Archives for the month of: May, 2016

standoutWhether you’re in a male-dominated industry or not, it always helps to, “Stand up, and stand out” from the crowd. Join us for dinner with Mary-Louise Angoujard to improve your presence, body language, assertiveness & confidence

Grab a seat at our fifth informal ladies-only get together, for women to share ideas and learnings around personal and professional development, whilst also hearing from some fabulous women after dinner. This month sees Mary-Louise Angoujard speak on presence, body language, vocal impact, assertiveness and quiet confidence.

Mary-Louise is the founder and Managing Director of Rapporta, a consultancy specialising in leadership coaching and training. With a background in communication, consultative selling, and people development, Mary-Louise specialises in leadership / women’s leadership development, body language, personal impact and presentation skills.

Join Mary-Louise for dinner where she will be sharing tips on presence, body language, vocal impact, assertiveness & quiet confidence. All important qualities for leadership.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Thursday 9 June at Aubaine, Regent Street

For a full list of what’s coming up at TableCrowd, click here.

Screenshot 2016-06-13 13.15.47 This week we saw Alick Varma, founder of Osper, a mobile banking app for young people aged between 8-18 years old, speak at dinner on the topics of FinTech, fundraising and the changes happening in the banking industry.

With financial education being poor in the UK and many parents feeling ill at ease with teaching their children about money, Alick felt there was a hole to be plugged when it came to how children are taught money management. He set up Osper 4 years ago to combat this issue. As a 12 year old, he was taught profit and loss by his parents. By having pocket money, he had the added responsibility of paying for his travel and clothing budget. This ultimately built Alick’s confidence to manage money.

Osper’s stamp on the FinTech world is to get kids learning about managing money by doing it. Alick’s vision was to change the banking industry and build the world’s first bank for kids.

After speaking to 100s of parents, Alick established that there had been little change in the past few decades of the involvement children had with money. Effectively, 90% of children have piggy banks with an average saving of £70.

After winning a hackathon, with the prize to go to San Francisco and compete in with 12 others from all over the world. They built an app, orchestrated pre-paid debit cards (the first time it’d ever been built), he was ready for the pitch in San Francisco. They raised £750k after from angels in London which allowed them to build the product properly.

Screenshot 2016-06-13 13.15.57As you can imagine with disrupting the financial world, there were lots of challenges that Osper came across, including MasterCard refusing to let them work with kids under 13. They had to negotiate hard, citing examples that kids are already using parents credit cards all the time for things like iTunes so there was clearly a real need.

Launching 6 weeks before the summer holiday, on a Sunday, Osper received a lot of press, with both the Sunday Telegraph and Times writing about them. Waiting for orders, they reached 40 and plateaued. Not good! Then all of a sudden, in the evening loads of orders came rushing in, but there was nothing on TV or Twitter so Alick couldn’t understand why.

Turns out their investor, Davina McCall, put a post on her Facebook page and that sent things pretty crazy. Within 6 hours, they had over 7k orders. With 10k as their first annual target, they managed to achieve most of it in the first 6 hours. That says a lot about celebrity endorsement!

Special thanks to Alick for speaking at dinner, he was joined by:, WiseAlpha Technologies, Dental Capital Partners, Theodo UK, Canonical, amongst others.

See what other dinners we have coming up at TableCrowd.

emotionalintelligenceAt dinner last week, Amanda Davie, talked extensively about Leadership and the role of Emotional Intelligence at our latest Women’s only TableCrowd dinner.

Amanda introduced her fellow diners to the 4 main areas of EQ: self awareness, self management, social awareness and social management, whilst explaining that EQ is very fashionable in leadership at the moment and is becoming part of the board level interview for some. Read on to find out what else is involved in emotional intelligence.

Self Awareness. Women tend to have more self awareness than men

Self Confidence. Men score quite high on self confidence (not aggression, mind) as they don’t lack self belief as much as women. Women struggle with a lack of self worth

Optimism. Thinking positively is a must when it comes to incorporating EQ into your leadership skills.

Adaptability. Being agile and flexible to change is an important part of EQ

Self Control. Usually women are weaker at this as men are able to zip in their self control much more effectively.

