YHP http://yhponline.com Entrepreneurs In Depth | Be Inspired | Your Hidden Potential Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:55:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Metaspeech show you how to pitch, to make the most of what you pitch http://yhponline.com/2015/03/04/metaspeech/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=metaspeech http://yhponline.com/2015/03/04/metaspeech/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 23:36:43 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37250 During March, Metaspeech founded by Emma Zangs and Mariana Lucia Marquez, are helping the startups on the IncuBus London programme to better present their pitch. Rather than coming from a background of investment and tech, these two entrepreneurs come from a performing … Continue reading

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During March, Metaspeech founded by Emma Zangs and Mariana Lucia Marquez, are helping the startups on the IncuBus London programme to better present their pitch. Rather than coming from a background of investment and tech, these two entrepreneurs come from a performing arts background. Their main focus is on how you pitch rather than what you pitch (there's enough help there as it is).

As someone who hosts pitching events I know the importance of how you present yourself and the difference it makes to the content of your pitch. That's why we work with them and why we interviewed them to find out more!

Metaspeech founders

Can you give me a bit of background to yourself?

We are choreographers and creative directors. As coaches we help all sorts of people to perform better on camera or on stage. We’ve been working together for the last four years.

One year and a half years ago, a friend of us who works in the tech industry needed help to pitch his startup. He encouraged us to share our body-language knowledge with startup co-founders as they need to present regularly.

How did you get started with Metaspeech?

Mariana, my partner, was part of campus for moms, a pre incubator program to empower new parents. They helped her develop the idea and where to take it next. We then became regular speakers at campus for moms and spent a year coaching startup founders and teams, giving talks, and running workshops. We better adapted our performance coaching method to suit the specific needs of the tech industry. Last December we decided to give it a name and launched as Metaspeech. Et Voilá!

What has been the biggest challenge in starting Metaspeech?

Helping new businesses to grow and seeing the immediate effect of our coaching is super exiting and a huge driving force! Our biggest challenge has been to make entrepreneurs understand that they should not leave pitch practice to the last minute! It is hard for them and hard for us to make their pitch perfect for the big day in a limited amount of time. The skills we teach take time to become second nature. For us, pitching is performing and to be good at it you need to practice regularly.

So we are learning to be quick at designing a session plan that will tackle our clients’s short-term goals with a vision to their long-term aspirations. And we realised that the deal needs to be closed immediately, otherwise, the procrastinator takes over and following up becomes a nightmare for everyone.

How are you overcoming this challenge?

We go to evening events where we pitch what we do… that is very Meta (laugh). We are going to as many places as we can. We also hold office hours and give workshops at incubators, co-working spaces, and accelerators. These are great opportunities for us to meet more potential clients, show them the value of what we do, and sign them up on the spot.

It also help us to continue to tweak our offering to what the market really needs.

We are also actively looking for partnerships with other businesses that complement our skills and can help us grow. Our vision is to train more coaches who will use our method to empower entrepreneurs to pitch confidently and actually enjoy it!

Metaspeech is available for ideas and partnering. If you are interested, contact: Hello@metaspeech.com

How do you differentiate from the competition?

Our coaching is focused on body language and the content of your non-verbal communication. We work to align that with your text. When the body is clear, the message travels at the speed of light! This means that you are understood and you can move quicker to having the conversations that matter for your business.

What advice would you give any entrepreneurs just starting out?

Don’t be afraid of pitching! When you talk about your business you are inviting other people into your world, be proud of that world! And don’t focus too much on the idea itself  but rather talk about how you are implementing it. That’s what makes you an entrepreneur rather than a thinker.

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You can get a taster for their work at the next Flagons Den pitch session where they will host a 30 minute pitch practice before you get the chance to pitch your startup idea to the crowd.

