The magazine for the startup scene
change the world
be the change digital ninjas xero heroes law
squirrel.me female founders north korea
DECEMBER 8TH-9TH // WEMBLEY STADIUM, LONDON
C O N N E C T
START UP EXHIBITORS
START UPS • SCALE UPS • ANGELS • PRIVATE EQUITY • ESTABLISHED TECH PROVIDERS • FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS • PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
KEYNOTE CONFERENCE SESSIONS •
INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS • PRODUCT
DEMOS • MICRO-MENTORING CLINICS
DISCUSSION SESSIONS ON:
• Crowd Funding,
• Peer to Peer Lending
• Trading Technologies,
• Big Data,
• Social Scoring and much more…
SPECIAL EXHIBITOR RATES
FOR START UPS AND VISITOR
PASSES FROM JUST £39.00
Get in touch now to find out more!
EARLY EXHIBITORS INCLUDE:
change the world
6 Change the world...
8 Be the change
11 digital ninjas
12 xero heroes
14 what to do with pressglue
16 get a yes from
the marketing manager
17 Key Consumer Laws
18 fintech: real smart
19 be socially responsible
and save money
20 get funding from london
21 rockstar: looking for investment?
24 music: flying Vinyl
25 COFFEE PAGE
28 female founders
34 whip profile
35 politics page
36 dividabill profile
38 fabrik profile
40 unreasonable people: Mutaz Qubbaj
42 guest columnist: Emma Cheshire
The cool looking guy on our front cover was kind enough to
pose for us and let us use the shot, but we never got his name.
If you recognise him, let us know, and we’ll send him a copy.
Want to see all the stuff as
it comes out? Follow us on
A lot of useful articles there!
Penningtons Manches LLP
Or just send us a pic of you
We love it you know
Penningtons Manches LLP
Subscribe in print at disrupts.co.uk
Disclaimer: The information provided in this publication is not intended as a
recommendation to invest in any of the featured or profiled organisations.
Thank you to unsplash.com and Death to Stock Photo for
some of the images used in this publication.
Produced and published by Disrupts Media Limited
69-89 Mile End Road, London E1 4UJ
07535 670 581
What is it that changes the World? I thought it was ideas, but
it’s not. It’s actions.
The action of creating a company that positively impacts the
World is a profound thing, when you consider it. It’s to take
responsibility for a situation, and according to ones means
and abilities, to improve the situation.
“How can I use the market to fix this problem?”
“How can I use the consumer world to fix this problem?”
Take lack of clean drinking water. Big problem. Now google
Take poverty in Sierra Leone. Now google Karma Cola.
Take the problem of hydrocarbons. Now google Tesla.
Capitalism is starting to get really interesting. Proethical
businesses valued at billions of dollars, poised to transform
entire industries. The more problems capitalism creates, global
warming, pollution, the more problems there are to solve, and
the bigger the opportunities become for companies finding
ways to fix them, or replace their causes.
Believe in humans
I’ve always been obsessed with making a change.
You know, leaving something after me that hasn’t
been there before. Hopefully, something good.
I don’t know whether it’s normal or rather a sign of
some mental restlessness, but here we go: Change
the World. It’s about innovations, ideas, but mostly –
the new attitudes that are changing the reality.
Statistics claim that people born in the 80s-90s are
way more entrepreneurial and open minded than
their parents. They want more freedom, and they
care more about doing the right thing than getting
a well-paid job. Is that because the quality of life is
higher and they don’t have to worry about staying
alive? Might be.
However, I believe that this positive shift towards
more meaningful existence is happening because
it was needed, and it will evolve into new types of
businesses and new way of life.
The key is to ask the right questions right from the beginning.
Forget thinking outside the box, there is no box, there never
was. There is only the vision of the end result, and the joining
of the dots to get there.
A hundred words to change the world
Everyone I speak to seems to want to change the world. Maybe it’s the
scene, maybe it’s the times, maybe it’s human nature. Meeting my share of
UNREASONABLE PEOPLE (see p 40) I’ve learnt that it’s true – you won’t
make a difference if you’re happy with everything you see. But I’ll go further
and say that you have to be unhappy with yourself. Because after all, life
is just one big startup. And startups are all about scaling. To find a good
product solve a problem for yourself and scale up from there. Likewise – to
change the world, change one thing in yourself and scale up from there.
change the world...
...reinvent the lightbulb
25-year-old entrepreneurs have created a light
that uses ten times less energy and lasts fifteen
times longer than its predecessors.
They call it ‘the most beautiful LED light in the
world’ as this is the first time an LED can exactly
mimic the warm light of a vintage Edison lamp.
Ciaran Dawson, director at Tala believes their
lamps will have a huge effect on the environment
and their customers’ energy bills.
Since launch in March the company estimates that it has already
removed 9 million kilograms* of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The young startup has quickly gained the attention of some of the UK’s
most famous brands and Tala is now stocked with Heal’s and The
Conran Shop among many retailers, and they have been contracted
to work with Pizza Express, Caffe Nero and Byron Burger.
Tala is an African word meaning conservation and beauty; it forms
the over-arching ethos of the company. 5% of Tala’s profits will be
reinvested to help local community.
*through electricity saved over the lifetime of the product
...wear a dress!
I’m not advocating abandoning the cultural norm of the blue jean,
not at all – I’m just genuinely captivated by the impact that an LED
dress can make. Hmm, maybe there’s more to it?
is the story of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Part
theatre show, part educational lecture, part visual spectacular – it’s
an interactive storytelling experience. A dress which would wouldn’t
look out of place in the 1830s, comes alive with the help of the
audience, quite a bit of string, and five hundred LEDs.
But that’s only the icing on the cake. Zoe Philpott, the director
and performer, has the much tougher job of bringing Ada into the
21st century using only the fragments left from history, and history
hasn’t been too kind. Lovelace’s notes, including the first bonafide
computer programme, published in 1843 are still a topic of debate.
The aim of the show is “to write Ada Lovelace back into history.” As
well as other women in tech? @AdaTheShow #WomenInStem
change the world
...create office as a service
Mike Galvin and Eduardo Martinez are co-founders
of Geniac, an “office as a service” startup taking
the headache out of growth for small businesses.
Through a combination of automated technology
and personal account management, Geniac enables
entrepreneurs to easily manage their accounting,
legal, HR and insurance needs. The startup is backed
by the power and credibility of Grant Thornton UK
LLP and recently announced an investment of up to
£22m from the business advisory firm.
Geniac has capitalised on the Do-It-For-Me (DIFM)
service movement, whereby tech automation
combines with specialised labour to deliver a
complete solution to a business problem. In Geniac’s
case it helps small businesses scale, by alleviating
time wasted on a range of complex admin tasks.
UK SME owners spend, on average, 38 per cent of
their time on business-related admin. Geniac can
help cut this so founders can focus on positioning
their business for growth.
From the beginning, Mike and Eduardo formed a
user community to share prototypes, get feedback,
and build. This is something they continue to do
today, and they believe it is the reason for Geniac
clients being their biggest promoters. Referrals are
a top source for new clients.
Mike and Eduardo have ambitious plans to scale
Geniac and want it to be the growth engine behind
every single fast-growth SME in the UK.
Co-founder and director
Eduardo enjoys designing
and creating unique things.
He loves cycling, cooking
and his Morgan 4/4.
Co-founder and director
Mike can often be found
training for marathons or
running round after his two
...And drink no evil!
Somehow Karma Cola got in touch with us, or their PR agency did,
or something, and one way or another we got sent 3 bottles of super
fantastic delicious cola, lemonade, and ginger beer. This totally made
our hearts sing. The Karma Cola guys are serious about being good,
have a mosey around their website and see what we mean. So anyway,
in the interest of what goes around comes around, if you want to change
the world in a good way, email your local supermarkets and ask them if
they stock Karma Cola. Love ya. X
change the world
be the change you want to see
changing the world one empty
building at a time.
Ghandi once said, that you have to “be the change you want to see in the world.”
Most people take that advice as far as giving a polite smile and a passing
“Thanks” when someone holds the lift. Thankfully, there are always exceptions…
Fred Ryder and Ed Hughes, the founders of Bathtub2Boardroom, are two of those
exceptions. Fresh out of university they decided that climbing the corporate ladder
wasn’t for them – they saw a change they wanted to make in the world.
In the process of finding an office to work from – in the days before the coworking
boom – they realised there wasn’t much available which didn’t cost an arm, a leg,
and bit of equity. Your standard office was too expensive, with massive upfront
costs, and anything geared towards startups wanted to absorb you into itself
before there even was a “you” to speak of. And that’s just half the battle, the key
factor for success is the environment; it’s your network, the people around you, the
conversations you have on a day to day basis. Surely, the broader the spectrum of
entrepreneurs, the broader the spectrum of resulting ideas… variety is the spice of
The duo met a landlord looking to rent out a renovated eleven storey building in
King’s Cross after the market crash. An eureka moment later Bathtub2Boardroom
was born as charity. Charities as tenants provide landlords with a significant
reduction in business rates, and empty buildings are not usually part of a great
business plan. Yet currently 5 - 10% of the city’s commercial space is unused!
Bathtub2boardroom are changing the world one empty building at a time. By
filling the unused space with the buzz of startups – entrepreneurs, mentors,
and events – they’re giving to the communities in dire need of redevelopment.
The confidence and knowhow to create your own business, your own vehicle
to freedom, is priceless and at near a hundred businesses per ‘tub’ lead by
entrepreneurs from all walks of life, it’s quite an impact to make on an area.
