Archives for category: Startup Diaries

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.18.41With the idea of subscriptions gaining traction over the last 5 years, it’s not surprising that it’s now a household name in terms of business models. So, we thought a dinner with the topic of building a successful subscription business would be perfect for our TableCrowd members. Felix Rossknecht, a freelance growth consultant, provided ample advice and knowledge on subscription businesses. Working with both HelloFresh and Pact Coffee, Felix has seen the subscription model take off and help turn startups into global companies.

Screenshot 2016-08-01 16.19.18Felix spoke about the key areas to concentrate when building a subscription business, highlighting the importance of the consumers’ experience, as well as the product itself. Read all about it in our blog post, How to make a subscription model work for your business.

Special thanks to Felix, our speaker, who was joined by Senselab, 34.4, EarlyBird, The Curiosity Box, WATS.ON, Just Opened London, toucanBox, thinking bob, Friction Free Shaving, Hop Hosiery, Socialstartup.co, Lean Advantage and Purple Stone Rooms amongst others.

LinkedIn COverblogWe’ve had a busy 2014 and we’d like to thank you for being part of it.

Around this time last year, we took a decision to base the platform around business networking rather than networking for friendship. Since then, we have hosted 100′s of dinners for a diverse range of industries including finance, health and beauty, education, entertainment, travel, food, property and fashion, with topics ranging from “bitcoin” to “digital beauty” and from “demystifying hedge funds” to “building your online presence”. You can look back over all the meeting and eating here and see all our wonderful speakers here.

We’ve had some great highlights this year, including being featured in GQ, the TableCrowd branded pie courtesy of The Green, welcoming Facebook as after-dinner speakers, finding a home for our HQ in an office we LOVE in the heart of Shoreditch – and most importantly, dining out way too much!

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We are joined regularly by entrepreneurs and professionals from different fields and at different stages, both startups and established companies. We also welcome investors and journalists to our dinners. Pretty much all the broadsheets and key tech press have dined at our tables this year, together with top venture capitalists and prominent London investors.

If you’ve not been along to our dinners before and are wondering what it’s like, check out this short video, which we had a lot of fun making. If you have dined with us before, we’d love your suggestions of business themes, speakers and industries you’re interested in for 2015. Let us know here: hello@tablecrowd.com.

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A massive thanks to our 2014 partners that have supported us and made it possible for us to host such a wide range of networking dinners for our community. We are excited about plans for 2015 and hope that you’ll be dining with us.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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Love Tuesday nights at #StartupEngine dinners and last night was no exception. The only negative for me is that I have probably ordered everything on Chico Bandito’s menu at least twice.

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This week we were joined by @WebbJS, founder of Get2Growth and startups lead at Rackspace. With 20 years experience across multiple tech sectors, John works with startup teams to devise and develop their Value Propositions, and then make them a reality through product and marketing. John talked about his ideas and strategies for helping startups and we had the chance to informally pick his brains.

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We had some tremendous startups around the table for dinner, all TableCrowd old timers, apart from new kid on the block @murraymuzz. He told his really interesting and fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants story that led him to where he is today – working on fashion app Grabble, which allows internet window shoppers to “grab” everything that takes their fancy and save it (like a book mark) and get notified when something goes on sale. You can see what other people have grabbed, if they make it public, and grab something of their’s for your own. Most likely, I will be copying my most fashionable friends with my new hobby this weekend.

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Looking forward to the next #StartupEngine dinner for more business networking.

You might like this upcoming dinner on 4th February: Courtesy of Tech City News there is a supper club at Eight Club with Simon Sinek speaking. Limited spaces!

Probably the last update of the year, as the Christmas madness descends and we battle to get everything we set out to do in 2013 done! (No time for blogging).

We had a great Startup Engine dinner at Chico Bandito for people with exciting ideas brewing, who were just getting things going or had plans to do so. Founders’ Hive also hosted their first dinner for their growing community on the site. Sean Obedih from Founders’ Hive is hosting his second dinner on 6th December, the day before the Founders’ Hive demo day. Get in touch with us or Sean for details of either. We have exciting news about some new partners for our startup dinners, which will be kicking off in the New Year.

