Archives for category: Education


The next EdTech dinner is firmly in our calendar so please add it to yours too; Bethany Koby, founder of Technology Will Save Us is joining as our after-dinner speaker next week. Technology Will Save Us creates the most accessible ecosystem of DIY gadget kits and resources that help families, educators and young people make, play, code and invent using technology. They recently won Best Hardware Startup at the Europas.

After Raising £1.2m from London-based VCs, doubling in size last year, and getting being stocked in John Lewis too, who better to chat with about succeeding in EdTech than Bethany? Book your place at the table to join the conversation, meet Bethany and to hear the Technology Will Save Us story – as well as to meet your peers over dinner and a glass or two of wine.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 26 July at The Happenstance, The City

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our video to see what it’s like joining us for dinner:

Check out the full run-down of our upcoming dinners too.


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!

We had two dinners last week, one for the education sector and another for those interested in investment. Here’s a quick overview on what happened at both:

edtechsEducation startups dinner
Paul Tavner from Mendeley joined us for dinner, at The Clerk and Well, to talk about building and engaging a community. As part of their community team, Paul provided some key lessons that he wanted to share with his fellow diners, most notably was the importance of speaking people’s language. Having a one size fita all personality doesn’t work, you need to be engaging on an individual and personal level. He also couldn’t stress enough the importance of analytics, referring to it as “gold dust”!

Essentially, he encouraged everyone to “leverage existing communities to help with your startup as there is bound to be someone else out there looking to solve the same thing as you are. Use partnerships and collaborations through events like TableCrowd (thanks Paul!) to help your business grow.”

dfjDFJ Esprit on investing
What is it like for a VC to invest? Well, last Wednesday, Jonathan Sibilia – Partner at DFJ Esprit – answered this question and more at a rather male-dominated dinner at Pescatori Italian & Seafood Restaurant in Fitzrovia. With some wonderful characters around the table, there was a lot of banter back and forth during the welcome and introduction; this set the relaxed mood for the evening.

After dinner, Jonathan took to the floor covering everything from where he originates from, and that the word ‘venture’ means ‘risk’ in French. With 9 years of investment banking under his belt, Jonathan now deals more with late stage investment with an average ticket being approx £5-7m at 20% so they’re not massive shareholders in the companies they invest in.

He left his fellow diners with this little nugget of a quote he saw on an American website that he believes sums up exactly what it is he’s trying to do:

If you are trying to build a business and everyone that you speak to and tell about it thinks it’s crap, and I mean absolutely everyone, then come and see us!

Jonathan passed on an article to his fellow diners, take a look at the sound advice from Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner at DFJ in the US: on fundraising and valuations.

Special thanks goes to Jonathan and Paul for speaking at last week’s dinners, along with our partner Mendeley.

MendeleyTake a look at what other dinners we have coming soon at TableCrowd.

150526 nwdAfter a busy final few weeks of May, we kick off June with two dinners next week, one for Education Startups, and another with DFJ Esprit. Before we delve into each dinner in more detail, be sure to take a look at our Interests page to keep up to date on any areas of the TableCrowd community that interest you. Better still, click the follow button to be kept in the loop on what’s going on with emails from us.

Education Startups dinner: How to build and engage a community
This TableCrowd dinner, in partnership with Mendeley, will cover the ins and outs of building an engaged community within the education sector. Paul Tavner, from Mendeley’s community team will be providing the after-dinner talk and informal Q&A session. Since launching in 2009, Mendeley has grown to more than 3 million users in 180 countries and includes Harvard, Stanford and MIT as institutional customers.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 1 June at The Clerk and Well, Clerkenwell

Dine with DFJ Esprit: Investing through the eyes of a Venture Capitalist
Join Jonathan Sibilia, Partner at DFJ Esprit, for an insight into what investing in a company is like from an investor’s point of view. DFJ Esprit was founded in 2006 with a mission to back Europe’s most ambitious entrepreneurs; their portfolio includes Graze, LoveFilm and WiFi powered by The Cloud.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 2 June at Pescatori Italian & Seafood restaurant, Fitzrovia

Click here to see a full list of our upcoming TableCrowd dinners.

For those of you who are new to TableCrowd – have a look at our video to see what it’s like when you join us for dinner:

We were excited to bring together over dinner some of London’s best EdTech startups including Mendeley, BlackBullion, Night Zookeeper, Emerge Education, Gojimo, Tutorfair, MyCognition, Brix, Galvanize and Newsflo. We hosted the dinner in the private dining room in Apulia in Smithfields.

The format of the evening was that each startup brought a journalist guest, allowing the startups to grow their networks and hopefully secure coverage and the journalists to see what’s happening on the EdTech scene in one night. CityAM, The Evening Standard, TechCityInsider, The Economist and others joined us.

A few snippets from the evening:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10nnnmmn Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10hjhjhj

Proud to partner with Rackspace.


We will be hosting dinner for London’s EdTech startups on the 4th February at Google Campus to break bread, network, share experiences & contacts. To ensure that there is a colourful mix of players at dinner each startup must bring a journalist guest. The guest list will be announced soon.

Our past EdTech dinners have been a huge success where guests have shared the latest innovations and exchanged valuable contacts. Last September, Ben Whately, COO at Memrise gave an insightful talk about his journey into the world of learning languages and how it all began for him when he moved to a remote corner of China to teach himself Chinese! We have also welcomed Mendeley and busuu as after dinner speakers at past EdTech dinners.

We are looking forward to another buzzing evening sharing delicious food and drink.

If you think you should have received an invite, please get in touch:


To read more about our EdTech dinners and business spotlights on diners at our EdTech tables go here.

Jonathan attended our recent Education Startups dinner, a lively evening with guest speaker Ben Whately from Memrise and a wonderful bunch of people and startups in the sector. We caught up with Jonathan afterwards to have a chat about his startup Phrasewise, who create learning apps mostly to teach English to people who want to travel. Over to him:

What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Our company is called Phrasewise and we’re old fashioned (not many edtech companies say that)! We create learning apps with modern technology but traditional values of rich, entertaining content. Our first apps teach English to adult non-native speakers who want to travel. But the best bit about our company is this: we can use our platform to create learning apps for anyone at almost zero cost.

phrasewise jonathan

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

Writing English language learning coursebooks for Pearson Education (and before that I was a teacher). For many years all I wanted to do career-wise, was create books – and then suddenly it wasn’t.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?

I co-wrote several books with my co-founder, Ingrid Freebairn. She’s one of the most successful coursebook writers in ELT (English language teaching). I keep meeting people who grew up using her books.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

We spent a lot of time worrying about how our first app looked instead of worrying about how people interacted with it.

What will 2014 bring?

Three more months if I’m lucky. 2015 promises a full twelve, during which we hope to launch our first app and create and launch at least two more.

1 piece of advice for someone starting a business in the the sector

Understand that edtech companies are not popular among many teachers and education administrators. They are synonymous with rapacious profiteering and solutions to non-existent problems. Once you understand that, forget it and carry on doing what you were doing (as long as none of that rings true for you).

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.

We believe you DON’T NEED to learn

– long lists of vocabulary

– complicated grammar rules

– how to translate meaningless sentences

We believe you DO NEED

– entertaining input

– professionally created audio and animation

– a wide variety of interactive practice

We believe you CAN

– use our apps as part of a successful learning strategy

phrasewise logo

Thanks Jonathan and wishing you all the best in startup life! See you at a table soon. Check out our upcoming tables here.

Yesterday evening, a wonderful group of founders and entrepreneurs in the EdTech and Education Startups space got together over dinner to share ideas, insights and challenges they might face. While dining on the Green’s signature roast lamb and pumpkin & goats cheese pie, guests discussed the latest EdTech innovations and exchanged contacts.

We were joined by great minds at Memrise, MyCognition, Contentd, Lexicum, TechHub, 3Fifteen, Phrasewise, Drum Roll HQ, Big Four, ShowHows, LBI and more.

EdTech dinner Sept

We were happy to welcome Ben Whately, COO at Memrise, to speak after dinner and his talk went down a treat. Thanks Ben for sharing your fascinating story. Memrise is an online learning tool with courses created by its community using images and science to make learning easy and fun, mostly for learning languages. Ben’s journey into the world of learning languages began when he moved to a remote corner of China to teach himself Chinese. We’re impressed.

We’re looking forward to the next EdTech dinner, but in the meantime have a look at our upcoming tables.


Thanks to our partner Taylor Wessing for supporting this dinner.


We’re looking forward to meeting Richard at tonight’s EdTech dinner and finding out more about his venture 3Fifteen, an innovative app that helps schools and parents communicate who is collecting a child at the end of the school day.

Richard Moss 3fifteen

What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?
We are a secure way for parents that either won’t speak or can’t speak English, to communicate to their child’s school, any change to little ‘Jonnys” after-school collection plans today.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?
I was a communications consultant working with clients on improving their customer engagements via their contact centre.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
No, its just me. That said I had a lot of support from family and friends that gave their input and thoughts.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
Employing people to sell my solutions before I had built up a large client base myself and learnt what works and what doesn’t firsthand and beforehand.

What will 2014 bring?
Hopefully investment, but the year is running out.

1 piece of advice for someone starting a business in the the sector
Don’t be afraid to pick the phone up to other people that have already done what you’re about to do (I don’t mean direct competitors) and ask those questions that you would love to know the answer to. There are a lot of people that are happy to share advice on what they have learnt on their journey and happy to give people a bit of a steer. Some might say “no, go away” but many will take your call and give you 5 minutes of their time.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
Who is picking up your child after-school today ? Whats to stop someone calling the school and pretending to be you and change your child’s collection arrangements. What if a parent doesn’t speak English, how do they communicate with a school, or if the school phone is engaged, what then ?

How would you describe TableCrowd to someone who’s never heard of it?
TableCrowd appears to be a relaxed way to meet like minded people from my industry, that will allow me to share my thoughts, ideas and challenges, and who knows what ‘golden nugget’ piece of advice I might walk away with.

3fifteen logo

Thanks Richard, it’s been great catching up with you and finding out more about 3Fifteen! Wishing you the best of luck with it all and see you tonight.

To have a look at our upcoming tables, click here.

Ben memrise

Our next EdTech dinner is coming up on Tuesday 30th September and we’ve got a special treat for you. The COO of Memrise will be sharing his fascinating story after dinner and there will be a chance to ask questions and chat with him informally over dinner.

Ben trained as a psychologist at Oxford University before becoming fascinated with learning languages. Having found learning languages extremely difficult himself, he moved to a remote corner of China to teach himself Chinese and try to work out how learning languages can be made easier. Chinese seemed like the most challenging place to start.

The Memrise Chinese courses, now one of the most widely used Chinese learning tools in the world, grew out of the materials that he made in Qiqihaer. The Memrise learning platform has now helped over a million people learn over 100m words in over 200 languages. The latest Memrise product, Cat Spanish, was launched in mid November – it is an iOS app that teaches introductory Spanish entirely through cute pictures of cats.

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 15.41.40

Ben previously founded two other startups – an online shirt tailoring service (in Shanghai) and a vintage motorcycle restoration factory (in Beijing) – and worked as an analyst and assistant fund manager on the Guinness Atkinson China Hong Kong Fund (US$500m). Oh and he’s also written a book. Four years ago he started Memrise while living in a yurt in co-founder Ed Cooke’s garden.

Check it out and brush up on your Chinese >

Join the other fascinating startups coming to next week’s dinner by booking your spot here.