written by Sonia Dembowska
Last month we welcomed autumn with a Founders all about funding – how to lock down the capital you need to grow your business.
If you weren’t able to grab the last few tickets worry not, since we’re giving you a summary of the event. This time we welcomed four different speakers, all geared with their unique experiences of funding their business, supported by The Deloitte Exchange and Market Gravity.
The introductions were kicked off by Matt Ward, the head of Market Gravity for the North of England, who works with ambitious companies around the world to construct, design and launch propositions that help make their customers’ lives better. They hosted us in The Walk complete with views of the Trinity centre, their interactive showcase room, food and drinks. Expect to see more as this space grows with an assortment of agencies and technical capability teams who specialise in testing and marketing analytics.
Dave Taylor then shared the vision of The Deloitte Exchange with the crowd where the purpose is to find “Yorkshire’s next unicorn”. Dave and his team offer free business consulting on the last Thursday of every month helping you navigate some of the trickier things of running a business. You can reserve your team’s place via the link.
Eager to get things kicked off we had our first enthusiastic speaker, Simon from Cooperative Innovations, an immersive technology studio that focuses on developing virtual and augmented reality. Simon has been coding as soon as he was able to read, was a game developer since 1999 and managed to fund a separate gaming studio in the mid-2000s. The journey of funding Cooperative Innovations began in 2016 with self-funding and a few grants. It quickly moved into a Seed round in 2018 and now they are on their way through Series A raise of 2.5 million.
He ended his presentation with a few quick tips for anyone willing to embark on a similar journey :
- Keep 40 hours extra a week, it’s hard work
- Read up on the process, books, guides and blogs
- Prepare! Perfect your presentation and get advice from advisors, founders and friendly VCs
Next on was Peter from Hyper Group. Hyper creates business value for its customers through the application of data science. Hyper has started in 2016 as TransUnion and since then took on four name changes leaving it as we know it today.
He shared the benefits of partnering with a large corporation and how startups could balance their risk and reward by keeping their sense of identity while making the most of large networks. Their principles that helped them secure funding up to this point are:
- Inject fresh thinking
- Build innovative new propositions
- Balance risk and reward
- Provide mentoring and incubation
- Supercharge with high-performance tech
After the intermission, Vivien from DRIAD dispelled some myths on grants for those startups who find themselves more research-based. First off, they are not ‘free money’ and often have a few hurdles to power through before being granted. Simply put :
- They are not the first source of funds
- You need to demonstrate your capacity to conduct a project
- Most are match-funded and paid in arrears
- They are very competitive
Secondly, don’t change your business to fit someone’s expectations. Titled ‘Square peg, round hole’, this section highlighted the importance of making sure you don’t twist your business to fit and look for grants that suit your needs.
The last presentation of the event was given by Myles Jensen founder of For Fork Sake. Originally started as Eat.ai, the company launched and raised 50k by reaching out to investors through LinkedIn. But the real success came in when they pivoted and launched FFS which they decided to build with non-initial cash – it’s bootstrap time! With a team of 14 people and £500 in their bank account, they have successfully launched themselves into fruition. How? Myles gave credit to hard work, asking when necessary and creativity.
Fundraising can be very time-consuming, but there are many avenues to explore, each of which comes with its own challenges. Many businesses have been launched through crowdfunding, bootstrapping or venture capital, but it’s important to do your research for the types of funding that work for you and your business. The tips from this event have inspired a new collection of tips which you can view here for free.
Once again a huge thank you to our sponsors Market Gravity & The Deloitte Exchange, our four energetic speakers and all our attendees who are at the core of the Leeds Founders community 👏👏👏
Interested in speaking or sponsoring an upcoming Founders? We’re promoting positive change one event at a time and are taking bookings into 2020! Please get in touch via the links below!
See you next time!
Your friendly crew at Leeds Digital Drinks!