Archives for the month of: December, 2013

Grabble

Tell me a little bit about your background?

I’m a former ‘ad lad’ having worked on creative offline and digital marketing campaigns for the likes of Amazon, Spotify, Intel etc. My specialism was communicating their various products to a 16 – 25 year old ‘younger’ demographic.

How did you come up with the idea for “Grabble”?

I spent lots of time shopping online and was a bit irritated with some of the user experience, and thought it would be great to have one big wishlist that helped me save everything I loved in one place. The idea developed from there…

What is “Grabble” all about? What is your vision?

It’s a fashion discovery platform that allows users to bookmark their favourite fashion & find out when it goes on sale. Users bring products into the community from any fashion site using the ‘Grab’ button (a bookmarking tool), so when they see that dress they love from ASOS they click ‘Grab’ and it will save it back into their personalised collections, and if it goes on sale we notify them by email.

This provides a unique discovery element as every time someone Grabs something from any site, other people can discover it in their feeds and Re-Grab it into their collections. So we are aiming to build up a catalogue of the most desired fashion items on the internet, chosen by our users.

Tell me about your team?

My Co-Founder Joel is a former PwC ACA qualified accountant with his specialism in business advisory and entrepreneurialism, he set up the “Entrepreneur Network” there, which is still going strong! We have very different but complimentary skills, which is essential for Co Founders. Our CTO Rob set up FusePump – a data feed management B2B, so his knowledge in this area is very strong. Our style editor Mei previously worked as a stylist at Jane Carr and Y2 Adidas, and the rest of our team makeup is pretty much fashion and unsurprisingly, female.

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

We have successfully launched a public beta and taken minimal funding. We are currently raising a further £150K to take this out of beta and through to validation, £70 of that is SEIS eligible, the rest is EIS eligible. We have signed up over 75 top retailers like ASOS, Topshop etc who manage their own pages, and the next step is to start on boarding medium size retailers to publish their collections from Grabble, on social media.

Anything interesting to tell us about your technical platform?

Crucially everything you see on Grabble can be bought. We already generate revenue thanks to affiliate commissions that enable us to get paid if products get sold. The discovery element is what’s really fun though – people can find new fashion being grabbed by the community and come across loads of interesting independent boutiques all the time! Working with small independent boutiques is a real key to our strategy – we want to facilitate the way they are discovered by new customers and have an altruistic vision in how our technology will allow them to share their collections on social media and beyond.

What is the main challenge that you face?

We always hear the same things from potential investors (why not go straight to the website) because typically they don’t understand that our target demographic love discovering new fashion and trends, and bookmarking products they intend to buy. So I guess a real challenge is that we are often raising money from people who really don’t get our raison d’etre.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

Joel and I love running a startup but our true goal is to write a successful sitcom for the BBC or Channel 4. We started one, got distracted and here we are a few months later raising money for a tech startup. Our new aim is to sell Grabble for millions and fund our own sitcom. One way or another, we’ll get it on TV….

Website: www.grabble.co.uk

Twitter: @grabble

 

The Dreamstake on-line accelerator is the first of it’s kind and has been evolving for the past couple of years. This January we will enter a new phase as we build new funding options into the business model. We believe that we have a unique solution for European tech startups that will bring higher levels of support and greater access to funding than previous solutions.

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 investors 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.

This past year has been a great year for the London Tech scene and an amazing year for Dreamstake.  We busted the 10,000 member mark and became the biggest provider of workshops and events at Google Campus.  We also learned a huge amount about creating successful startups. Here are some tips that we learned from the various Dreamstake Academy course tutors;

Solve a ‘real’ problem – Most of the best startups solve a problem encountered by the founder. Look out for everyday challenges that make your life difficult and use technology to make things quicker, smarter or cheaper.

Tackle attractive markets – Make sure that the total market size is attractive and on an upward growth path. This is especially important when seeking investment.

Build an MVP – Lean Startup teaches us the  importance of building a Minimum Viable Product to test the concept.

Prove product/market fit – Before spending large sums of money make sure that people are prepared to pay for your product or service.