Relationship Skills. Women are hard-wired to build trust and rapport, so it’s not surprising that they beat their male counterparts at relationship skills hands down.

Self reliance. Being able to feel confident in what you know, and trusting yourself. It’s important not to let insecurities to get in.

Straightforwardness. Nobody wants to be involved with a Jekyll and Hyde character whether it’s in the workplace or on a personal level. When the pressure is on, people can change and turn, becoming unrecognisable to those around them. Ensure you are straightforward by delivering clear and consistent messages. Practice what you preach, as they say. Always try to remain clam and have good body language. A straightforward leader asks for feedback and gives balanced feedback constructively, whilst also having the self confidence to be on the receiving end too.

Empathy. Something that’s woefully lacking in business. Empathetic leaders make you feel heard. Remember it gives employees a sense of calm and safe. Make one-to-one time for employees you need to motivate, and be sure to tap in to your listening skills too (silence is the key). When you understand others, you can see their greatness.

Self Actualisation. Men normally score better than women.  Self actualisation has two parts:

  1.  the work life balance
  2. knowing what is meaningful to you and proactively planning this.

It is knowing what fuels you and investing in it. You must make time to do this. Leaders should demonstrate that they do what is important to them. It is well-known that women put others first, as we are innately ‘the carers’.

Women are natural-born carers.

You need to have a self actualisation plan as you need balance.

Essentially, EQ is just advanced people skills. If you have happy, loyal people they will give more.

For more from our after dinner speakers, check out our Tips blog posts.

scalingPartnerships are vital for every business, but are especially vital for new businesses with limited resources.

We’re pleased as punch to have Jonathan Keeling, Head of Partnerships at Crowdcube, spill the beans on how to effectively build partnerships into your marketing strategy over dinner and a few glasses of wine next week.

At Crowdcube, the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, Jonathan is responsible for building quality partnerships to sustainably scale the platform whilst generating significant value for both entrepreneurs and investors alike.

Secure your spot at the table and get the lowdown from Jonathan on how to partner up successfully as well as how you can work with others (perhaps those around the table..) to further grow and develop your business.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 31 May at The Anthologist, The City

announcement-icon copyUpcoming TableCrowd dinners

7 Jun – Building a successful challenger brand
9 Jun – Ladies only dinner on assertiveness and confidence
21 Jun – Run your business better22 Jun – Practical tips & real life examples
& more

Screenshot 2016-05-18 16.32.19Dinner on being Purpose Led
On Tuesday night, TableCrowd members joined Jenny Andersson for an intimate dinner covering the topic of growth and profitability through activating purpose. As the curator of The Purposeful Enterprise Summit and a brand strategist, Jenny talked about how purpose-led initiative can contribute to profitability and growth, as well as help your brand to better connect with its customers. In life and business, we all need purpose, as without it we don’t have the hearts of our employees or their loyalty to the company itself. Businesses will need to become more social to embrace the new wave of Millennials.

Jenny spoke about her work with brands from Patagonia, Timberland, Levi’s and Virgin, and how they all have a greater purpose than pure profit. Discussions around the table covered various topics including how to shift they way the diners do business to improve their prospects of becoming influential, leveraging their possibility for being a purpose-led business, all whilst increasing their profitability.

Screenshot 2016-06-13 13.18.40Dinner on Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
What a fantastic and original talk from Amanda Davie for her fellow diners last night at Piccolino, Broadgate. Covering the topic of Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, Amanda enthralled everyone with an incredibly detailed and informative discussion.

EQ101: the ability to identify and manage our own emotions and others. It’s also known as social intelligence.

EQ was first developed by 3 physiologists, and has been around for a couple of decades. Although, it’s still quite misunderstood in business, with men in particular not being that receptive to it. As Amanda explained at dinner, Emotional Intelligence is more important than academic intelligence. And, you can now see that it is starting to filter into the education system. Find out more about EQ from Amanda in our blog post, Using Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to make you a better leader.

