Archives for the month of: May, 2015

Last week was a busy week, we had seven TableCrowd dinners happening across a variety of sectors, including WedTech, playing the stock market, Food & Beverage industry, PropertyTech and more. Here’s the rundown of what nuggets of wisdom our speakers imparted on their fellow diners: wedtechdinnerWedTech at Aubaine, Heddon St
We held an intimate dinner for those in the wedding industry with our co-host Sachin, Founder of Think Shaadi, discussing how technology is impacting the £10 billion UK wedding industry. Following the usual round-the-table introductions the diners chatted en mass about wedding trends and how to work together in such a big industry. With tech being a relatively new thing in the UK wedding industry, it was agreed by all that a lot of venues, dressmakers, and photographers are still using basic technology and definitely need to catch up! For the wedding industry, the most useful marketing tools are still word of mouth, with everyone stressing the importance of customer reviews.

foodUrban Food Fest at Piccolino, Exchange Square
Both Mike and Jessica joined us from Urban Food Fest to discuss the London street food scene and how it has revolutionised the way London eats! Founded two years ago, Urban Food Fest is a street food market based in Shoreditch occurring every Saturday. Around 15 food stalls – including a V corner for vegans and vegetarians – are surrounded by lots of bars and live music to entertain and delight the crowds that attend. Starting with a pop up status, their festival is now a regular event and they have expanded into corporate and private events including one for Henry Cavell, Apple and Volkswagen.

Ultimately, the team at Urban Food Fest love being a platform for so many diverse people who want to share their passion for food. For our diners, Mike’s top tips all related to networking and how it is crucial to success.

Business is person to person. Get over any inhibitions about talking to people and get out there and just do it!

You’ll never know where the conversations might lead. So, remember – always bring your business cards with you, be prepared and be passionate!

fashionpressdinnerHow to charm the Fashion Press
Diners were in for a treat at our Fashion Press dinner as they had two speakers, Alison Levy, Global Director of Brand Development at Fashion GPS and Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of Tada & Toy. The great thing about this dinner, apart from the amazing food at Mint Leaf Lounge, was the opportunity to garner insight into the accessibility of fashion magazines from both a PR and brand perspective. Both ladies had such insightful and worthwhile information, that we have a whole separate post dedicated to their top tips. Take a look at it here.

Tony Wollenberg on playing the stock market
Last Tuesday saw a group of diners joining serial entrepreneur and stock market guru, Tony Wollenberg for dinner at Aubaine where his market successes and failures were discussed over food. Tony had some great advice for those interested in playing the stock market which identified that whatever you’re doing in the markets, it certainly won’t be a boring journey up, or down. His honest depiction of crashes in the stock market led him to describe them as “cataclysmic, seismic events” that are “the times when you can make the most money.”

You can be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy.

acceldinnerDinner with Luciana Lixandru, Accel Partners
The private dining room at Jamie’s Italian in Piccadilly was the backdrop for our fundraising dinner with Luciana Lixandru, Vice President and an early stage investor at Accel. Providing a brief history of the company, Luciana explained that Accel was built in Silicon Valley 30 years ago, and in Europe they invest $0.5 billion dollars. This is usually invested in early stage to growth businesses, and the sweet spot is often around £10 million for the initial investment. Accel’s ‘Claim to Fame’ is that they were the first to invest in Facebook!

Luciana’s top tip was:

Be straightforward and make it easy for VCs to understand you

proptechdinnerPropertyTech
A vibrant evening with lots of lovely guests was the feedback from our host with regards to our Property Tech dinner with Ed Freyfogle, in partnership with Wellers and our co-host Fixflo. Ed shared the story of Lokku, including lessons he learnt whilst at Yahoo about getting annihilated by Google, analysing Yahoo’s site and realising how cluttered it was. He stressed the importance of making sure you understand the value chain of your piece of the business.

His top tips were:

  • Keep your endurance and stick with it
  • Control the things you can control, don’t spend too much time worrying about the things you can’t
  • The better you do at serving the consumer, the more money you make
  • As you go on your journey, don’t forget to enjoy it

Click here for all the tips provided by Sarah Jossel at the ‘Getting into the Glossys’ dinner.

A big thanks goes to our speakers Mike, Alison, Tansy, Tony, Ed and Luciana, and our partners Fixflo, Wellers, Taylor Wessing and SilkFred.

wellersTWSFfixflo

For a full list of our upcoming dinners, click here.

 

 

fashion-show-nyc_6880_600x450Our Fashion Press dinner last week was full of valuable nuggets of information for securing media coverage for fashion brands, whether you use a PR company or contact them directly. Alison Levy, Global Director of Brand Development at Fashion GPS provided the PR perspective insight, whilst Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of Tada & Toy, highlighted the key elements from a brands point of view.

