Archives for the month of: August, 2013

We thoroughly enjoy writing guest blogs for other platforms, so we decided that it was time we opened up our own blog and invited our readers to write for us – when you have something interesting and relevant to share of course!

We are interested in unique content on any of our key topics – TableCrowd experiences, dining, social dining, restaurants & recipes. Tried a new restaurant recently? Cooked something delicious? Organised your first TableCrowd dinner? We want to know! We welcome all your ideas and will share them with our readers.

What we are looking for?

  • Relevance – lets keep it all about the key topic our members want to read about: TableCrowd experiences, dining, social dining, restaurants & recipes.
  • Quality of content – a great tale to tell, its style, uniqueness and clarity.
  • Unique content – please don’t send us content that has already been posted elsewhere.

Your guest blog must:

  • Have a title
  • Be between 300 and 800 words

So whether a professional writer, a frequent blogger, or just someone who knows they have something individual and exclusive to share, please mail us at with your ideas and any questions.

View some of the guest posts we have written:


Women 2.0

The Next Women

Tech City News

Escape The City


Our guest blog today comes from Alastair Cameron the co-founder of Startacus. Have you ever thought about who you would love to dine with if you had the chance? Well Alastair tells us his top 3 startup founders he would love to meet and eat with.


For me, if there’s one thing in life that doesn’t go out of favour (or flavour?) is good food. Good food is the catalyst for many good conversations, discussions and debates.

My networking ability on the other hand can be rather hit or miss – faced with a crowded room, sometimes networking can often be a tough cookie to crack.

But if faced with a ‘come dine with me’ like task of having to pick and choose 3 other current or recent self starter / ‘entrepreneur like’ people  to have dinner with, then networking becomes a more intriguing and interesting prospect. Here’s the 3 startup founders I’d invite for a dinner party and a few reasons why…

1 – Craig Johnston

Craig has a few attributes in his favour. Firstly he was a mighty fine Liverpool football player (some would argue that’s a reason in itself), however his real business career only happened once his football career had come to an end. He is responsible for the Predator football boot which became the football boot of choice for many world class footballers. Initially turned down by the major sport brands, Johnston kept trying and developing the boot and eventually Adidas bought into the concept. Johnston has had up and down success over the years and was even homeless for a short term, however he is proof that an entrepreneurial career can happen mid career and that good ideas can simply come from thinking logically about how a product can be improved – even if it works perfectly well (or so you think) in the first place.

2 – Simon Robinson

Some might know of Simon and I have had the pleasure of knowing Simon, albeit via email, interviews and such like for the last 18 months. But never in person! For those of you who know little about Simon, this is his background story.

The story goes that Simon went along to the school career advisor (not that long ago) and after explaining he wanted to write about music was told, because of his grades, that perhaps a career in the army was more suitable.

Whether this inspired him, or whether it would have happened anyway, Simon went on to write music reviews for major music publications and then decided to go out on his own.

His business was a year in the making, but within the last two years, his music website, Gigs and Festivals has become the most visited music website in the UK and in the top 300 visited websites in the UK full stop.

Why have him to dinner? Well I think he deserves all the credit he gets, and I’d be offering up a wee toast to say congrats too.

3 – Anita Roddick

Unfortunately this is more of a wish than a real chance, as Anita Roddick sadly passed away back in 2007. While ethical consumerism is prevalent on the high street now, back in the mid 1970’s Anita Roddick and the Body Shop were visionaries in building an ethical business and brand, when green and ethical issues were not particularly at the forefront of any business plan. Within the retail sector particularly, she is one of the originators of using a business – not only to make a profit, but to make a social impact as well. Since we’re hoping that Startacus will make a real social impact and also be a successful business too, it would be great to have had the opportunity to chat to the late Body Shop founder about doing just that.

With thanks to this weeks guest blog:

Alastair Cameron is the co-founder of Startacus – the self start society.

