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recruitmentAs a high-calibre mentor in the valley in the US, Matt Lerner, 500 Startups’ London Partner, has been hiring and building growth team for 10 years. His main tip about recruitment for his fellow diners at the recent dinner he spoke at was:

Hiring the best people is critical.

He looks for people who are:

  • Humble. People are failing all the time; some people try to hide it.
  • Curious. People who are intensively asking questions.
  • Motivators and know how to move. Collaborative and team working can really influence behaviour.

For more great tips from our speakers, check out our Top Tips posts, although nothing beats hearing from them in person. So, why not join a dinner?

subscribeA subscription business model can help form the strongest possible connection between your brand and the customer. Done right, it can continually add value for the customer and create certainty for the business – as well as appealing to investors if you can show the history of the customer life-cycle.

Dine with growth expert, Felix Rossknecht, where he will be speaking about building a successful subscription business model. Working with both startups (like Pact Coffee & HelloFresh) as well as big, established brands (like Nectar & Visa), Felix is your man for this hot topic.

Felix will be sharing the three main factors to focus on to make it successful.

The quickest way to make progress with your business is to spend time with people that have “been there” to learn about what they did right and wrong and to hear their experiences. Don’t miss this chance to meet Felix informally over dinner and to get into the fundamentals of how to succeed with subscriptions in your business.

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

travelexEveryone had a fantastic time at the intimate dinner with Travelex’s Head of Commercial Products/Digital, Ania Walker last night at Piccolino restaurant in Exchange Square. Talking on the topic of how established companies adapt and thrive with the constant influx of new FinTech players joining the industry, Ania had some great advice and insight for her fellow guests. Her talk covered everything from the problems established brands face from well-funded new FinTech companies to the reality of startups having a 1 billion dollar value in 2015 yet only having a revenue of 10 million dollars.

Explaining the rise of FinTech startups, Ania attributes it to how the usage of online and smart phones has increased the overall number of transactions and the ease of completing a transaction has improved significantly because of these access points too. Startups are able to offer better deals and services than banks and traditional companies as there are no additional costs of branches or legacy business that may be cannabalised as a result.

Screenshot 2016-02-15 13.19.30Ania was joined by WiseAlpha Technologies, YouView TV Limited, Weaver Digital, thevyoynatist.com amongst others.

Special thanks goes to our speaker, Ania.

For more TableCrowd dinners to join – check out what’s coming up.

dd-cemWe get some great feedback from our diners that it’s a shame not to share it with everyone. So, to celebrate all of the fantastic diners we have that join us at our TableCrowd dinners, we’re starting a Diner’s Digest. Here’s our first review from Cem Guralp, founder of Optaset:

Wonderful hosts, great food and a diverse, interesting and high quality group of diners would have been enough for most, but we were also lucky enough to have a fascinating talk from Dom Smales at last night’s Table Crowd #meetandeat event.
 
MD of social talent agency Gleam Futures, Dom shared his own invaluable insights into the intricacies of the exploding business behind the YouTube superstars he manages. Amongst other things, he described in detail where that business has come from, where it is now and how brands can best work with online talent to benefit from their massive popularity and reach.

In all, a great evening courtesy of Table Crowd – if there’s something you’re interested in on their menu in the coming months, you’d be a fool to miss it.
Big thanks to Cem for such a lovely review. He joined us for dinner with Dom Smales at The Green, Clerkenwell. If you’d like to be considered for our next Diner’s Digest, send us your review to hello@tablecrowd.com with the subject title: Diner’s Digest.

adr230415-2  What a great week of dinners we’ve had. The dinner with Ari Helgason, an Early Stage Tech Investor at Dawn Capital on Monday started the ball rolling, and his successful dinner was quickly followed by a double whammy Tuesday with the founder of SaVse Smoothies dining with food and beverage startups, and Tim Jackson from Lean Investments talking money. Dinner with Mikey Howe, Founding Partner of Escape the City, finished up the dinners for this week leaving our diners truly inspired about their future aspirations. Job well done to all – here’s a quick look at what went on:

Joining the dark side
Diners at Aubaine on Monday, had the pleasure of hearing from Ari Helgason about the step-by-step process of looking for funding, how to apply for it, as well as what his company looks for when they invest. Originally coming from the entrepreneurial side of things, Ari provided an overview of his startups before he moved over to the “dark side of capital funding”. Providing everyone with tips on what you should and shouldn’t do when meeting a VC, including:

Be prepared; do your research on the investors before you meet them.