Alison’s Top Tips

  • Leave a lasting impression
  • Bloggers are always looking for unique content – make sure yours is
  • Lots of brands want to launch when they’re not ready, they expect press when they don’t have the content or the means to sell their product – don’t do this!
  • Stay organised and think outside the box

Tansy’s Top Tips

  • Be different and have unique selling points – Tada & Toy is a luxury brand with accessible prices, produced by an ethical company with a charity conscience. They use clean packaging with a card inside that explains each pieces’ story
  • Sometimes it pays to hire a PR company
  • Gifting works but do your research – Send earrings to the Editor’s Assistant, making sure she wears them (‘stalking’ on Facebook and Instagram is acceptable when trying to establish this!)
  • Be realistic about your product – what publications does it fit with? You only get ONE chance with A LOT of these publications
  • Be 100% satisfied and ready to launch

When discussing which PR firm to choose, Tansy had a great piece of advice on how to find the right one. Look at brands you like, research who their PR agencies are and target them specifically. Of those who are interested, shop around for the best one that understands your brand and vision. This process worked for them as they managed to be featured in Vogue just before Christmas which had a massive impact on their sales.

To hear from more of our knowledgeable and inspiring speakers, be sure to check out our upcoming dinners you can join, right here. Think you have what it takes to be a speaker at a TableCrowd dinner? Get in touch with us, hello@tablecrowd.com.

glamour2Our dinner with Sarah Jossel, Deputy Beauty Editor at Glamour Magazine was overflowing with all the do’s and don’ts on how to get noticed by the editorial team of a magazine that we couldn’t leave a thing out. On the day of the dinner, Sarah had received well over 250 emails, seven of which were from brands she hadn’t even heard of. She replied to exactly ZERO! That’s the challenge each and every one of us faces.

Take note – here are her tips in all their glory:

Big No Nos

  • Any email that starts ‘Dear All’
  • Long emails
  • Asking something not relevant to the magazine
  • Starting an email too informally, e.g. Hi Babe / Hun
  • Being too personal, e.g. asking what they got up to at the weekend
  • Spelling names incorrectly
  • Being irrelevant to the magazine
  • Contacting someone at the wrong time of the year
  • Subject lines that don’t correspond to an email’s content
  • Omitting stockist details and prices
  • Calling to ask obvious questions (get addresses from their website, and yes of course send samples in!)

Big Yeses

  • Write in the house style of the magazine (i.e. how they write to their readers)
  • Make it personal in a sense of what a journalist likes
  • Personalised gifts are a real trend (send these in for sure!)
  • Think about exposure on other channels – it’s easier to get coverage this way (think Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook etc)
  • Ask a question they can answer, something simple – this increases the chance of a response
  • If you haven’t heard back from them, don’t reply on the same thread (this highlights to them that they haven’t replied already!)
  • If you haven’t had a reply, chances are your product is not relevant (they’re always looking for new, exciting things, and great stories to cover – they wouldn’t want to miss anything, so chances are they have read your email)
  • Initiate communication with the editorial assistant rather than the editors – they all work together as a close team so this is a great route in

Hopefully all of the above will highlight how to get through the minefield of securing media coverage for your business. Good luck!

Have you seen the dinners we having coming up? No! Well, take a look here.

150526 nwdAfter a busy final few weeks of May, we kick off June with two dinners next week, one for Education Startups, and another with DFJ Esprit. Before we delve into each dinner in more detail, be sure to take a look at our Interests page to keep up to date on any areas of the TableCrowd community that interest you. Better still, click the follow button to be kept in the loop on what’s going on with emails from us.

Education Startups dinner: How to build and engage a community
This TableCrowd dinner, in partnership with Mendeley, will cover the ins and outs of building an engaged community within the education sector. Paul Tavner, from Mendeley’s community team will be providing the after-dinner talk and informal Q&A session. Since launching in 2009, Mendeley has grown to more than 3 million users in 180 countries and includes Harvard, Stanford and MIT as institutional customers.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 1 June at The Clerk and Well, Clerkenwell

Dine with DFJ Esprit: Investing through the eyes of a Venture Capitalist
Join Jonathan Sibilia, Partner at DFJ Esprit, for an insight into what investing in a company is like from an investor’s point of view. DFJ Esprit was founded in 2006 with a mission to back Europe’s most ambitious entrepreneurs; their portfolio includes Graze, LoveFilm and WiFi powered by The Cloud.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 2 June at Pescatori Italian & Seafood restaurant, Fitzrovia

Click here to see a full list of our upcoming TableCrowd dinners.

For those of you who are new to TableCrowd – have a look at our video to see what it’s like when you join us for dinner:

internGood news everyone – we’re looking for a Marketing and Events intern to join the TableCrowd team for three months. And – even better news – there is a role at the end for the right person.

