Archives for category: Business Spotlights

AlexAlex Hanson-Smith, co-founder & CPO of inploi, joined us for dinner with The Food Corporation recently, when they spoke on the topic of succeeding in the FoodTech industry. Here’s what Alex had to say about his company, inploi.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
inploi is an on-demand jobs platform that makes staffing in hospitality smarter, cheaper & more efficient. Our web & mobile apps connect job seekers with suitable roles allowing them to get hired, get paid & get reviewed.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I worked for Ogilvy & Mather in Hong Kong providing digital strategy for brands across Asia-Pacific.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met Matt (my co-founder) a few weeks after returning to London from Hong Kong. Matt is South African and had just completed a MBA at the Said Business School in Oxford. After many coffee-fuelled late nights of researching and brainstorming we decided to pursue inploi full-time.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
We tried to save time and money by having our technology built in South Africa, with a twist of irony this ended up costing us time & money. Coordinating the build with a team you have never met in person on the other side of the world doesn’t work. Getting your technology stack right is essential and cutting corners will come back to bite you. We were fortunate enough to learn this lesson relatively ‘cheaply’ and have since brought on Chris – our CTO – who has allowed us to get to a place where we have complete confidence in the security, scalability & agility of our technology.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
Launch! We launched the iOS & Web version of our platform in early July with an Android app following soon after. We are lucky enough to be working with some brilliant clients including Deliveroo, Bill’s, Daylesford & You Me Sushi and have been overwhelmed by how many job seekers have pre-registered to use inploi.

inploiOne piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Get a co-founder. I am in awe of anyone who starts a business on their own. Having someone standing next to you in pitches, sitting opposite you in the office at 3AM (this happens a lot) and picking you up when you are down is invaluable. You don’t need to be best friends (in fact, it is probably better if you aren’t) but you do need to be equally committed and able to be entirely honest with each other.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words
inploi will change the way staffing works, forever. Employers post jobs, for free, from wherever they are. Job seekers apply with a virtual resume with a video introduction. Employers view matches, hire the staff they like, pay short-term staff via the app and provide feedback. Job done.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Well, if by sector you mean hospitality, I think Pronto is pretty cool. It is an online food delivery business with a great (and reasonably priced) menu. All their ingredients are high-quality & sustainable.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Barrafina on Frith Street, Soho. It is the best Tapas in London.

What’s your favourite meal?
I am part Danish so I have been brought up on smorrebrod or ‘open sandwich’. My favourite is with thinly sliced rare beef and crispy onions.

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

Philip_smallPhilip Kallberg, CEO of EatAbout, recently joined us for dinner with The Food Corporation, covering the topic of succeeding in the FoodTech industry, along with grabbing breakfast with our CEO, Kate Jackson at one of her regular Breakfast for Founders meet ups.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
EatAbout is your own private restaurant in the home of a chef, bringing you closer to your food than ever before. You’ll meet and interact directly with your chef in the most immersive and comfortable setting of all. You’ll love the food, and because we cut out traditional restaurant overheads, you’ll like the prices too.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was working in the tech industry at Google and Spotify, and most recently at the cloud computing startup Cloud 66. My co-founder Felix comes from a chef background having worked gala kitchens serving over 200 guests, as well as management consulting.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met my co-founder Felix over 10 years ago in Brussels, Belgium, while in French class.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
There’s so many – every day in business provides a new learning opportunity, and that’s what I love about it. In particular, a big “hindsight” moment has been to see the challenge of achieving brand awareness in a competitive market, and reaching organic bookings was a big milestone for us. I wrote a blog post on how we got there: How EatAbout achieved organic bookings in 2 months IMG_2656What will the rest of 2016 bring?
2016 will see us conquer corporate bookings as well as improving the experience for all guests booking with EatAbout. We’re also working on some fantastic partnerships to help us further spread the EatAbout love.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Competition for awareness and customers in this industry is fierce, so make sure you’re ready to work hard and have something unique that sets you apart.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
I love what Pronto are doing in the food delivery space – as they own the entire supply chain they can provide fantastic food for really good prices.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
I love MasterChef finalist Emma Spitzers food, available through EatAbout.

What’s your favourite meal?
This is such a hard question as there’s so much good food out there. I’m a sucker for good seafood though, and it helps that my parents live on the coast of Portugal.

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

fabricebFabrice Bernhard recently spoke at a dinner for non-technical founders on building your first tech product. As a co-founder and CTO of Theodo, Fabrice’s business is effectively a ‘tech-team-for-hire’ working with both startups and large corporations. Here’s what he had to say when we put his business under the spotlight.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We build web and mobile solutions in a leaner, more cost-effective way. Our teams of very smart coders focus on the 40% of functionalities that really matter to solve your business problem. This allows for faster time-to-market and more focus on the end-user needs which in turn maximises the chances of success of the delivered product.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
Before starting Theodo, I co-founded, as a student, a first Internet Startup called Allomatch.com. Allomatch helps you find the pubs and bars where to watch sports games in France.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met my co-founder during my military service. Bored by casern life, we took charge of the organisation of the monthly parties together. I guess that is the first time we realised that even though we were very different in terms of personality, we were a good match to get things done.