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I made it along to the 2nd #vagtech dinner (it does what it says on the tin) organised by Chloe Nicholls from PublicBeta. A chance to meet other ladies in tech at the tech friendly Thirsty Bear – where you can ‘build your own burgers’. All ordering is done via a console from the table and bills can be paid individually. It gives people the flexibility to come and go as they please and also provided an interesting talking point.

Our Reuters on the Road interview went live on Reuters. We also had a nice interview on Lily and Parker. Also keep your eyes peeled for a short TableCrowd video we put together, starring some of our members – we’re pretty sure you’ll recognise a few faces. We’ll be releasing that soon.

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1390703_605787919481904_745374685_nWe were invited to pitch at a sharing economy event arrange by Crowdcube and Compare And Share at Level 39 in Canary Wharf. Compare and Share have just gone into over-funding on Crowdcube with a tremendous concept that has set out to do for the sharing economy market what Ebay has done for the second hand market. We picked up the audience vote for “best pitch”. Not a bad evening’s work.

Nominated for the “Startup Of The Year” award by Tech City News, we attended the awards ceremony at private members’ club, Eight. The team at Tech City News did themselves proud and put on a tremendous event for 100+ people. Dinner and drinks with all the other startups on the London scene. Congrats to my pals at Fitness Freak and Dattch for their awards and thanks to all our members who took the time to vote for TableCrowd.

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Looking forward to being part of the #CampusFeast. Campus is bringing together the most original food startups, to celebrate food innovation with a delicious feast of food and drink. I’m sure we’ll be seeing some familiar faces.

To see what’s coming up and who you could be meeting and eating with, browse tables here.

A few more updates from TableCrowd HQ. We’ve been busy as usual.

Joined a Sharing Economy committee led by Sooquini to talk and make plans for the industry. This tied in nicely with TableCrowd’s Sharing Economy Startups “Meet & Eat” that had been in the diary for a while. You can read how it went here and see the follow up press that the dinner generated on Tech City News, here. Also look out for the podcast on Tech City Insider that will be published soon.

We were selected to appear in PITCH at the Global Web Summit, as well as exhibit. The #WebSummit is described as the ‘meeting of 10,000 of the brightest minds’. Flattered. The event was enormous with 100′s of inspiring companies descending on Dublin from all around the world. And to follow the Day Summit was the Night Summit – bars and live music venues packed out. It was a really valuable event to be part of; although it was quite ironic that there was no WIFI on day one – perhaps the reason for the rebrand from ‘The Web Summit to ‘The Summit’. Whilst in Dublin we made front page news in the national press, The Irish Times.

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web summit2We dropped a last minute application into Vator Splash London and we made it through into the semi’s and then the finals, which means we were up on stage at the home of great sunsets, Level 39, pitching in front of investors and sponsors on 7th November. An impressive high profile event with a great calibre of speaker and startups.

kate founder blogThere have been some great dinners this month for entrepreneurs. We had experienced Finance Director from The Growth Lab, Rachel Cheal, join us to answer those finance burning questions. We also had dinner with Sian Skelton from Taylor Wessing, on the topic of Intellectual Property law.

You can view all our upcoming dinners here.

We have been very busy at TableCrowd HQ – same old! An update on what’s been going on with the project and the team.

I signed up to TechBikers and joined 70+ other techies in cycling from Paris to London. It was 3-day memorable adventure. You can see my full write-up about the experience on Tech City Insider.

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In order to feel like a fully-fledged ‘techie’ for the TechBikers adventure, I finally dabbled in a bit of coding with Makers Academy. It was a ‘build a website in a weekend’ course in aid of TechBiker’s Charity, Room to Read. You can see what I made here, it is without a doubt, an asset to the web.

The Startup Leadership Program started, and from 1000’s we were selected to take part in the 6-month course, which covers all stages of business, with expert speakers at each session, sharing their wisdom. I teamed up with Andres Sanchez of livingindietv.com, to run a session on business pitching, with an experienced panel judging the startups.