Currently – ahem – filling to two tubs, one in Bethnal Green and another in
The City, they’re levelling the playing field and destroying the stereotype of the
entrepreneur. ‘Tech City’ is great, but as we’ve always said at Disrupts – startups
are much more than that – there are a lot of great enterprises which could never
be part of that trend, as not every business needs to become a trans-global giant
with a multi-million pound exit or an IPO. There is nothing wrong with having a
lifestyle business, in fact, it’s a change I see. The decentralisation of production,
decentralisation of work itself. Let’s take the plunge and see what’s in store.
Barry Craig photography
change the world
Who are you and what do you do?
Automata is a London based technology company working to
democratise robotics by creating an affordable & accessible
robotic ecosystem. Eva, our first product, is a 3d-printed,
lightweight, plug-n-play robotic arm, with software so simple
that it takes just three taps to get Eva running. On top of all that,
Eva costs just a tenth of conventional table-top sized industrial
Why do you do it, what motivates you?
We think making robotics accessible will let professionals of
all scales and skill-sets not only improve productivity, but also
enhance creativity. The possibilities are endless. It should be
useful to you whether you run a small manufacturing unit, a chef
in a high volume kitchen, a photographer shooting a product, or
a large manufacturer producing in the thousands.
What changes do you see in the world from five, and ten years
People have become more receptive to innovation. Specifically
from our perspective, social awareness of robotics and
automation has increased, and while there is dystopian
hyperbole about killing machines and mass unemployment, most
people see it pragmatically and are excited by their benefits.
What do you see happening in five, and ten years from now?
Decentralization of production through advancement
and democratisation of technologies such as 3d printing
and robotics, leading to a confluence of economic and
technological forces. This will create a landscape where the
value of knowledge will be greater than the value of goods, and
smaller organizations will be able to play bigger roles as their
How would you change the world?
We hope to be one of the enablers that let people get more
done with fewer resources. We make robotics accessible to
a much wider gamut of professionals – Automata being the
versatile platform that it is, we can’t wait to see what others will
do with it.
Who are you and what do you do?
Benefacto is most easily described as lastminute.com but for
booking employee volunteering. We work with charities to ensure
volunteering is meaningful and valuable. We support corporates
to build a culture of volunteering and inspire their staff, making it
so easy for employees to find and book volunteering they have no
excuse not to.
Why do you do it, what motivates you?
Collectively, UK businesses pledge a billion pounds’ worth of staff
time to the community each year. The vast majority never gets
donated and much of the volunteering that does go on is more of
a burden than a benefit to the charities. We work with 35 amazing
charities and know, if volunteered appropriately, this time could
make such a difference to the services they deliver. Who needs
more of a motivation?
What changes do you see in the world from five, and ten years ago?
Cheap tech and the sharing economy. Due to the increased
penetration of technology (broadband internet, smart phones
etc) and decreased barriers to developing technical solutions, a
plethora of new services have sprung up – from booking a night
in someone’s spare room to having premium bacon delivered to
your door. Many of these have been applications of the sharing
economy business model to existing services, revolutionising the
experience of the customer.
What do you see happening in five, and ten years from now?
With the introduction of so many new services – many designed
to offer ease to the consumer – life has strangely become more
complicated. Over the next five years we will see this simplifying
through greater integration of services and solutions. A great
example of this is Apple Pay – why have a wallet when you can
pay with your mobile phone?
How would you change the world?
We would improve synergy and integration between the sectors
to ensure each is truly supporting the others at being good at what
they do and doing good while they do it.
change the world
media has changed the world,
and the word has changed media
by Nadira Tudor
Media and especially the growth of social media HAS changed the world.
I feel that it is without a doubt, the most powerful tool we have as humans to
communicate both effectively or if you possess a lack of understanding of the
mechanics of media, then ineffectively.
The impact of technology has been so dramatic in terms of how stories are
recorded, told, viewed, heard, written that you really cannot ignore the fact that
smart phone owners at the touch of a button are able to post information to a
global audience. There are of course upsides and downsides to this technology
in terms of no editorial stop button when unruly ‘citizen journalists’ relay events
from a one-sided perspective, which can cause hysteria if a counter-response is
not issued quickly enough. But the positives by far outweigh the negatives in my
opinion. After many years of working across multimedia platforms, I still believe
that every single person has a story to tell given the opportunity, and if told
sensitively with professional guidance, those unique human-interest stories will
always help another. At worst, it will ensure that the voyeur at least thinks about
what goes on outside their own bubble every once in a while and at best empathy
Media is not just something to watch, to read or to listen to – those words, sounds
and pictures are filled with hidden messages, cross-cultural communication
and deep psychological undertones. As technology advances further, there is
no doubt that media will not only be used more effectively by huge corporates,
SMEs and individuals but also as a weapon by those that understand it most.
The answer is to stay one step ahead. Understand those mechanisms, train those
communication skills and work WITH the media by taking the rough with the
smooth and embracing the benefits that media gives to us all.
Nadira Tudor runs her company
Fakerocker Ltd with her partner Oliver
Pscherer. They offer professional media
education and media training for those
companies that recognise the demand
for senior personnel, CEOs and staff to
be competent at public speaking and
talking to the media. She has worked
for many major platforms in the UK,
inclusive of several BBC platforms
(Radio 1, Radio 1xtra, Radio 4, 5 Live,
BBC News, BBC Three, BBC Business
and many more), ITN Productions,
international channels and many
corporates. She has worked in Media
Training for the last 8 years, extensively
with NATO and other militaries across
the world as well as with many high
level corporate CEOs.
change the world
Apparently there’s no rest for the wicked, and I guess that’s why I
was in the office on a Saturday, alone – until about fifty kids burst
in and started typing away. Questioning my sanity, I managed to
find a responsible looking adult, and an explanation. Carl Petrou
runs CoderDojo at Whitechapel along with other London locations,
which is a free programming club for kids to become digital ninjas.
We quickly descended into a philosophical discussion about the
changing world. Here’s what Carl told me.
Today’s world is changing faster than ever, and
technology is leading the race. In almost every
aspect of day to day life, technology is gripping
us further in, along with the expectation of our
Kids are now learning about Scratch, Ruby, Virtual
Reality, and so much more – it’s becoming almost
impossible for parents and schools to keep up. Only
a few years ago every lesson, and every topic, had
been taught numerous times across the teachers’
careers. The subjects themselves hadn’t changed
between our school days and the schools days of
our parents, or even their parents.
The digital world is now no longer seen as a
“passing fad” or science fiction, it has already
become part of our daily lives. Ordering a taxi,
sending mail, storing documents, and even paying a
bill in a restaurant has moved into the digital world.
Coding and programming have become the new
literacy. No matter what kids want to do when they
grow up, computers will be an essential part of it.
We had a kid whose father runs a butcher in North
London. He saw his father getting stressed at the
end of the year because of all Christmas orders.
Phone, email, and walk-in orders for different dates,
and with different terms was a massive strain. Even
though his Dad employed extra staff over Christmas,
orders were misplaced, money often not paid, and
stock was never in sync. His son, over a few months
at CoderDojo, was able to create a simple software
solution to optimise the process. It would inform his
Dad what was required for the day and week ahead
and if the orders had already been paid for or not.
His son was 11 years old.
CoderDojo is a global community of free programming clubs for young
people. It gives young people all over the world access and understanding
to the technology that surrounds.
Our vision is a world where every child has the opportunity to learn about
technology and be creative in a safe and social environment.
There are 1,000s of Dojos spread across 48 countries, and more are
being set up every week.
Take a look here: www.coderdojo.com
As Tony Wagner states: “The world does not ask,
what knowledge you have? It asks what skills you
have. What can you do?”
All I could do was smile, nod, and wonder if I’d
have any skills the world would want in 20 years.
Because Carl is right, the world is changing. The
question is are we changing with it?
bubbles, beers and b2b
For the next 5 editions this
lovely bubbly double page is
going to feature some thriving
clients of the rather splendid
cloud based accountancy
platform XERO. If you want to
join them, drop us a line:
What’s your business?
Biju is the newest bubble tea brand in the UK.
We say we serve next level bubble tea, because
we’re the only brand that individually brews loose
leaf tea for our customers upon ordering. We also
use fresh British organic milk in our drinks, when
our competitors use powdered creamer. Our fresh,
natural, and organic approach to our drinks has
won us many fans. We serve our drinks in a quirky
shop in Soho, Central London and do so with
friendly and approachable customer service.
How did the business start?
I was lucky enough to be able to fund the
business using a combination of my own personal
savings from my previous employment as well as
investments from family members. The support from
my family and friends has been invaluable.
Why do you love Xero?
Xero’s ability to integrate with POS systems is what
stood out to me first. New businesses are starting
from scratch and so, we always look for best in
class modern solutions. Founders have a lot to do
and worry about, so anything that makes our lives
easier is a major bonus.
How’s business going? Plans for the future?
Business is going well and we are growing month
on month as word of mouth spreads. We are
currently looking for our second shop! We plan to
focus our efforts on maintaining consistency and
quality as we expand progressively.
What’s your business?
HonestBrew is an online craft beer retailer revolutionising
the way people discover craft beer. We’re here to help
people get the beer they want, when they want it. Our
tailored ‘Honesty Box’ service matches every case of
craft beer to our customer’s tastes - they set up their flavor
preferences, box size, and delivery frequency. We send a
personalised selection of beer to the door. We now work
with over 50 of the best craft breweries across the globe to
bring their beers to our customers.
What’s your business?
MarketInvoice is a leading peer-to-peer lender for businesses,
focusing on cashflow finance.
What does that mean exactly?
