YHP http://yhponline.com Entrepreneurs In Depth | Be Inspired | Your Hidden Potential Fri, 03 Apr 2015 22:27:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Finance Advice from Successful Startups http://yhponline.com/2015/04/03/finance-advice-from-successful-startups/ http://yhponline.com/2015/04/03/finance-advice-from-successful-startups/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 22:27:20 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37337 Britain is home to a wealth of innovative startups. In order to find out how these individuals have navigated financial matters in order to go from initial concept to fully fledged business, we have spoken to successful startups across the … Continue reading

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Finance Advice

Britain is home to a wealth of innovative startups. In order to find out how these individuals have navigated financial matters in order to go from initial concept to fully fledged business, we have spoken to successful startups across the UK to gather advice for entrepreneurs looking to start their own new venture.

Below we have expertise from Steve Folwell, Managing Director of Lovespace. Lovespace provides a new take on storage solutions.

Get into good habits early on. Prepare a budget and a set of KPIs that are relevant to the stage your business is at. Focus on the things that matter the most to your success but that are the least secure assumptions. Our initial focus was much more on volume and cost per acquisition than it was on other costs or even revenues. Make sure you are monitoring your performance on at least a weekly basis. Unless you’re Nostradamus your predictions will be way out, but you’ll get into the habit of challenging your beliefs and assumptions and soon you’ll find that some things become much more forecastable than you had thought. You can then focus on the areas that really make a difference.

Next up we have advice from Luke Lang, Co-Founder of Crowdcube. Crowdcube is the world's leading investment crowdfunding platform.

As with many start-ups, Crowdcube was self-funded and backed by family and friends in the early days. When we needed further capital to fund Crowdcube’s growth, we gave our investor community the opportunity to back the business, raising finance in three separate rounds on the platform. Following a VC investment from Balderton Capital, we went on to raise £1.2 million in just 16 minutes in our last round on Crowdcube, breaking the world record for the fastest equity crowdfunding raise. There are a host of financing options available for businesses looking to raise seed or growth capital; from traditional routes such as banks, VCs and angels to alternative finance options such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. Crowdfunding is quickly becoming a mainstream funding option for businesses and in the last four years alone, over £70 million has been invested through Crowdcube, funding more than 210 businesses. For any business seeking investment, my advice would be to always be mindful that no investors wants to take on more risk than they have to. So, when pitching for investment the more tangible developments a business can demonstrate, such as sales or contract wins, the better.

Finally we have insights from Marie Dancer, Managing Partner at Richard Nelson LLP. Richard Nelson LLP is a national firm of solicitors offering expert legal advice throughout England and Wales.

Make sure you have the right legal structure in place for your organisation from the outset, as mistakes can be costly. Common options include; sole trader, partnership, limited company, limited liability partnership. Have the right contracts in place with customers and suppliers to ensure that obligations on both sides are clear. Take prompt advice on debt collection issues before problems escalate. Often having a simple process in place can help demonstrate that you’re on top of credit control issues and sends the right message that your bill needs to be paid. Identify which legal risks you can insure against and which are realistically necessary for the nature of your operation. If you’re going to employ staff, get a basic understanding of employment law issues upfront. Work with an expert who can guide you through the process. Consider issues such as data protection and which licences or procedures you need to have in place.

We hope that these insights have provided you with actionable financial advice that you can use when setting up and growing your new business.

Author Bio: Stephen Verber specialises in corporate finance and heads up the forensic accounting department at Alexander & Co. Stephen is also a member of The Academy of Experts.

 

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UK young entrepreneurs to watch 2015 http://yhponline.com/2015/03/26/young-entrepreneurs-to-watch-2015/ http://yhponline.com/2015/03/26/young-entrepreneurs-to-watch-2015/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:30:01 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37122 It's back. The young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 list is here. Some of our alumni to this yearly young entrepreneurs to watch list include Jamal Edwards, Rajeeb Dey, Joel Gascoigne, Nick D'Aloisio, Damian Kimmelman and Emily Brooke. This year … Continue reading

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It's back. The young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 list is here. Some of our alumni to this yearly young entrepreneurs to watch list include Jamal Edwards, Rajeeb Dey, Joel Gascoigne, Nick D'Aloisio, Damian Kimmelman and Emily Brooke.

This year we have some more up and coming young entrepreneurs to watch who we think have a bright future ahead of them (In no particular order):

Kate Unsworth - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Kate Unsworth - Kovert Designs

Kate is one of my young entrepreneurs to watch 2015 due to her product passion and drive. I interviewed Kate Unsworth earlier this year and was impressed by the vision she had, but more importantly came away knowing she was someone who would be able to execute. Kovert Designs are creating connected jewellery designed to curb your smartphone addiction. Kate Unsworth is the first of my first young entrepreneurs to watch 2015.

Follow Kate Unsworth on Twitter: @kateuns

 

James Anderson and George Streten - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

James Anderson & George Streten - Space Lounges

James Anderson is just 17 years old but started early. He had his first business at 13. His latest venture Space Lounges look to bring together the digital world and integrate it into the dated physical retail space of coffee shops. He wants to create an Apple like experience to coffee shops and has plenty of well known backers.

Sir Richard Branson, Dick Costolo, Steve Wozniak, Stephen Fry and Jimmy Wales to name a few. He managed to get them on board thanks to his very popular previous venture, Thinkspace, a non profit, which is helping develop coding at school. 

George Streten is only 14 but has been instrumental as a founder and the lead developer on both the Space Lounges and Thinkspace projects.

James Anderson & George Streten are definitely two young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 and beyond.

Follow James Anderson on Twitter: @jsa

Follow George Streten on Twitter: @GeorgeStreten

 

Robyn Exton - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Robyn Exton - HER (formerly Dattch)

Next on my young entrepreneurs to watch 2015 list is Robyn Exton the founder of lesbian social app, HER, until recently know as Dattch. After spotting a gap in the market Robyn has taken the opportunity and seen huge popularity her her app. They have already expanded beyond these shores and launch into the US as well. She has created a really strong brand and something that was needed by the community.

Follow Robyn Exton on Twitter: @robynexton 

 

Ted Nash and Nick Reffitt - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Ted Nash & Nick Reffitt - Tapdaq

Two talented young entrepreneurs with a great product. TapDaq is a community driven mobile advertising exchange for developers.

23 year old Ted Nash has been creating companies since the age of 12. At 17 he was the first teenager to have an app with over 1 million downloads on the app store. Co founder and CTO Nick Reffitt has been coding all his life (consulting for companies from the age of 12), and built the TapDaq platform.

They recently raised $1.4 million from Balderton and are a supremely talented team that can execute which is why I have them in my young entrepreneurs to watch 2015 list.

Follow Ted Nash on Twitter: @Nashy

Follow Nick Reffitt on Twitter: @nickreffitt 

 

Ed Hardy Kit Logan - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Ed Hardy & Kit Logan - Young Founders

These two young entrepreneurs are launching an accelerator programme for 16-18 year olds. At just 18 years old themselves, Ed Hardy and Kit Logan have already had an app, Edge, the all in one skiing app, going for a couple years which they raised funding for.

Previously they had a failed startup which didn't stop them in their tracks but spurred them on to their next challenge.

With the launch of their new accelerator these are certainly two young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015.

Follow Ed Hardy on Twitter: @ted_hardy

Follow Kit Logan on Twitter: @kit_logan

 

Robin Bilgil Simon Edwards - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Robin Bilgil & Simon Edwards - Shuttlecook

Another couple of young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 are Robin Bilgil and Simon Edwards the founders of Shuttlecook and also Parsley. Shuttlecook delivers exact ingredients and amounts on the same day you order so you're all set for dinner. Parsley, which started a couple years before in 2012, uses custom-built semantic search on food recipes to convert them into online grocery orders.

The two managed to get onto both the Enterprise Incubator at the University of Southampton and then onto the Ignite100 accelerator based in Newcastle. They have a clear knowledge of their industry and great help from two incubator/accelerator programmes. As they continue to expand in London this year expect to hear more about them.

Follow Robert Bilgil on Twitter: @RBilgil

Follow Simon Edwards on Twitter: @simonRedwards

 

Maria Allen - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Maria Allen - Maria Allen Boutique

Another early starter on our young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 list is Maria Allen (I promise it isn't essential to start early btw!), who at 14 was selling handmade greetings cards. That gave her the business basics and at 18 she started Maria Allen Boutique, a handmade jewellery & personalised gifts store, which she has bootstrapped till today. She saw the company profitable from day 1 and is expected to be hitting revenues of over £500,000 this year.

The line of products on offer has recently been expanded as she looks to take full advantage of the online store's growing popularity.

Follow Maria Allen on Twitter: @maria_allen

 

Duncan Peters - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Duncan Peters - eRipple

Next in our young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015  list is Duncan Peters, an entrepreneur at heart. He founded eRipple, an expert mentoring platform to help the right talent connect.