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We had 2 “meet and eats” booked in this month at Google Campus. The first we partnered with Eyedea to run an ecommerce dinner, with guest speaker Emma Watkinson from SilkFred and the second, we ran a “Tales from the Trenches” dinner in honour of Social Media Week, with Ruth Barnett (SwiftKey), Zoe Arch (CraftCandy) and WenLin Soh (Edible Experiences) sharing their experiences. Thanks to sponsors Taylor Wessing and nerv for their continued support.

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London law firm Chadbourne invited us to join their table for the annual AIM markets awards, a black-tie sit down dinner for 1,200 people at Old Billingsgate. Rob Bryant was the very entertaining entertainment! If you think the male/female ratio for women in tech is skewed, this took it to another level.

We headed over Reuters in Canary Wharf bright and early to take part in “Reuters on the Road”, an online video series filmed and produced by Reuters to follow London startups. The interview takes place in a black cab as it loops Canary Wharf. The edit should be out soon.

If you haven’t joined us for dinner yet, why not come and along and try out TableCrowd. Have a look at upcoming dinners here.

We’re currently neck deep working on our iPhone app (we know, we know, it’s about time). Thanks to Iggy Hammick, Alok Matta and  Thomas Mason who joined our lunchtime “Testing & Tapas” lunch last month to look at a very raw early version and to offer thoughts and feedback. We’d love to hear your views, so if you’d like to get an early look and have your say in what we’re doing, please get in touch – @tablecrowd

We’re over the moon to have been asked to both exhibit and pitch at the Global Web Summit in Dublin at the end of October. We’ll be joining a bunch of other startups showing our wares and battling it out on stage in the pitch competition. Dublin is going to be bursting at the seams, but we managed to book some bargain digs on Airbnb. We were asked to speak at their last community meeting to help community leaders use the ‘groups’ functionality and received a kind gift of a voucher for our next Airbnb stay. Very timely!

TableCrowd Startup Women Meet & Eat was great fun to be part of. We had a tremendous line up of startups and their press and blogger contacts. Nice to see write-ups on The Wall, Upper Street and Chloe Nicholls blog following the event. Julian Blake from Tech City Insider joined the dinner and we met the following week for an audio interview about TableCrowd. We are now part of the Tech City Insider 100!

We were invited to pitch at the Digital Entrepreneur dinner event at Adam Street private members’ club. A community already sold on meeting over food (this was a good start!). It was an opportunity to tell more people about TableCrowd and get feedback on our concept and plans. It was great to be part of the event. Congats to My Bubbles who raised funding off the back of their pitch at this event!

Popped into Digital Dumbo (focused this time around digital apprenticeships for local young people) before heading to the Casa Negra for a women in tech dinner hosted by Balderton. A really great evening surrounded by a very inspiring and successful bunch of ladies, plus just one gent from Balderton.

We were invited to General Assembly to speak to their digital marketing class. Also speaking was Zoe Arch of Craft Candy, Charlotte Henry, journalist at The Wall, Tiffany Philippou from onefinestay, Chloe Nicholls from PublicBeta and Robyn Exxon from Dattch. Nice to catch up with everyone, meet the students and eat Pizza!

Back to work! Hi ho hi ho….

Join our Startup Engine dinner this week with Rachel Cheal of The Growth Lab. Your chance to ask questions of an experienced finance director!

 

It’s been a while since we updated you on business at TableCrowd and what we’ve been up to, so here is a quick roundup.

Kate joined the Advisory Board for Social Media Week (“SMW”). SMW is returning to London in September 2013 and is hosted by Chinwag for the fourth consecutive year. This year’s theme is Open & Connected reflecting on the global impact of social media and its role as a catalyst in driving cultural, political, economic and social change.

TableCrowd is hosting a dinner for startups for Social Media Week, “Tales from the Trenches” – using social media effectively for your startup. Dinner at Google Campus, in usual TableCrowd style, followed by Q&A with 3 carefully selected startups. Real examples, experiences, ideas and tips. We’ll get down to the dirty detail and the nitty gritty of what actually works – and what doesn’t! Ruth Barnett of SwiftKey, Zoe Arch of Craft Candy & WenLin Soh of Edible Experiences will be our after dinner Q&A panel. You can book onto the table here.