Well, if you’ve ever wondered what your business could do
if it had more cash in the bank, you can now use our online
marketplace to access finance against individual invoices and
contracts. The peer-to-peer bit just means that it’s a community;
we connect businesses with funders from across the world,
including the UK government – they’re the ones that lend the
How did the business start?
Our team started out in 2011 with just a small seed investment,
and in our first year we funded £3m. At the time, that was
huge! But in the years since we’ve seen exponential growth.
Last year we funded over £200m, for example. Investment
wise, last month we closed our Series A of $10m.
Why do you love Xero?
It’s a bit of a funny story- we’re a tech company, and we fund
invoices, so we thought ‘Why not link up to Xero’s fancy API in
order to create a super-smooth experience for our customers?’.
While our developers worked on the integration, we fell in love
with the simplicity of the software and realised it would be a
great system for our accounts team to use.
The best part about it is that we can use the Xero API in order
to pull through data for reporting against other company KPIs.
For that we use Looker, a great data aggregation tool.
Since starting to use Xero we’ve become big fans, enjoying
Xerocon 2015 back in February (it was *amazing*!), and
featuring as one of their Hundred Happy Businesses.
How’s business going? Plans for the future?
We’re approaching some big milestones. In September
we’ll have funded over half a billion pounds worth of
invoices since launch (pretty incredible!).
We’re also hiring like crazy (particularly in marketing,
sales and engineering), so our team of 75 will quickly
outgrow our Holborn offices and reach 100+. 2016
should see us scale more rapidly following our recent
Series A investment, and who knows what might be next
How did the business start?
HonestBrew originally began brewing and running
sessions teaching others to brew. As we ran these
sessions and spent time in the craft beer scene, we
soon recognized the opportunity to make it easier for
people to enjoy craft beer and set about creating an
online platform to do so. The business was funded
initially with personal investment (plus a fair amount
of blood sweat and tears) and we then closed a
funding round with food industry veteran investors
Why do you love Xero?
With three Kiwis in the founding team, Xero was a
natural choice for us and we set Xero up from the
beginning. We love how user-friendly it is and being
cloud based it means we can access our
accounts at anytime from anywhere. Our
book keeper actually does all our accounts
from New Zealand while we sleep!
How’s business going? Plans for the future?
It’s full steam ahead for HonestBrew – we’re
averaging 28% monthly growth which means
we’re continuing to grow the team and refine
our operations. We’re keen to give our
customers the best experience possible so
we are continually innovating and focusing
increasingly on mobile. Plus our beer gurus
are always seeking new beers to add to the
mix and do a fair bit of taste testing while
they’re at it.
a Taster Kit :
6 cracking beers for
only £9 delivered.
Enter code ‘XERO’ at
What to do with Pressglue
Last month we got a phonecall from way up near Manchester, a
visitor to google campus had picked up one of our magazines and
wanted to chat about what they’d been doing. Always happy to
hear from our Northern cousins we invited John and Steve back to
London to drink coffee and spill the beans.
So here’s what they showed us. Pressglue.
The website describes it as ‘The Easiest way to publish news for
your organisation, you business, or your life.”
The guys assure us that what
they’ve created is a truly kicas
way for people with zero tech
ability to create professional,
multiuser news sites. The whole
thing is drop and drag, which
means anyone who can move
a mouse can use it. Multiple
contributors can provide content,
which gets held for moderation
/ editing by you the boss.
And because it’s specifically
designed to be a news site, it’s
not overloaded with unnecessary
features or crap plugins. And it’s
Ok, we say to John and Steve, let’s see an example of what Pressglue can do in
the real wide World. So they show us So-Cheshire.co.uk
Cheshire might not be London. In fact it isn’t. It’s Cheshire. But the So-Cheshire
site is pretty sticky, local news, a comedy night being promoted, kitchens
for sale, and Cheshire people are all over it, the embedded twitter stream is
buzzing with new posts every few minutes. Nantwich Town Council even enter
the fray with a declaration that no less than 14 Town Criers are set to battle
it out on Saturday to win the coveted Nantwich Shield. Evidently Cheshire is
a melee of hyper local happenings, and So-Cheshire.co.uk is the hub of the
And Pressglue is the power behind it all. Totally mobile optimised of course.
And now it’s heading South, and East, and West, as the So-Cheshire model
So that’s just one teeny tiny application of Pressglue. It could be used for a news
site for London, or a charity, or a school. It could be a news site for people who
collect goldfish, or hats. It could be a news site for all sorts of things.
So here’s the call to action bit.
And it’s a bloody good offer by any
standard. Create a Pressglue site, tell
us about it, and we’ll give the best one
a FULL PAGE FOR FREE in next months
edition of DISRUPTS. The runners up get
coverage too. And next months edition is
a real biggie, because we have a promo
stand at AdTech London exhibition at
Olympia to distribute through.
Yep, you read it. Now build it, and start
your news based media empire. You’ll
be stroking white cats by the end of the
will come to
cut that pink
Cofounders John on left, Steve on right, and
look, it’s George Osborne in the middle.
Er, mate, I think you got
something on your shoulder...
Pressglue`s Angel investor.
Background in small
Enthusiastic, fun loving
WITHOUT an eye for
Always on the lookout for a
fragmented industry ripe for
“This time next year
Rodney”. Enjoys one on
one gym training and
general health related
research. Immortality is
now within our grasp.
A confirmed technology
addict with over 25 years
industry experience from
junior developer writing
device drivers in C to CTO
managing the technology
landscape for Pressglue.
When not at the keyboard
cutting code or analysing
data can often be found
in the relatively low tech
world of sailing, racing
dinghies and yachts or
playing guitar for local
the founder of Tech2Brand
Five Ways to get a ‘yes’
from the marketing manager
Having sat on the ‘other side’ of the table for many years, I
wanted to provide a few pointers on what my team and I looked
for from startups to help us make the crucial final ‘yes/no’
1. BE RELIABLE:
It is absolutely crucial that you arrive on time. If you arrive late, you are
saying that you don’t class the meeting (and the brand) as important. It implies
that you yourself aren’t reliable when it comes to meeting deadlines. In most
cases if you’ve missed the first deadline (your first meeting), you’ve missed the
2. BE SERIOUS:
It is important that you have an online presence. A marketing manager will
search online for more information about you and, the technology in question.
Make sure that you have an up to date, professional looking website, and
if you are on social media, ensure that you are posting on a regular basis.
If you don’t have a polished website and your social accounts haven’t been
activated for some time, it will just convince the marketing manager that you
are not ready to work with a brand yet.
3. BE CLEAR:
When you present to a marketing manager, it is crucial that you explain
your technology in a very simple and easy to understand way. Far too many
startups will try and get everything out in one go and subsequently, lose
the interest (and attention) of the marketing manager. When you prepare a
presentation deck, you should present the following five slides:
Slide1. What problem does your tech solve? (one sentence)
Slide 2. How does your tech work? (either a simple diagram or using a
handful of bullet points)
Slide 3. How is your tech different/unique to anything else in the
market place? (again use simple bullet points)
Slide 4. How your tech could work for the brand in question and what
a ‘priced’ trial could look like.
Slide 5. A final ‘thank you’ slide with your main contact details.
(email address/phone number)
In addition, if you want to significantly increase
your chances of getting business, then create ‘Cut
and Paste’ slides. These are slides that a marketing
manager can just take and use for their own internal
presentation in the near future. Make your slides so
easy to understand that someone else could easily
present the content.
4. MAKE IT WORK:
Obvious, but often forgotten. It is highly
recommended to demonstrate how your tech looks/
feels and works. If possible, also create a ‘mock-up’
of how the brand in question would look within your
tech. This customisation helps the marketing manager
to visualise how the end result will look when it goes
to market. It always helps to move closer towards a
5. SHOW BENEFITS:
This is the most crucial piece of reassurance that is
needed. Unlike investment decks, do not include
details about your wider team, your investment
goals, how your tech is built – this is irrelevant to a
marketing manager. They just want to know how your
tech can help their brand grow, and subsequently,
keep ahead of the competition (hopefully also
helping the marketing manager’s career grow in the
process.) Focus on ‘what your tech can do for THE
BRAND’ not just ‘what your tech can do’ – a very
small, but very significant difference.
Unfortunately, there is no ‘silver bullet’ to successfully
acquire new business – if only! Presentations are
always unpredictable and nothing is guaranteed.
The smallest thing can make the biggest difference
between ‘yes, I want to pilot your tech’ and ‘sorry,
but there are no opportunities at this present time.’
Hopefully, the aforementioned advice may provide
you with the required ‘marginal gain’ towards
achieving a ‘yes’ answer – GOOD LUCK!
Laws for B2C
Companies providing products or services to
consumers are subject to additional compliance
requirements and liabilities that don’t affect
companies supplying only to business customers.
Jon Bartley of Penningtons Manches LLP highlights
some of the key consumer laws that B2C start-ups
should be aware of.
Many successful and well-known tech companies
are consumer (B2C) businesses. However, selling to
consumers involves an additional layer of legislation
and regulation which can increase the risk and costs
of doing business. Leaving aside data protection
risks (think Ashley Madison and Carphone
Warehouse) and sector-specific rules (e.g. financial
services, travel), there are general laws that will
impact most consumer-facing businesses. Consumer
law is undergoing significant reform, and set out
below are some key issues and reforms to be aware
Most people are aware of distance selling rules
to a degree, if only from their own experiences
buying online. Consumers who buy online or
otherwise “at a distance” from the seller must be
provided with specific information and will often
have the right to cancel contracts. These rules
changed with the Consumer Contracts Regulations
2013 (“Regulations”), in force from June 2014. For
example, consumers now have 14 days in which
to cancel, compared to the previous 7 days. More
pre-contractual information must be provided,
failing which the right to cancel can be extended
to over 12 months. Suppliers are now required to
provide consumers with a template cancellation
form, although they are not obliged to use it.
Also, if consumers exercise the right to cancel,
reimbursements must now be made within 14 days
rather than 30 days.
Many businesses provide their products or services
immediately on receipt of the online order, and in
such cases the cancellation risk can be avoided or
mitigated, but only if consumers are given certain
information, and provide express acknowledgements
to the supplier. A further requirement is to label the
“Order” or “Submit” button with text such as “Order with obligation to pay”,
otherwise consumers will not be bound by the contract.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
This is a significant reform of consumer law, much of which will come into
force on 1st October 2015. One of the key changes is that the pre-contract
information which must be provided to consumers under the Regulations will
now form part of the contract, giving consumers wider rights to reject goods,
require a replacement item or repeat performance of services or claim a refund
or price reduction. The right to reject defective products will be much clearer,
with a structured process and timeline. Companies providing services will be
bound by verbal or written statements made to consumers which are relied
upon, and new statutory remedies are introduced for defective services.
For the first time, consumers are given rights in relation to digital content, such
as downloads, apps and streamed data. For example, if digital content is
defective or does not match a sales description, consumers will be entitled to a
repair, replacement or price reduction.
Also if, due to a supplier’s failure to exercise reasonable care and skill, digital
content causes damage to a consumer’s device or to other content on that
device (such as through the presence of malware in a download), the supplier
will be liable to repair the device or pay compensation to affected consumers.
Managing the Risks
This is a snapshot of a more complex framework of consumer rights, the
application of which will vary depending on the business model. Start-ups
that direct their goods or services at consumers should take advice at an early
stage to ensure that their terms and conditions and business processes comply
with the rules, and that their staff are properly trained in their interactions with
the founder of real funds
How did you realise you’re an entrepreneur?
I have always loved the thrill and excitement I get in
finding a solution to a problem. Growing up, my idols
were all entrepreneurs from around the world. I was
amazed by their ability to challenge conventions,
by their drive and willpower to change the world.
Reading about their stories inspired me and triggered
the initial idea that I could do the same.
So what is Real Funds?
We are a property development peer-to-peer lending
platform, democratising real estate investment. You
do not need to have high capital or the right industry
connections to invest in property development
projects anymore. Through Real Funds’ platform you
can invest as little as £10, for returns up to 10-12%
What’s the story?
In 2013, I worked for a small developer. I found out
that there was limited funding available for small
and medium-sized housing development projects as
banks would only back major house builders and
projects above £10 million. I saw an opportunity to
solve this gap in the market by making alternative
finance available to small and medium-sized house
builders through a combination of crowd-financing
The initial stages were challenging: you have to
imagine a young entrepreneur venturing into an
established industry, traditional in many ways, deals
still done in pubs; and I’m telling them about a platform
that will transform they way have been operating for
decades using technology and alternative capital! A
lot of people did not take me seriously…
Very early on, I knew our business would need a
combination of senior property experts along with
young tech-savvy entrepreneurs. We have struck
a good balance, but are currently recruiting three
more team members: a CFO, a Property Head of
Investments and a Due Diligence Officer.
Did you get any investment and how did it work?
We are closing a £1million seed round. This
investment will enable us to be Financial Conduct
Authority (FCA) regulated, and finalize our peer-topeer
lending platform. Members registering now on
our website will have first access to initial projects in our pre-launch phase at the
end of this year. We will be closing the Investors’ Club registration in two weeks
time. In the meantime we are also welcoming interested property developers to
get in touch with us and register on our website.
If you could change the world, what would you change?
My background in urban planning inspired me to see the impact mankind can
have on our surroundings. My dream would be to reconnect people with their
surroundings by providing them a way to directly influence how cities are designed
as well as financed. Through Real Funds, I imagine a future where everyone
will have the possibility to decide and fund projects in their local communities
or elsewhere, making cities financially self-sustainable and less dependent on
foreign capital. I am also very excited to promote models of shared ownership
and would like to introduce this in Real Funds’ future development plans.
How a startup can be socially
responsible and save money
Director of Metric Accountants
It’s now widely accepted that Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) is not only good for society, but
makes sound commercial sense as well. So how can a
startup be socially responsible when it’s operating on
the financial equivalent of an empty tank? Here are five
ways in which we’ve seen companies of all shapes and
sizes become better corporate citizens.
Be proud of your purpose
The most obvious way in which you can serve your
community is to provide a product or service which is
of social good. Not only will this make your heart feel
warm, it makes business sense too. A couple of recent
examples illustrate the point.
When Indra Noovi became CEO of Pepsi, she identified
that regardless of how much money the company
spent on sponsoring worthwhile projects, staff
did not feel proud of a brand that had a reputation
for unhealthy products. So, Ms. Noovi made it a top
priority to steer the company towards developing healthier
products and to become a ”good” company.
As result, staff and customer satisfaction have risen,
as have profits.
On the flipside, look at Ashley Madison, a website
designed to help married people have affairs. It’s morally
questionable purpose has made it the target of
hackers and potential lawsuits, for failing to adequately
protect customers’ data.
Create a community
Startups don’t have the luxury of being able to offer
incentives or pay over the odds to customers and
employees in the form of discounts, pay rises or bonuses.
The good news is people also value participation.
If customers and employees feel that they get a fair
say and feel that the company is listening, they will be
more motivated and loyal.
Establishing ways in which employees can provide
feedback, or allowing customers to interact with the
company through tools such as social media, can be
a cost effective way of bringing society closer and
benefits the company at the same time.
Most companies will tell you that their customers are not all alike - with different
needs and budgets. Yet many act as though they are, consistently offering the
same product or service for the standard price to all customers.
Failing to tailor the product or service to meet specific customers’ needs is not
only a business failure it’s also a missed CSR opportunity.
Cinemas combine positive discrimination with CSR very well. Cinemas have long
offered discounts to students and senior citizens, but in recent years they have taken
this a step further. You’ll often see day time showings marketed exclusively to
senior citizens, with tea and cake (and conversation) before the show included
in the price. In a stroke, the offer is no longer a discount, but instead providing
something extra to a particular customer segment.
Help support other CSR friendly businesses
One of the easiest steps a startup that wants to be socially responsible can take
is to review its supplier list. All companies, regardless of size, have suppliers. But
how much do you really know about yours?
Are they acting in a professional and moral way? Are they reducing their environmental
impact? Are they actively looking to ”give back” to the community
in some way? In short, are they adopting socially responsible practices? This is
not only good CSR; it’s also good business practice.
When the horse meat scandal broke, it wasn’t just the meat producers and food
manufacturers that received negative headlines in the media; it was their customers,
the supermarkets, too.
Love your environment
Whilst obvious, it’s worth reiterating. Reducing waste helps the environment and
Even simple steps can make a significant contribution and save the company
cash. For instance, a common lapse is forgetting to turn off PC monitors come
home time. Left on overnight, that is the equivalent of printing 800 A4 pages.
Multiply that by the varying IT equipment in your office and you’re looking at a
lot of unnecessary energy use.
So, be good corporate citizens and make your business financially stronger in
Andrew is a
investor focusing on
technology; he was
previously a coder and
I’d go further than Andrew in this and say anything
written from a Silicon Valley perspective is irrelevant
to fundraising in London. The two have totally
different commercial ecosystems. We should forget
about SV as a role model, it just doesn’t translate
into anything meaningful. It would be like our film
industry trying to be Hollywood. The London scene
(or UK scene if you prefer) is more than capable of
self definition and self determination without trying to
be Silicon this or Silicon that. We are better than that,
more innovative than that. The only Silicon Valley
worth watching is the HBO series. This is London.
Deal in it. @disruptsUK
Between bootstrapping your startup and VC funding you’re probably
going to need to raise some money. While a seed fund might give
you £300/£400k at once, most startups need to raise some angel
There’re many great articles online about angels and what founders can expect,
a recent piece by Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures for example. However, they’re
typically written from a Silicon Valley perspective, which may give London startups
unrealistic expectations about valuation, investor involvement and investment size.
Valley angels have typically been founders or early-stage employees of tech
businesses that achieved successful exits. They’re younger, richer and less riskaverse
than London angels. They understand tech startups and are more likely to
have a niche they understand and focus on.
London angels are often financiers, lawyers and accountants. Many have sold
businesses, but often to retire. They’re much less likely to understand current
technology and may want to invest smaller amounts as part of a syndicate. Many
are retired and have generalist portfolios of companies across many sectors;
they’re probably not going to be helping out much day to day, and you’re unlikely
to get more than £50k from an individual angel (and usually less).
A seed stage company’s three year projections are likely to be irrelevant in
California, yet many London-based angels will expect to see them and you need
to have an explanation for why they aren’t meaningful for your company. At one
recent pitch event the conversation descended into a discussion of the year-end
dates for the three-year projections; at another event, no one noticed that the
online demo didn’t work since they didn’t try it.
To summarise, there’s plenty of money available in London today, but when
approaching angel networks you can’t assume Silicon Valley levels of background
knowledge and should plan accordingly to successfully close your round.
founder of Danccce.com
Following the popular feature in the last edition
about Rockstar Hubs new Investment Fund, this
edition we talk with Rockstar MD, Jonathan Pfahl,
on why he decided on Danccce.com:
What appealed to you about Danccce, as an investment?
Was it just because it’s cool?
Whilst Nickel, the Founder of Danccce probably is one of the
coolest guys I have met, No, it wasn’t just that! What always
excites us most about new companies are the ones who are
genuinely creating a unique solution to a problem. Danccce
gives professional and would-be professional dancers
the opportunity to make money online. Nickel has been a
professional dancer for over 10 years so knows how difficult it
is for professional dancers to get those gigs and create a living,
he built this platform around knowing the problem of the dance
industry worldwide and how to market the solution.
So tell us more about Danccce.com?
The platform lets Dancers upload unique footage of themselves
either performing or teaching aspiring dancers. Users then pay
to download and watch and learn. Danccce takes a % of each
sale and the majority goes to the dancer. The team monitors
quality and provides useful tips and feedback to the users to
ensure sales will take place.
The other unique offering is the competitions the company
runs. Members can upload their dance videos for free and
try to win the competition. Whoever receives the most votes
wins. This encourages our users to market and share their own
performances on all the relevant social channels, and the top
5 share a multi-thousand pound prize pot. Our last competition
saw over 600,000 hits to the Danccce.com platform in under 4
weeks. Not bad exposure.
So in general, what is it you’re looking for in terms of
Solutions to problems with some form of proof of concept. It’s that
We are open to all sectors and have listened to a lot of pitches
here at the hub. Our ideal proof of concept though is actual clients
and sales. They don’t have to be huge sales, or even profitable
at present, but, like Nickel, we want to see business owners who
have put their own money and hard work into the early stage of
the business to show and prove to us they have created something
that people actually want. Or ideally need.
How many investments are you planning to make over the
next 12 months? Where is the money coming from?
Our goal is 10 – 15 investments over the next 12 months of
between 100k - £400k. The money is from an investment fund
owned and operated from the Rockstar Hub whose funds have
been raised predominantly from China. We have had a strong
presence in China, and a number of investors who have invested
in the fund to support growing businesses in the UK who could
potentially do the same over there.
We invest in revenue focused startups.
All sectors considered.
Let’s begin the conversation.
0203 751 8150
18-19 November 2015
HERE IS THE CORRECT DATES FOR
conferences for 2015
fintech connect live:
SEE INSIDE FRONT COVER
Head of Sales Apps World
T: +44 (0)20 7017 4696
Date: Friday, 2nd October 2015
Time: 4pm – late
Place: London Fields Brewery,
365-366 Warburton Street,
Hackney, London, E8 3RR
Enthusiasts of the London startup scene are clearly big fans of their
tech….and their beer, so it makes perfect sense for their two passions
to be combined into a riotous and raucous event, namely TECHtoberfest
which is all set to be “probably the BEST beer and tech festival in
the world!” Set in the caverns of London Fields Brewery in the heart of
Hackney, there will be plenty to keep every inner geeky child deliriously
happy including all the latest tech and gadgets to play with, non-stop
entertainment including Oompah bands and of course heaps (or should
that be hops) of beer and bratwurst to keep those bellies full!
Stop suffering from FOMO anxiety attacks and get your tickets now and
since we love our readers so much, we’ve managed to bag you an extra
special deal – use the promo code “DISRUPTSMAG” to get 20% off all
Could your digital innovation significantly impact
the financial services industry?
If the answer is yes and you are a startup working on changing the financial services industry
and looking to scale quickly, you should apply for the Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars.
Our 13-week programme is designed to fast-track the next generation of FinTech businesses.
Apply online by 14 October 2015 at barclaysaccelerator.com
Barclays Bank PLC is registered in England and authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered No. 1026167.
Registered Office: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP.
Just as print ain’t dead, neither is vinyl. Apparently there aren’t enough presses
in the World to cover demand for record production. Vinyl is back, and for good
reason. It’s interesting to muse on availability vs collecting. The ‘availablity’ of
music is now so on-demand, that there’s no need to collect it. But this immediacy
of availability disconnects from the heritage, the legacy. It disconnects from
memory. Without the shelves of record covers, what’s going to prompt you to
suddenly decide to listen to a track from 30 years ago?
We were contacted by Craig, who wanted to tell
us about his startup. Always receptive to founders’
requests to share their stories, Craig pops over to
Disrupts offices in Whitechapel where we drank
coffee and talked shop.
As a business model, it’s a well trodden path,
monthly subscription = monthly delivery. It exists for
food, snacks, one dollar shaves, and cosmetics, if it
fits through a letter box you can subscribe to it.
But only a proper muso would do it with vinyl. And
Craig’s a muso.
He talks passionately about the connection to the
music, the sonic aspect of records, the legacy.
The resurgence of vynal, how a 7 inch single is all
about the music, from speakers not headphones,
from a machine not a computer, from a solid state
record not a digital rendering. All these things
matter. Hugely to some people. And with a record,
especially a 7 inch, you listen to it. That’s the
difference, the beauty. They arrive in the post, five
at a time (beautifully packaged by the way) and
you open the box, lay them out, look at the artwork
and designs, read the descriptions, flip through the
booklet, then one by one, you place the records of
the player, you sit down, and you listen. You actually
stop, and listen. No sms pops up, no facebook
notifications to interrupt, the record spins, the person
listens. Amazing isn’t it.
Craig finds the bands himself, from living the scene,
going to gigs, knowing the score. It’s a great break
for the bands. They’re picked on the merit of their
music, they don’t sign a contract, and they don’t
pay any money. They provide a master and the rest
is done for them. It builds their following, both on
social media, but also in real life, at gigs, events,
clubs. They get heard.
There’s a detectable love of music that’s at the heart
of this business. It’s obvious. From the aesthetics of
the packaging, to the generosity towards the bands,
who are charged nothing and even 50 copies of
their single to sell or give away.
Nice little hobby business then?
Maybe. But it wouldn’t surprise me if this is a
multimillion pound company this time next year. It’s
also a lesson in doing what you love. I’m going to
buy a record player.
The first coffee with Dripapp
is free! Just download the
DripApp and follow the map
to discover more amazing
Get a free copy of
the latest Disrupts there too.
21 Berwick street, London,
A laid back all-day dinning spot, where you can
enjoy a coffee and a sandwich or share a couple
of dinner plates with great wine. Situated in
London’s Theatreland, My Place is perfect for a
pre-theatre meal or a post-show snack or drinks
with extra late opening hours guest are always
made to feel welcome.
13 Ganton Street, London
Classic, antipodean-style cafe
serving gourmet coffee alongside
exquisite herbal teas and great
food. Sacred cafe embodies the
New Zealand cafe experience
deep in the heart of London.
10 Walkers Court, London,
A unique space offering a wide variety
of art exhibitions and shows open to the
public. Get your caffeine buzz from the
cafe serving Blacksheep coffee, while
observing some of London’s newest artist.
A great place to meet and be inspired.
Wham Bahn Mi
40 Great Windmill street, London,
Vietnamese coffee shop and cafe, pioneering
the world of Banh Mi by creating elegant,
heart felt combinations of fresh greens and
marinated meats. If your mouth is watering
already, there’s more: Whaam Banh Mi’s
talented baristas serve delicious Vietnamese-style
coffee that you simply must try.
IS YOUR FAVOURITE COFFEESHOP NOT YET PART OF
DRIPAPP NETWORK? LET US KNOW!
SHARE IT AT EDITOR@DISRUPTS.CO.UK
Juice & Public
9 Wardour street, London
This cafe loves playing with new
ingredients, vibrant colors and
unique flavor combinations to
create nutritional juices, shakes
and smoothies with nut milks.
Coolest Dot London. Available.
Here’s the bottom line on Dot London domains.
You can get a really good one, because most
of them are still available. If you want to own
HOORAY.COM you’ll have to go back in time
to 23rd July 2003. If you want HOORAY.CO.UK
you’ll have a bit of an easier job, only having to
bend the space time continuum to 22nd March
2004. If you want to buy HOORAY.LONDON
you’ll just have to be quick because it’s still
available on the 26th August 2015.
Dot London can make for some kickass brands.
Kickass.com creation date 10th March 1997
Kickass.co.uk creation date 13th June 1997
Kickass.London still available as at 26th August 2015
One more, go on then. I love searching out cool domains,
it’s a hobby of mine, like fossil collecting, or fishing.
Some I put back, some I keep.
Spoton.com 19th February 1997
Spoton.co.uk 7th October 1998
Spoton.london Go on, race ya to it.
“A creative laboratory. A space for
London’s most exciting illustrators,
designers, and more to test the creative
They deliver Supper. To Londoners.
If you want to get a single word
.com, you’ll have to either fork
out a fair few thousand dollars, or
make up a new word. Literally the
entire dictionary is taken. Has been
Pretty much ditto for .co.uk names.
If you go for a Dot London domain,
you’ll be able to get a word that
describes what you do. And is
Ok, so that one’s a premium
and costs a bit extra, but in
terms of branding, recognition,
memorability, it’s a pretty good
Or how about GDN.London. Yours for
£60 or less. Could stand for Great
Domain Names, or abbreviated
garden. And aren’t all gardens in
London pretty abbreviated?
And here’s one more good reason
to use Dot London. You get free
promotion in disrupts magazine,
and on our website too.
And here’s a final reason. You get 50% off because
you read it here.
The possibilities are enough to make you DIZZY.London
And for that one you’ll have to check yourself.
Godaddy have got the offer on right now.
Or you can buy bargain.com for £1,333,335.00.
I kid ye not.
LU LI is the founder
& CEO of Blooming
support network for
She helps enterprising
women turn their
ideas into flourishing
businesses. She is also
UK ambassador for
Founder of Bloomsbury Beginnings and the
Why did you start your business?
To help local mums like myself who wanted to start
a business or social enterprise but needed the
time, advice and confidence to make it a reality.
The Parent-Cubator is a way to help them solve
those problems and to create the personal and
professional networks that are so critical when
you’re facing the emotional rollercoaster of being
What has been the biggest surprise to you?
I started with a different business, which were
“nearly new” sales. I thought everyone would
be as keen as I am on a second hand bargain.
To my surprise my sales were a flop! If I’d known
about the Lean Canvas then, I wouldn’t have spent
6 months trying to make them a success just by
flooding the neighbourhood with flyers.
If you had a magic wand to solve your biggest
challenge at the moment - what would the
That families share childcare and housework more
equally, which would significantly increase my
potential customer base of flexible workers!
If you could swap a day with someone else, who
would it be and why?
Emma Stewart, co-founder of Timewise and
Women Like Us: two very successful organisations
supporting women to work flexibly and
encouraging organisations to use the vast pool of
talented mums who want or need to juggle child
care with other work priorities.
If you could change the world, what would you
Make equality a much more valued ideal: the
societies with the best gender, race & social
equality have the least violence and the best life
Founder of Marybow Property
Why did you start your business?
My father started out as an estate agent so
ever since I can remember, I was interested in
property. In my professional career, I found out
that I was good at delivering results, but not so
good at playing “the corporate game”. Over
time, I became disillusioned and decided it was
time to set up on my own business.
How have you changed since you started?
I have always been very goal-driven. But since
I’ve started to build my business, I’ve learned
to be more mindful and enjoy the process of
reaching a goal.
What has been the biggest surprise to you?
Not many people meet the profile that all
landlords want: full-time professional. I’ve
learned that people’s lives and backgrounds are
If you had a magic wand to solve your biggest
challenge at the moment - what would the solution
All my contractors will be ethical and show up at
the time and date agreed.
If you could swap a day with someone else, who
would it be and why?
My husband, because he’s a more relaxed
person than me and sees the lighter side of life.
If you could change the world, what would you
I have been involved with the Alzheimer’s Disease
International and Age UK for the last 18 years.
If I could change the world, I would eradicate
loneliness in old age.
WeWork Grows Its Community
in the UK
With its strong network of media and technology firms and a long
heritage in the creative arts, London is the perfect city for our
community of creators to continue to grow and thrive. We couldn’t
be happier to welcome members to the newest floors in WeWork
Moorgate or to our fifth London location, WeWork Spitalfields,
We know that affordable space for startups and growing
businesses is at a premium in the capital, particularly in the
crowded East End. Close to the heart of London’s Tech City,
WeWork Moorgate—currently the largest coworking space in the
world—will serve as a hub for more than 3,000 start-ups, small
businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, each with a unique
story to tell. We’re excited to grow with the independent workforce
in the city and help fulfill the demand for space while providing
access to our rich member network.
Whether in London or L.A., Amsterdam or Austin, our members
share the same values: passion, determination, and a commitment
to creating their life’s work. Becoming a part of WeWork means
joining a larger community—a network that goes beyond the
confines of physical space. We are eager to connect with people
who are bringing new ideas and innovations to the world. That
energy is at the core of our value proposition, and there is no
better city than London for that energy to thrive.
Learn more about joining our London community at
Finance made simple
5 ways to raise funds for your business,
without the need for a bank.
Loans Equity Revenue Crowdbonds Donations
Call us today to discuss your business loan 0203 507 0073
Investing in start-ups and early stage businesses involves risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Investing in start-ups
may expose the individual concerned to a significant risk of losing all of the money or other assets invested. See our risk section for more details. Crowd2Fund Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial
Conduct Authority (FRN 623683). Crowd2Fund Limited is registered in England and Wales. Registered No. 08472687 Registered Address: 1 Quality Court, Chancery Lane, London, England, WC2A 1HR.
i have become tech,
creator of worlds
by Andrei croitor
OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS I’ve spent quite a
bit of time on the receiving end of a shocked stare
followed by the now customary greeting: “A print
Yes, a print magazine… Yes, we realise what the
printing costs are… Yes, we’re still going to do it…
No, we’re not completely insane…
Startups and neophilia are like roads and road
rage, you don’t really get one without the other. You
drive? That’s nice! Have fun with your impromptu
driving lesson from the guy in the car behind you.
Work in startups? How exiting! Get ready to be told
that there’s an app for that, whatever that is. Daily.
A new app in fact. The one you’ve heard of is sooo
Using something as archaic as paper is seen as a
sacrilege, and yet… everywhere I look, there are
sticky notes, books, and print magazines. Why?
There are a billion and one note taking apps, more
e-readers than I care to name, and a seemingly
infinite amount of web to trawl through.
Well, paper is simple. I don’t need training to use
paper. It doesn’t care about which OS I’m running
nor does it ask me to verify a billion different
account settings before I can begin work, or
play. It works by default. I don’t have to look after
paper, it looks after me.
Yet, something wonderful is happening. Tech is
maturing. It’s not throwing tantrums anymore.
Becoming stable. It’s no longer Frankenstein’s
monster… different limbs held together with digital
duct tape. The right hand of development now
knows what the left hand of design is doing. Even
the two legs of iOS and Windows are running
together. All it needed was a brain to control it all.
Tech Start Ups,
Two decades or more of research underlines the
beneficial role that our subjective sense of wellbeing
can have in all aspects of our lives. If we
have a strong sense of our own well being we live
longer, are more productive and creative at work,
have happier relationships and are generally
healthier. For these purposes, when we feel happy
our subjective sense of well-being is strong. These
feelings of happiness result primarily from us
achieving an appropriate balance in our lives
between pleasure and purpose. The research also
shows that the more we tune in to the experience
of being happy, the better able we are to discover
what makes us happy.
A number of problems arise however in trying to
move in this direction:
We don’t invest enough time in considering our
own well-being and the well-being of people
around us and it is a habit that is difficult to break;
We misdirect our attention, how we attend to it and
for how long. We tend to get easily distracted and
often allow our emotions to run away with us.
There is a limited amount of “attentional resources”
that each of us has: we can only give so much
attention to any one thing at any one time.
For the young tech start up entrepreneur, paying
attention to their own well-being as well as that of
the people around them including co-workers and
customers should be (but rarely is) a critical issue.
By maximising the “attentional resources” that the
entrepreneur applies to this overall sense of wellbeing
they can achieve a competitive advantage in
their market place. They will be able to differentiate
themselves in the market because the business is
driven by happy, motivated and engaged people.
And it is in this area that the mindful entrepreneur
can have a critical role to play.
Instead of investing excessive emotional energy
in ruminating about the past or unproductively
worrying about the future, the mindful entrepreneur
can connect in with the here and now. What is
before them in the present moment. Instead of
judging and blaming and shaming themselves
and others they can adopt a more grounded,
compassionate and non-judgemental approach
towards themselves and the people around them.
Instead of developing avoidance techniques when
faced with their fears or clinging desperately to the
need to achieve success at all costs, the mindful
entrepreneur seeks to face both their fears and
cravings with a sense of openness and acceptance
of what is. The core of mindfulness is about learning
how to transform your powers of attention.
In a digitised, globalised marketplace
characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity
and ambiguity in which the mindful entrepreneur
can, in the face of these pressures, be open,
flexible and responsive with a strong intuitive sense
of where the market is heading.
Chris Owen is
writing in his private
He is also a
based in South East
by sergej tolz
So I went to North Korea and was asked to write a short introductory article.
That’s tough, given the country is so alien to most and changing so fast that
information on the Internet is largely out of date or plainly wrong. After
all nobody local can update Wikipedia, given the Internet is banned. My
lovely tour guide (it’s only possible to visit Korea on a guided tour with two
chaperones, who can spy on you and each other apparently) did know
about Google and Baidu, but towing the communist party line, stated she
was not interested in the Web (I think she smirked saying that though). Party
pressure also made her worry that we might mess up the compulsory bowing,
to the very much dead, but apparently still ruling “Eternal President” Kim Ilsung
and the “Eternal Leader” Kim Jong-il. They are housed in the impressive
Kumsusan Palace, which used to be the elder Kim’s work place, but has since
been turned into a mausoleum. She seemed a lot more relaxed at the DMZ,
which was surprisingly tranquil, given that five days later the two Koreas
started bombing each other there.
The timing of my trip was chosen to coincide with the 70th anniversary of
Korea’s independence. We had hoped to see classic dictatorship style
military parades, but apparently those are reserved for the 70th foundation
day of the Communist Party in October. Instead our guide put on her
traditional dress and took us to Kim Il-sung Square, where several thousand
students had choreographed a mass dance. It was an impressive show and
included a fireworks display with the 150m tall Juche Tower as the backdrop.
Architecturally Pyongyang reminded me of Soviet Russia or China two
decades ago, though it is much cleaner. Oversized buildings like the
unfinished 105-story, pyramid-shaped, Ryugyong Hotel, which has been
under construction since 1987, and colossal statues like the 22m tall
Mansudae Monument to the two dead Kims, make actual humans feel very
In an effort to contradict negative stereotypes, we were always shown the
best parts of Korea. For every meal we were served cornucopias of local
delicacies, from Kimchi, to duck barbeque (and yes, dog soup). I was keen to
see the other side of the DPRK, but unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to explore
at will. The only place we were permitted to be unaccompanied, was at our
Orwellian Yanggakdo hotel. This did offer plenty of entertainment though
in forms of bars, pool tables, bowling lanes and a karaoke room, where
“It’s fun to stay in the D.P.R.K.” was sung (or rather butchered) to the tune of
YMCA. All in all, it was a very interesting trip and I had lots of fun, but I was
left with a feeling that I don’t know the place at all yet.