Prior to this he left the world of business consultancy to start his own business. Duncan was always on the look out for opportunities and started a number of ventures. During this time he learnt a lot about business at a young age which has helped him grow eRipple.

He also authored and published 13 books which in less than 6 weeks had close to 20,000 downloads and 500 sales. His mentality and drive leads me to believe he will be one of the young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015.

Follow Duncan Peters on Twitter: @DuncanPeters_

 

Ollie Forsyth - young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015

Ollie Forsyth - The Budding Entrepreneur Magazine

Ollie has been running businesses since he was 13. He makes our young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 list as he begins the journey on his new venture The Budding Entrepreneur Magazine at the age of just 17. The subscription online magazine magazine is dedicated to supporting and inspiring upcoming entrepreneurs.

Having struggled with dyslexia he decided to open his own business. This was Ollie's Shop, an online gift shop which hit £13,000 profit in it's first year. Not bad when you're 13! He's gone from strength to strength and his recently launched online magazine has already amassed 4,000 readers. He's currently part of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and concludes the young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 list.

Follow Ollie Forsyth on Twitter: @oforsyth

 

So there you have it, our young entrepreneurs to watch in 2015!

Anyone you think we missed? Leave your nominations in the comments.

 

If you're a budding entrepreneur and need some help getting started and ready for funding, check out IncuBus London. Applications for class 3 are open now. 

 

 

 

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What the budget 2015 announcement means for UK’s entrepreneurs http://yhponline.com/2015/03/18/what-the-budget-2015-announcement-means-for-uks-entrepreneurs/ http://yhponline.com/2015/03/18/what-the-budget-2015-announcement-means-for-uks-entrepreneurs/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:52:51 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37297 George Osborne has given his final Budget speech before the general election. Here's our quick summary of the main points in the Budget 2015 that affect you, UK's entrepreneurs: TechNorth This year has seen a lot of talk about the … Continue reading

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George Osborne has given his final Budget speech before the general election. Here's our quick summary of the main points in the Budget 2015 that affect you, UK's entrepreneurs:

Budget 2015 for entrepreneurs

TechNorth

This year has seen a lot of talk about the growth in tech across the UK rather than the usual focus on just London. The Chancellor George Osborne announced that £11m would be pumped into creating new tech incubators in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester to help develop those hubs.

IoT & Driverless Cars

£40m investment will be put into IoT (Internet of Things) and £100m investment into the automotive industry for the development of technology around driverless cars!

SEIS/EIS 

No longer will startups have to wait until 70% of the funds raised under SEIS are spent before raising EIS.

Backing Fintech

In a huge step forward the government will look to  ensure an open banking API standard by the end of 2015. This will be a huge opportunity for fin tech startups who can make use of use bank data to better deliver services for customers.

Broadband

The Chancellor announced ‘that ultrafast broadband of at least 100Mbps should be available to nearly all UK premises’. Unfortunately he didn't mention when and how but did mention an increase in broadband connection vouchers. He also mentioned commitment to free wifi in libraries and up to £600m to clear spectrum to improve mobile connectivity.

NI

Class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed to be abolished entirely in the next parliament.

 

The Budget 2015 announcement by the chancellor George Osborne is a sensible step towards progress in light of an upcoming election. However lets hope for more concrete measures in the next budget that can further help support our small and growing businesses today.

 

Are you an entrepreneur looking for more support? Then see how IncuBus London can help you develop a solid foundation for your early stage startup and get you ready for funding.

 

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Rayhan Rafiq Omar looks to lead a wave of transparency in the property world with GetAgent http://yhponline.com/2015/03/08/rayhan-rafiq-omar/ http://yhponline.com/2015/03/08/rayhan-rafiq-omar/#comments Sun, 08 Mar 2015 22:36:34 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37260 I've known Rayhan Rafiq Omar for a few years now and have seen his passion for making a change for the better in the world of property. His journey now sees him working on GetAgent. I interviewed Rayhan to learn … Continue reading

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I've known Rayhan Rafiq Omar for a few years now and have seen his passion for making a change for the better in the world of property. His journey now sees him working on GetAgent. I interviewed Rayhan to learn more:

GetAgent team

Give me a bit of background to yourself:

I am a property person. I write as The Real Estate Pundit (RealPundit.com) and previously founded an auction for rental property called Wigwamm. As a sole founder, I couldn't ship Wigwamm as a completed product. So after almost two years took a break and was pitching the concept behind GetAgent to a few people. And luckily a few talented people said yes and we started something new. I think it's important to have domain expertise when starting a new business. We really have a team that can lead a wave of transparency in the property world, using objective data.

What is GetAgent?

GetAgent.co.uk uses objective data to rank estate agents in your local area. If you're thinking of selling your home, visit GetAgent.co.uk, enter your postcode and get the best agent to sell your home for more money, in less time. Our local league tables show how much agents sell property for, how quickly and how often they have to lower the asking price (because they over-valued to win the business). We want to be trusted as the first port of call for homeowners thinking of selling their home.

GetAgent Logo

What was the inspiration behind the idea?

I was brought up in a family property business. It pained me that people were losing so much money by choosing the wrong agent to sell their home. As buyers, we would target agents marketing property from far away, knowing we could negotiate a better price. For buyers, Rightmove is the 'norm'. But no one is helping homeowners to sell. There's just no information to differentiate between one agent and another. Then when you see a GetAgent league table and discover there are over 100 agents marketing property within that postcode, you see the scale of the decision problem facing homeowners. Which agent do they choose? And how do they know it's the right agent for them?

We want to be that first port of call for people selling their home. There are 6,500 agency branches within the M25. It's too many, which is why so many people suffer at the hands of poor service. We highlight the better performing agents, so no-one ever suffers again. The flip-side to this is that we're saving good agents from a bad reputation by association. We're highlighting good work.

Where is the service available currently?

We're focused on helping people in London, where the problem of choosing an agent is most acute. After London we'll probably scale to New York or Paris next, as our revenue is directly proportional to property price and volume of sales.

What's makes you standout from the direct and indirect competition?

The data. We transparently show exactly what is going on in your local property market. That insight is massively valuable to homeowners, agents and journalists.

How did you meet your co founders and build the team?

It's a twist on the classic bus joke: I waited two years for a co-founder, and then 3 came along at once. My co-founders are the secret sauce behind GetAgent: Peter (Tech) built and sold FindProperly.co.uk, which is an incredible property portal for London; Seb (Design) founded and exited FlavrBox and recently was Lead Designer at Adbrain; Colby is an incredible sales person, who people cannot help but say yes to when he is on the other end of the phone. He was a country sales manager for sports hospitality group SMG Worldwide.

What has been your biggest challenge since starting the business?

Honestly, fundraising for marketing spend is proving a challenge. We've proven the business model, where we make £1,280 per homeowner that uses our service. So we've proven our business model is very attractive. But investors in London don't like to lead on new concepts. They'll follow a trend, like cleaning-on-demand apps (no offence to the likes of Alex at Hassle.com). There's no appetite for collaboration, supporting people or risk in London (or maybe as wide as Europe).

How do you plan to overcome this?

Our model scales well to other markets, like Paris and New York. We'll likely be in New York by the end of the year, so that we can realise our potential and raise the capital needed to trail-blaze the supply side of property.

What advice would you give any budding entrepreneurs?

Simple means people will understand what you're doing. So stay simple. Found a concept that everybody just 'gets'. If it's complex, or takes too much explaining, you'll need capital to realise your vision over many years. And as I elaborated, Europe isn't the right funding environment for innovative companies. That's why the US has all the 'unicorns' and we have Rocket Internet Group.

When there are geniuses in London like Stef Lewandowski, there should be massive companies being built on products the world loves. If you're a product genius, and don't have wealthy friends and family - build a company in the US if you want to succeed. At the very least, they appreciate effort and support those who fail to try again.

Learn more about GetAgent here: http://www.getagent.co.uk/

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Interview: Vairo Kremanis, Managing Director of Paydot http://yhponline.com/2015/03/08/interview-vairo-kremanis-managing-director-of-paydot/ http://yhponline.com/2015/03/08/interview-vairo-kremanis-managing-director-of-paydot/#comments Sun, 08 Mar 2015 20:25:00 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=37269 Can you give me a bit of background to yourself? Born and raised in Latvia, I came to the UK in 2005 after completing my degree in Hotel and Business Management. There were not many jobs in Latvia and I … Continue reading

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vairo kremanis

Can you give me a bit of background to yourself?

Born and raised in Latvia, I came to the UK in 2005 after completing my degree in Hotel and Business Management.

There were not many jobs in Latvia and I wanted to improve my English, shortly after arriving in the UK I created my first online community, through that I was introduced to the world of Internet marketing.

I promoted many products online through lots of different affiliate networks, however I spent most of my time promoting MoreNiche, I really liked how they supported affiliates.