Kate was invited to speak at the rapidly growing #Croydon #TechCity event at Matthews Yard. A thriving startup and digital community that is starting to make its mark on the map thanks to its champions Jonny Rose and Nigel Dias. A great event and wonderful opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs and founders. The first Croydon Citizen dinner took place a few weeks after.

Food Tech Wednesday launched with a bang. A meetup for London’s Food Tech Startups. Everything from food subscriptions services, restaurant booking sites, mobile loyalty apps, social marketing programs and more – everything high tech related to the food and hospitality businesses. The purpose of the meetups is to get together to share notes on the market, exchange knowledge and inspire each other. They are the last Wednesday of the month – you can get involved here.

After re-launching our site using Responsive Web Design earlier this year, we added our first responsive email template. You may have received it, we hope you liked it! Next steps for our whizz development team is our iPhone app. The planning and scheming is well underway – we anticipate a super fast turnaround.

And of course, we’ve had some really interesting dinners, particularly startup dinners. Our Fashion Startups “Meet & Eat” was a great success with a great line up of startups and press / blogger guests. We also had dinner with Benjamin Southworth (pre his departure from UKTI) and dinner with Simon Menashy of MMC.

That’s all folks! You can see what’s coming up and join in the action, by browsing dinners here.

Sunday. Fresh off the plane from a very successful trip to San Francisco and NYC and headed straight to the SilkFred sample sale in Brick Lane. SilkFred is the online destination for emerging fashion designers and CEO & Founder Emma Watkinson has hosted a few TableCrowd fashion tables. It was a buzzy event packed out with designers and shoppers.

Monday. (Jetlagged). No rest for the wicked. Before my trip, I bagged a demo slot at Tech Meetups demo and drinks event (#tmudrinks) at Google Campus so tried my hand at pitching and fielding questions with jetlag. It went well.

I went straight from this pitch to a TableCrowd Startup Engine Dinner at Chico Bandito. This week we were joined by Chris Bradley, the Suitcase Startup. Chris is filming his journey as he takes his startup, Publicate, from his bedroom in North Wales to London, with no money, no accommodation and no office. Chris booked to crash on my sofa after our TableCrowd dinner via Startup Stay. Chris is featuring the startups that he stays with in his fly-on-the-wall-documentary, so we did an interview at the restaurant after the meal.

Wednesday. (Still jetlagged). Meeting confirmed with a venture capital firm in Paris, so booked the Eurostar tickets. Hosted a TableCrowd dinner ‘Make The Move – Leave The City‘ at Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen for professionals looking to leave the City. Met some really interesting diners, including Cali Bird, author of ‘Don’t Give Up Your Day Job’ who is hosting a table of her own on this very topic in a few weeks time.

Friday. (Jetlag not gone). Back to back meetings all day and sandwiched between them I hosted a ‘feedback’ lunch at Red Dog Saloon set up for attendees of Tech Meetup’s demo event earlier this week. I wanted people to try the site and offer feedback based on the actual experience, not just the info I shared in my presentation. Very useful info – and good burgers.

It’s the Weekend! (Still not over the jetlag, bored now). Bonjour Paris! Without having chance to unpack from the US trip, headed to Paris in preparation for Monday’s VC meeting. Used Airbnb again to grab some bargain digs and found time to check out the Arc De Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and to sample some great steak!

Last month, TableCrowd was accepted to join Chinwag’s 2013 Digital Mission to NYC, so as well as the great schedule of events arranged by the Chinwag team, I set up a number of other meetings for fundraising and partnership purposes to maximize the benefit from the trip. So here is a little insight into two of the most hectic weeks of my life…!

Monday. From the comfort of my downtown Airbnb digs, I read up on the other companies that were on the Mission and I realized that I was going to be in grand company. Got acquainted with most of the other missions companies over informal drinks in Manhattan.