Startacus is an online platform offering a definitive go-to source for the enterprising individual, offering everything from funding information, startup news, inspiring stories, through to basic roadmaps for creating a business. The key innovation within the Startacus platform is a virtual workspace and incubator for individuals; creatives, entrepreneurs or otherwise to work on projects and ideas.

At the start of the year, TableCrowd won the Lion’s Cage pitch competition. As well as the general prestige of winning this event, we won a very generous £5k in legal fees from event sponsor Taylor Wessing.

Since then we have partnered with Taylor Wessing on a number events, particularly for our startup community; an area close their hearts, as they have a team of lawyers dedicated to supporting start ups.

In May, Declan Bradley joined us for a dinner themed around employment law. Over pizza and beers at Pizza East, Declan helped with questions ranging from how to set yourself up when you start working for yourself, to employing people as your project grows – and everything else that was thrown at him! Here’s what Declan had to say about the dinner:

“People only seem to want to meet an employment lawyer when there’s trouble afoot, but throw in some pizzas, beers and TableCrowd’s treasure trove of contacts…and things can certainly change! I met up in Pizza East with a table full of guys in one way or another involved in startups as part of Tablecrowd’s “The Startup Engine”, so that I could hopefully impart some useful legal tips to the hungry entrepreneurs and their growing businesses. Over a few cold Peronis and Pepperoni thin crusts the conversation flowed about topics as diverse as the marvel of 3D printing to the finer points of running a fashion app business. With our bellies brimming with food and our heads full of knowledge we trotted off in to the Shoreditch night and I’ve been in touch with almost everyone since. Happy days!”

Philip Shepherd and Kristy Hibberd joined us at Central Working at Google Campus in May for TableCrowd’s Food Startups “Meet & Eat”. It was the first in the series of industry startup dinners where all the attending startups invited a member of the tech or food press, or a tech or food blogger to join as their guest. After the success of this dinner, we hosted TableCrowd and SilkFred’s Fashion Startups ‘Meet & Eat’ earlier this month – same format, same great line up startups and same level of success. Here’s what Kristy had to say about the dinner:

My first TableCrowd event was a real experience and I came a way from it being invigorated and inspired by the fantastic and passionate people I met. It was a great (and relaxed) opportunity to network with a whole host of people from journalists to food start-ups. For me the highlights were hearing peoples’ stories, how they got there and the challenges they are facing. The other added benefit was that everyone had at least one thing in common – food – so we all got on really well and made useful contacts. Not to mention our host and the food, which perfected the evening.”

Earlier this month, Daniel Rooke, a corporate lawyer at Taylor Wessing was on hand at dinner at Thai Thai to help with questions ranging from how to start your company, to protecting yourself when issuing equity to co-founders, from EIS & SEIS to articles of association – and everything in between.

Tomorrow evening (20th August) Neil McKnight a tax associate from Taylor Wessing is joining us for dinner, so if you want to know more about tax, EIS, SEIS and more, get involved here.

“A dinner for London’s Startup Women to break bread, network, share contacts & experiences”

Last night was the third in a series of industry dinners, following on from TableCrowd’s Food Startups “Meet & Eat” last month and TableCrowd & SilkFred’s Fashion Startups Meet & Eat. Some of London’s most exciting women led startups gathered at Central Working in Google Campus for dinner and networking. If you’re familiar with Central Working, you’ll know that by day it’s bursting at the seams with developers, techies and founders, all hard at work on their startups. After hours however, with the expert help of Central Working, the space is made perfect for TableCrowd’s social dining experiences.

21 diners joined the dinner, which included the startups and their journalist, PR & blogger guests. For the startups, it was a great networking opportunity and for their guests, a one off opportunity to meet everyone on the scene in one night. Wine was drunk. Fun was had! A big thank you to all the ladies (and the 2 gents) for being part of the evening.