Special thanks to our speakers Jenny and Amanda, who were joined by Outcomes Based Healthcare, Smith & Williamson, Millennial Media, Per4mance Insight, Ghilaine & Co, Imperial College London, Nous Group, LEYF, and Inspired Ventures amongst others.

Have you seen what upcoming dinners we’ve got at TableCrowd?

quiff (square)We last saw Luke Razzell, Founder of Weaver Digital, at our FinTech dinner with Travelex back in February. (He’s a bit of a finance fan when it comes to TableCrowd dinners!) Building his business as a solo founder, and helping others transform theirs, Luke and his team of freelancers have quite the list of clients under their belt (*cough* WorldPay) so we were more than happy to have Luke take part in our #BusinessSpotlight interview series.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Weaver is a London-based design agency. We work with our clients to design powerful and intuitive solutions across their business. We are renowned for our ability to deliver compellingly simple solutions for complex and rapidly evolving problem spaces. Weaver also provides design and communication skills training.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was a piano teacher for 15 years.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
No co-founders — I am Weaver’s only full-time employee. We work with a network of freelance associates across the UK and Europe to deliver projects.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
That changing careers in my mid-thirties was pretty risky, particularly as I had almost no experience in business, tech or even design. After a couple of dicey years early on, it’s worked out pretty well though.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
The launch of Weaver’s new first-impressions testing service Peeq, and growth hacking of our innovative language learning app, Yarn. Yes, we do our own startup projects as well as provide client services. 🙂

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Dare to be different while making sure you don’t re-invent the wheel.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
We’re really, really good. And concise (which is part of what makes us good).

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Us Two has rocked the “agency plus startup projects” model for a while now, and their Monument Valley is a thing of beauty.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Has to be Gokyuzu & Kervan in Wood Green. Lovely food in ridiculously large portions, served by super friendly staff.

What’s your favourite meal?
Anything my wife cooks. 🙂

logoFind more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

How to secure VC investment for your tech startup - the weather continues to turn warmer, and the nights become longer, there really is no better way to spend a weekday evening than doing a spot of networking over a delicious meal (and a glass or two of wine). Next week sees us hearing from the founder of Index-backed mobile banking app, Osper on FinTech, fundraising and changes faced in the banking industrty on Tuesday night. Wednesday’s topic is all about when and how to fundraise, with Tracy Doree, founding partner at Spring Partners providing the after-dinner talk.

Dinner with Osper’s founder
Join us for an evening with Alick Varma, founder of Osper, a mobile banking app for young people and parents. Over dinner, Alick will be sharing his story including tales of fundraising and succeeding in FinTech, as well as the changes that are shaking up the banking industry as we know it.

Osper has raised over $10m of funding and is backed by Index Ventures and a whole host of entrepreneurs, including co-founder Brent Hoberman and the founders of Skyscanner and Soundcloud. Join the conversation at the table, meeting Alick and your peers discussing new banking, fundraising and the future of FinTech.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 24 May at Aubaine, Regent Street

Dinner with Spring Partners’ Founding Partner
Get the lowdown on fundraising! When’s a good time to do it? And how do you go about securing those vital finances for your business?

Who better to answer those questions than Tracy Doree? Not only is she a founding partner of Spring Partners, an active early stage venture capital fund based in London, she’s an entrepreneur at heart, with one of the fastest exits we’ve ever heard of under her belt. Tracy founded Llustre, an eCommerce business that designed and sold designer products and collections for homes – it was acquired by FAB after just 10 weeks of opening the doors for business!

Secure your spot at the table and get the lowdown on how to fundraise successfully from Tracy, who’ll be drawing on her experiences as both an investor and a business seeking funding.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 25 May at The Clerk and Well, Clerkenwell

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our short video to see what it’s all about:

olegTwo great dinners this week covering the tech story of how became an IPO, with a dash of growth hacking thrown in for good measure, and what role a startup accelerator can play for founders and entrepreneurs building their dream.

Dinner with Freelancer
On Tuesday night, we were joined by Joe Griston, Director of People and Talent at Freelancer for dinner at The Happenstance. Joe’s after-dinner talk covered the Freelancer story, from tech startup through to IPO.