Tuesday. First up, we had a legal master class from attorneys at Venable LLP on how foreign companies can operate / raise money in the US, including structural, tax and immigration issues. Next up was the “Patricia Show” starring Patricia Bayley of NYC Economic Development Corp and Patricia Young of UKTI, who talked about the support available for UK companies looking to expand to the US, which ranged from making introductions to financial grants.

Our trip coincided with Social Media Week (#smwnyc), which is a global event exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media. Took in my first session, which was a roundtable discussion from published social media authors. Bang on trend, there were prizes for the most prolific tweeters, the winner knocking out around 1 every 2 minutes for the hour session #inanotherleague.

Spent the evening at the Social Media Week opening party for food, drink, music and networking.

Wednesday. Very excited about a morning visit to Google’s office on 9th Street, which they bought for the bargain price of $1.7bn. The space is both the second biggest office in New York and Google’s second largest space. 

So what goes down at Google? Well the space is so extensive that there are scooters to whizz around on and our employee tour guide said even after 3 years at the company, he still risks getting lost when venturing to an unfamiliar floor. There are fire escapes (ladders from ceiling to floor) connecting some of the floors to save time when navigating. Each floor has multiple micro kitchens, which are stocked with complimentary goodies to refuel staff. There are also bigger fully serviced restaurants where staff can sample top-notch grub knocked up by guest chefs looking to showcase their dishes. Each floor also has a tech stop, which is effectively an engineer drop in site, where staff can get tech issues fixed.

The whole place was a spacious hub of creativity with themed break out areas, workspaces and cubbyholes. Something to suit all tastes; download a book, have a jam, enjoy a massage, get a sweat on with a gym work out or a challenge a colleague to a round of ping pong. And if graffiti is your thing, you can pretty much write on every wall, so you’d fit right in!

We had Q&A session with an employee from Creative Labs. THE dream job for anyone in the digital or creative industries where teams of four people work in concentrated two week blocks to develop ideas, often from specs direct from Google’s Larry Page. After the initial development phase, around half are scrapped and half progressed. No clients. No limit on creativity. No tight budgets. She introduced Google Glass. The website went live at 3am the previous day so was literally hot off the press. The intro video had me mesmerised. Although how Google normalizes this and removes its robotic feel must be a problem to solve.

I dived back into Social Media Week for the BuzzFeed evening session. They used an entertaining analogy of going to a party to explain how to best use social media and to decide how/when/what to post.  In short, you won’t be a particularly popular party guest if you constantly talk about yourself, interrupt people, beg people to like you or say what you said at the last party! I can see the transferable messages when using Twitter.

Thursday. We had a breakfast round table at the British Consulate where we had time in small groups with UKTI, real estate and branding experts to help answer our questions on operating in the US on a more intimate level. I gathered some interesting information regarding grants available for market research and trade shows which could be applicable to TableCrowd.

We had a visit and Q&A session at Spark Lab, a really cool space near Union Square where a number of startups operate from. Vivek Boray (startup attorney) facilitated a really informative discussion on the fund raising process with the help of Adam Lewis of InnovateCV who had been through the process. Very interesting that many of his experiences already replicated our own as we embark on that same fundraising journey.

In the evening, Chinwag hosted the Great British Pub Quiz at Ogilvy & Mather where teams battled it out with Chinwag’s Sam Michel up on stage as quiz master extraordinaire. The evening was topped off with an after hours tour of the offices and their spectacular rooftop garden.

Friday. Headed over to Brooklyn on the Manhattan bridge (yes, this was a navigational error) to visit Huge Inc, which was … huge (sorry, couldn’t resist).

They grew from a small team of 7 to over 600 people since launch. The name was meant to be ironic, but they have certainly now grown into it. It is a great space, which matches their client list. Interesting to hear that bagging a big client in New York is likely to mean $2.5-5m yearly revenues, versus the $500k revenues for a comparable client win in the UK. Found the Brooklyn Bridge for the stroll back to Manhattan.

Finished the week with one final Social Media Week session, “you said you like me, but we never do anything together” which discussed the best ways to interact with fans.

The Social Media Week closing party was held in a converted synagogue and was a cracking end to a action packed week.

- Kate
@katejacksonk