TableCrowd was joined by:

– Swiftkey
– Tank Top TV
– Simple 2 Connect
– Craft Candy
– Audio Byte
– Public Beta
– My Beauty Compare
– The Fetch London
– Dattch

And guests from:

– Tech City News
– The Next Web
– The Wall UK
– Dream Corner
– The Next Women
– London Beauty Queen
– Lion’s Cage
– Tech City Insider
– The Telegraph

The evening started with some pre dinner drinks which gave everyone a chance to circulate and mingle. We dined on a summer Spanish themed spread including tortilla bites, homemade meatballs and paella. TableCrowd as host gave a short introductory talk as did Taylor Wessing, the event sponsors. After dining, we went round the table so that everyone could introduce themselves and/or their startup and there was more time to move around the table to speak to the people we hadn’t yet met.

Some photos for you to enjoy are below! The remainder of the photos will be posted on our Facebook page later this week.

A massive thanks to artwork sponsor, nerv and event sponsors Taylor Wessing and Start-up Direct for being part of the third in series of dinners for startups. Thanks also for Central Working for being tremendous hosts. The next dinner in the series will be announced soon.

If you want to get in touch about our industry startup dinners, you can reach us at or tweet us @tablecrowd #MeetandEat.

Chico Bandito on Luke Street is fast becoming the weekly home of The Startup Engine. Why? I’m a fan of the large square table that allows one conversation even when there are 10 diners, the jugs of cocktails and the tasty-not-too-expensive food. And, tonight our waitress treated us to tequila shots on the house, which received varying receptions from diners considering it was a Tuesday night, but a lovely touch that made us feel special.

Iggy Hammick joined us again. Iggy is a freelance web designer and is also the London organiser of Digital Dumbo. It was good to hear about his upcoming event on 22nd August at Open Kitchen, 40 Hoxton Street. They have partnered with the Tech City Apprentice Scheme, which helps connect young people in East London with top local tech businesses. Date saved! Details here:

It was lovely to see Rachel Cheal back again for her second TableCrowd dinner. Rachel is founder of The Growth Lab, a new kind of financial consultancy, which gives small and medium sized businesses the strategic and financial foundations they need to grow. She uses her wealth of experience to work closely with businesses to provide the CFO services they need, but can’t necessarily have in-house in their earlier years.

Oli Ashness joined his first dinner and came bearing gifts! His startup, SimplyCook provides by-post recipe kits to help people cook great food at home in minutes. They provide the taste elements and you add the fresh ingredients. I have the Cajun chicken kit ready for the weekend. I’ll report back!

Jonathon Lea was back again after many many months. We first met at an Escape The City dinner, when he was days away from starting The Jonathan Lea Network, an international business content platform and community. He continues to provide legal services to clients whilst also providing a wealth of content on not only law, but general business, finance, marketing and political information and commentary. I’m looking forward to Jonathon hosting a dinner for The Startup Engine in the next few months and sharing some of his knowledge!

A pleasure to meet first timer, Ripul Agarwal, who’s working hard on his startup, S(u)ave, which is due to launch later this year. It is a tool for the education sector that will enable the collation of research content in a simple yet effective manner. Looking forward to finding out more and seeing it live!

As always, a really interesting evening and pleasure to have dinner with such a great bunch of entrepreneurs and founders.

Next week’s social dining experience is in partnership with Taylor Wessing and we will be dining with a tax associate who can give us the low down on all things tax including EIS & SEIS. You can get involved here.


Who loves dreaming of cheese?

With under a week to go, we wanted to give you a sneak preview of the startups that will be dining at TableCrowd’s Startup Women “Meet & Eat” on 14th August at Central Working, Google Campus. They’ll enjoy a delicious Spanish themed menu.

TableCrowd – a real life social network to meet people over food.

Dattch – The social app for lesbians.

The Fetch London – Helps professionals share and discover what’s happening in London.

SwiftKey – for Android replaces your device’s on-screen keyboard to help you type in an easier, faster and less frustrating way.