Links:

Learn more about Metaspeech

Learn more about IncuBus London

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Georgina Pursey founder of Avanatta; micro video sharing that lets you ‘natta’ away all day http://yhponline.com/2015/02/25/georgina-pursey/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgina-pursey http://yhponline.com/2015/02/25/georgina-pursey/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:13:49 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37233 Georgina Pursey is one of the founders of Avanatta, the first interactive micro-video sharing social network. The young British entrepreneur is taking on a competitive space in social networking, but thinks she & her co founders have come up with … Continue reading

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Georgina Pursey is one of the founders of Avanatta, the first interactive micro-video sharing social network. The young British entrepreneur is taking on a competitive space in social networking, but thinks she & her co founders have come up with a new angle. It's already picking up traction, including from a number of celebrities so I interviewed her to learn more about the business and her journey.

Georgina Pursey (left) and the founding team

What was your background before starting Avanatta?

Before Avanatta, I was a student studying Creative Writing, although I would probably say that realistically the studying took up 20% of my time, whilst the rest consisted mostly of  procrastination in the form of YouTube, Facebook & iPlayer (Netflix didnt exist then. If it did, my studying percentage would have been closer to 5%)

To be honest, if watching videos of cats playing the piano could have contributed towards my degree, I would have got myself a first class honors, no trouble at all! Better yet, if I could have been rewarded financially for all of this time I spent watching silly videos, I would have been able to pay off my student loans before even completing my studies!

My brother, a fellow co founder of Avanatta, is still a student studying Marketing & Advertising (he does have Netflix. Enough said!), while my Father, our CEO, has a background in investments, technology companies, disaster recovery and art. Many fingers, many pies.

What was the inspiration behind Avanatta? 

For me it was my procrastination that got me to thinking about the need for an app that rewards its users for entertaining the masses.  Celebrities are paid thousands of pounds for providing us with entertainment, while myself and my friends were finding ourselves being far more entertained by people on the internet who had been making and uploading fun videos but getting no reward for their content at all, and this just didnt quite seem fair!

For my brother on the other hand, as with many of his great ideas, Avanatta originated in the pub After a few pints, he and his mates decided to start communicating with each other through silly videos they recorded on their phones. The videos they were all making were similar to those that were going viral on other video platforms, but because there were no real benefits in sharing their content with the world, they didn't bother. This was one of the rare occasions where Jack I agreed on something.

And then our dad, Richard Pursey, got involved. He had been offered a selection of interesting technology by a young team of developers looking for a commercial opportunity to showcase their skills. The technology needed some work but it was clear that it could be adapted to make the content-creation app Jack and I had dreamed of, which would allow people to create fantastic videos, be rewarded for it and all from within a social network with a social responsibility!

Give us the Avanatta elevator pitch:

Avanatta is a collaborative video-making app where friends and followers record and join short clips together (from wherever they are in the world) to make a film that can then be shared.

We call the film a nattaReel.

Imagine a fictitious storyline that develops between friends over time, or a comedy sketch, a music score or just simply a conversation between like-minded people. The nattaReel plays seamlessly allowing creative users to produce original content that is unique and compelling to watch.

Collaborators can share in the advertising income earned from views of the nattaReel. They get paid in Avanatta’s own currency that can be exchanged for digital downloads (music, gaming vouchers etc.) which can be kept or socially gifted to other users on the app.

Avanatta has a social network wrapper but with a difference. It actively weeds out and bans trolls. It has an automated early warning system that identifies developing anti-social behaviour and warns other users to think twice before they accept them as followers.

Avanatta logo

There are a lot of indirect competition to Avanatta, what differentiates it in the market over the long term?

Avanattas video editing technology is unique and allows users to be creative in so many ways. The video editing tool is extremely powerful and allows users to embed videos inside videos. Imagine adding commentary to a video clip you took a year ago or editing different video clips together to create brand new content never seen before. You can also natta about a photograph or add audio commentary bringing a new dimension to what can otherwise be flat and meaningless content. Avanatta has filed for patents to protect its technology.

What challenges have you had when starting the business?

The more obvious challenges in the early days centred around the user experience, from handling bugs to smoothing the rough edges. Whilst we had used an external bug finding agency who tested the app in over 20 different countries on all kinds of devices, nothing can beat the feedback from real users.

We learned that our early versions had too many features. We had included a live-broadcasting product as well as a diary system but soon found that they were disguising the power and benefits of our hero product, the nattaReel.

We have always believed that the product is everything. Get the product right before we worry about user traction has been our priority from the outset. So, with such valuable feedback we started to strip out functionality and improve the user experience simplifying the whole natta process. Patience has been a much needed skill in our company over the past few months as we had to hold back our commercial team to get the product honed. We are still doing that now and suspect that fine-tuning and development is a never-ending task.

What has been your proudest moment? 

Its difficult to choose one moment that we are most proud of, but I think one we all agree on being quite special is the moment the app went live to the world for the first time. We even popped open the Champagne - it was a really proud moment for the whole team as all our hard work had eventually come to life!

How did you get celebrities on Avanatta so early on?

We found that out story was easy to tell. Firstly, we protect all users from trolling and anti-social behaviour (something that is not automatic on Twitter for example). Secondly, everyone earns a share of the advertising revenue generated from their content (that also doesnt happen on other social networks). Thirdly, celebrities like the Avanatta Foundation, a charitable side to the app. The Company donates 2.5% of its entire global revenue to those charitable causes that support anti-bullying.  So, with such a powerful social responsibility, Avanatta became a no-brainer for the celebrities it knows and has met. We found talking to celebrities far easier than we had initially feared and have managed to develop close working relationships with many of them. It does help that they enjoy using the app too!

What is the business model?

Quite simply it is to provide an app that makes money for all of its stakeholders, from users to shareholders alike. We have been income generative from day one (unlike so many content creation apps and social networks).  Initially all of our income comes from advertising however, we have over ten different income streams that we will introduce over time and which give Avanatta a significantly sustainable model. Those streams include pay per view content, selling pre-recorded nattas (a bit like video ring tones) and selling subscription-based content etc.

How did you get your early users?

In the most, we used other social networks to promote the app. Twitter has proven to be a great marketing tool. That is what alerted our early adopters to the app and prompted them to join. Avanatta allows users to share their nattaReels onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. which of course is where everyone is these days.  In addition, our celebrities have also done a great job telling their fans to get on Avanatta. They have been great.

What's the plan for the next year?

World domination may sound a little trite but we certainly want to be a brand that is loved by many and used by many all over the world, if not in the next year, certainly in the next few! We want to make Britain proud, so we will be continuing to develop our product to make sure it is as fun, addictive and rewarding as possible. We have some features were looking to add (some that include geo-tagging technology and video diaries) so they will surface once we know we have perfected our current products. Right now however, we want to iron out the bugs and focus on our hero technology, the nattaReel.

Thanks Georgie and good luck!

Sounds like you're thing? Check it out for yourself: http://www.avanatta.com/welcome/

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Submit your startup http://yhponline.com/2015/02/22/submit-your-startup/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=submit-your-startup http://yhponline.com/2015/02/22/submit-your-startup/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 18:40:50 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37212 Submit your startup and you could be featured on YHP and an audience of over 15000 a month!

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share your startup story
Submit your startup and you could be featured on YHP and an audience of over 15000 a month!

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What it takes to keep a rate of continued growth http://yhponline.com/2015/02/19/what-it-takes-to-keep-a-rate-of-continued-growth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-it-takes-to-keep-a-rate-of-continued-growth http://yhponline.com/2015/02/19/what-it-takes-to-keep-a-rate-of-continued-growth/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 00:11:00 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37204   Guest post by Robert Jakobi, the Managing Director and Co Owner of Metcalfe's Food Company, which was founded by Julian Metcalfe in 2009. When I joined Metcalfe’s Food Company in 2010, the business was little more than a sideline … Continue reading

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Guest post by Robert Jakobi, the Managing Director and Co Owner of Metcalfe's Food Company, which was founded by Julian Metcalfe in 2009.