Whilst living in Australia, Joe met a guy (Matt Barrie) at a dinner party who had set up Freelancer. Matt told him the story of how he was looking for someone to do data work for him, managing to find him online. It was a difficult process and he thought there was something to develop here. So, Freelancer was born.

freelancerWith an abundance of passion for growth, Joe spoke about how in a start up you do everything you can to help the business. He set up HR in 6 months, and was responsible for doing the IPO. Having never done it before, he met with everyone he possibly could.

Don’t ever do this if you have a heart condition!

When Freelancer IPO’d they had the most successful first day of trading, starting out at 50 cents, by the end of the day they had reached $2.5 Australian dollars.

Joe explained over dinner that when you scale, people want more product. From Sydney, Freelancer opened up in Manila, then launched in Vancouver, London and now Jakarta and Buenos Aires. As a Director in the company, he was responsible for growing it and the HR people side of things.

Joe’s top tip when it comes to hiring people was:

We only hire people that we think are better than us, that blow us away.

And there No.1 rule is: Don’t run out of money. At Freelancer, they always make sure they make a return on what they’re doing. Spending 15% on marketing, the run the business to break even. All the profits go back into the business. Using this process, the business has doubled in size every two years in both revenue and users.

masschallengeDinner with MassChallenge
As the global CMO of MassChallenge, Diane Perlman spoke at dinner on Wednesday night about the ‘most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet’. Having been around for 7 years, accelerating over 300 startups a year across Boston, London, Jerusalem, Lausanne and Mexico City, MassChallenge do things a bit differently compared to other accelerators. For starters, they’re not-for-profit, which essentially means they take no equity in a startup, each programme takes 100 teams, last for 4 months and 15 teams walk away with £25k cheques.

It may be surprising to hear that they’re an NPO in something that is inherently capitalistic, however, Diane explained that the founder’s vision came from the 2008 crash. He saw greed and land grab rather than people making more pie. So, he decided to make more pie rather than have people fighting over the same pie. Diane feels that she is working for an organisation that is trying to change the world.    

As an accelerator that is about impact, MassChallenge looks at 5 industries: Digital Health, Life Sciences, Clean Tech, Social Impact, General Retail and High Tech. Their next cohort starts in September, Each applicant is seen by 4 judges and gets written feedback.

Our speakers were joined by Guidelighter, PixelPin, Fly Marketing, Castellano, Amondo, The Good Blend, Loveandfriends, MyCognition, Shepherd and Wedderburn, TrafficLight Solutions, Amberoot, JobLab, Buto, Debut, Solely Original, ShareStyle, Rockstar Hubs International amongst others.

See what other dinners are happening that you can sink your teeth into.

CVBJIy2W4AAGBT9This week’s #BusinessSpotlight is on George Christoforakis, co-founder of rendeevoo, who last joined us for dinner when we had the pleasure of Peter Briffett, COO of Yplan speaking on how to succeed in the lifestyle/entertainment sector. As an exciting new startup, rendeevoo had us with their slogan:

You. Me. Drinks. Now

Find out more about rendevoo and what spurred George on to build a business that sets itself apart from other ‘dating’ apps.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Discover London’s finest spots with someone new. Because there’s nothing better than a REAL conversation!

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was in a West-London social enterprise, called C.I.T.A.S., as a digital strategist. It was an amazing experience that widened my horizons and made me truly believe in social responsibility and its role in any commercial entity; not just non-profits.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met Jorn Vanysacker in Birmingham, back in 2009. It was during our MSc studies in Aston Business School, and since then we have been exchanging views frequently. It was only natural to call him three years later and discuss the concept that evolved into rendeevoo.

rvmWhen was your ‘eureka’ moment for your business?
Back in 2012, I had broken my leg and was hospitalised for nearly three months. During those days, I discovered what Online Dating was all about. Soon after a few sessions I realised that something’s odd with their business models. It didn’t make sense to me for a website to monetize the need instead of the result, given that any user who signs up on those sites is after a real-life meeting with new people. So, why not offer a more transparent way for people to socialise while at the same time shortening the “search & plan” steps?

