TableCrowd Dinner – learning from DN Capital Investor

For this particular investor, the sweet spot for making investments was in series A for UK-based companies that were looking for amounts between 1 and 5 million pounds.
If you’re a start-up looking for an investment, he recommended asking yourself two fundamental questions:
  1. Do you even need to raise money? (Is there potential to scale? Can you realistically return a profit to your investors? Are you diluting your shares without a necessary purpose?)  
  2. What is the best source to raise money from?
There are many different groups to go after when raising money:
  1. Family and Friends
  2. Angel Investors
  3. Family offices that diversify from their main industry.
  4. Accelerators and incubators – who are used to helping start-ups
  5. Crowdfunding – good idea if you need user acquisition and have brand advocates
  6. Strategic Pots of Money – VCs within multinational corporations (like Unilever)
  7. Grants – R&D credits, government funds, etc.
Ways to think about each group:
  1. Amount they can give you varies (frame who you go after otherwise you’re wasting 95% of your time)
  2. Due diligence process is different for each group
  3. Terms – shareholding, join the board, have veto rights, etc.
  4. Value added. Crowdfunding adds marketing scale, VCs add more strategic vision and various business connections
  5. Time – how much can your investor commit to you? What if an angel investor has 200 companies?
  6. Speed – corporate and crowdfunding takes longer than a couple of months
  7. Return/Exit – What does success look like for your investor? Put it into context? How high is their bar?
 Our speaker also brought up two very good points:
  • Be very aware of the fact that raising and accepting external money sparks behaviour change. Companies typically shift its criteria, vision, scale, and business models when raising capital, which has an impact on the work culture.
  • 90% of the decision for Venture Capitalists is the TEAM – how passionate are the founders? Who have they decided to hire? Are they capable of executing their vision? Have they experienced and learned from past failures? Do they understand their product’s marketplace?
Another interesting dinner from Tablecrowd… if you’re in London, you should check us out! Who knows – I might be your host :)

‘Mentor A Female Entrepreneur’

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The program continues with our second event tonight – focused on decision making in business environments. But as an art project, we also took all pictures of all the women and asked them ‘what’s the best decision you’ve made so far?” Generally, the answers fell into three buckets:

  1. I’m happy I moved to London/the UK.
  2. I’m happy I pursued a career  that I’m passionate about even though it was different from my university  degree/previous job.
  3. Deciding to get married/have a family

For me, I wrote: Investing time in learning other languages

Why? Because I now realise the power and cultural awareness that comes with being able to speak to people in their native language rather than always relying on English. The Bulgarian language is fundamental to my identity and my ability to connect with friends and family back home. Meanwhile, French was a great push into a language that I chose to learn for my own curiosity and passion.

Couple interesting articles discussed at the event:

The IRON Lady doesn’t feel…she thinks.

My fellow film studies classmate – Gianluca Baroni – sent me this film clip as inspiration today. Thank you GL.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become. My father always said that. And I think I am fine. 

Margaret Thacher (Character) Movie Quote

The Innovator Theorist: Clayton M. Christensen

In case you haven’t read The Innovator’s Dilemma, here’s a four-minute video version with the key themes:

I am hugely inspired by Clayton M. Christensen’s work – especially around disruptive innovation. His thinking has influenced some of the biggest managers and leaders in modern business by making his idea frameworks applicable for all sectors. He teaches you how to think, not what to think. I also love the fact that Clayton focuses on innovation rather than entrepreneurship. The start-up culture currently dominates the media press and the market growth theories; however, large organisations that pursue ‘disruptive innovation’ alongside ‘sustaining innovations’ should also be praised and examined.

Plus, here’s one of his TED talks based on his book, How Will You Measure Your Life? 

Plus, I encourage you to check out his website. 

Watch-Love.

I’ve fallen head over heals for three new watch models:

1. Nomos Metro Datum Gangreserve. This watch offers a dial with a date, power reserve indicator, stopwatch function and clear minute indexes. In my opinion, the design is timeless, elegant and yet quirky. It is slightly big (skewing towards a men’s watch), so if I had an extra £2,500 in my bank account, I would definitely get the Nomos Ahoi Watch with Automatic Winding. 

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2. TSOVET – This brand is much more affordable with models under £200. I am a fan of their SVT-SC38 series – especially with the sea foam blue (pictured below). The colour scheme is currently available in this Silver Design. 

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3. JunghansMax Bill Automatic. I love the sleekness, use of minute indications, and luminous features of the watch.

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I discovered watches 2 and 3 by shamelessly asking strangers sitting next to me about their watch. Maybe I’m getting older or maybe I’m going to more sophisticated cafes… but I do think the people around me are getting classier with their wristwear. And a good watch can turn even a plain t-shirt into a well-designed ensemble.

Chess, Courage, and Business.

The Unthinkable… and the Mundane. An article in Fast Company on business + Innovation. It’s DEFINITELY worth a read – takes just about 7.2398 minutes!

 But then the board became messy and complicated, and suddenly it was too late. I realised that I was losing because I didn’t have the daring to make a rudimentary move.

This is the beautiful tension that defines chess — that distinguishes between the unthinkable and the mundane. 

And for all my talk of boldness and daring, great chess players cannot lose sight of the mundane details. In business, you might call this blocking and tackling — the everyday operations that, if left untended, will undermine your organisation.

Written by: Garry Kasparov (#1 ranked chess player in the world)

RECTEE.com

While doing my Google SquaredOnline Program – I came up with an idea for a new digital disruptive business. My product is RECTEE – from merging the words Receipt and Guarantee. A place to digitally store important receipts and guarantees (for washing machines, etc.). It provides each user with a digital, searchable, and trackable database of their purchase and household product guarantees, so they don’t have to keep track of and physically store paper receipts and manuals in the house.

The main target audience is digital-first millennials that are taking on finances and housing responsibilities for the first time. My assumption is that this audience is dissatisfied with clutter and paper trails. Thus, the market opportunity is to digitise a service that has typically been only paper-based and to combine different paper trails for the end user.

The Consumer-Centric Planning:

Consumer Wants – comfort, convenience, and digital-first experiences

Consumer Fears – clutter, having to pay for repairs, wasting time to search for manuals/appliance model numbers/etc.

Consumer Needs – a way to hold manufacturing companies to their product guarantees and centralise all their main receipts/warranties