What’s your biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment?
A key moment was when we started using the services of external experts in 2011: first an executive coach and then an agile coach, lean coaches, marketing experts, etc. To radically improve, you need expertise and distance from the day-to-day, which only good external consultants can bring.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
We just got elected best startup to work for in France in the HappyAtWork ranking! I wonder what else 2016 can bring, for the moment I’m focused on structuring our London office.

theodoukOne piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Advice that is valid for any tech startup: I recommend hiring very smart developers and involving them in the the business. The most important bottleneck in most tech startups is not solving tech problems, it is understanding and implementing the right tech solution to the current business problem. Only smart developers in direct contact with the business can give you the right competitive advantage.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
On average in software, 60% of the features built are never or rarely used. Work with one of our teams of smart coders to ensure you focus on building the right product, in record-time and in the most efficient way to out-distance competition.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
I am impressed by Palantir‘s immense growth in a similar sector as ours.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The food at Piquet is excellent. And it is exactly the kind of cultural collaboration I love; great French cuisine by an English chef.

What’s your favourite meal?
Good food, good wine and great discussions on a warm summer evening.

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

541355_10152119697490037_622171298_nIris Anson, founder of Solely Original first joined TableCrowd in January this year, signing up to one of our popular women’s only dinners. Since then, Iris has been a major TC advocate and heavily involved in the networking experience joining 12 dinners so far this year (with two more lined up for September too!). Catch up with Iris either at the dinner with Seedcamp, or DN Capital, and find out more about what she’s doing for the retail industry below.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
Solely Original challenges the fashion norm ‘beauty is pain’, so we have brought the personalised design choice and fit of made-to-measure female shoes online. We have developed an online platform so that women can experience the service from the comfort of their own home. Using the 3D designer, an image of one’s shoe design is only a click away: by selecting the style, heels, materials and colours. By using the Fitting Sock at home or 3D Foot Scanner at pop up stores, Solely Original can capture the measurements of one’s foot and make shoes that fit perfectly.

Studies reveal that on average British women own 17 pairs of shoes, yet only wear 2-4 pairs on a regular basis because of comfort issues. This reflects the problem of today’s high street shops which are full of standardised footwear made for average foot shapes. Everyone is unique, people’s left foot could be different from the right foot, so with Solely Original there is no reason why people should compromise with standardised shoes when they can be made to fit at a reasonable price.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
Prior to Solely Original, I was a fashion conscious city professional, I decided to leave behind my career as a tax consultant to pursue a solution for women like me, who had trouble finding fashionable shoes that are comfortable to walk in. Having studied and researched into the production process and footwear design, I came to realise how unhealthy and flawed the current mass market footwear industry is. I challenge the fashion norm ‘beauty is pain’, therefore I created Solely Original to afford every woman the luxury of comfortable and stylish heels fitted to their own measurements. In the rapidly developing technological and consumer-driven world, mass customisation is achievable, healthy beauty and sustainable beauty is also possible.

What’s your biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment?
It was more of an emotional build up from daily experience wearing uncomfortable fashion shoes. I was very frustrated and eventually led me on the route to build something myself for a solution.

SO04 2What will the rest of 2016 bring?
More design options on our website.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Don’t rush into launching your brand, make sure the entire operation runs smoothly first!

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
You don’t need to choose between fashionable or comfortable shoes anymore! With Solely Original, you can have it all -designing a pair of shoes that matches your outfit, then you can get them fitted to your exact measurements.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Grabble (mobile shopping app)

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The Tiroler HutAuthentic Austrian Cuisine with Original Live Music

What’s your favourite meal?
English Roast Dinner

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

DSC_1684CAlex Price is a seasoned TableCrowd member, who first joined us back in May last year when Tony Wollenberg, founder of City Index spoke after dinner. As a regular diner at TableCrowd, we’re pleased to have caught up with him earlier this year to put the spotlight on his business 93Digital. If you want to meet up with Alex, you can join him for dinner tomorrow, where Simon Schnieders will be talking all things SEO. In the mean time, here’s what Alex had to say about his business.