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
In a nutshell, 2016 is the year when rendeevoo will either “make it or break it”. Our MVP has been validated and we are about to release a big update that behaves better and faster. We have also partnered up with a handful of lovely cocktail bars and cafes, increasing our network size to 30 handpicked venues around central locations in London. We want to end 2016 with an established presence in London and a growing reputation in Paris and Madrid that are our next targeted cities to enter in 2017.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Bringing people together is a wonderful business to be in. With it however, comes a great deal of responsibility. Place safety and confidentiality high in your agenda from day one. Also, have a clear monetisation strategy in place otherwise your value will always be subjective and therefore vulnerable. Focus on generating revenue, and ideally building a sustainable business that doesn’t rely purely on external funding to survive and thrive.

rendevooConvince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
In a market dominated by messaging platforms, rendeevoo stands out by offering a service where two people can meet at a handpicked place without texting, but by simply purchasing their first drink in the app to confirm their rendeevoo.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Even though we operate within the dating market, I don’t consider rendeevoo as a dating startup per se. My favourite startup that shares similar value proposition with us, is Drinki. I love their branding and of course their incredibly sleek UI! If you love visiting cocktail bars, you will love what Drinki has to offer!

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
By far Hawksmoor in Shoreditch. Everything and everyone in there is top-notch. Great service standards, superb food quality, and amazing atmosphere.

What’s your favourite meal?
You can have my soul if you treat me to a nicely grilled burger (cliché, I know!)
logo black rendeevoo
To find out more about rendevoo – take a look at their video with Global Dating Insights where George talks about his philosophies towards online dating, the new trend of on-demand dating apps, and how startups can push innovation in the dating industry.

Find more of our #BusinessSpotlights here. If you’d like your business featured on our blog, email with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

eiNext week is all about the ladies, well female speakers anyway. Tuesday will see us dining with brand expert Jenny Andersson on achieving growth and profitability by being a purpose led business. Wednesday, we have the pleasure of Amanda Davie sharing her wealth of knowledge on leadership and the role of emotional intelligence. Two fantastic topics to discuss over dinner, let’s check out each one in a bit more detail:

Dinner on growth & profitability through activating purpose
We’re excited to have Jenny Andersson, a seasoned TableCrowd member, covering the topic of growth and profitability through activating purpose at dinner next month. As an expert in brand strategy and communications, Jenny will talk about how purpose-led initiatives can contribute to profitability and growth, as well as helping your brand better connect with customers.

Secure your spot at the table and discover why being purpose-led is important for your future success (it’s reported that purpose-led brands are outperforming traditional brands on shareholder value 9:1). Hear how Jenny has helped brands such as Patagonia, Timberland, Levi’s & Virgin align their social and environmental responsible brands with making their business better and more profitable.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 17 May at Piccolino, Exchange Square

Dinner with Amanda Davie on leadership & the role of emotional intelligence
Being in tune with your own emotions and having strong awareness of emotions of the people around you can be vital for leading your team to success. Known as ’emotional intelligence’, the latest in the women’s series of dinners will cover this topic with Amanda Davie providing the after-dinner speech and informal Q&A. As an ECR Certified Coach, Amanda has been trained by emotional intelligence experts RocheMartin to define, measure and develop EQ in leadership.

Join Amanda and your female peers and find out how you can effectively utilise EQ in your role. Here’s a quick run-down of what Amanda has achieved in her career so far:

  • Pioneered online advertising in the UK at 24/7 Media, Outrider (a WPP agency, now MEC), and i-level
  • Grew the search business at i-level from scratch to a team of 40
  • Founded Reform a digital management consulting firm
  • Co-founded Mentoring Digital Minds in 2010
  • Co-founded Digital Talent @ Work in 2015
  • Executive coach (launched own practice Jan 2016)
  • Mentors on the Cherie Blair Foundation Mentoring Programme

If you’re yet to join one of our women’s dinners, they’re fantastic fun and a great way to build a network of like-minded women (as un-biased as we are!) Grab a seat at the table and be sure to bring plenty of questions for Amanda to really take advantage of her experience during the informal Q&A part of the dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 18 May at The Green, Clerkenwell

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our short video to see what it’s all about: