Archives for category: Finance

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.19.42This week’s dinners covered the topics of marketing and fundraising, with speakers from the investment and media worlds. Tom Maddocks, ex-BBC2 reporter and now one of the UK’s leading authorities on media training and presentation coaching.

Dinner with Tracy Doree, founding partner at Spring Partners
As part of our ‘Meet the investor’ series, Tracy Doree spoke extensively about the fundraising process and how to do it successfully. Having experienced fundraising from both sides of the table, Tracy was perfectly positioned to assist with her fellow diners questions about being at the helm of a business that was seeking funding.

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.19.58

Dinner with Ex-BBC2 reporter and Media Expert, Tom Maddocks
With some 20+ years experience as a journalist and broadcaster, working in TV, radio and the national press, Tom Maddocks was a fantastic speaker for our TableCrowd members joining him for dinner at Aubaine in Mayfair this week.

As a former reporter on BBC’s The Money Programme, Tom turned his experience in the media industry into making him one of the UK’s leading media training experts, having been quoted on the subject in The Sunday Times, Independent, FT and other publications too. Tom shared his knowledge with his fellow diners to help them get coverage for their businesses. With top tips and tactics for reaching journalists shared over dinner, each diner left with the tools to help drive awareness for their business to boost growth and reach new markets and customers.

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.20.19Our fab speakers, Tom and Tracy, were joined by Friends Recommend It, Attest, Sivgen, Hatch, Reed Travel Exhibitions, Pixelgroup, Decca Capital, Jamae Immigration Law Group, Veyring,, REVL, USPAAH, Faber Novella, Unocodrinks, CityMunch, Inn Style, Silver Curve, AtlaSense, tosay, INK amongst others.

015If you’re looking to do a spot of networking, why not get some insider knowledge while you’re at it? Up next week we have media expert Tom Maddocks talking on how to get journalists interested in your company, as well as Tracy Doree, founding partner of Spring Partners chatting about getting investment for your business.

Getting journalists interested in your company. Dine with expert, Tom Maddocks
Getting press coverage for your business can be vital to boost growth, drive awareness and reach new markets and customers. Join Tom Maddocks for dinner, for top tips and tactics for reaching journalists and getting them to snap up your story.

You’ll probably know Tom from his former role as a reporter on BBC2’s ‘The Money Programme’. He is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading authorities on media training and presentation coaching, having been quoted in publications including the Sunday Times, Independent and Financial Times. He has over twenty years’ experience as a journalist and broadcaster, working in TV, radio and the national press.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 July at Aubaine, Mayfair

Meet the investors: Tracy Doree, founding partner of Spring Partners
Tracy Doree understands things from your side of the table. She’s an entrepreneur at heart, with one the fastest exits we’ve heard of under her belt. She 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!

Tracy is now founding partner at Spring Partners, an active London based venture capital fund.

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 20 July at Piccolino, City

brekkiwWe also have a fab, intimate breakfast happening just for founders. Our CEO, Kate Jackson, hosts a relaxed and informal breakfast for you founders to expand your network whilst sharing problems and solutions with other founders.
Breakfast is at 8:45am on Tuesday 19 July at Aubaine, Broadgate Circle


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.

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:

graze We had a great week talking about everything from subscription business models to how a company is valued. Mark Williams, Director at Results International spoke extensively on deconstructing company valuations last night, whilst Edd the co-founder of Graze kicked the week off on Tuesday night sharing Graze’s story.

Dinner with Graze for subscription businesses
Dining at the fantastic Royal Exchange Grand Cafe, Edd and his fellow diners enjoyed a dinner covering the nuts and bolts of how a subscription business model works. Drawing on his experience from being the co-founder & CTO of Graze, Edd shared the story of how Graze has grown over the past 7 years.

With their vision to be the world’s number one health snack brand, their belief in the success of this is by building multiple channels. Starting as a subscription business, they branched out into retail 9 months ago. After two weeks they become the top snack seller at WHSmith!

Describing Graze as a tech company first, Edd explained how they move fast and react quickly. Learning from their experience from the get-go has pushed their business to where it is today, and they continue to prove the success of the multi-channel strategy.

markwilliamsDeconstructing company valuations dinner
TableCrowd members joined Mark Williams for dinner at The Happenstance to explain the art behind how company valuations are determined, what in particular can drive a valuation as well as how to value your own company.

With an average taking between 6-9 months, valuations are seen as more of an art than a science. Getting the best valuation for your business depends on a variety of things. But the real question is how much is a buyer willing to pay, as that’s the real cost of any company. It’s the ability to articulate the value of a business that will provide the most positive valuation.

When it comes to tech businesses, valuations are usually worked out as a multiple of the revenue. Typically valuations of this sort sit at between 3 to 6 times the revenue. And, generally speaking, those businesses that are the first movers and shakers, the disruptive ones have sold at a higher multiple of the revenue.

Ultimately, what it all boils down to are knowing your buyer, getting under their skin and being able to offer them something that’s of value to them. And of course, if there’s competitive tension – it stands to reason that that in itself can add a lot of value to a business.

Our speakers were joined by Running in Heels, Thinking Bob, The Dinner Set, Fly Marketing, Liberte Fitness, Biotech and Money, Alchemy PR, EarlyBird, Gartner, CafePod, Goldman Sachs, Doctor Care Anywhere,, TrafficLightSolutions, RATP Dev UK, Dental Capital Partners, Bristows, Mattioli Woods, and Unocodrinks amongst others.

Special thanks goes to our speakers Edd and Mark, as well as our partner Wellers.

Wellers for siteTake a look at what other dinners we have on the horizon for you to join.

nwd-graze-resultsWe have two great dinners coming up next week, first is a dinner for subscription businesses with none other than Graze’s co-founder Edd Read on Tuesday. Followed on Wednesday by a dinner catering to the inquisitive minds keen to understand company valuations. Read on for the low-down on each dinner:

Dine with co-founder of Graze: dinner for subscription businesses
If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of how a subscription business model works, then you’ll want to join Graze’s co-founder & CTO, Edd Read, for dinner. For seven years, Graze has been creating healthy snacks and delivering them to wherever their consumers are, using a subscription-based model. More recently, they launched in the US, as well as adding their products to ‘bricks and mortar’ stores – with them attributing their competitive edge to starting off as an online-first subscription business.

Grab a seat at the table where we will be chatting ‘all things subscription’, from conversions and repeats to creating value and analytics. Be sure to bring plenty of questions for Edd too, to really take advantage of his knowledge during the informal Q&A part of the dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 26 April at The Royal Exchange Grand Cafe, The City

Deconstructing Company Valuations with Mark Williams, Director at Results International
Want to understand how company valuations are determined, what drives valuations and how to value your company? We love to turn a complex or confusing topic (for some) into a fun-filled evening of great food, discussions, enlightenment (from a knowledgeable speaker) and a glass or two of wine! So, we have great pleasure in welcoming Mark Williams, Director of Results International as our after-dinner speaker to shed some necessary light on the topic of company valuations.

Mark has spent his entire career advising high growth and disruptive companies on mergers and acquisitions, fundraisings and strategic options – which makes him perfect to talk about the evening’s topic. Join others with a shared interest, as well as Mark, and be sure to bring plenty of questions to really take advantage of his knowledge during the informal Q&A part of the dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 27 April at The Happenstance, The City

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

adaptandthriveAnia, Head of Commercial Developments for Products/Digital at Travelex, let us in on a few secrets at her dinner recently about how established companies can adapt and thrive in a sea of startups. Here’s her top tips for maintaining your piece of the pie:

  1. First and foremost develop a clear strategy
  2. When launching digital products there needs to be differentiation from competitors’ products
  3. Change how you think and serve customers – don’t become stagnant in the way you view and approach your clientele
  4. Established brands (especially in the financial sector) should have a huge network of stores which gives them an unrivalled exposure to customers for digital products (and also keeping the cost of customer acquisition low, which is always a bonus!)
  5. If you’ve previously focussed on individual transactions, would it benefit your company if you switched your focus to the lifetime of customers instead? Concentrate on retaining customers as much as securing new ones.

