Last week, we got the chance to pick the brains of two seed investors: Matthew Bradley of Forward Partners and Reshma Sohoni of Seedcamp. Also in the mix was our dinner with Robin Gadsby, one of the world’s leading brand strategy and integration experts whose clients include Google, Gettaxi and Rocket Fuel. To learn about what they expect from the companies that they work with, read on below…
Dinner for solo founders with early stage VCs
We kicked off the week on Monday with a dinner for solo founders with early stage VC investor, Matthew Bradley from Forward Partners, at Obicà in Soho. Specialising in ecommerce businesses, Matthew explained how Forward Partners is a value-added VC, with an extensive list of partners including Hailo and Zopa to boot.
Matthew enjoys speaking and networking with entrepreneurs so we had a lively discussion about investment. He alluded to the sensitive nature of the VC’s role in choosing which ideas to back and stressed the need for honesty and objectivity in what you’re doing. Some of his tips for entrepreneurs included:
- Be honest to yourself and try to remove emotional attachment when analysing your business
- Do your customer research to get an NPS score before building to investment
Dine with Seedcamp: what we look for in the companies we work with
We were at Obicà again on Tuesday night for dinner; this time with Reshma Sohoni, Partner and Co-Founder of Seedcamp. Seedcamp is not only an investment fund but also a mentoring program, and Reshma divulged how key the relationship between VC and start-up is.
With over 500 global investors, Seedcamp like to get in and be the first fund to invest. Reshma has raised money for companies such as Skype, all over the world, although she says that at the moment, we’re in the right city for start-ups.
London is just incredible right now!
She shared the qualities she looks for in new companies:
I look for grit. I look for hustle. I want smart founders who are going after a big market.
It’s important to Reshma how you approach the application process for funding; it’s imperative to be innovative and use everything you have at your disposal. Your background and your skills make your business what it is, so show that off. Storytelling matters for your pitch, as it will have the impact to get your idea across. Reshma advises that you should be able to tell the story of your business in either 1 minute, 5 minutes, 25 minutes or an hour and half!
I’m big into storytelling. If you think storytelling is just a bunch of PR, a) you’re wrong, and b) we won’t get along!
She advised that it’s better to know your own flaws as if you have any doubts, your investor will be able to see through them. So, be honest!
Overall, Reshma is looking for companies who have considered the ‘user experience’ of their product. She cited brands such as Uber or Airbnb who have got this down, and who are famed for this. What does the user feel at the end of the experience? What is the emotional impact of your product? If you can nail these elements, then you will make your investor happy.
Dine with Robin Gadsby (Google, Gettaxi, o2) one of the world’s leading brand strategy & integration expert
Over at Jamie’s Italian on Wednesday night we caught up with Robin Bradsby and guests over dinner and explored the ins and outs of brand strategy. Robin has a wealth of experience in brand strategy; he was previously part of the team that launched O2 to market which included one of the best brand launches over the past decade, the switch from the Millenium Dome to the O2 arena. He shared some of his top tips for companies building their brand – find them here.
Our speakers were joined by: SilkFred, Better Schools Project, Yours Truly Organics, Bob’s Ski and Snowboard Discovery, Glimt, Liberté Fitness, Trunkaroo, Coppr, Yniche, Snyffle, Agio Technologies, LegalGeek, Hewlett-Packard, WellVine, USPAAH, SpottinStyle, MyBeautyMatches, Modafirma, LimeClip, JobLab, Fashion Bloc, SupplementMe, Babihub, Insider Trends, Street Stream, Clickon, Natural Born Brands, Ripe and Ready, Weengs, Skignz, and Lady Dina’s Cat Emporium amongst others.
Many thanks to our speakers, Matthew, Reshma and Robin along with our returning partner, Wellers.
Fancy coming along to a dinner soon? We’ve got lots of exciting evenings coming up, to find out more here.