All in all, the charming Ari provided a wonderfully insightful speech, covering a plethora of in-depth questions with incredible detail and knowledge.

adr23.04.15Push, stalk and pester buyers
Starting with a background in sales, Guka Tavberidze, spoke passionately about the beginnings of his business, from taking inspiration from his Mum by making drinks like she always did, to being determined to make his smoothies cold-pressed. Interestingly, companies like innocent and Naked pasteurise their drinks which strips the fruit and veg of their nutrients. After being told cold-pressed drinks were impossible to produce many times, he finally found the right people to help him achieve his idea.

With getting products stocked being high on the agenda of many diners at this dinner, Guka spoke about how he decided to go high end straight away, targeting Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. His top tip for getting stocked in stores was, ultimately:

You have to push, stalk and pester buyers until they try your product.

Speaking regularly and highly of his team, Guka stressed the importance of hiring the right people to ensure their level of commitment and passion for the brand mirrors your own. He is a major advocate for always doing the hiring for your business yourself.

It’s hard to talk
Next up was Tim Jackson’s hugely anticipated dinner talking all things money, investment and fundraising. To set the scene, Pescatori did a fantastic job of creating a beautiful ambiance with pretty fairy lights and candles decorating the room. Tim began his speech by regaling a story about his trip to Tokyo, and how there’s a saying that,

If you go to Tokyo for a day, you come back and write a book;
If you go for a month, you write a small novel;
If you go for a year, you write an article, and
If you go for five years you won’t write anything.

Tim explained that talking about fundraising is very similar, in that, the longer you are in the business and have experience in fundraising, the harder it is to talk about it.

His speech included a summary of his past experience in startups and being a VC – so he has experiences on both sides of the industry – although he followed this up with saying, “I don’t claim to have great expertise, in fact, the longer I do this job, the more I realise I don’t have any!”

However, what he has done along the way is observe mistakes that have been made, and that was the key driver for Tuesday night’s speech. Tim covered the six key questions to ask:

  1. Why raise capital?
  2. What’s on offer?
  3. How much to raise?
  4. What’s the valuation?
  5. Who from?
  6. How?

As an example, Tim spoke about the company 37 Signals and how founder Jason Freed never got outside funding; 100% of the business belongs to him.

When you raise money, your company is a cake and you are giving away a slice of your cake. You very rarely get that slice back.

Essentially, Tim summed up fundraising with this point and explained, that you should be careful of how much you are asking for, what you’re giving up, and check first – do you really need that funding?

adr230415-1Jumping through hoops
A lot of us know the story already, getting stuck in a corporate job after going through all the ‘right routes’ of good grades, university, and jumping through the expected hoops only to end up in job that you didn’t really want in the first place! Mikey’s talk at last night’s dinner covered exactly this well-known narrative, as not only the beginnings of Escape the City, but also the backdrop for many of the members joining their community.

Covering the story of how Escape the City came to be, included hearing how much Mikey hated his job and spent countless hours hiding in the toilets reading about new entrepreneurs on his iPhone, as well as the original light bulb moment. It can all be traced back to a single interaction between Mikey’s business partners’ Dom and Rob, when Dom whispered to Rob, “This is pretty shit, isn’t it?” Cue blogs, mailing lists, a huge fanbase and going global! A book deal followed shortly after, and thanks to crowdfunding from their members the team built their company into what it is today; a place for people to find exciting career opportunities and network with like-minded people.

Diners this week included: Shine Holistic, Verb Brands, Maintaino, Inspired Escapes, Lima, PixelPin, Network Locum, Streethub, UnderTheDoormat, Popcorn Kitchen, BananaBerry, CHO Gazpacho, Cinnamon Bridge, NRJ Drinks, Urban Food Fest, Virtue Ice Tea, Cocomojo, SocioApps, Much Better Adventures, PM EVO, MapSit, 1ROOF, USPAAH, The Friction, MyGravity, WishWant as well as others.

Big thanks goes out to our speakers Ari Helgason, Tim Jackson, Guka Tavberidze and Mikey Howe, as well as our partners Alma CG and Taylor Wessing.

alma&taylor

Take a look at all of our upcoming dinners here.

 

We first met Colin White, co-founder of Sumo Insight at our #MeetandEat for AdTech startups back in January. Here’s the business spotlight on his mobile market research app.

ColinCollider What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Sumo Insight is a ‘designed for mobile’ market research platform disrupting the consumer insight sector. We bring brands closer to their consumers by using the power of the smartphone to engage with consumers at the right time, and in the right place, for richer, deeper insight in traditional question format and multimedia responses such as video answers.


What were you doing before you launched your startup?

20 years working for blue-chip enterprises such as Toshiba and Orange.  However, I had a busy 12 months prior to starting Sumo Insight as part of the core team that re-branded Orange to EE and launched the first 4G network in the UK. The deadlines were tough but what we achieved under NDA conditions was huge for the industry, bringing forward the introduction of 4G in the UK by at least 12 months.  