For any ‘Big Company’ looking to respond to these challenges that startups are throwing their way, in the eyes of Ania, they ultimately need:

  • the support for change at the highest level – effectively meaning the CEO needs to buy in to the plan too
  • to use all of their assets including distribution channels, lower acquisition costs and strong branding
  • So translating the High level process to something meaningful for the people doing the day job
  • to translate the high level process into something meaningful for the people executing the day-to-day tasks – what changes are needed to the processes already in place? Do staff need incentives to ensure your new strategy becomes a reality?

Be sure to check out other tips from our speakers, as well as our future TableCrowd dinners.

pancake You all know we love food here at TableCrowd HQ, so we’re excited that next week has two great evenings in store for you. The first being Pancake Day on Tuesday 9 February (any excuse to whip up a batch of mouth-watering stack of pancakes!), followed swiftly by our Travelex dinner on Wednesday evening at Piccolino, Exchange Square.

Ania Walker, Head of Commercial Development for Products/Digital at Travelex will be talking about the challenges faced by established businesses, particularly those created by startups. In her role at Travelex, Ania is responsible for corporate and product strategy, and has been working to define and deliver their digital change agenda.

So, get those burning questions ready and book your seat at dinner with Travelex for what is sure to be an insightful dining experience.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 10 February at Piccolino, Shoreditch/The City.

calendarUpcoming TableCrowd dinners
> Dine with Forward Partners – Wednesday 17 February [SOLD OUT]
> Breakfast for Founders – Tuesday 23 February
> Bootstrapping to success – Monday 29 February
> Dine with Caroline Hyde – Thursday 3 March
> Dine with Frog Capital – Tuesday 8 March


As October rolls on here at TableCrowd, we’ve got some inspiring speakers to answer all your burning questions about how to get your business off the ground. Next week is all about start-up journeys, from idea to conception to funding, and we’ll be dining with some guests who know exactly how crazy those journeys can be, like Ross Williams, who set up his incredibly successful empire Venntro in a tiny office with next to no funding. And we’ll also be hearing from Andrew Humphries from The Bakery, the world’s first dedicated accelerator for the advertising and marketing industry. Book your seat now and let’s eat!

Startup journeys with The Bakery’s co-founder: from idea & team building, to funding & growth, through to exit
Dine with Andrew Humphries and discuss your startup’s journey. Andrew is co-founder of The Bakery and previously, he co-founded 2 successful technology businesses, raising over $42m in venture funding, and growing both in Europe and the US, before exiting via trade sales. Andrew has a wealth of experience including raising money, spending money, building teams, choosing co-founders, growing overseas and planning for growth/exit. He will be talking about a startup’s journey, which encapsulates all these things.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 26th October, Lima Floral, Covent Garden

Building a successful business without funding
Ross Williams, founder and CEO of Venntro (with brands including White Label Dating and Just Singles), built his business from the ground up into an empire with 45m consumers on 25,000+ sites with an annualised revenue of £5om. He will be sharing his advice on how to succeed without relying on funding, and will cover his experience and knowledge about the right times and reasons to raise money.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 28th October at Obicà, Poland Street

eToro Traders’ Network dinner
Also at TableCrowd next week, we’re hosting the next instalment of eToro Traders’ Network dinners. After the success of previous eToro meet-ups, next week’s dinner will be a chance for eToro traders, employees and community members to meet up in person. We will also be joined by special guest and Popular Investor, Anna Serafini. Come along to meet the traders!
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Thursday 29th October at Obicà, Poland Street

See the TableCrowd website for more exciting dinners in the pipeline.

P.S. Don’t forget on Tuesday we have our Breakfast for Founder’s at Aubaine in Broadgate Circle, where you can expand your network over croissants and coffee… Strictly founder’s running start-ups only!

kaushalWe’ve had a busy week of TableCrowd dinners this week. On Tuesday, we had the pleasure of dining with Priyanka Karunanithi from Octopus Ventures, early stage investor, and she shared her special tips on investment to a select group of female founders. Over at Lima Floral on Tuesday, our diners were treated to a very special intimate dinner with Philipp Pointer from Jumio, who led a discussion all about vision and product. We finished off our week’s dinners with a lively debate about social media featuring the expert social media strategist at Tom’s Kitchen in St Katharine Docks. For all the tips and tricks that our diners were privy to, read on below…

priyankaFundraising dinner for female founders with Octopus Ventures
At Aubaine on Tuesday night, our female diners were in the spotlight with a dinner especially for female founders. Our speaker was Priyanka Karunanithi who shared with us her advice. For example, how do you get in touch with VCs?

