Archives for the month of: July, 2013

This week we spoke to Mark Hardwick, co-founder of the game based social gifting site Flooting.

Tell me a little bit about your background and why you founded Flooting

Sarah (my co-founder and wife) and I have been working together on social media for the past 13 years.  Our last company developed a social network called Create.tv, which sadly suffered from serious focus issues.  We found ourselves trying to build the social network while at the same time selling consultancy to fund it, and it just didn’t work.  In the end we decided to start over.

We had some vague ideas kicking around, but we’d also had two lovely kids and, for many reasons including them, wanted to get away to a more adventurous lifestyle and massively declutter.  So, we set about trying to get rid of loads of unwanted stuff and found the process really difficult.  We didn’t get on with eBay or Freecycle, and after looking around, found that there wasn’t a service available that did what we wanted.  So, we decided to build it.

What is your vision and what problem do you solve?

Services like eBay are focused on getting money for items, and in the past they did a great job.  Now eBay has moved on and is focusing on the needs of professional retailers.   The upshot is that there are a lot of hurdles facing private sellers and we found that the time to list, answer questions, resolve issues, and package and post simply wasn’t worth it for the value of the items we wanted to shift.  I mean we’d do £20 of effort to sell something for £5.  Freecycle is very easy to list, but there is a load of emails, people don’t collect and I really felt that if I put good stuff in, it would be nice if it helped me to get good stuff out.
We realised we needed to combine the best parts of eBay and Freecycle with something like Foursquare, and more, we needed to move away from selling, because it really complicates the process of getting rid of stuff.
The solution was to use a game mechanic.  Flooting enjoys the listing ease of Freecycle but people play a game to win items.  Less popular stuff goes for free and at the click of a button.  With more popular stuff, people play our simple strategy game. To play the game requires points, and all the points played to get an item go to the lister, which helps them get the stuff they want.

How do you monetise? What is the business model?

We make money by selling points to people who don’t want to list stuff but do want to play for something.  We will sell advertising and soon pro users (predominantly organisations and businesses) will be able to offer Flooting points as a loyalty reward.

Tell me about your team

Sarah and I have worked together for many years now, and complement each other well.  I’m an creative technologist and tend to come up with the big idea.  Sarah is a details person, and grills me until the big idea is a big workable idea.

Functionally, I do all the backend coding and database work.  Sarah does all the design and frontend coding (it’s fantastic to work with a designer who can code – all designers should be able to code!).  She’s also a daemon with corporate finance and keeps our accountants on their toes.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

We’ve launched an open Beta in London about 2 months ago.  We signed up our first 100 users very quickly, then stopped pushing to deal with the things that have cropped up.

Next we need to really push for media attention and get more people Flooting.  I’m also quite interested in adding the ability to loan things via Flooting.  I think I can make that work well, but there’s more thinking to do.

Finally, we have to launch across the UK and US, which I’d like to do in the next few months.

What is the main challenge you face?

We’re too few people! Now that we’re launched we’ve suddenly got to do a load of marketing, support and development.  It certainly makes things more difficult.  We’re having to be really disciplined, and not rush things while we try and cope with the increased demands.

What has gone well? Give your best startup tip?

Andrew Chen did a great post where he said that startups often try to be too innovative, and I completely agree.  The problem is that innovation is expensive and risky.  You’re constantly breaking new ground.  The answer is to copy like hell.  Copy at least 80% of other services and just innovate around 20%.  Of course the trick is to find the right 20%.

With Flooting we’ve copied the good parts from Foursquare, eBay and Freecycle and our innovation is to use a game instead of an auction.  In fact we’ve borrowed some of our game concepts from lowest unique bid auction sites (also very successful), but we morphed it all to work with location and floating bubbles rather than unique bids.

Now we have our fingers cross very tightly and we’re hoping like hell it works!

About Mark and Sarah

Mark’s first foray as an entrepreneur was a technical consultancy that he started when he was 25 and grew to 25 employees and £1m pa in revenues.

In 2001, Mark and Sarah started a micropayments business together, however we quickly realised that we were too small and too soon for micropayments.  We pivoted and developed a social network for collaborative film production, for which we raised £450k in private investment.  This lead to many projects with major clients including the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, spanning mobile, social media, online payments and e-commerce.  The company traded for 9 years.