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

A mutual friend introduced us. She knew we were both looking to do the same thing!


What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

So many to choose from! In hindsight though, I think we would have brought our technology to market in smaller steps. Our MVP was quite developed and some of the functionality could have been brought to market in smaller stages. It’s a better process to focus the mind one step at a time!
sumotriotransparentWhat will 2015 bring?

2014 was about early adoption of our tech by brands and agencies eager to benefit from introducing mobile in their market research mix, which has brought in revenues, but, more importantly, has allowed us to work closer with real clients in real scenarios and introduce these learnings in to our business. We’re working on a Proof of Concept now which will evolve our product based on client feedback and we’re looking to launch as a MVP later this year (learning from our hindsight!). We’re also just starting to raise further investment under the SEIS scheme following our initial investment round through Collider.io last year.  

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Look to the USA for guidance. The market research sector is innovating faster in the US.

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

Traditional research doesn’t add context to consumer insight and it’s often slow. Capturing consumers’ stories, emotions and feedback, in-the-moment they are made via a consumer’s personal smartphone, captures a level of raw honesty you don’t get from other methodology. Faster, deeper consumer understanding! Try us with a brief!


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

Mfour – doing similar great stuff in the USA.


What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Well, if you’re going to treat me, it’s Hakkasan. Big bold tastes of Asia with an electric atmosphere. If you’re not, then it’s a Pulled Pork Burger with an egg on top from The Joint, Brixton Market.


What’s your favourite meal?
One word, Pizza!

Sumo Logo centredFind more of our #BusinessSpotlights here.

 

nwd20.04.15Get ready for two weeks crammed full of dinners to send your entrepreneurial spirit into overdrive. From dining with a journalist and two of the UK’s top bloggers to networking with other women in STEM or understanding the future of fashion eCommerce, there is definitely something for everyone coming up. Before we bring you a quick overview of next week’s dinners, don’t forget it’s not too late to book on this week’s either:

  • Dine with early stage tech investor from Dawn Capital tonight [SOLD OUT]
  • Join the Founder of SaVse Smoothies for dinner tomorrow night
  • Dine with Tim Jackson from Lean Investments for our dinner on fundraising options, also tomorrow night
  • Join the Founding Partner of Escape the City for our dinner on rapid growth and building a profitable business on Wednesday night

nwd20.04.15-2Here’s what’s coming up next week:

Women in STEM: Dine with Nasrin Hafezparast, Tech Lead at Outcomes Based Healthcare
Interested in science, tech, engineering or maths? Come and enjoy dinner and drinks with your fellow female entrepreneurs working in STEM. Nasrin, the Founder of Outcomes Based Healthcare will provide an after-dinner talk, followed by an informal Q&A session. She will share her story as well as tips and insights for female entrepreneurs and women in STEM.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 27 April at The Green, Clerkenwell

Dine with journalist Edwin Smith, contributor to The Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Evening Standard and more
Securing coverage for your startup isn’t easy! Join Edwin Smith for dinner and enjoy an after-dinner talk on how to get on a journalist’s radar. Ed is a freelance journalist, feature-writer and editor, writing about everything from culture to business, tech, sport, food & drink, style, politics and ‘slebs’.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 27 April at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

The Future of Fashion eCommerce: vital trends and insights for your business
Dine with eCommerce expert, Chloë Thomas. Find out where the fast-moving world of eCommerce is heading, what you need to know, and how this will affect the industry. Chloë is an online marketer, business owner, eCommerce consultant, and author of eCommerce MasterPlan.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 28 April at The Green, Clerkenwell

Ask them anything! Dine with two of the UK’s biggest bloggers [SOLD OUT]
Hayley Carr from London Beauty Queen and Jane from British Beauty Blogger are hosting a dinner for both brands/PRs and bloggers, followed by a brief overview of the current state of the bloggersphere.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 28 April at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly, Soho

EventTech Dinner, #EventTechOCD
Join us for dinner with other EventTech entrepreneurs and professionals who can’t stop thinking and talking about EventTech. These regular working dinner sessions provide diners with the opportunity to talk about our obsession. This month’s session is centred around the development of hardware that can give greater audience engagement at events.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 29 April

Dine with the Founder of Bloom & Wild: from idea to launch and rapid growth
Looking to shake up the industry you work in? Then, join us for dinner with Aron Gelbard, co-founder & CEO of Bloom & Wild. They are reinventing flower gifting; ordered online or via their app, flowers arrive through the recipient’s letterbox the very next day. What a genius idea! Aron will share his story from idea inception, through the launch, seed funding and their rapid growth.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 29 April

For a full list of our upcoming dinners, take a look here.