Network, network, network. It’s a very network-driven industry.

Priyanka confirmed our suspicions that dining at TableCrowd is not just a great evening out, but also a fundamental part of building your business and gaining investment (all the more reason to book your next dinner ). Other ways to get in touch:

  • Use Twitter or social media to engage directly or with their portfolio companies.
  • Go through their current trusted network, e.g. portfolio CEOs, industry experts, lawyers that work with young companies or accountants that work with young companies.

Got your VCs contact details now? Don’t forget these golden rules before you get in touch with them:

  1. Know what kind of fundraising you want going forward.
  2. Figure out what you want from a venture capitalist investor.
  3. Do your homework – research which venture capitalist firms are out there.
  4. Start the conversation well in advance.

Want a brief guide explaining how to present to a VC? Check out Priyanka’s short guide here.

lima-philippTurning visions into products dinner with Philipp Pointner of Jumio
Also on Tuesday night, we were over at Lima Floral in Covent Garden for an intimate dinner with Philipp Pointner of Jumio. With over $36.7m in funding, Jumio is a leading identity management and credentials company that helps businesses reduce fraud and increase revenue while providing a fast, seamless customer experience.

Philipp has grown up with fintech, being instrumental to product at paysafecard and First Data before joining Jumio.

So what is the point of having a vision when facilitating product strategy?

A vision is about why a company exists in the first place.

This means every company will mean something different when they talk about their vision.

Making money is not a vision. Making money is a consequence of a vision, but it doesn’t qualify. Making money alone is not enough.

Philipp shared Jumio’s vision of enabling people to pay online anonymously resembling cash payments that take place in real life. Their vision encompassed the fantasy scenario of a day in the life of a Jumio user. In their vision, their product is being used for every single transaction, from breakfast to travel to work to night time.

A vision makes a difference and changes people’s behaviour. From the product side, a vision is something that may not necessarily be possible right now, but it is something that will be possible in the future.
kaushal2‘Tales from the trenches’: How to win using social media dinner
On Wednesday night we were over at Tom’s Kitchen dining with Kaushal Tailor, expert social media strategist. Kaushal first started out running the social media strategy at BBC Asian. She found that the BBC was in fact quite a conservative environment, and particularly male-dominated, and she had to convince a whole network of old-school Asian people to understand what social media was! Her career has flourished since then and she has now just finished working for Youtube and Google. She shared her tips for social media strategy for start-ups:

  • Trial and error. No one gets it right first time so don’t be afraid to start somewhere.
  • Put out regular content. Kaushal’s previous client, BBC Asian, were getting unfollows and unlikes due to sporadic postings. BBC Asian is now learning about consistency – constant branded content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
  • Concentrate first on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then Tumblr and the rest. Put your energy where the important channels are, so if your users favour Facebook, then stick to Facebook!
  • Get feedback from your users in order to get your product going. This will ensure the campaign has a legacy.

And don’t scrimp on staff, even if you are a small fledgling business. It will show in your results.

Although start-ups try to be frugal, strategist and social media manager are 2 different roles. Even if you are a small team, your results will not be as great if you try to combine both.

Ultimately, social media is about making mistakes, learning through trial and error. For more tips on this topic, check out Kaushal’s post about how to win at social media.

Our speakers this week were joined by: Freestak, Flair Atelier, Unbiasapp, Niwa, Scrubbingtons, Atollo, Piggyback Property, LifeShifter, iDefigo, Jumio, AvePoint, Weaver Digital, Management Today, RATP Dev UK, ShopStyle, LCCA, Born Social, Nabas Legal, Insane Logic, Board Intelligence, Smarter Queue, Make Happy, JC Decaux and UK Study Centre amongst others.

Special thanks to Priyanka, Philipp and Kaushal for their fantastic advice, and also to our partner Constant Contact.