What it takes to keep a rate of continued growth

When I joined Metcalfe’s Food Company in 2010, the business was little more than a sideline that Julian Metcalfe had started in order to sell popcorn to his two primary businesses Pret a Manger and itsu. We are now more than just a popcorn company and have two brands itsu [grocery] and Metcalfe’s skinny.

itsu [grocery] was created to take the much loved itsu brand far and wide into delicatessens, health food shops & supermarkets. Metcalfe’s skinny is on a mission to rustle up lighter alternatives to crisps, cakes and cookies. Both brands are stocked in all major retail outlets across the UK. We have recently launched Metcalfe’s skinny in Europe in Belgium, France and Spain. There are more exciting plans on the horizon with the launch of itsu [grocery] in New York in early 2016.

We have enjoyed a compound annual growth rate of 201% over the three years. In recognition of this growth, we were ranked at number 4 in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 in December 2014. This was the first time that a food and drink company has appeared in the top 5 and reflects our position as the fastest growing privately owned food and drink company in the UK.

There are several key aspects that I believe have been crucial in maintaining this continued growth YoY:

Innovation

We are obsessed with creating the most unique and exciting products in the market. Our NDP team scours the globe looking for inspirations for the newest and most innovative flavours and trends. We are also willing to take risks that no one else in the food industry will take and this is how we are able to stay ahead of the rest of the market.

Product quality

This is and will always be our top priority. We have always been first to market with the most innovative, high quality and great tasting, healthy snack products.

Brand history

We have a particularly interesting and unique brand heritage having been launched by Julian Metcalfe. Julian has built up two of the most renowned restaurant chains in the UK of the past 50 years (itsu and Pret) and in doing so has changed the face of healthy eating on the high street.

Strong working relationships

We take great pride in the relationships that we have built with both our customers and suppliers. We are fully aware that without such good partnerships and relationships we never would have experienced such high levels of growth.

Building a business is definitely not easy. The most important thing is to learn from your mistakes. From my own personal experience there are several pieces of advice that I would offer to early stage startups looking to grow:

Persistence

I know first-hand how disheartening it can be to face rejection but at the same time how rewarding persistence can be when it pays off. When I started my snacks business Pod bites, a range of chocolate and yoghurt covered edamame, I was intent on having them stocked in itsu as I knew it was the perfect outlet. I contacted Julian’s office weekly for several months and didn’t hear anything back. Eventually, he finally gave in and agreed to meet with me and the rest is history! The retail market these days is undeniably tough and competition is fierce but if you truly believe in your product you just need to persist until you find a way to make it happen. Believe in your product and believe in yourself.

Listen and learn

But remember that doesn't mean you don't have an opinion. You just need to pick your moment. Always listen to what your customers have to say as fundamentally it is their business that will drive yours. With any retail business, you are often dealing with people that you are reliant on for your business to succeed.

Build a strong team

One of the main ways that we have been able to maintain such growth is by building a very dynamic, entrepreneurial and spirited team underneath us. It is so important to work with people that share each other’s passion and are all dedicated to making the business as successful as it can be. Our team are the envy of the food industry!

 

Check out Metcalfe's Food Company here: http://www.metcalfesfood.com/

 

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Cloud Computing: Is it a necessity for digital startups? http://yhponline.com/2015/02/11/cloud-computing-is-it-a-necessity-for-digital-startups/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cloud-computing-is-it-a-necessity-for-digital-startups http://yhponline.com/2015/02/11/cloud-computing-is-it-a-necessity-for-digital-startups/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 13:23:09 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37192 If you’re a digital entrepreneur or a tech innovator with aspirations of starting your own business venture, you will know how important money is for making that dream a reality. In order to economically start a business, as well as … Continue reading

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Cloud-Computing

If you’re a digital entrepreneur or a tech innovator with aspirations of starting your own business venture, you will know how important money is for making that dream a reality. In order to economically start a business, as well as being provided with the means for flexibility and scalability, many startups look to cloud computing as a solution.

Databax is an SME who provide cloud hosting services to other UK SMEs. They understand the needs, as well as the limitations, of many small businesses. In order to see how other businesses have tackled these issues with cloud computing, Databax have caught up with UK entrepreneurs to find out about their experiences.