Check out their latest venture, Flooting

Who are you and what does your startup do?

I’m a technology enthusiast, coming from a role in the music industry managing Tinie Tempah’s clothing range and One Direction’s merchandise. I wanted to combine my passion for technology, startups and quality with my knowledge of production and physical products.

My co-founder and I started Evocha to address the disparity between low-priced, poor-quality clothing and expensive, luxury fashion. We work with the same manufacturers as designer brands to create a range of original luxury essentials, sold online-only to optimise the supply chain and offer our customers the best prices.

What is your vision and what problem do you solve?

Our vision is to bring luxury quality to a wider audience, and encourage an investment in quality and longevity. We solve the problem of expensive luxury fashion. No longer does a customer have to spend over £200 for a premium quality, branded cashmere scarf. We have entered the market offering the same quality product for significantly less.

What was the biggest challenge so far and how did you deal with it?

One of our biggest issues was raising investment to allow us to purchase initial stock and begin testing our proposition. Many startups at the moment focus solely upon technology products or platforms, which require little to no investment to develop to MVP stage. A startup can validate this product amongst a group of early-adopters, and approach high net-worth investors with a proven concept. We hold stock, which means there is both a higher barrier to entry to discourage potential competitors, but also higher risk and more investment required without validation.

We turned to Dreamstake for a startup loan, and Seedrs to crowdfund investment to get us past this hurdle. We received tremendous support, and were able to launch our online store and start building our team.

What has gone well? Give your best startup tip.

We have found that London is an incredible startup ecosystem, with so many people willing to help or introduce you to those who can further your business. That said, you need to get out there and tell everyone about what you’re doing to benefit from this support. Many startups are reluctant to discuss what they’re working on, and put the hours in meeting other people. Though some startups will require an NDA, the majority will benefit far more from simply talking and being open about their concept.

At the end of the day, in the startup environment, most people are already working on something, and quite frankly don’t care about your idea enough to drop everything and steal it. So startups, get out there, network and be surprised at the results!

Write a short description about your startup.
Evocha offers a collection of original luxury essentials made by the same manufacturers as designer brands. We sell online-only, cutting out the middlemen to offer customers the finest quality clothing at truly disruptive prices.
Write some feedback for Dreamstake.
Dreamstake has offered us continued support throughout the entire process. They believe in us at an early stage and offered us the valuable startup loan which has allowed us to validate our proposition. We are grateful for all of their help, and have benefited enormously from their startup academy and frequent events. Thank you Dreamstake!

Despite the wealth of avenues towards achieving success, the failure rate for tech startups is still far too high. There have been many attempts at tackling this challenge: accelerators, incubators and academies all provide support and are emerging in most developed economies.

However, what elements of support do startups really need?

  1. Knowledge – How does the founder tap into the existing knowledge base?  Learning can either be delivered en-mass or individually. It must be appropriate to the challenges that the startup is facing and provided at the right time. Generic information on legal and accounting issues is useful.  However, founders also need startup specific information on process (often lean).  This can range from developing a business model through to PR and marketing. This knowledge should be delivered by individuals who really understand tech startups.
  2. Connections – Startup founders can gain a lot from being connected with the right people. This can be team members, experts or investors.
  3. Goal setting- Momentum is important. It is vital to get to market quickly and get feedback from consumers. Delay costs money and risks the competition stealing an advantage. A good mentor can set deadlines and make sure they are kept too.
  4. Funding – Searching for funding is an incredibly time consuming activity. It is vital that the startup is ready for investment before starting the search for appropriate sources. Individuals with previous experience of successfully obtaining funding for a startup can really add value by helping to judge whether the startup is ready and who to approach. The angel investor community is very opaque and difficult to understand.  Investors need to be attracted either one-to-one or through closed events.
  5. Exposure – Startups need to be discovered.  In Silicon Valley the tech press does a great job of promoting the latest hot startup.  In the rest of the world, startups get a poor deal from the press. Startups can be exposed at events and on platforms.

Accelerating the success of startups depends on efficiently delivering initiatives that address the above points. It is an intense process which requires openness and dedication from all those involved.

The founder has to have confidence in the advice he is receiving and act on it in a timely way.

Advisors need in-depth knowledge of the challenge being faced and should avoid advising when they don’t understand the issues being faced. Poor advise does more harm than good.

If you are thinking about doing a startup think carefully about how you can get support.  It will increase your chance of success and avoid costly mistakes.

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investor to monitor progress.Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.

Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

 

 

 

The number one question we receive from early stage entrepreneurs is ‘how can I find angel investment?’. On the face of it, a simple question but it is not as easy to answer as it looks.

Angels are people with enough free money to invest in companies. They are extremely cautious about what they do with this money and want a reasonable return on their investment to make it worth their while.

I have spent the last year getting to know the tech angel scene and can give some guidance on some scenarios you may encounter:

  1. I am an investor – be very cautious here!!  Angels are people with money to invest.  They don’t need to shout about it. There are many more consultants pretending to be angels than real ones. They do this because they want your money in return for ‘helping’ you with your business plan. These consultants are not all bad but they should come clean that they do not have money to invest, right from the start.
  2. I don’t invest in your sector – Tech investors are as rare as hen’s teeth. There are other sectors that are safer bets. Be very careful to make sure that you are speaking to those that are interested in your sector. These are often guys who have made their money with successful tech exits.  They understand the space and want to put something back.
  3. I am invested out – There are some very good angel investors who are just not in a position to invest right now. They may already be funding several tech startups but they can’t make further investments until the current ones are realized through an exit.
  4. I already have a big pile of business plans to go through – Most angels have more business plans than they can cope with.  They often prefer to receive suggestions from third parties.
  5. I only invest at a certain stage – Make absolutely sure that you are speaking to investors who will invest at early stage. VC’s are easier to get meetings with and will often claim to invest early stage.  However, they are generally, just keeping an eye on the market and trying to find ‘future’ winners. You can waste a huge amount of time and effort talking to people who have no intention in investing in you.
  6. I don’t think your startup is ready – Be cautious here. Investors will often say this when they are not interested for the other reasons described above. However, they might also be right. If you are sure that you are speaking to a real investor, listen carefully and find out what you need to do to make your startup attractive.

They say ‘when you are looking for investment, ask for advice and when you are looking for advice, ask for investment’. This is a truism.  It is a good idea to approach angels with a very subtle approach.  If you ask for money directly they will generally give you a hard time.  It is all about creating a long term relationship.  They need to get to know you and your team before investing their own money.

In summary,  make sure that you have identified ‘real’ investors, with ‘real’ money to invest NOW!  Make sure they will invest in your sector and at the stage you are at.  All of this takes time. We have created Dreamstake to support you in the process.

Good Luck in finding the funding to make your startup dream a reality!

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investor to monitor progress.Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.

Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

Who are you and what does your startup do?

Grabble.co.uk is a community curated social fashion platform. That may sound like a bit of a mouthful but its pretty simple stuff; we give users a Grab button that they add to their bookmark bar, and whenever they see a product they love or want to save, they “Grab” it, and it gets saved back on our platform in personal stores. Everything they Grab gets pulled into the community and can be seen by other users looking for inspiration. Users can tag styles, grab other people’s fashion finds to their own stores and share with their friends using Facebook API, adding new ways to discover fashion online. Everything within Grabble has been chosen by our members and therefore contributes to the ‘best fashion online, as chosen by our community’. Most importantly everything you see on Grabble can be purchased.

What is your vision and what problem do you solve?

We love the idea that users can discover fashion through social feeds and that they will find inspiration by style. We all know to look on ASOS and Topshop but everyone has that special place they shop online, and by using the Grab button they bring it into the community and provide new discovery for users who would struggle to find that valuable inspiration they’ve been looking for. By tagging in our styles we allow a semi curated feed to display fashion for the community. Traditionally even internet savvy users will use hundreds of bookmarks to save fashion from sites and buy some of these when payday arrives – now they have a single bookmark solution. Unlike Pinterest our platform has been developed to only work with commerce in mind, so if you can’t buy it, you can’t Grab it. This helps us keep it strictly product focused which is valuable for our users.

What was the biggest challenge for you so far and how did you deal with it?

Apart from finding skilled developers (and you get round that by being immensely patient, incredibly positive and most importantly nagging everyone you know to help introduce you to everyone they know to widen up your networks just in case) our main challenge has been how to structure our core technology solution. The major difference between us and a site like Pinterest is that its 100% commerce focused, and that means a completely different approach at the bookmark solution, which took us a lot of trial and error (and patience again) but we persevered and the short answer – is lots of testing!

What has gone well? Give your best startup tip?

Keep trying, don’t be afraid to admit defeat, if you really want to be an entrepreneur stay incredibly determined and positive but listen to the market. We started off with a youth group buying site this time last year as that appeared to be a growth sector, and even though we launched it very successfully we soon realised it was a bad sector and losing momentum, so we shut it down and started again, researching our young audience. From our first launch we realised what most of our audience wanted was cheap fashion and inspiration from fashion, they weren’t interested in our other products. So we began investigating the online fashion space and found social commerce to be an exciting growth area and developed our ideas over time with this in mind. Admitting defeat and starting again is tough but you learn a lot and it suits the notion of the “crazy entrepreneur” perfectly! Joining Dreamstake and networking is also incredibly valuable.

Like many great products Grabble was born out of a failure – it is our 3rd. pivot in the same business and by far the most promising. We attracted customers before (over 20,000) but found the industry incredibly negative and so we dove into the exciting world of online fashion. We are a product created through many iterations, conversations, tests, disagreements, market research but ultimately through admiration. We love what Pinterest does and how community engaged it is and want to create that vibe through fashion, but with a purpose; to purchase. We aim to house all the best fashion online chosen by our community and hope to inspire millions through social sharing and discovery. 

I have been working with entrepreneurs for a few years now and was wondering how to spot the winners. Investors put a lot of emphasis on the quality of the founder team. This is backed up by research that suggests that team quality is the single most important factor for startup success. I believe that behind every great startup team is an individual with the drive and vision to lead it to success.

So who are those crazy people who will change the world we live in?  Are they really different from everyone else?  Do you have what it takes to join them?  Do you want to know who to back with your investment?

I have noticed that entrepreneurs have special qualitities. These qualities explain why they are successful and make it easier to spot the winners. They are:

  1. Highly focused – Top startup founders are obsessed with achieving milestones. They are not interested in spending months defining strategy and would rather get on with execution.
  2. Inspirational – Good entrepreneurs have a clear vision of where they are heading and are good at conveying this to their team and advisers.
  3. Risk taking – It is impossible to launch a startup without taking a risk. The average person is unwilling to risk everything to achieve a dream. Entrepreneurs are people who will risk everything to do what they believe in.
  4. Optimistic – you will rarely meet a pessimistic entrepreneur.  They believe in their ideas and will defend them against people who don’t necessarily agree with them.
  5. Energetic – Buildng a startup is exhausting.  17 hour days, no weekends or holidays.  Work/life balance goes out of the window. Entrepreneurs have to be fit and healthy and have a massive appetite for work. This really is not an option. With only a 2 out 10 chance of success, taking the foot off the pedal spells failure.
  6. Resilient – Every entrepreneur will face doubt on a daily basis.  Other people will challenge their sanity and find numerous reasons why their ideas will fail. However, it is important to keep going and not lose sight of the  original vision.
  7. Creative – Being a entrepreneur is like being an artist.  Entrepreneurs are always looking for new ways to solve problems or even finding new problems to solve. They have the vision to challenge conventional thinking and disrupt current business models.
  8. Crazy – It definitely helps to be slightly crazy!  Why else would anyone pursue incredible dreams with little chance of success, whilst everyone else is coasting through a career at a bank or legal firm.  Entrepreneurs are usually people who have other options in life but chose to follow their heart because they want to make an impact.

So don’t be too influenced by what you see on TV. Entrepreneurs are not chancers who are simply good at sales and marketing. It is all about hard work and a strong desire to achieve fulfillment whilst doing something worthwhile in life. Most people are not cut out for this.  However, if you are, it is the most satisfying way to earn a living. Don’t embark on an entrepreneurial career until you know you are ready but when you are, give it everything you have got.

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investor to monitor progress.Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.

Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

 

Who are you and what does your startup do?
Fametune’s team are musicians, designers and developers from around the world. As musicians / producers, we’ve seen the problems with the actual music industry distribution model, and we felt the urge to change it, and finally create a win-win situation for all the music industry professionals, and ultimately for the listeners as well.
What is your vision and what problem do you solve?
Our vision is to make music industry an enjoyable and money-wise beneficial for everyone, the listeners, the artists and the labels, as actually there is no way for the listeners to earn money with the love they show for their favorite artists, and many listeners doesn’t even know, that subscribing to a standard streaming service almost pays nothing to the artists and labels, and that also from a standard track purchase, an average of 13 cents gets to the artist from each dollar spent. Actually artists now earn better if they simply get out to the streets and collect coins, then with the actual digital distribution models.
What was the biggest challenge for you so far and how did you deal with it?
We wanted to win the big music labels for our cause, but after talking to some it turned out that they have no interest in making the music industry better in any ways, nor for spending a penny on the promotion of their artists. How we dealt with it? We decided to start without them, as we believe music industry can still be better without them.
What has gone well? Give your best startup tip?
Our development process was went well and superfast. We started the actual software’s development in mid-february, and we are launching our public beta today. Woohoo! Well our best tips to startups would include the following:
1. Join Dreamstake
We’ve learnt a lot on their workshops, got great tips and advice. Also the 1 year free hosting they provided us with rackspace was a great help, as the first hosting companies we worked with wasn’t really helpful at all, and we wasted a lot of cash there.
Dreamstake is one of a kind, providing amazing help for startups. Whatever your needs are, from funding to learning and networking, dreamstake is the ultimate place to go. If you have a startup, Dreamstake is like your family private GP.
2. Get your hands dirty
What you are able to do for your startup, do it. If it takes 27 hours a day to work on it, do it. But what you can’t complete professionally, better hire a professional for it. We recommend oDesk, you can find inexpensive human resources for generally all your needs.
3. Network, network, network
Networking is a key factor for your startup. Meet people as many times as possible, and try cooperating, be creative finding out ways how you could work with them. Again, Dreamstake events are a perfect place to grow your network, many nice people we met there.
  
Fametune aims to turn the actual music distribution models upside down. With us, the listener can earn cash rewards if they provide a simple micro-review, a length of a comment. When this review gets shared on the listeners social networks, that helps artists and labels gain more fans, more fame, and ultimately the right share of their sales. This is how simple things should be in our opinion.
 

 

Why is public speaking so hard? Why do our voices tire, our nerves get the best of us and we lose our narrative? Have you ever looked at how a young child sits and stands? They have perfect posture, amazing breathing and their entire little bodies are brilliantly connected. We had that once, that is where great presentation skills begin and that is what we must get back to. If you learn good presentation technique, it will give you the confidence to tell your story well. These seven habits, if put into practice, will transform your presentations.