“...Oversized buildings like the unfinished
105-story Ryugyong Hotel, and
colossal statues like the Mansudae
Monument, make actual humans feel
looking for a
home in london
by Charlotte Robert
This is it. It’s the moment you’ve decided to leave your
cocoon to brave London and find the perfect new home.
You’ve already pictured it: wooden floors, gigantic
kitchen, a living room with your Fender in the left
corner... Heaven on earth.
In the countryside, it’s easy, no need to have twenty pages
of references, people are friendly and it’s not difficult to find
what you want. Full of energy, ticket in hand, you board the
train thinking about that beautiful one bedroom you want to
Then, you arrive in London… expensive, noisy, and at times
unsanitary. Your dream apartment quickly starts looking
awfully like a nightmare.
I know the feeling exactly, I’m looking for a place
too. But I’ve seen light at the end of the tunnel -
www.fizzyliving.com seems to have a fresh
approach to letting. For once I felt that I wasn’t
being lied to about every little detail when viewing
the flat. It’s still early days, so watch this space.
No matter. Full of motivation, you go from agency to agency.
“…and what’s your budget?”
And there’s that look – they’re mustering as much courtesy as
they can to tell you it’s nowhere near enough.
Soon enough you find yourself in a vicious circle where you
need a job to have an apartment, an apartment to apply for
a job. But as you just arrived in the city, you have nothing. To
infinity and beyond…
After giving up on agencies, you decide to go on Gumtree,
the fantastic website where you can find a palace for £400
per month. Wait, what? Hum, sounds too good to be true.
So, what should you do? Go back to your mother’s and?
Certainly not! So you start again and again. Suddenly, a
miracle: an understandable landlord who knows how difficult
and cruel the world is today, and who’s happy to rent his
apartment for you. For sure, it’s not your dream apartment, but
at least you have a nice little home to start a new life.
WHIP is a web based platform which makes engaging
in politics easy.
BETA launched July 5th
Tracy Green - Head of Strategy at
Parliamentary Digital Service.
Arthur Kay - Bio-bean
UK based CTO, Investment,
The public, politicians and organisations can all engage directly
with the political issues of the moment, vote on the bills being
discussed in Parliament and share opinions.
Users are provided with a concise breakdown of Bills passing
through Parliament, synthesised by our team of writers, who cut
through the lengthy and complex legislative language to deliver
information in an accessible format.
Users are given the Bill’s meaning, arguments for, arguments
against, whom the Bill impacts, likely costs and links related to
media articles and the Bill itself. Users can then influence MPs
with the click of a button and share with friends on social media to
rally support all within one minute.
Strong value proposition for
the public, politicians and
organisations. High avg.
time spent. Strong branding.
which is easily scalable.
Acquisition channels to
politicians are few and
far between. Maintaining
bi partisan perspective
Founder & CEO
PPE grad pivoting to political tech.
Rockstar Ruby on Rails developer.
A voice more comforting than
(any socio democratic
country). Many white
Growth in pressure group
Low barriers to entry.
Competitors in polling
December 2014 January 2015 Feburary 2015 July 2015 September 2015 October 2015
idea into the Duke
of York young
Alan joined the team,
working from his
base in America.
Tracy Green, Arthur
Kay joined advisory
1000 + signups in
first month Future;
to recruit WHIP
By Chad Hangit
It’s silly season, and true to its name, the Labour
Party has spent most of it squirming around in its
own birth fluids. It’s been quite distasteful, pretty
gross actually, almost enough to put one off ones
And along with the rest of the mammalian
kingdom, I blame JC for the disruption. No not
Jesus Christ, our sandal wearing bearded Lord
and Savior. The other one. Jeremy Corbyn.
One could also blame The Guardian newspaper
for the forthcoming JC Glory. They’ve spent so
much ink trying to convince their readership that
Corbyn is the new face of New New Labour
2.0 New Danger that their comments stream
overrunneth with disillusioned ABC1s who are all
voting Corby to find out why not.
But it’ll be fun if he strips naked to do the Cersei
Lannister walk of shame from Parliament to Tower
Hamlets wearing a Tory Blair mask whilst being
flogged by Betty Boothroyd ringing a bell to the
cry of shame. Some analysts predict this will
trigger a split within the Labour party, which will
continue to subdivide in an unstoppable fission
until there more variations of The Party than there
are atoms in the Universe. Then all the socialists
that secretly voted will gather up the elements to
form a new party, red in tooth and claw, which will
demand equality for the workers. But there will be
no workers, only benefit claimants.
Is Chuka Umanna Britain’s Obama?
Include 3 quid
A lot of people naively believe another system of
some sort is possible. They don’t know quite what,
and they don’t know how to make it happen. But
like Neo and Trinity in The Marxist, they feel the
wrongness of the current system, the illusion of it,
and want out. The one thing they definitely know is
that this magnificent social enlightenment won’t be
achieved simply by wearing a different coloured
tie. They also know now is the least risky time for
such a change, it’s 5 years to go before NULabour
MVP 2.1 hit’s the market. Which is fine, because
JCs role is that of a change bringer, a catalyst for
the process, not the finished product. Praise Him.
So will we really leave NATO, hand Europe to
Putin, hand the Falklands to Argentina, hand
Trident to Neptune, and re open the coal mines?
DividaBill is turning the chore of household bills into a
simple digital service. Consumers view the utility market
as highly complex with multiple suppliers and tariffs. By
applying technology and focusing on customer service,
we provide a simple, transparent solution.
Gets the good deals so our
customers don’t have to.
Michael Pennington – Gumtree
Tom Allason – Shutl
Patrick Teroerde – Hanson Asset
Dr Stephen Rhys Thomas -
Accenture, Oracle, GSK.
John Armah - FT.com, CNBC.
Tony Littne - Harbottle & Lewis
Dori Abendschein - Schneider
Smart, creative and data driven
growth hackers to join us in
becoming a household name.
How does it work? Any new tech you are using?
Multiple bills for energy, water, TV and internet become a
thing of the past as we create one consolidated bill each
month after you complete our simple sign on process.
Single household bills are banished as DividaBill charges
individual customers directly. You decide how bills are split by
customising payment levels. Solving the two major customer
How do you plan to make money on it?
The easy thing would be to charge either upfront or recurring
fees. But that’s not our style, we’re both free and can save
our customers money. As the champion of the consumer, we
buy utilities on a wholesale basis and at scale. This allows us
to give consumers the most competitive prices in the market
place including our reseller margin.
A passionate and diverse team,
Innovative technology platform,
Huge UK and international
Additional new services
Long established incumbent
Struggling to acquire
Volatile wholesale markets,
Makes the world of bills keep on
Builds the tech which makes
your bills simple.
How did you realise you were an entrepreneur ?
I spent most my time in university trying to start new businesses. They
ranged from a social news aggregator in the Arabic world to creating
fish farms with social impacts in Ghana! This made me realise that I
loved solving problems. I think that an ability to find creative solutions
to problems can result in some exciting businesses. So to answer the
question I would say I realised at university!
Why did you decide to start DividaBill - Troubles with flat
During our final few months at university, I was staying in a house share
with Jon my co-founder and we really struggled with the bills. The mass
of suppliers and confusing tariffs made it even worse. Jon and I thought
that we can’t be the only people who feel like this, we found out pretty
quick that 35% of students fall out over bills. So at this point Jon dropped
his dissertation and we started the research and business plan for our
idea. Dividabill solves the problem and makes bills, simple and stress
free with 1 simple monthly payment for each housemate.
How's Dividabill going to change the world ?
How does anyone change the world? It just takes a group of very
dedicated individuals with a real vision solving a problem. We’re part
of a generation that is dealing with the effects of the financial crisis,
higher tuition fees and fast rising housing costs. Therefore having sound
financial education has never been more crucial and we’re driving the
Who are your clients?
If you have a home that you share with others, Dividabill can help !
Do you have an exit strategy?
We're focused on growth right now. The rented sector is destined to grow
significantly for the foreseeable future and this presents a whole range
of issues that need solutions. We don’t just need financial education but
credible solutions to the problems out there. Dividabill's knowledge and
insight into this marketplace is too exciting to leave, just yet anyway.
Create smarter, shine brighter. Beautiful portfolio
websites for creatives, powered by clever
technology and you.
• Investor introductions
• More hours in the day
• More wonderful creatives to
Putting the time into building a portfolio website is hard,
especially when establishing a career making actual work.
Creatives are forced to place their work where they can across
disparate creative services and struggle against the noise of
everyday social media to find exposure.
Fabrik is a SaaS portfolio platform that completely separates
project content from website styling, enabling creatives to add
work from their existing creative services, upload content, blog
and share without touching any code. Fabrik’s clever portfolio
technology understands and adapts to it’s content, making each
website one of a kind, across all devices.
We’re using adaptive technologies that learn from the content
that’s added, making decisions on how it should be laid out,
what colors and tone the portfolio site should be to really make
the work shine. We can also begin to make suggestions to the
creative on how to enhance their portfolio as they continue to
Design & Branding. Currently
playing with financial models.
Development & Architecture. Currently
playing with colour sampling tech.
Development & Support. Currently
playing with data visualisations.
• Easily add work
• Connect to existing
• No technical
• Industry backed
• No in-house marketing
• Customer expectations
• Partnerships with creative
• Creative industry growing
at +5% year on year
• Incredibly loyal, networked
• Big CMS products
focusing on creative
• Donald Trump
Do you really think your
startup is viable? Really?
18 november 6:30 pm
the startup interrogation panel show
Get your free ticket: antipitch.co.uk
Photo and introduction
by JON STEVENS
the founder of
How did you realise you’re an entrepreneur?
