revenue and users.

masschallengeDinner with MassChallenge
As the global CMO of MassChallenge, Diane Perlman spoke at dinner on Wednesday night about the ‘most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet’. Having been around for 7 years, accelerating over 300 startups a year across Boston, London, Jerusalem, Lausanne and Mexico City, MassChallenge do things a bit differently compared to other accelerators. For starters, they’re not-for-profit, which essentially means they take no equity in a startup, each programme takes 100 teams, last for 4 months and 15 teams walk away with £25k cheques.

It may be surprising to hear that they’re an NPO in something that is inherently capitalistic, however, Diane explained that the founder’s vision came from the 2008 crash. He saw greed and land grab rather than people making more pie. So, he decided to make more pie rather than have people fighting over the same pie. Diane feels that she is working for an organisation that is trying to change the world.    

As an accelerator that is about impact, MassChallenge looks at 5 industries: Digital Health, Life Sciences, Clean Tech, Social Impact, General Retail and High Tech. Their next cohort starts in September, Each applicant is seen by 4 judges and gets written feedback.

Our speakers were joined by Guidelighter, PixelPin, Fly Marketing, Castellano, Amondo, The Good Blend, Loveandfriends, MyCognition, Shepherd and Wedderburn, TrafficLight Solutions, Amberoot, JobLab, Buto, Debut, Solely Original, ShareStyle, Rockstar Hubs International amongst others.

See what other dinners are happening that you can sink your teeth into.

CVBJIy2W4AAGBT9This week’s #BusinessSpotlight is on George Christoforakis, co-founder of rendeevoo, who last joined us for dinner when we had the pleasure of Peter Briffett, COO of Yplan speaking on how to succeed in the lifestyle/entertainment sector. As an exciting new startup, rendeevoo had us with their slogan:

You. Me. Drinks. Now

Find out more about rendevoo and what spurred George on to build a business that sets itself apart from other ‘dating’ apps.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Discover London’s finest spots with someone new. Because there’s nothing better than a REAL conversation!

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was in a West-London social enterprise, called C.I.T.A.S., as a digital strategist. It was an amazing experience that widened my horizons and made me truly believe in social responsibility and its role in any commercial entity; not just non-profits.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met Jorn Vanysacker in Birmingham, back in 2009. It was during our MSc studies in Aston Business School, and since then we have been exchanging views frequently. It was only natural to call him three years later and discuss the concept that evolved into rendeevoo.

rvmWhen was your ‘eureka’ moment for your business?
Back in 2012, I had broken my leg and was hospitalised for nearly three months. During those days, I discovered what Online Dating was all about. Soon after a few sessions I realised that something’s odd with their business models. It didn’t make sense to me for a website to monetize the need instead of the result, given that any user who signs up on those sites is after a real-life meeting with new people. So, why not offer a more transparent way for people to socialise while at the same time shortening the “search & plan” steps?

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
In a nutshell, 2016 is the year when rendeevoo will either “make it or break it”. Our MVP has been validated and we are about to release a big update that behaves better and faster. We have also partnered up with a handful of lovely cocktail bars and cafes, increasing our network size to 30 handpicked venues around central locations in London. We want to end 2016 with an established presence in London and a growing reputation in Paris and Madrid that are our next targeted cities to enter in 2017.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Bringing people together is a wonderful business to be in. With it however, comes a great deal of responsibility. Place safety and confidentiality high in your agenda from day one. Also, have a clear monetisation strategy in place otherwise your value will always be subjective and therefore vulnerable. Focus on generating revenue, and ideally building a sustainable business that doesn’t rely purely on external funding to survive and thrive.

rendevooConvince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
In a market dominated by messaging platforms, rendeevoo stands out by offering a service where two people can meet at a handpicked place without texting, but by simply purchasing their first drink in the app to confirm their rendeevoo.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Even though we operate within the dating market, I don’t consider rendeevoo as a dating startup per se. My favourite startup that shares similar value proposition with us, is Drinki. I love their branding and of course their incredibly sleek UI! If you love visiting cocktail bars, you will love what Drinki has to offer!

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
By far Hawksmoor in Shoreditch. Everything and everyone in there is top-notch. Great service standards, superb food quality, and amazing atmosphere.

What’s your favourite meal?
You can have my soul if you treat me to a nicely grilled burger (cliché, I know!)
logo black rendeevoo
To find out more about rendevoo – take a look at their video with Global Dating Insights where George talks about his philosophies towards online dating, the new trend of on-demand dating apps, and how startups can push innovation in the dating industry.

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!

eiNext week is all about the ladies, well female speakers anyway. Tuesday will see us dining with brand expert Jenny Andersson on achieving growth and profitability by being a purpose led business. Wednesday, we have the pleasure of Amanda Davie sharing her wealth of knowledge on leadership and the role of emotional intelligence. Two fantastic topics to discuss over dinner, let’s check out each one in a bit more detail:

Dinner on growth & profitability through activating purpose
We’re excited to have Jenny Andersson, a seasoned TableCrowd member, covering the topic of growth and profitability through activating purpose at dinner next month. As an expert in brand strategy and communications, Jenny will talk about how purpose-led initiatives can contribute to profitability and growth, as well as helping your brand better connect with customers.