First and foremost, the most important skill to have is that you are a beautiful writer with perfect spelling and grammar. We’re also looking for someone who is well-organised and sociable. A bonus for us would be if you are familiar with the London tech scene and understand a little about the London startup ecosystem.

Marketing
On the marketing side, you will be exposed to all the latest marketing tools, and the role will include:

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Analytics

Event Management
As part of our team you will help organise the regular events we hold, which will include:

  • Liaising with venues
  • Communicating with guests
  • Event logistics

This is a great opportunity to get a wide range of experience as part of a small team and to take on as much responsibility as you are comfortable doing.

A little bit about TableCrowd
We’re all about creating quality connections through relaxed and informal networking. By organising intimate and sector specific networking dinners that are tailored to relevant business themes, our diners connect and engage with high-calibre, like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs in a deep and meaningful manner. This results in them creating alliances, partnerships and discovering new business opportunities, and what better way to do this than over food?

The office location is on Brick Lane, E1.

What’s next?
If you’re interested in joining us, please send a CV and covering letter including, why you want to work for TableCrowd as well as what makes you the right person to join our team, to kate@tablecrowd.com. Please include links to your Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin profiles and a sample of previous written work.

Good luck!

150527 NWDWe’ve had an immensely busy week of dinners so far this week, covering everything from wedding and property tech, to street food, media coverage, investment and of course, playing the stock market. Next week, we see May’s dinners culminating with a fitness industry dinner on Tuesday and a sharing economy one on Wednesday.

After dinner talk from the Co-Founder of Tribesports
As part of our fitness dinner series, we have the pleasure in welcoming Andrew McDonough, CTO of Tribesports to this month’s dinner. He will share Tribesports story in an after dinner talk and informal Q&A.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 26 May at The Green, Clerkenwell

Sharing economy dinner with JustPark
After securing the largest ever equity crowdfunding round in UK history, it’s safe to say the CEO of JustPark knows a thing or two about the sharing economy, building a community and securing investment. Find out more from Alex, a global expert on the world-wide trend of sharing when you join him for dinner on Wednesday.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 27 May at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly, Soho

Click here to see a full list of our upcoming TableCrowd dinners.

For those of you who are new to TableCrowd – have a look at our video to see what it’s like when you join us for dinner:

My oh my, did we have a treat for our diners this week. Those of you who had the pleasure of joining us at NatWest‘s private dining room at Drummond, Charing Cross, had a truly exceptional evening filled with food, history, networking and business know-how. Before we venture any further into this dinner roundup, we must inform you our speaker invoked Chatham House Rule.

Which means:

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

So, whilst we can fill you in on what happened – we can’t reveal who provided the information or quotes that lie herein. But we hope you enjoy the roundup anyway!

swiftkeyThe evening began with a lovely mini tour of Drummond led by the Head Waiter, Guy, before everyone sat down for dinner, regaling the history of the bank, including a lot of anecdotes about famous clients and various artworks on the walls. With a stunning trio of starters, mains and desserts, diners were presented with a cheese course during which Eric started his speech.

With a background that includes being born in Alabama, North Carolina, attending Harvard Law School, working for AOL, Mobile Posse and now SwiftKey, Eric has a wealth of experience in securing distribution and monetising businesses. After his speech, the group discussion moved on to topics such as, how do you get engagement, and how do you get distribution? The succinct response was:

Viral. Good luck. Have fun – I praise you if you can do it!

When the group talked about mistakes, and what were the biggest people had made, the insightful answer was to identify what your assets are and work to your strengths. Too many people spend too much time trying to do things that they’re either not equipped to do, or simply not good at!

It was established that the success of a product, in the eyes of one diner, had nothing to do with “making a small tweak”. What it ultimately boiled down to was: Distribution.

And remember:

Time is not your friend.

Diners that joined Eric included: Purple Stone Rooms, LawBite, Airdates.co, Script Boutique, CaterClub, Eleks, My Vocal Therapy amongst others.

A massive thanks goes to our partner NatWest for providing their phenomenal private dining venue and Eric Collins for a fantastic talk and Q&A session.

Click here for a full list of our latest TableCrowd dinners.