 

We recently caught up with Alice Revel, founder and Editor of Running in Heels at our dinner with James Wise of Balderton Capital. Take a look at this week’s #BusinessSpotlight, delving into the future of her startup.

ALICE PIC 4

What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?
Running in Heels is an online magazine for intelligent, stylish women: think Vogue meets The Economist. Our USP? Opinionated, in-depth features on society, culture and politics alongside sophisticated, stylish content on fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle. It’s also the only online magazine that mirrors content with an eCommerce offering, enabling readers to buy what they read about in a seamless experience.

What were you doing before you launched your startup?
I studied languages at UCL and then worked for a magazine in Italy, as well as consulting for luxury fashion and beauty brands on digital strategy and future trends.

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I was introduced to Caroline Rolfe by a contact of a contact! Caroline is a real asset to the business – she has over 12 years experience in launching and running websites for luxury brands including Clinique, Belstaff & Links of London. She’s also a member of the Institute of Digital Marketing’s Digital Council and lectures on their digital marketing diploma course.

What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
Nope, no regrets, ever! I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason and always learning from your mistakes. They’re what make you stronger, both professionally and personally.

Screenshot 2015-03-26 13.17.00
What will 2015 bring?
Running in Heels is already an established brand with a desirable and engaged audience – it’s a highly scalable business model, which is why we’re in the process of seeking investment. There’s absolutely huge potential for revenue growth, so this is a really exciting opportunity.

One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Get as much advice as you possibly can from people in your sector. I’ve found that most people are incredibly generous with their time and sharing their experiences which can really inform how you run your business. Remember to be generous with your time, experience and contacts too!

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.
Bored of gossip, diets and celebrities? Want more from a magazine? Our unique mix of substance and style is what you’ve been waiting for.

What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
In terms of online magazines, I think Get The Gloss is fabulous – well-written, informative, fun and a great on-the-go read. When it comes to eCommerce, I love what Lyst are doing and Buy My Wardrobe is definitely a game-changer. Apps-wise, DePop and Stylect are two of my favourite recent downloads.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Far too many to list! If I have to pick just one….I really love Sunday in Barnsbury for their sublime brunch menu. But it’s like asking me to choose a favourite parent!

3f533cec0ec2c1cde9d28329b8c228fa_400x400

You can read more #BusinessSpotlights here.

Mangostorm-logo1Sarah Maxwell, Director of Business Development at Mangostorm Media, is an avid fan of TableCrowd, and we have had the pleasure of her joining us for dinner on numerous occasions. Our resident namecard artist thoroughly enjoys drawing a ‘mango storm’ every time! So, we were over the moon when Mangostorm decided to be one of our esteemed partners. Here’s an interview with Sarah herself, to give you an insight into Mangostorm Media and what they do.

Sarah Maxwell Linkedin Photo

What is Mangostorm Media?
Mangostorm Media is a Digital Marketing Agency dedicated to helping emerging and established companies build their brand awareness and acquire new customers. We specialise in helping businesses in the lifestyle, health, beauty and sharing economies sectors.

What’s your role?
Director of Business Development, I actively attend numerous networking and tech innovation events to gain marketing insights and to meet prospective clients that I can tell are poised for great success and helping them to achieve affordable results quickly.

What were you doing before you joined Mangostorm Media?
I worked in NYC, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley as a Marketing Consultant with a variety of clients in Digital Media, Hospitality, and Entertainment. I have always had a passion for all things that add value to people’s lives whether it is in Wellness, or new Technologies. I worked with a company that helped to make television interactive, hence in-flight entertainment and the ability to cast your vote to a show like The X Factor. I like to see “the power to the people” effect.  I truly enjoy helping businesses grow through strategic partnerships, smart marketing and supporting entrepreneurial spirit.

What were the firm’s [or industry's] biggest developments in 2014?
We added a number of suppliers and platforms to our service offering that have enabled us to be much more highly targeted with our digital marketing efforts as well as have very detailed analytics. We also grew our team to offer more brain power and experience.

What will 2015 bring?
We are very excited about the dynamic new technology clients we are bringing on board as they are revolutionary in nature and feel strongly that they will be leaders in their industry. One is designed to enhance the customer experience in fashion and the other is aimed at making presentations easy to share on Twitter and in Social Media and with live engagement from the audience.

Convince someone to use your service in under 50 words?
At Mangostorm Media we have a truly dedicated and talented team. We are committed to the success of our clients to help them grow and prosper. They are so pleased with the results that most have stayed with us year-on-year, as well as sent many referrals, which is the best form of testimonial you can receive.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?
The Modern Pantry, the savoury and the hazelnut croissant. Super yummy.

Join Sarah at our upcoming dinner with Rich Pleeth, on mobile tech and marketing insights.