Archives for the month of: November, 2015

recruitingFollowing this week’s TableCrowd dinner with Mark Hardy, CMO of Viber, and Jules McKeen of The Talent Business, this post explains how to hire the right people for your start-up to make your business become a ‘talent magnet’.

Here are Mark and Jules’ top tips:

  1. Make sure the person fits. Don’t compromise just because they fit the culture; they must fit both the culture, and the job spec.
  2. Get people excited about your vision. Get them involved in filling the gaps.
  3. Hire ‘T’ shaped people. These people have a deep specialism but also have broad experience elsewhere. If you are not experienced in this area, make sure they give you an example plan or presentations.
  4. Do they have to be from your sector? Or would it worthwhile looking further afield? Think transferable skills.
  5. Adaptable to the start-up scene. If they’re from a corporate background, ensure they are able to make the step to a start-up.
  6. Build a flexi-culture. Take the time to understand what their personal circumstances are and how it accommodate them.
  7. Full-Time v Part-Time. Decide on whether you need a full-time or part-time employee. You may find you can get better talent but for a shorter period of time.
  8. Be friendly. Make people feel welcome at the interview!
  9. Do your research. Follow up any niggling doubts you have about someone before you hire them. Check their references and always do a trial, or temporary to permanent contract if you are not 100% sure.
  10. Don’t over-title new jobs. Make sure there is enough room to grow in a role.

Check out the full #AfterDinnerRoundup here.

See you at another TableCrowd dinner soon!

jefferies Our TableCrowd diners were treated to two splendiferous dinners this week at Aubaine and Tom’s Kitchen, in St Katherine’s Dock. Mark Hardy, CMO of Viber, was our speaker on Tuesday night, along with Jules McKeen, Head of Marketing Practice at The Talent Business,  who shared with us their tips for start-ups looking to attract the best talent they can afford. Guillaume Taurignan from investment bank, Jefferies, joined us on Wednesday night for a discussion about the current financial landscape in The City. Read on to find out what happened this week…

TalentMagnet2Making your company a ‘talent magnet’ before everyone knows who you are
Mark and Jules joined diners at Aubaine to discuss how you get the best people to gravitate towards your business when you’re not a household name?

Hiring is always a challenge for a new business.

In order to get investment from VCs, you need a hiring plan. It’s only natural that as a fledgling business you won’t immediately be able to compete with multi-nationals such as Apple, Google or Airbnb who have a reputation for nurturing employees and looking after their future. The best way to start with this approach is to punch above your weight on social media, and use your people to get your stories out. Use your network, and try to connect with as many people as possible. People will always meet you for coffee!

For more in depth tips on how to hire the right people for your business, check out 10 ways to hire the right people.

jefferies2Financing options in the City
Over at Tom’s Kitchen in St Katharine Docks, for dinner we had slow-braised ox cheek and triple-cooked chips with Guillaume Taurignan, who, through his work at Jefferies, knows exactly what’s going on in the investment world at the moment. Guillaume gave us a general idea about the financial landscape from the point of view of the financier, who see hundreds of start-ups every day. Several companies which are attracting a lot of interest from large investment banks such as Jefferies include HelloFresh, who made €70m in revenue last year. Zoopla is also a business that has recently been on Guillaume’s mind, as he usually works with technology companies with ideas that are perhaps difficult to execute.

Simple concepts, says Guillaume, may do well from crowd-funding, but something with a more in-depth tech angle benefit from investment from people such as Guillaume.

You need to believe in your start-ups. You need to believe that you will make a difference.

Our speakers were joined by: Inspire Digital, Pivigo, DataAl, Iratel Ventures, Buto, Friends Recommended It, Crowdmix, Theodo, Dhaba Lane, Harden’s, City Car Club, Attollo, and OneLane amongst others.

Special thanks to our speakers, Mark, Jules and Guillaume.

winterIt’s pretty shocking that we find ourselves finalising the last week of dinners for TableCrowd in 2015. Where has this year gone?! As December gets pretty hectic with Christmas parties galore, we’re winding down a little and getting ready to bring an eclectic array of dinners just for you, starting in January next year. Until then, we strongly recommend booking on these last three beauties to finish your 2015 TableCrowd dining on a high:

Dine with early stage investor at EC1 Capital
Join us and your fellow entrepreneurs for dinner and drinks followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Yannick Roux, early stage investor at EC1 Capital, on what he looks for when he invests.

As a London-based early stage venture fund, EC1 Capital have a particular focus on disruptive software businesses in the internet and mobile sector. Trained in investment banking, Yannick’s own experience in investment includes the internet and technology industries. Since joining EC1, he’s led investments into Twizoo and Big Data For Humans, while sitting on the boards of City Socializer, Hands HQ and Evvnt.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 30 November at Drake & Morgan, Kings Cross

Dinner for digital agencies: get new clients, increase revenues
Join us for dinner, drinks & a chance to break bread with others working in marketing & digital, followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Amanda Francis, MD of Alchemis. For 20 years, Amanda has been helping her clients (mainly small-medium sized creative, digital and communications agencies) to identify and acquire new clients. This involves everything from developing a robust strategy and determining the best prospects to coaching on how to maximise opportunities.

Grab this opportunity to join Amanda and your fellow marketing and digital peers to network over a delicious dinner and a glass of wine or two!
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 2 December at Aubaine, Heddon St

Dine with Peter Briffett, COO of YPlan
We could not be more excited to invite you to join us for dinner with the extremely inspirational and experienced Peter Briffett, where he will be sharing YPlan’s story, with anecdotes and tips on how to succeed in the lifestyle/entertainment sector.

YPlan, one of London’s hottest startups is a mobile ticketing platform that’s aim is to be the global answer to everyone’s social life. They have secured $37.7m in funding to date, raising more at Series B than Skype, Twitter or LinkedIn did separately at the same stage in their growth, and they have the likes of Ashton Kutcher (investor) and Pharrell Williams (advisor) in their midst.

We’d definitely put these guys in the ‘ones to watch’ pile. So, grab the opportunity to dine with Peter and hear first-hand what they’re doing to super-charge the growth of the business.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 2 December at Aubaine, Dover St

Have a fantastic December and we will see you for dinner in 2016!

womenGeorgie Cole, founder of Sheerluxe, imparted her sound advice at our recent women’s only dinner on being a successful leader. Here are her top 15 things to bear in mind:

  1. Encourage people to learn from each other
  2. Create a nice environment to work in
  3. Nurture your team and take time out of the office
  4. Learn to delegate or you will never get the time needed for the bigger picture
  5. Dress well – it makes a difference to how you are perceived
  6. Be level with your passion – use it to take people with you
  7. Control your emotions – bring people on your journey
  8. Be patient – your staff are not you. They can’t do things as well as you, as only you understand your vision completely
  9. Managing people is the hardest thing, so hire good people that you trust
  10. Stand back to be respected. Know when to get involved, be firm but fair. You’re not their friend.
  11. Have high standards, but let people fail. Let them make mistakes, then be there to support them.
  12. Read extensively. Be an expert in your subject. There is so much info available there is no excuse to not learn and increase your skills
  13. Invest in yourself. Know your brand; create your own USP and invest in it. Be true to your USP
  14. Embrace technology. My children should learn the language of coding
  15. Speak up. Raise your profile; have an opinion. Be more male, more American – be bolder.

Want to join the next Women’s dinner? Follow our interests page to keep up to date on ladies only dinners.

This week’s dinner topics looked at marketing and how to build a successful digital agency, as well as  being a successful leader with the founder of Sheerluxe at our ladies only dinner. We were pleased to welcome The Happenstance as one of our new venues, part of the Drake and Morgan restaurant group. Read on to find out what happened at dinner this week.

verb Building a successful digital agency
What is the secret to building a successful digital agency? We had the pleasure of dining with Chris Donnelly, from Verb, a digital agency based in Shoreditch who have grown from strength to strength. An intimate group, conversation flowed late into the night as we talked about what it takes to achieve success in the digital agency world.

Chris is a young entrepreneur, who actually started his business, Verb (though under a different name) when he and his business partner were still at university. Much of the groundwork in the early stages was done from home, rather than at an office, and therefore Chris’s Mum called this strategy the “boxers to business” approach! After a rebranding, the business became known as Verb, and they began to position themselves towards the luxury market.

But how do Verb get most of their enquiries now?

We are natural networkers.

Chris stressed the importance of networking and meeting as many people as physically possible to gain business. Verb run events as frequently as possible, to bring in new clients and create new business.

Meet 50 people a month, and do 2 favours a day.

verb2To this day, Verb do not invest in marketing for their company. They receive lots of leads every day from a variety of different areas.

Chris’s top tips for building a successful agency:

  • Pick a niche. Pick a sector that you love, and work it!
  • Become very good at rebuffing your clients’ apprehensions. Find a way of convincing them that you will give the best product.

For advice on pitching, Chris also recommends David Kean’s book ‘Pitch to Win’.

sheerluxeDine with Georgie Cole, founder of Sheerluxe, on being a successful leader
Big thanks go to our co-hosts Randy, Head of Digital Marketing at i2i Events Group, and Tamar, CEO of Gleanin, for arranging this fantastic installment in our Women Only dinner series. Georgie Cole, founder of Sheerluxe, the online lifestyle magazine shared her knowledge on what it takes to be a successful leader. A fantastic first dinner at The Happenstance, a Drake and Morgan restaurant, read her top tips here.

Our speakers were joined by: HostDgtl, Constant Contact, InspireDigital, UKStudyCentre, BPL Digital, Bungaloow, MyBeautyMatches, Holding Your Hand, Faber Novella, Flair Atelier, i2i Events Group, GleanIn, Phrasee, Make Happy, Sister Snog, UBM and Claudia Fallah Cosmetics amongst others.

More exciting events, check out the list of upcoming dinners here.



Making your company a ‘Talent Magnet’ before everyone knows who you are
Like any business, startups need to attract the best talent they can afford, in each and every discipline in order to make waves in their marketplace. This is particularly important when scaling up. Brands like Apple, Google, AirBNB and Burberry are of course talent magnets, and that’s all very good if you’re a multinational who’s invested in building a reputation around nurturing employees and looking after their future. But how do you go about becoming a talent magnet when you’re a startup that’s not a household name?

Come for dinner with Mark Hardy, CMO of Viber who achieved just this in the early stages of Viber, and global C suite marketing headhunter Jules McKeen of The Talent Business who lives and breathes this challenge.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 23 November at Aubaine, Heddon St

Financing options in The City, dine with Guillaume Taurignan, director at Jeffereies
Enjoy dinner and drinks followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Guillaume Taurignan, Director at Jefferies, who’s going to give an overview of financing options in The City, from private equity transactions through to IPOs.

Guillaume Taurignan covers Internet for Jefferies in EMEA and has been a Technology & Internet banker for 12 years, advising high-growth clients on M&A, IPOs and other financing transactions. He has a wealth of information to share, particularly in relation to tech companies.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 23 November at Tom’s Kitchen, St Katharine Docks

Don’t forget we also have the next Breakfast for Founders happening on Tuesday 24 November at Aubaine, Broadgate Circle.

Fancy checking out what else is happening at TableCrowd? Take a look here.


We were over at Obicà this week to have dinner and drinks with Andrei Brasoveanu, from Accel Partners. With over 30 years of experience in the field of start-ups, Accel Partners has a long history of partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and Andrei himself has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies focusing on software, data and fintech businesses.

Obica 1Our guests were treated to a discussion about what investors seek in new companies who are approaching accelerators such as Accel Partners. Andrei spoke about his role at the company and their work with early stage investments. One of the key questions we all want to know is:

When is the right time to approach a VC such as Accel?

Andrei says:

We like to meet people early and then follow them to see their evolution. We want to see if you’ve achieved the goals we talked about at an initial meeting.

Andrei encourages companies to get in touch in the early stages of your business as Accel Partners are comfortable backing two-people teams with an idea and a solid business plan. So what is the major reason why an early stage investor would say no?

Market size – we hope to return a small fund from an investment. It may be a solid business plan, but if the market is too small, we can’t take it on.

Andrei also highlighted the importance of momentum from fundraisers when trying to launch a business. This kind of momentum is key to getting other potential investors involved, and hopefully, ignite a spirit of competition among them.

TOP TIP: It’s important to get investors excited at the same time. There should ideally be some competition between investors.

Andrei finished his informative talk by stressing how although as an early-stage investor, Accel wants to be there for their companies, ultimately, the best entrepreneurs are the most self-sufficient.

Obica 2Our speaker was joined by: Pearlshare, Grow Movement, Synasource, OpenBet, 93Digital, ClearMacro, Sentenial, Huge, PressUp, OneLane, GameBench, Texuna Technologies, NBC Universal, Playabl, and Hudson Mackenzie amongst others.

Looking to hear more from investors and relevant speakers? Check out our upcoming dinners here.


This week’s dinners are all about being successful. Whether it’s as an individual or as a business entity, success is the driving force behind the ambitious. So head to Aubaine on Tuesday night, to get the inside scoop on building a successful digital agency, then skip over to The Happenstance on Wednesday (if you’re female that is – sorry guys!) and hear the founder of Sheerluxe talk about the path to being a successful leader.

Building a successful digital agency
Join us for dinner, drinks and a chance to break bread with others working in marketing & digital, followed by an after-dinner talk and informal Q&A with Chris Donnelly, founder of Verb, a digital agency based in Shoreditch that specialises in building websites and mobile applications for luxury brands. Chris will be talking about building Verb from the ground up into a thriving agency with a growing team, providing tips and advice that will be invaluable when developing your own business.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 17 November at Aubaine, Heddon St

Dine with Georgie Cole, founder of Sheerluxe, on being a successful leader
Hosted by Tamar Beck and Randy Nyssen, this ladies only dinner is for women to share ideas and learnings around personal and professional development. Georgie will talk after dinner about the transition to become a leader, ensuring a friendly environment for your team whilst inspiring leadership and authority, as well as raising your profile in your work environment.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 18 November at The Happenstance, Ludgate Hill

std-novFor a full list of upcoming TableCrowd dinners, head here pronto!


Following this week’s dinner with Cate Trotter from Insider Trends, this post delves into the *future* to see what the world of retail will be like in 5 years time. Grab your hover boards!

Cate’s key trends for the future of retail

  1. All superfluity will be removed from the consumer journey; e.g. going to a shop and finding that the item that you wanted isn’t in stock.
  2. Minimising returns. Companies like M and Co are already working with a data analytics company who are predicting which items are most frequently returned and pulling these items from their stock. This preventative procedure has saved them £400,000.
  3. No more queuing! Qudini are a company who let customers ‘virtual queue’ on their smartphone. This is a lot less frustrating for the customer who is more likely to think well of the brand.
  4. Offline stores will soon have the same functionality as online sites. Stores can now start to use analytics to track where people are in the store geographically to get people moving through the store. It can analyse which displays attract the most attention.
  5. Targeted marketing for high value customers. Ometria can very quickly analyse if someone is a high value customer.
  6. Personalisation. Cutting out irrelevant marketing.
  7. Invisible retail. Removing the need for tills, as customers will be able to trust the brand and scan the items they’d like.
  8. 3D printing to create personalised luxury items.
  9. Stores as ‘spaces’ – a three-dimensional space to sell products.

For more information about retail trends, see what happened at Cate’s TableCrowd dinner.

Retail InstagramThis week, we were over at Jamie’s Italian with our speaker Cate Trotter,and guests, to discuss the future of retail. Cate started Insider Trends, who help global brands create world-leading and profitable retail ecosystems. Her client list includes Marks and Spencer, Chanel, Unilever, Absolut Vodka and more, so it was fantastic that we were lucky enough to hear her speak this week at a TableCrowd dinner about what lies ahead in world of retail.

What will the world of retail look like in 5 years time?

Cate shared some of her predictions with us over dinner, and explained a bit about how the use of technology will affect the retail industry as a whole.

Some may say the role of the store is becoming obsolete, but Cate thinks differently about the future of shops.

Stores will still be relevant, but their function will be different.

The journey of the consumer which will be affected by technology from start to finish. Cate described the journey of a consumer in the year 2020, a journey which will largely be controlled by your smartphone. Each consumer will have a data profile, created from data harvested from our previous spending, and this profile will affect how we shop. She explained how these profiles will affect our every day retail journey:

  • We will be able to share all of our information with brands. Our location, our heartbeat, our favourite colour – all this intimate detail will be available on our profile, if we choose.
  • Within our data profile, we will be able to set up new shopping journeys.
  • Details of items will be beamed directly to your phone. If you are searching for an item on Google, you will receive directions for how to get to the store.
  • There will be micro-navigation in the store itself, to take you to the correct floor or section of the shop.
  • Items will be delivered to you, so you won’t have to physically pick it up.
  • Store assistants will be alerted when you arrive – and they will know your name!

These predictions are all incredibly exciting, and are mainly focused on making the retail journey as seamless as possible. There may even be an option, for example, to hold your phone up to the mannequin in store to find out all the details about the item.

For more discussion on the future of retail, check out Cate’s further predictions.
Our speaker, Cate, was joined by WickedUncle, Insider Trends, Travelex, CC Group, Porter Novelli, Deloitte, and KNOMI amongst others.

Hungry for more? Check out our list of upcoming dinners here.