Secure your spot at the table and discover why being purpose-led is important for your future success (it’s reported that purpose-led brands are outperforming traditional brands on shareholder value 9:1). Hear how Jenny has helped brands such as Patagonia, Timberland, Levi’s & Virgin align their social and environmental responsible brands with making their business better and more profitable.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 17 May at Piccolino, Exchange Square

Dinner with Amanda Davie on leadership & the role of emotional intelligence
Being in tune with your own emotions and having strong awareness of emotions of the people around you can be vital for leading your team to success. Known as ‘emotional intelligence’, the latest in the women’s series of dinners will cover this topic with Amanda Davie providing the after-dinner speech and informal Q&A. As an ECR Certified Coach, Amanda has been trained by emotional intelligence experts RocheMartin to define, measure and develop EQ in leadership.

Join Amanda and your female peers and find out how you can effectively utilise EQ in your role. Here’s a quick run-down of what Amanda has achieved in her career so far:

  • Pioneered online advertising in the UK at 24/7 Media, Outrider (a WPP agency, now MEC), and i-level
  • Grew the search business at i-level from scratch to a team of 40
  • Founded Reform a digital management consulting firm
  • Co-founded Mentoring Digital Minds in 2010
  • Co-founded Digital Talent @ Work in 2015
  • Executive coach (launched own practice Jan 2016)
  • Mentors on the Cherie Blair Foundation Mentoring Programme

If you’re yet to join one of our women’s dinners, they’re fantastic fun and a great way to build a network of like-minded women (as un-biased as we are!) Grab a seat at the table and be sure to bring plenty of questions for Amanda to really take advantage of her experience during the informal Q&A part of the dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 18 May at The Green, Clerkenwell

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our short video to see what it’s all about:

Screenshot 2016-05-18 12.23.28TableCrowd members looking to get a no-holds-barred look at VC investment were in luck last night joining Alex Dunsdon for dinner at Jamie’s Italian where he spoke extensively on pitching to investors.

Alex runs Saatchinvest, where they invest up to £300k in early stage tech startups. Anyone looking to get investment from Saatchinvest gets 20mins to shine before hearing yes or no. And as they only invest in 4 or 5 businesses each year, there will only be a select few winning the golden ‘yes’ ticket. Read on for some of the wisdom imparted by Alex to his fellow diners:

Have Drive
In Alex’s experience, most investors will want to know what drives you, as the stats say most entrepreneurs won’t make it. Where does your motivation for what you are doing come from? For Alex, he wants to fall in love with the person and the product.

Be Obsessed
There’s a lot to be said about the founder that has a true obsession with their business. Alex explained at dinner, how he (as well as other VCs) love obsession. It’s pretty clear to most that an obsessed founder will not lose. Having an obsession with your product means you’ll be able to push it to where you want it to be.

Be Tenacious
Look to your users for their feedback. What do they think of the user interface? Remember that they are looking at your product from a different perspective to yours (and it’s a view that is invaluable to any company). Tenacity is paramount.

Have Users
Build your user base. Have a strong group of users that love your product. For apps, you also need to have user volume too.

Be Objective
By all means have a big vision, but always be thinking about what your objective is. How can you go from big to actual execution? Is it possible to break it down into bite-sized chunks?

Pitch Perfect
Most people write too much for their pitch, Alex recommends using a few pictures at the initial stage to tease people. Research the VCs that you are going to see and make a list of criteria for each. Spend two days prepping for each meeting, and be sure to send them an email covering why they should invest. This will save you time in the long run. Each investor will be unique so ensure you cater your pitch for each one.

Special thanks to our speaker Alex, and our partner Taylor Wessing who were joined by WishYouWereHere.today, Fly Marketing, Shepherd and Wedderburn, Hello HR, Showslice, Amberoot, Flair Atelier, Jambo App, Chip in, Crowdmix, Amondo, Further&More, The Pigeonhole, Nightkey, Drinki, Unocodrinks and The Good Blend amongst others.

logo-taylorTake a look at what other dinners we have on the horizon for you to join.

 

 

 

John_Smaller

We first met John Radford, founder of Borne Digital Ltd, when he joined our popular dinner with Forward Partners back in February. With their work vested in assisting founders with their digital startups, we thought we’d grab a quick five minutes with John to take him through our #BusinessSpotlight interview. Here’s what he had to say:

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We are a digital products lab designing and building the next wave of digital start ups. We help founders go from concept to launch and often co-invest in apps where there is a good fit.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
Running another digital agency.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I’m the only founder.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
Wishing I had started Borne sooner!

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
Growth and some seriously great start up projects coming out of our lab. I’m also becoming CTO and NED to a couple of start ups that have come through our labs.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Don’t be afraid of that MVP and launching fast. It’s so hard to fix a product spec, but trying your best to launch lean and fast will lead to success down the line. The longer it takes to launch, the less likely it is to succeed.