I guess I’ve always had a knack for figuring out
how to make things better and easier to use. I’ve
been doing that for ages. Breaking stuff to figure
out how it works was a rite of passage as one of 4
brothers. Upgrading from toys to software, however,
took place only when I went to MIT and decided to
throw myself into roles at the Media Lab that involved
changing the face of collaborative storytelling as well
as enabling people to interact with their computers
without having to use a keyboard or mouse (this was
As for wanting to be involved in a project that
developed something from the ground up and
making a business out of it, my first real taste came
through a job at Zefer, an internet strategy consulting
company based out of Boston. Initially working out
of one of the founders’ apartments, I immediately fell
in love with the idea of once again taking something
that was broken and making it better. We were
helping people find their voice on the web through
designing their online presence to match their ‘bricks
and mortar’ personality. Awesome experience and
glad I’m ‘stuck in’ again despite the 13yr ‘bankerbreak’!
What’s your background? Any crazy stories?
I’m a Palestinian with a Jordanian passport who
was smuggled out of Kuwait during the Gulf War.
Always great conversation fodder, but I guess they
say ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’
though I can’t discount the amazing strength of my
parents who got our family through what can only be
described as a crazy time.
I’d have to say between that and being the
youngest of 4 brothers who competed to set and
exceed standards, including breaking the record
for most international siblings that studied at MIT on
scholarship, my life’s been quite a ride.
MIT kicked off my trek towards becoming a techie, with a degree in Electrical
Engineering and Computer Science and internships at the MIT Media Lab, I was
ready and raring to embrace the life of an entrepreneur until… Until I was offered
the opportunity to take ‘any job that I wanted’ on an investment banking trading
13 years later having done everything from being a trader, salesperson,
product marketer, published strategist and global lecturer at each of Morgan
Stanley, Credit Suisse and PIMCO, and armed with a Masters in Finance from
LBS, I decided to take the plunge (the positive kind) into truly embracing my
desire to build something that could truly make a difference.
What was the stupidest idea you ever had?
This is a fun one. I wouldn’t call it stupid… More of a learning experience.
Imagine coming up with a solution to the payday loan problem, and calling it
‘Payday Savers’… That’s actually the first iteration of the Squirrel name when we
were purely focused on coming up with an ethical and affordable alternative to
a payday loan. Didn’t quite fly with any of our initial stakeholders!
How did you end up making Squirrel?
It all started with a few ads pushing people to take out 2000-6000% APR
payday loans during their time of need. This is something I figured obviously
Seeing the Church of England come out and say that they wanted to compete
the largest payday lender out of existence also meant that this was a pretty big
problem looking for a solution.
That’s when the conversations with payday borrowers and any/everybody
in the credit community came into play. I even got to talk to the Archbishop of
Canterbury’s second in command about how to take
on the £4B payday loan epidemic.
Squirrel is the culmination of thousands of
conversations that all started with a common thread
– “what keeps you up at night about your finances?”
It was the realization that people weren’t looking for
an easy way to score cheap credit. They were looking
for a way to get comfortable with their money.
It’s crazy to think about how much time goes into
setting aside savings or even making it to the end of
month on their salary. What is enlightening is seeing
the common theme of people getting creative about
The number of people we meet who get paid
and pass their money on to their ‘better half’ for safe
keeping is growing on a daily basis. So many people
want to make sure they can’t tap into their savings at
the slightest whim or perceived emergency.
We’ve actually seen people set up multiple bank
accounts at different banks just to physically separate
out their money into different categories and levels
Squirrel organically grew out of these individual
needs into a platform that addresses fundamental
issues people have with their finances. We’re all
about making people better with their money… And
Squirrel makes it easy!
Without going into a full pitch, at its core, Squirrel
gives people an account into which their pay is
diverted so that they can manage their bills (and
we’ll help get them better deals on them), so that they
can set aside savings automatically before they even
get access to their pay, and so that they can break
down their spending money into weekly amounts as
opposed to a lump sum every month. Check out the
nifty animation online if you get a chance.
How did you end up at a corporate accelerator?
After spending half a year working out of a
basement, too many coffee shops and restaurants to
remember, a chance email crossed my inbox asking
for applications to the Barlcays Techststars program.
So, we were a FinTech company looking for a
(much) better and more stable home. Squirrel had
(and still has) ambitious goals to help people with
their money, but camping out at restaurants and
ordering that hundredth glass of water to make sure
we didn’t get kicked out didn’t really cut it.
The program appealed to us as it brought
together Techstars, a global startup program with an
“The reasonable man adapts himself
to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world
to himself. Therefore, all progress
depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw
amazing entrepreneurial ecosystem, and Barclays, a global bank that could give
us the edge – or what we like to call an ‘unfair advantage’ – as a FinTech startup
looking to land on its feet.
One application, and 5 or 6 meetings later, we became part of the first
cohort of the London Barclays Techstars program. I remember getting the news
by phone, hanging up and thinking “did that just happen?”
Looking back, the accelerator proved to be a pivotal experience for Squirrel,
and the mentor-heavy setup helped scope out the vision and the message that
helped us win both the WIRED and Pitch@Palace competitions.
Since then, we’ve moved onto become part of the Wayra UnLtd program
which is run by Telefonica-O2 with a focus on social impact. We managed to
latch onto another combination in terms of global resources poised to drive
acceleration and traction as part of a program aligned with our mission to
change peoples’ lives for the better.
Describe in 20 words what your company offers and what’s so special about it.
Squirrel helps people take control of their financial lives. It’s the only holistic
payroll-based solution with an account out there.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I would love to see a world where people are easily able to get a handle on
The reality is that financial complexity is the root of so much distress in an
individual’s life. Distress that doesn’t separate between a person’s work or
personal life for that matter. I keep on talking about facilitating financial freedom
and setting people on the path to having financial peace of mind, and I only see
that taking root if more efforts align to help people realise their financial goals.
This would of course have to address giving people better access to financial
products what has(d)evolved to become a ‘poverty premium’ for those that need
that access the most. Think about how expensive a payday loan is relative to
taking out credit as a premier banking customer.
I believe that everybody has an important part to play here… The innovators
that provide the ideas and the executions, the banks and incumbents that can
provide the structure or the ‘rails’ to build a solution, and the regulators who
can take a proactive stance in rewarding that innovation and aligning their roles
to reduce barriers to bringing something new and potentially life-changing to
So here’s one to everybody out there who’s listening - Let’s get on this
bandwagon together and make financial freedom a reality for everbody!
Papa Squirrel out...
Co-Founder and CEO of Dotforge
Emma is has a wealth of experience in tech innovation, third sector
integration and fund management, as well as being an industry
representative on the Tech Cluster Alliance for TechCity UK.
Emma was responsible for raising the initial investment funding of
£500,000 to launch the first Dotforge programmes. Her commitment
to the programme’s success resulted in a further £1.5million
investment in partnership with Key Fund and the RSA to pilot
Dotforge Impact, a social accelerator in Sheffield & recently launched
in Manchester. She is now developing a wider portfolio of sector
focused programmes building on the strengths of key cities in the
north of England.
DotForge is an incubator right? Can you give us the details? What
kind of companies, what’s the funding deal, what’s the criteria?
Dotforge is a pre-seed accelerator for early stage software
startups. We offer 3 months intensive support via mentoring,
workshops and access to our experienced team, investment of
£18,000 and free office space for a further 3 months after the
We invest in early stage teams which in most cases have a good
pedigree of working together or have known each other for
some time. Applicants will have built a basic MVP or pared down
working prototype with at minimum some beta users, although in
some cases this may be more progressed. We don’t take teams at
idea stage only.
The accelerator was established by a group of angel investors in
Sheffield lead by Lee Strafford and myself. The first two programs
ran supporting startups working in a wider range of industries. We
have some great successes including Coacher, Linc and Mihaibao
from these accelerators.
You’re expanding from Sheffield into Leeds, is that right? And
Manchester? And we hear you guys are getting involved with Rise?
We have now launched in Manchester with Dotforge Impact,
supporting socially motivated entrepreneurial teams using
technology to solve social and environmental challenges. This
program is very inspiring and we have companies working
on commodifying solar energy in accessible form for off grid
networks in Africa (Mobile Power - mobile-power.co.uk), building
an e-commerce applications for the unbanked (PIP Payments -
pippayments.com) and bringing personalization techniques to the
difficult and relatively dehumanising process of searching for a
care home for a loved one (Care Selector - careselector.com).
We plan to launch in Leeds shortly so watch this space for more
exciting developments in the Northern tech startup scene.
What’s your position on the Northern startup scene? Is it in
competition with London, or does it have it’s own niche or niches?
I think in the world of tech startups the competition for offering the
right context for new companies is global –about Berlin, Boulder
and Singapore as much as it is San Fran and London. Each place
has a different offer, but often the smart capital is hunting in all
these places for good companies.
There are clear supply chain strengths outside of London which we
can leverage for startups, these include e-health, logistics and IoT.
But we also think there is an different way to do FinTech which is
building on the long established back office delivery in Edinburgh,
Leeds and Manchester to create a focused B2B FinTech offer for
We know Nostrum Group is involved with supporting Dotforge,
who else have you got on board?
The Nostrum team are brilliant advocates of FinTech out of London
and Harrogate, we are also working with the team at Rise, a
global open innovation community who are backing our move
to Manchester and have sponsored Dotforge. We are looking
forward to working with them on future accelerators.
What’s the plan for DotForge in 2016?
Our plans include FinTech as well as expanding Dotforge Impact
and a number of other exciting developments.
Next edition: Let’s see some of these Northern Upstart Startup in
We have a lot to shout about so lets.
Photo by Mark Davis