Get better, not bigger – Until you have proved product/market fit, get better, not bigger. Obsess on making the product indispensable. The worst mistake is to scale too early.

Measure the right things – Beware of vanity metrics.  One thousand paying customers are worth more than a million likes on Facebook.

You make your own luck – It may always look like the top entrepreneurs are in the right place at the right time.  However, they make their own luck by being proactive and chasing the right opportunities.

Sell, sell, sell – Even tech startups can’t afford to rely 100% on the web.  High growth startups like Airbnb were built on a foundation of intensive sales effort.

Ask the experts – There is plenty of great advice out there.  Ask other entrepreneurs in co-working spaces, at events or tap into the professionals. Most accountants and lawyer are happy to provide a little bit of free advice to startup founders.

Team is everything – We have all heard ‘investors invest in teams’.  It’s totally true.  It doesn’t matter how great your idea is, if they don’t believe you can execute you won’t get their money!

Communicate your idea – So many great startups fail because the founding team can’t get the message across. Hone the proposition and learn how to pitch.

Attract investors with SEIS – There has never been a better time to get investment. The UK Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme makes it extremely attractive for investors. Make sure your startup qualifies with HMRC.

Don’t give up – Many startup founders just simply give up too soon.  If you really believe that you have a great proposition, keep going.

Next year is going to be another great year.  European Governments know that startups represent the best way to fuel growth and are working to create a better environment for entrepreneurs. Dreamstake has big plans and will play a part in ensuring that 2014 is a memorable year for tech startups.

The Dreamstake on-line accelerator is the first of it’s kind and has been evolving for the past couple of years. Next January we will enter a new phase as we build new funding options into the business model. We believe that we have a unique solution for European tech startups that will bring higher levels of support and greater access to funding than previous solutions.

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 investors 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.

 

I can do everything myself!

A startup founder who works on their own is not a good sign. Investors can get suspicious about that and think that you may not be confident or persuasive enough. Seriously, why didn’t any of your friends or colleagues want to join you? If these are the closest people, who know you the best and believe in you the most – then why aren’t any of them onboard?

Even if none of the above reasons are relevant and it is as simple as you couldn’t find a good partner – still, starting a company on your own is really hard. You can boost your startup immensely by having someone to brainstorm with, share the load of making important decisions or simply having them there to cheer you up and spur you on when things get tough!

My market is very niche, there is no competition in this area at all

This is mostly connected with the idea . All the startup books shout out loud that you need to ‘find your niche’ and many startups choose too small a market. We notice it with very early stage startups – not having enough experience, they choose ‘safer’ business models. They think that by choosing this strategy they might avoid competition. However, it is a mistake and you have to remember that if your idea is good enough you will surely have competition and you have to learn how to deal with it.

I have a great idea, all I need is to hire a programmer

Some of the startup people we meet might be good at business, but not so good at programming. They tend to think that they can easily find a good programmer who will help them achieve their dream. First of all, it is really hard to find a great programmer – we say they are a bit like gold dust! Secondly, if you do find one, good luck in trying to persuade them to work for you and make them implement a business minded idea.

Someone is bound to love my product/service

Quite a few startups we meet don’t really know who their customers are. It is a crucial factor for you as a startup to know exactly who will pay for your product/service. You can’t afford to just assume! Find out who is in need and exactly what they are in need of. Besides, it is much easier to understand your product or service if you are one of your own customers as well. The best companies started up because their founders really needed the product themselves.

We are still not 100% ready to launch!

Reid Hoffman – a founder of LinkedIn once said: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Most of the time startups tend to invent all sort of excuses to launch. Procrastination is just a part of a usual human nature. However, you have to launch quickly, simply because nothing is ever really finished, even if you think that your product is 100%. Some of the mistakes and failures can only be noticed when the startup is released.

 

The Dreamstake on-line accelerator is the first of it’s kind and has been evolving for the past couple of years. Next January we will enter a new phase as we build new funding options into the business model. We believe that we have a unique solution for European tech startups that will bring higher levels of support and greater access to funding than previous solutions.

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 investors 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.