1 Posture & body language
93% of what we communicate has nothing to do with the voice; 55% is body language – Do you look approachable and confident? Here is a great exercise called “The flop” that re-sets your posture and enables you to stand tall and relaxed; reach for the ceiling on your tip toes with your hands, then let them drop to your sides and gently flop over, trying to touch your toes. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth a few times, then slowly roll yourself back up to standing, counting slowly from 1 -8, with your head remaining on your chest until number 8. You will have gained in height, look relaxed and be re-aligned to connect with the breath.
2 Breathing
We were born breathing right and then we learnt to breathe wrong. Children have got it right – When they breathe in, they push their belly out. Give it a try now – as you breathe out allow your stomach to be pulled back, and as you breathe in through your nose allow your belly to balloon out. It is important to know what muscles you are using to speak well. It’s all about connecting the diaphragm, which is all about breathing. If you breathe well you can control the length of your sentences and your volume, without straining your voice. Practice breathing subtly as you are listening to people in meetings, etc. It will keep you alert.
3 Connecting to the voice part 1(in the privacy of your own room)
Breathing in (and pushing the belly out), send a loud hum across to a fixed point on the other side of the room, making sure your lips are tingling. Take a breath and hum again. Next time, open the mouth, and turn the hum into an AAAH. Open your mouth wide and imagine the sound is coming from the front of your mouth.  The volume will surprise you, that is the power of a supported voice.
4 Connecting to the breath part 2
A sign of being connected is that when you speak, you feel the pull on your stomach, like when you are doing a sit-up. This is the culmination of all the posture, breath and humming work. A good way to put this into practice is to rehearse your speech by punching out the consonants or first syllables of your words. Imagine you are speaking to a deaf Granny, work the diaphragm and it will respond.
5 Create a strong narrative
You have the technique, but how do you create a good pitch? When I coach, most narrative problems occur because people waffle, speak long sentences and use jargon. So limit yourself to short sentences and breathe after each one. It will reveal where you are on “auto-pilot” and make you think about the words you use. Punch out the consonants and deliver your pitch as a children’s presenter – loud and over the top. Children love simple stories so keep it simple, with a beginning middle and end. Deliver your pitch as a secret. Then re-deliver your pitch. You will hear a clearer story.
6 Practice practice practice
When actors learn their lines the first job is to know the words, the second job is to sound convincing, the third is for it to sound natural. This is exactly the same rule for public speaking. It is hard work and can be frustrating, but it pays off. Practise looking at three members of your audience. When it comes to the presentation, look in the centre of their foreheads if you are nervous, they can’t tell!
7 The 3% rule
John Bird, founder of the Big Issue used to be homeless and  he talks about how he changed his life; the 3% rule is something I have been evangelically telling anyone who will listen about ever since. You join the gym, say you will go five times a week, throw yourself in at the 100% mark to get super fit and never end up going out of guilt. However, if we take the gym/life at 3% by 3%, slowly growing our skills, fitness, etc. there will be a change. It is not glamorous, but it works. So take these exercises and work on them bit by bit. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone can be interesting. We just need to believe that.

Stewart is the Director of Amplify Presentations Limited (www.amplifypresentations.com), a High Impact Presentation Coaching Company. He is passionate about enabling his clients to present themselves authentically and powerfully. His client list includes Vodafone, PA Consulting, Hyder Consulting and Wayra Academy. He is able to significantly improve his client’s communication skills quickly and effectively, delivering consistent and excellent results.  Subjects he coaches on include: engaging your audience, creating and delivering a pitch, protecting and projecting your voice. He has a resource pack, freely available for anyone wanting to develop their presenting skills. Stewart offers individual coaching and team coaching, from one hour taster sessions to twelve month bespoke programs. Follow us on twitter and Linked In
www.amplifypresentations.com
uk.linkedin.com/in/stewartjbewley/

As the founder of an early stage tech startup you will be searching for funding from a relatively small pool of investors. It is therefore crucial to prepare well and make the best of any opportunity. Here are a few common sense tips to improve the chance of successfully obtaining funding from angels:

  1. Understand their investment criteria – Investors are not a homogeneous group.  They have diverse interests. Only a tiny minority will be interested in tech startups and even these will often have additional investment criteria. Many will only invest in specific sub-sectors such as mobile, B2B or consumer internet. They may also only provide funding within certain tightly defined investment bands. It is important to understand all this before approaching angels. Otherwise, you will be wasting their time and yours.
  2. Remember angels are spoiled for choice – Imagine the investor that you are trying to meet,  has already got a big pile of business plans on his desk. Make sure that your business plan is concise, well written and addresses all major questions.
  3. Make sure you are ready – These days investors expect you to have tested your proposition before seeking investment. This means creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and demonstrating that people are prepared to pay for the service on offer. This is called, achieving Product/Market fit.
  4. Get an Introduction – Investors like to obtain introductions from trusted third parties. This saves them time as it avoids the need to go through masses of business plans from unknown sources.
  5. Learn how to pitch – It doesn’t matter how good your startup is, if you can’t communicate it in a clear way. This means delivering a great pitch that clearly addresses all likely questions about team, proposition, market, financials and investment requirements. It is also essential to rehearse your pitch and make sure any technology that you are going to use is working correctly.

Remember, that angels are simply people with money to invest.  They are taking a high risk with their own cash. Anything you can do to reduce this risk and demonstrate your credibility will increase your chance of success. Make sure you research each angel well and understand what they are looking for. Clearly demonstrate that you understand their requirements and address any likely concerns through a clearly communicated business plan or pitch. These steps will reduce the time it takes to get the funds you are looking for and allow you to get on with running your business.

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investor to monitor progress.Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.

Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.