Disrupting London - The Seven Ages of the Entrepreneur


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Shakespeare's poem The Seven Ages of Man discusses man's journey from mewling baby to the lover to second infancy in old age. But what about the seven ages each entrepreneur could pass through?

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  • Intros etc. Who am I?
  • Why London is an amazing place to start a business – but you already know that
  • Not a good student. Always thinking about building stuff rather than learning things.
  • Plenty written about the mechanics of company registration and tax. Choose the right co-founder. Shared vision. Complementary. Not necessarily complimentary! Perfect founding team – commercial product person, shit hot engineer, great designer / UX person. Product business can worry about sales down the line Agree on goal – lifestyle business or $BN global company Ali and I were friends – not great friends – but close enough to give it a shot. Like a marriage – you’ll spend 5+ years together.
  • When to launch? What to launch? MVP is important and KISS. Launched in April 2007. Rush to the line and probably did too much. The very best products initially focus on doing one thing really well.
  • Bootstrapping is getting the business to the next stage, by hook or by crook Funding through savings, friends and family or credit card Some even consider angel investment to be ‘bootstrapping’ – US firm bootstrapped with $500k! Ali and I didn’t pay ourselves for over a year and borrowed money from family. Focused on early revenues. Did bespoke developments. Got to profitability. Whatever it takes so long as you don’t sacrifice the long term vision.
  • In 2007 we made decision Go big or go home. What does a good VC bring? Money, connections, experience. Raised our first round December that year with Eden ventures. Had to learn the VC game from scratch. Spoke with every VC informally before we kicked off the process. The dance!
  • You raise your first VC round. What then? Mo’ money mo’ problems Investors mean you aren’t in total control. Spend spend spend! You have to hire people to hold your baby. Only hire A players. Building culture. What we do. Genuine example above! Schwag, parties, food, drinks – make it feel like a family. Make it a place you would want to work.
  • In 2010 we opened our first US office. Post B round. Go bigger! VCs wanted founder(s) on the ground. Where to expand to? East coast or west coat? San Francisco or Silicon Valley? How to deal with time zones. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Distance breeds mistrust.
  • Distance doesn’t have to be a negative as long as you put structure in place!
  • Can’t really speak to this yet so no fancy background picture. Don’t build a company to be acquired. Revenue expectations of $100M for that magic $1BN valuation.
  • Disrupting London - The Seven Ages of the Entrepreneur

    1. 1. Andy McLoughlin, Co-founder Follow me @bandrew
    2. 2. Cloud-based content collaboration platformused by 100,000 businesses and 80% of UKCentral GovernmentEmploy 160+ people across 4 officesMore than $40M raised from top tier VC firms
    3. 3. All the worlds a stage,And all the men and women merely players,They have their exits and entrances,And one man in his time plays many parts,His acts being seven ages.The Seven Ages of ManWilliam Shakespeare
    4. 4. The Seven Ages of the Entrepreneur (and what we’ve learnt along the way)
    5. 5. Act OneFounding the business
    6. 6. Act TwoLaunching your product
    7. 7. I dont know the key tosuccess, but the key tofailure is trying to pleaseeverybody.- Bill Cosby, Famous American
    8. 8. Act ThreeBootstrapping
    9. 9. Act FourRaising venture capital
    10. 10. Act FiveHiring and growth
    11. 11. http://gapingvoid.com/2008/08/05/silicon-valley-map/ Act Six International expansion
    12. 12. Act SevenSale or IPO
    13. 13. Questions? @bandrew | @huddle