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We’re a niche digital agency that works exclusively with one technology – WordPress. WordPress now powers over 25% of the entire internet (including the TableCrowd blog!) and we specialise in delivering complex WordPress design and build projects for large clients.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I was still studying. I had my first clients as a freelance web designer, developer and digital marketer when I was 15, so I had a bit of a head start! When I was 20 everything was going so well that I decided to drop out of university at King’s College London and founded the ‘agency’. It was still just me for a year or so after that, but after a few big client wins I took the plunge, opened our first office and started to grow the team. In just over 1 year we went from just myself to a team of 8 people, having to move into a bigger office along the way.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I’m the sole founder. Sadly! I say this jokingly – I count myself very lucky to still own 100% of my business, but every now and then wish I had someone to share in the lows of running a business with me!

What’s your biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment?
I realised after I dropped out of university that there are a hell of a lot of opportunities out there without needing a degree. I don’t regret going for the one year that I did, but it’s hammered into us from a young age that without a degree we have no future. This couldn’t be more untrue, particularly in digital. No client has ever asked me about my education, ever. I would never encourage someone not to go to university, but I would definitely urge them to consider all of their options before committing to years more education as well as the large costs involved these days.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
The list of clients we’re working with is becoming ever more exciting and we’ve recently added a few new team members to 93digital. We have plans for a SaaS product related to WordPress as well, so 2016 looks set to bring more growth on all fronts.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Put the customer first. We operate in a very competitive service industry – we know we’re great at what we do when it comes to web design and WordPress development, but unless we have happy clients none of that matters. Client satisfaction is key!

Screenshot 2016-08-02 14.06.38Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
If you’re looking for a WordPress site, we will deliver it to a higher standard than anyone else. Speed, security, SEO – we consider everything and produce our websites focused on results – our goal is to understand our clients ambitions and help them achieve them.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
WP Engine – they are the best when it comes to WordPress hosting and have grown explosively, having raised nearly $40m in funding over the last few years.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Boopshi’s in Fitzrovia is my favourite hidden gem – the best schnitzel in London!

What’s your favourite meal?
A good Carbonara is always a winner for me.


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

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 hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

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!)
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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 hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: I want to be a #BusinessSpotlight!

John_Smaller

We first met John Radford, founder of Borne Digital Ltd, when he joined our popular dinner with Forward Partners back in February. With their work vested in assisting founders with their digital startups, we thought we’d grab a quick five minutes with John to take him through our #BusinessSpotlight interview. Here’s what he had to say:

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We are a digital products lab designing and building the next wave of digital start ups. We help founders go from concept to launch and often co-invest in apps where there is a good fit.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
Running another digital agency.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I’m the only founder.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
Wishing I had started Borne sooner!

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
Growth and some seriously great start up projects coming out of our lab. I’m also becoming CTO and NED to a couple of start ups that have come through our labs.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Don’t be afraid of that MVP and launching fast. It’s so hard to fix a product spec, but trying your best to launch lean and fast will lead to success down the line. The longer it takes to launch, the less likely it is to succeed.

BorneTwitterHeader1Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
We partner with startups and have a unique end-to-end service that takes the idea right through to the finished product. We sometimes co-invest in start ups so we work together to build the future of digital products.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Dojo App. Their product design is great and their social messaging is bang on. I’m also very excited about @yourfeed as we are building their platform and I’m also acting as CTO and non-exec director. 

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Zelman Meats in Soho. They do one thing and do it well. Advice we often give to the start ups we work with.

What’s your favourite meal?
Steak and chips.

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

Pigeonhole shoot for Jacob Cockroft We first stumbled across The Pigeonhole and their revolutionary way of approaching reading when they joined us for our Publishing Tech dinner with DC Thomson Ventures (read the #AfterDinnerRoundup here) last month. We were so excited to get the chance to hear from their founder, Jacob Cockcroft, to discover how The Pigeonhole is changing the publishing world. Join Jacob for dinner next week when he dines with Alex Dunsdon from Saatchinvest, in the mean time, have a gander at his #BusinessSpotlight:

What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
We are the book club in your pocket. Join members of our community or set up a private group and read the hottest books in bite-sized instalments.

What were you doing before you launched your company?
I worked in the intelligence world, advising companies doing business in the Middle East and Africa.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I have one, Anna, our editorial guru. We met at a party – and ended up talking about The Master and Margarita until 3 in the morning. It all started from there.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
Hindsight is futile. We are all at a place in our lives because of innumerable circumstances, and we generally choose the best possible path we can envisage at that time. You can never re-create a moment, so dwelling on what might have been is pointless.

What will the rest of 2016 bring?
Now that we’ve built the full version of the platform, the challenge is to grow the user base to 100K and build out our revenue streams.

Screenshot 2016-04-27 13.56.19One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Don’t underestimate how challenging building the tech is. Some might imagine a reading app like ours would be easy to build – it isn’t!

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
Love books, but have no time? Let us cherry-pick the finest content for you and deliver it in easy, bite-sized daily instalments.

Love reading, but feel disconnected? Join our community, and the author, as we read exclusive content from top publishers.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Wattpad

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Veeraswamy

What’s your favourite meal?
Zanzibari fish curry

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