Archives for the month of: December, 2015

vcEveryone wants to know what investors are looking for from a company before they hand over their cash to help the business grow. Yannick Roux, a VC at EC1 Capital, shared his thoughts at dinner last week on what he looks for when deciding on whether to invest or not. He split it into two categories: people and markets.

People

  • Knowledge. What knowledge does the proprietor have? Would I actually be able to help and add vale? Would I want to work for them?
  • Inspiration. I want to be excited about the business, and the ability the founder has to inspire people to join them on the journey of building the business and getting people to join.
  • Leadership. Are they able to lead the team once it’s in place? And can they lead them to the ultimate goal?
  • Investment. Is the founder able to raise money? Can they convince investors to raise money?
  • Passion. There has to be a sign of obsession and passion. Passion is critical. It gives the confidence that will get you through the bad times, without it you’ll give up.
  • Trust. Ultimately, they need to be trustworthy, and that it’ll be a pleasure to work with them.

Markets

  • Market size. It’s hard to get right. We’re looking for companies who can make £50m revenue. The company’s projections need to be achievable for their market share.
  • Timing. Is the market addressable right now or in the future? Timing is critical as you may have the right team but it can be too early or too late. If you’re too early the business will run out of money, too late and the market may already be too saturated. Getting the timing right is one of the biggest challenges. This is the largest reason for failure.
  • Competition. Does the company have a good shot at becoming a market leader? Is there a clear path to making money? Long-term viability is important, as well as cost base. Focus on the next 12 months.

For more tips that our speakers have shared with our diners, take a look here.

 

newbusinessAmanda Francis, MD of Alchemis, a new business agency for the marketing, communications and creative industries, spoke at dinner about getting new clients and increasing revenues. Here’s her top tips for a new business:

  1. Have a business plan. 12 months, 3 months, 5 years… How can you grow your business without a plan?
  2. Critical pathway – start where you want to be and work backwards. Identify points by looking backwards. Imagine you’re in the future, looking behind you, and look at the obstacles that are in your way.
  3. What does a really good client look like? What is their profile? It’s crucial to profile your clients.  It’s about identifying the types of clients you don’t want to work with and avoiding them.
  4. Identify how your business is being built today. Is it through social media, events, networking, content, word-of-mouth, advertising? Work out the proportion for each channel and where the gaps are.
  5. Although social media is important, there is nothing better than human contact; that includes phone calls.
  6. The first meeting is not about a PowerPoint presentation. Your job is to get a second meeting. And you only do that by identifying what keeps them awake at night, and present some solutions.
  7. Letters! Hand-written envelopes! We live in an over-digitalised society, and people like to feel something in their hands.

Bonus tip! 
There’s a massive turnaround for presenting things on boards, rather than PowerPoint (and the like). Physicality encourages engagement.

Check out other speakers’ top tips here.

Our last week of dinners for 2015 saw a great line-up covering everything from fundraising and entertainment to marketing and increasing revenues. Peter Briffett, COO of Yplan, and Amanda Francis, MD of Alchemis, rounded up the week on Wednesday talking at their respective dinners, whilst Yannick Roux, VC at EC1 Capital, started the week off at Drake & Morgan at King’s Cross – the latest restaurant to join the TableCrowd community. Read on to find out what went down this week at dinner:ec1 Dine with early stage investor at EC1 Capital
First up we had Yannick Roux speaking extensively at dinner on Monday night about what he looks for in the companies he invests in. He split his talk between the two topics of people and markets, and what they want from a business in order to give investment the green light. Check out What a VC looks for when they invest, for Yannick’s thoughts on this.

The informal Q&A saw the diners ask a variety of questions from asking Yannick to provide examples of companies they invested in, when it was too early, whether EC1 Capital has a minimum buy in (not strictly, but you’re looking at 10% as a bare minimum) and what was his most memorable investment.

When it comes to getting a meeting with EC1 Capital, you’re looking at joining another 2000 companies vying for their attention. Of those, they’ll expect to see 1 in every 10. So, what can increase your odds of getting a chance to pitch your business to them?

Companies come from people we’ve previously worked with, other investors, and those in our network.

There’s also the possibility of filling out an application on their website, as you don’t always need to be personally connected as they appreciate not everyone has a great network.

Ultimately, the companies they invest in come from a combination of sources. It’s good to know that EC1 Capital don’t invest on their own; they always look to get equal equity from other investors. To do this, they use their network (as well as the company’s founder’s network too). They are particularly keen on working with funds they have worked with in the past.

alchemis2Digital marketing dinner: get new clients, increase revenues
Amanda Francis, MD of Alchemis, the first new business agency for the marketing, communications and creative industries, spoke at our latest digital marketing dinner specifically on getting new clients and increasing revenues.

Selling is about helping people buy. It’s about finding the best way to encourage people to get what they want.

Amanda had a great arsenal of knowledge which she shares in the blog post, 7 top tips for a new business.

yplanDine with Peter Briffett, COO of YPlan
What a fantastic dinner to end our dinners this year – Peter did not fail to provide a plethora of anecdotes and tips across the lifestyle and entertainment sector to his fellow diners at dinner on Wednesday night. As well as being the COO of YPlan, one of London’s hottest startups is a mobile ticketing platform (and award-winning to boot!), Peter also shared his previous experience including selling his business to Microsoft, and turning LivingSocial UK from zero revenue to a $100M consumer technology business.

Our speakers were joined by: Lineten, Dhaba Lane, mapp2link, Limeclip, Esplorio, Propcision, Attolio Lingerie, Huge, Bubblo, OneLane app, Branzr, Scrummy, Class Crowd, Fantastic Services, Movebubble, rendeevoo, So Me, RightClinic, Kaleidoscope Investments, Kiwi Girl Limited, Buto, Host Digital, Uber Digital, Piggy Bank and Apppli amongst others.

wellersccSpecial thanks to our speakers, Yannick, Peter and Amanda, as well as our partners Constant Contact and Wellers.