First up we have Lark Ismail, the founder of Lark’s Virtual Solutions. Lark’s Virtual Solutions is a virtual assistant and Internet marketing business, dedicated to finding online marketing solutions to meet their client’s needs.

What made you decide to start the business?

Freedom was the motivating factor for starting my business. By doing my own thing, I get to choose work I love to do. I also get to create the lifestyle I want and choose when I work, where I work and who I work with.

Did you face any difficulties when setting up the business?

I didn't know anything about business. I started right after graduating university and my academic background is in art history and psychology. Luckily, my background did provide me with strong research and analytical skills so I spent the first few months learning everything I could about business, marketing, my target audience, networking, legal contracts and finances. I still spend a good portion of my free time reading and it's become one of my favourite things to learn about.    One thing I had to learn over time was knowing myself and my business. Now I know what's right for me, even if it's contrary to expert advice. There is lot of fantastic advice out there but it's not one size fits all.

What role does cloud computing play in your business? 

My business is virtual and I've gone entirely paperless with my office so I have trouble imagining doing business without it! 

Has cloud computing aided the growth of your business? 

Cloud computing has increased efficiency, reduced costs, and added peace of mind. The cloud has reduced costs by streamlining my office. I don't need storage, filing systems or most office supplies anymore. I don't have documents or brainstorming notes lying around. It's a lot easier to stay organized! It's also increased security because any sensitive information is encrypted rather hidden in my office somewhere. I still remember how frustrating it was a few years ago when I was terrified I'd lost all my work any time my computer crashed or acted up. Now, if my computer has a meltdown, I can switch to another computer (or even phone or tablet), continue working, and still make my deadlines! Collaboration is a crucial part of how I work with my clients so it's incredibly efficient that we can all work on the same document at the same time. This allows us to get the job done faster and move on to more projects. 

What advice do you have for others looking to set up a digital business?

Since a purely digital business doesn't have a storefront, customers can't stop in and take a look as they walk by. You're also competing with the whole internet, not just local businesses. I've met plenty of people who forget that you can't just throw up a website and expect people to just stop by. Don't underestimate the importance and cost of your marketing. Also keep in mind that the internet and technology is constantly changing so you can't stop learning if you want to keep up. If you stop, by next year you may not be an expert anymore. 

 

Next we have insights from Tom Craig, co-founder of Impression Digital. Impression is a digital startup that uses cloud computing for every part of its business, including email, document storage, hosting, accounting, time tracking, HR, work scheduling, client reporting and CRM.

What made you decide to start the business? 

Having previously worked in house with my co-founder Aaron Dicks, we'd both used digital marketing agencies in the past and had bad experiences trying to get effective support that genuinely added value to a company's bottom line. It was clear that there was a gap in the market, especially in a city like Nottingham where business growth was yet to be matched by a strong agency offering.

Did you face any difficulties when setting up the business? 
We've always been entirely profit-funded, so have always had to keep outgoings tightly under control. Cloud software saved us money on costly servers and IT contracts, while most of the paid programmes we use are monthly costs - that helped cash flow a lot in the early days.

What role does cloud computing play in your business? 
It plays a part in everything we do. Day-to-day, we use it for document storage, staff time tracking and work scheduling while for business management we use cloud accounting software and expenses reporting. For new business we've got a cloud CRM and then for the technical side of things we use cloud web hosting.

Has cloud computing aided the growth of your business? 
Absolutely. It's allowed us to grow quickly without things ever becoming unsustainable. We've had the systems and processes of a big agency in place even when we were a startup - that's helped us build 10-strong team in just two years.

What advice do you have for others looking to set up a digital business?

Make things scalable from day one. Use software to keep the admin side of the business running like clockwork, from payments and invoices to monthly reporting. There are so many good business tools available now to make life easier, so use them. And finally, don't be afraid to spend money to get the best software - good things are worth paying for!

If you are looking to embark on a new business venture, but have aspirations of competing on the global marketplace against larger more established companies, take on board the insights and advice of these digital pioneers.

 

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