My passion also became my career when I joined MoreNiche in 2007 as a junior affiliate manager. Since then I have worked hard and continually been promoted through the company. In 2013 we agreed that I would become Managing Director of Paydot, a new affiliate network with a Twist.

What is your startup?

Paydot is a multi-niche affiliate network that is completely free of charge. Clients join, setup their campaigns and reach out to our network of affiliates without spending a penny.

Once our affiliates generate sales for the client, they then pay a commission. This 100% performance based business model plugs the gap left by the large affiliate networks that often charge thousands for simply registering on their platform.

Paydot went live in Beta phase in 2013 and we have constantly been developing the platform ever since. We been growing organically since we started and today have a large list of many different types of successful programmes on the network.

With over 150 clients and tens of thousands of affiliates, the network is growing at an impressive rate.

What was the inspiration behind it?

Being involved in affiliate marketing for many years, both as an affiliate and affiliate manager, I would often hear horror stories of merchants spending thousands and not generating a single sale. On top of this affiliates would complain about the lack of support from the larger networks.

Working for MoreNiche for a number of years whose core value was affiliate support, I thought that I could do better.

Affiliate networks have always been promoted themselves as a performance based marketing model, but with huge setup fees and large monthly fees this is simply not the case.

This might be acceptable for large retailers but it’s a massive barrier for SME type businesses.

How have you funded it so far?

Through my hard work at MoreNiche I was offered the opportunity to run my own project. The owner was keen to diversify and saw how motivated I was to innovate and progress.

We structured a deal where I would become the managing director of Paydot and handle all aspects of this company. In return I would become co-owner and receive the financial support required to take this project to market.

When looking at my path forward there were multiple other options on the table, many of them were a lot more appealing with stronger short-term benefits. However I always tend to have the long-term vision in mind, I felt that Paydot, a project that will take longer to become profitable, is exactly what I should be focussing on.

What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?

I would say technical development. Although most of the core code-base already existed, Paydot is a very different platform with completely different concept. For the business model to be successful the whole system needs to be as automated as possible.

Our core vision with Paydot is to make affiliate marketing accessible to everybody, no matter how small or established your brand is, whilst making sure that advertisers, publishers and soon to be partners have all the necessary tools and resources to work with one another.

Results are important and even though Paydot does have a large base of publishers, which ultimately helps new advertisers, there are advertisers that need the extra push. So we can’t just rely on what advertisers do themselves, we need to continuously invest in on-going external publisher reach.

How have you (or, how do you plan to) overcome this challenge?

Paydot’s turnover in 2014 was almost £1.5 million, up by 2405% over the previous financial year. 2015 has started exceptionally well and we’re on course to double what we did last year.

As mentioned previously our mind-set is long-term. We will continue to reinvest all profits to support growth. We have only touched the surface and there is so much potential.

Over the next couple of years we will continue to invest in our technology, our publisher base and ensure we have the foundations for long-term success.

What have been your biggest milestones/achievements since you launched your business?

I would say launching JAC Vapour has been one of our biggest milestones as it validates our business model. This was an advertiser who was managing an in-house affiliate network, from past experience I know how much work this is.

JAC Vapour’s core business is e-commerce and so running their in-house affiliate network was detracting from that. By partnering with Paydot the advertiser has managed to delegate this part of their business allowing them to focus on their core operations.

As a result their affiliate sales have grown very successfully and Paydot has introduced many new affiliates to their campaign. The campaign generates hundreds of sales daily and works for both the advertiser and publishers.

How do you differentiate from the competition?

We are not just an affiliate network, we also have an active affiliate community (Twist360) which provides training, forum, news, rewards and annual events. This helps Paydot connect affiliates/publishers with new advertisers.

Our partner program, which is due to go live in early 2015, will be an industry first. This is an automated advertiser referral program, allowing individual people and agencies to refer new advertisers to Paydot. In return, earn a lifetime commission from any sales the advertisers generates through Paydot.

What advice would you give any entrepreneurs just starting out?

Follow your passion, I managed to turn my hobby into a business. As a result, I don’t mind putting in the long hours and hard work required to make it work.

Hard work has been the key to my success, creating opportunities, which would otherwise never been available. Even if you work for somebody else, show your entrepreneurial spirit and take on new challenges.

As a business owner you do have to take risks, if you have a brilliant idea but unsure how to execute it, pitch your ideas to investors or possible partners.

Thanks Vairo Kremanis

To learn more about Paydot: www.paydot.com

 

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