BorneTwitterHeader1Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
We partner with startups and have a unique end-to-end service that takes the idea right through to the finished product. We sometimes co-invest in start ups so we work together to build the future of digital products.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Dojo App. Their product design is great and their social messaging is bang on. I’m also very excited about @yourfeed as we are building their platform and I’m also acting as CTO and non-exec director. 

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Zelman Meats in Soho. They do one thing and do it well. Advice we often give to the start ups we work with.

What’s your favourite meal?
Steak and chips.

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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!

SPRING_DAISIES_RESIZEWith the first May Bank Holiday out of the way – and dinner with Alex Dunsdon happening this week – we’re building on that momentum by following up with dinners on Startup tech stories and meeting the friendliest startup accelerator in town. Next Tuesday we will be joined by Joe Griston from Freelancer, swiftly followed by Diane Perlman, Global CMO at MassChallenge on Wednesday. Take a more detailed look at what you can expect from each of our speakers:

Dine with Freelancer: from tech startup to IPO
Join us for an evening with Joe Griston, Director of People and Talent at Freelancer, the online freelancing and crowd-sourcing platform. Over dinner and a glass or two of wine, Joe will share the Freelancer story, from tech startup through to IPO, not forgetting their successful growth path too.

With a market cap of around $700M to date, Freelancer has grown significantly from a 10-person team in one office to 460 staff in 6 locations across the globe. Joe’s role is to lead the people operations globally for the site that boasts over 18.5M registered users. Needless to say, they’ve nailed the growth aspect of building a business!
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 10 May at The Happenstance, The City

Dine with Diane Perlman, Global CMO at MassChallenge
Want to join the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet? MassChallenge is a no equity and not-for-profit that provides startups with the access and resources they need to succeed – from free office space to mentoring, workshops and global network access. MassChallenge accelerates over 300 startups a year (across Boston, London, Jerusalem, Lausanne and Mexico City).

The next round of applications for London open on Thursday 19 May.

Diane Perlman, MassChallenge’s Global CMO, will be joining the dinner and providing an after-dinner talk where she will cover how they help startups win, as well as sharing insights and experiences from working with a range of startups from different industries at MassChallenge (and previously at Microsoft Ventures). Grab a seat at the table where we will be chatting ‘all things startup’, and in particular the current opportunities with MassChallenge. Bring plenty of questions for Diane to really take advantage of her knowledge during the informal Q&A part of the dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 11 May at The Green, Clerkenwell

announcement-icon copyDon’t forget we also have our Breakfast for Founders series happening next Tuesday too at Aubaine in Broadgate with our CEO, Kate Jackson, hosting. Grab your seat!

graze We had a great week talking about everything from subscription business models to how a company is valued. Mark Williams, Director at Results International spoke extensively on deconstructing company valuations last night, whilst Edd the co-founder of Graze kicked the week off on Tuesday night sharing Graze’s story.

Dinner with Graze for subscription businesses
Dining at the fantastic Royal Exchange Grand Cafe, Edd and his fellow diners enjoyed a dinner covering the nuts and bolts of how a subscription business model works. Drawing on his experience from being the co-founder & CTO of Graze, Edd shared the story of how Graze has grown over the past 7 years.

With their vision to be the world’s number one health snack brand, their belief in the success of this is by building multiple channels. Starting as a subscription business, they branched out into retail 9 months ago. After two weeks they become the top snack seller at WHSmith!

Describing Graze as a tech company first, Edd explained how they move fast and react quickly. Learning from their experience from the get-go has pushed their business to where it is today, and they continue to prove the success of the multi-channel strategy.

markwilliamsDeconstructing company valuations dinner
TableCrowd members joined Mark Williams for dinner at The Happenstance to explain the art behind how company valuations are determined, what in particular can drive a valuation as well as how to value your own company.

With an average taking between 6-9 months, valuations are seen as more of an art than a science. Getting the best valuation for your business depends on a variety of things. But the real question is how much is a buyer willing to pay, as that’s the real cost of any company. It’s the ability to articulate the value of a business that will provide the most positive valuation.

When it comes to tech businesses, valuations are usually worked out as a multiple of the revenue. Typically valuations of this sort sit at between 3 to 6 times the revenue. And, generally speaking, those businesses that are the first movers and shakers, the disruptive ones have sold at a higher multiple of the revenue.

Ultimately, what it all boils down to are knowing your buyer, getting under their skin and being able to offer them something that’s of value to them. And of course, if there’s competitive tension – it stands to reason that that in itself can add a lot of value to a business.

Our speakers were joined by Running in Heels, Thinking Bob, The Dinner Set, Fly Marketing, Liberte Fitness, Biotech and Money, Alchemy PR, EarlyBird, Gartner, CafePod, Goldman Sachs, Doctor Care Anywhere, Showroomist.co, TrafficLightSolutions, RATP Dev UK, Dental Capital Partners, Bristows, Mattioli Woods, and Unocodrinks amongst others.

Special thanks goes to our speakers Edd and Mark, as well as our partner Wellers.

Wellers for siteTake a look at what other dinners we have on the horizon for you to join.