Tank Top TV – A brand new service that puts you in touch with great movies that you can watch now on demand.

Simple 2 Connect – Developing a location based professional networking application for mobile phones.

Craft Candy – Your destination for connecting with local craft events in the UK.

Audio Byte – The Audio & Podcast Consultancy.

Public Beta – An online learning community for entrepreneurs.

My Beauty Compare – World’s first beauty price comparison site.

In addition, there are some tremendous journalist and blogger guests. We’re looking forward to turning Central Working at Google Campus into an after hours restaurant!

Event sponsors: Taylor Wessing & Start-up Direct / Artwork sponsor: nerv



For enquiries about this dinner, please contact us at

We are pleased to announce Start-up Direct as a new online event sponsor for TableCrowd’s Meet & Eat series for startups. The next dinner in the series is Startup Women on 14th August.

Start-up Direct are already closely aligned with The Startup Engine and Startup Women on TableCrowd as they provide a valuable service for entrepreneurs seeking financial support for their businesses or idea as well as mentoring from experienced and relevant mentors.

Start-up Direct, is the In-house delivery partner of the Start-up Loan Company, backed by James Caan. They pride themselves in supporting Greater London’s talented individuals who are starting a business, by delivering the Start-up Loan Scheme. The application process takes around 2 weeks and entrepreneurs can borrow up to £10,000 depending on their business needs.

Currently the loans are available only to the under 30s, but we’ve heard “rumours” of this age cap being lifted, making the loans accessible to all entrepreneurs and founders. We’ll keep you informed about this.

For more information you can visit Start-up Direct, or please contact us at and we’ll happily make an introduction to the right person.

We’ve had a busy month with social dining at TableCrowd for our startup community. The Crowd is growing week on week and its members are enjoying more and more dinners in and around Tech City. The Startup Engine now has over 600 members.

Recently our members dined at Red Dog Saloon with Benjamin Southworth, now ex-deputy CEO at The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO). TCIO was established by UKTI to support the growth of the tech cluster in East London, which includes supporting and helping budding entrepreneurs. Benjamin has helped companies set up in the area and grow internationally, making introductions to VCs / investors, facilitating mentoring and assisting with business scaling and development. It was really interesting to meet him and we’re looking forward to hearing what he does next as he re enters the scene as an entrepreneur.

Earlier in the month, Itxaso del Palacio joined us at Fire & Stone. As well as being an academic entrepreneur, teaching Entrepreneurial Finance at UCL and an entrepreneur, co-founding Founders Fit, she is also an Investment Analyst at EC1 Capital, investing between £50 and £200K in great teams building startups in big markets. Everyone was inspired by how much one lady can do with her time.

Sasha Serafimovski of Hybird Partners hosted a dinner at Red Dog Saloon. Hybird Partners are advisors, mentors and investors in game-changing projects, people and companies. They work with early stage technology opportunities including startups. They were on hand to provide feedback and hear what everyone was working on.

Tech City News launched their Supper Club series in partnership with Penguin Books and partnered with TableCrowd to sell tickets for the dinner. This meant Startup Engine members, as well as Tech City News readers, grabbed seats for the dinner at private members’ club, Eight.

The first supper club provided an exclusive chance to meet one of Silicon Valley’s most respected experts on Elevator Pitches. Terri Sjoden is the world’s leading expert on Elevator Pitches. She’s based in Newport Beach, California. Over the course of dinner Terri gave her top tips for delivering better pitches and business presentations and was on hand for one to one advice.

Kate Jackson from TableCrowd attended the supper club and said:

The supper club was hosted in a beautiful room at Eight. In addition to the fantastic presentation and tips from Terri and the complimentary copy of her book, it was really interesting to meet the other entrepreneurs that were dining – a truly international crowd. I’m looking forward to the next supper club in the series

Click here to see what’s lined for The Startup Engine in the coming weeks and book your seat!