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. – See more at: http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule#sthash.xqUkH7B1.dpuf
When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. – See more at: http://www.chathamhouse.org/about/chatham-house-rule#sthash.xqUkH7B1.dpuf

It’s almost the middle of May already – before you know it, summer will have whizzed right past us. To ensure you make the most of your time, next week is crammed full of dinners for you to meet and network with a whole host of people. So, without any further ado, here’s what’s happening:

NWD180515Hear how the pop-up scene has changed the way London eats
Join Jessica Tucker, founder of Urban Food Fest, for dinner and drinks and discuss the revolutionary way in which street food has transformed the London food scene. This dinner is for food entrepreneurs and enthusiasts looking to gain a valuable insight into the world of street food.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 18 May

Discuss the future of #WedTech and it’s effect on the £10 billion UK wedding industry
Join your industry peers and the discussion on WedTech, how it’s booming in the US and ready to explode into the UK market. See how your business can capitalise on this trend and the growing number of brides and groom spending up to 10 hours a week on wedding sites and blogs.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 18 May at Aubaine, Regent Street

Dine with Tony Wollenberg, founder of City Index: Playing the stock market
With decades of experience and market anecdotes, Tony Wollenberg is the person to garner information from relating to the stock market. Meet Tony informally over dinner and listen to this serial entrepreneur and stock market guru’s after-dinner talk.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May

Dine with an early stage investor from Accel
Find out what Luciana Lixandru, an early stage investor at Accel, looks for in the companies she invests in. She focuses on early and growth stage investments.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly, Soho

NWD180515-2

Find out how to charm the Fashion Press with Fashion GPS and Tada & Toy
Obtain an insight into both sides of the story, from agency and brand, when securing coverage for a fashion business. The Global Director of Brand Development at Fashion GPS, Alison Levy will be providing an after-dinner talk, as well as Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of Tada & Toy.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

Dine with Ed Freyfogle, founder of Nestoria at our PropertyTech dinner
We’ve teamed up with Fixflo to bring you our third PropertyTech dinner for fellow entrepreneurs and professionals in the property industry to meet and network over food. Ed Freyfogle, co-founder of Lokku (who’s key consumer brand is Nestoria) will be talking after dinner, which includes an informal Q&A session.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 20 May at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

“Getting into the Glossys” dinner with Sarah Jossel, Glamour Magazine
Talk informally over dinner with Sarah Jossel, Glamour Magazine’s Deputy Beauty Editor, and Backstage Reporter for New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Find out how to get into the pages of coveted glossy magazines at this dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 20 May at Pescatori Italian & Seafood Restaurant, Fitzrovia

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our video to see what it’s like joining us for dinner:

For a full list of our upcoming dinners, click here.

Welcome to part 2 of our After Dinner Roundup for the mammoth week of dinners we had last week (find part 1 here). Last Wednesday saw three dinners taking place at three venues across London, with the founders of Bloom & Wild and Lexoo speaking to their fellow diners, and the EventTechOCD dinner series launching at The Green in Clerkenwell. Here’s what happened:  lexooLexoo
The dinner at The Noodle House in Soho, involved Daniel van Binsbergen regaling his fellow diners with the story of his business from launching his idea to investment and building an online marketplace. Starting in February 2014, Daniel managed to get funding for Lexoo early on, appreciating how lucky he was securing early investment with just two clients and a front-end website. Insights that Daniel provided included, in February they did £40K in legal work and 40% of their business comes from Google Ad words. However he did state that this was incredibly expensive and ultimately, depressing how much money they have to hand over!

When times are hard, Daniel tells himself, “It’s not supposed to be easy otherwise there would be nothing to build here.”

bloomBloom & Wild
Aron Gelbard, founder of Bloom & Wild joined diners for a lovely, intimate dinner at Aubaine, Heddon Street last Wednesday, providing a really interesting talk covering the story of launching his successful flower delivery service. With people commenting and asking questions right from the start of his talk, it quickly turned into a more comprehensive Q&A session covering the following:

  • Look into getting SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) grants
  • Set up EMI (Enterprise Management Incentives) when you start hiring
  • Read The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
  • Don’t underestimate the technical side of things.
  • When raising money, be clear about your objectives
  • Use third parties whenever you can

And finally, Aron’s top tip:

Don’t try to raise money in August or December – investors are on holiday!

eventtechocdEventTechOCD
James Morgan, founder of Event Tech Lab, hosted the first in a series of dinners relating to the EventTech industry, with last week’s dinner covering the topic, “The future of hardware”. Our very own Chief Diner and co-founder of TableCrowd, Kate Jackson, attended the dinner. She summed up the evening with the following:

After a delicious dinner, there was a round the table discussion hosted by James on the future of hardware and what we want the developers of the future to consider for the events industry. The key outcome went right back to the basics. Right now, the availability and quality of WiFi at events is a serious limitation and this needs to be improved to support all of the new great ideas and developments in the industry. Venue owners massively underestimate requirements and sometimes the importance to the attendees.

Diners for these dinners included: TreatNow, WishWant, Eureeca, Klusstr, Laura Ashley, Senselab, Street Stream, Kerbi, Monster Energy, Homejoy, DueDil, AllAboutGroup, LegalGeek.co, American Express, ThinkWall, IMEX, Reed Travel Exhibitions, Euromoney Seminars, Airfinance Events, Amazon, BrightBull amongst others.

Huge thanks goes out to our speakers Daniel and Aron, and host, James.

For a full list of upcoming dinners, click here.