HoxTech Angels at the Hoxton Hotel – the best of the pitches

By Friday, July 31, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

HoxTechAnybody who reads this blog regularly or who has even the most fleeting association with London’s start-up scene will know all about Dreamstake, the platform for start-ups with a ranking algorithm which looks at 50+ data points in order to determine what stage a start-up is at and what the founders need to do in order to get themselves investor ready.

A large section of London’s angel investor community will also know about the HoxTech Angels, which takes place every third Monday of the month at the Hoxton Hotel on Great Eastern Street, in their private apartment on the ground floor. Hosted by Paul Dowling and Marina Atarova, Dreamstake’s founders, the evening represents an opportunity for the best performing start-ups on the Dreamstake platform to pitch to an assembled group of angel investors, carefully sourced and vetted by Paul and Marina.

Both are passionate not only about spreading the word about the amazing founders, coders and teams pushing the boundaries of what is achievable by leveraging the latest technology, but also about putting them in touch with angels who can provide not just cash, but mentoring, contacts, and have the time of their lives doing so.

“It’s not just about business, and it’s not just about the generous tax breaks angels receive when investing in tech start-ups, it’s about having fun. Early stage tech is risky, but the rewards can be off the scale, and the opportunity to work with inspiring, dedicated and passionate founders is an opportunity you simply don’t want to miss out on”, says Paul.

It takes a certain type of personality to back a tech start-up, help them grow, and reap the substantial rewards on offer; for the experienced tech investor, HoxTech evenings are a chance to run the rule over the cream of the crop in a convivial atmosphere with like-minded people. For the inexperienced or first time investor, there’s no better place to start looking for your first deal. Syndicates are common, so have a read through the details of the start-ups below (all pitched on Monday evening), contact Paul or Marina if you’d like further info, and make sure you come along to the next event!



imageLexoo is a curated legal marketplace that helps small businesses find the right lawyer. Founder Daniel Van Binsbergen set up Lexoo to help solve 3 of the major “pain points” experienced when trying to find a suitable lawyer; a lack of price transparency, the difficulty of judging the quality and experience of law practicioners, and the length of time it takes to find, vet and appoint a suitable candidate.

Lexoo promise to send clients using their advanced tech platform up to 4 quotes within 24 hours from pre-screened specialised lawyers. All of the lawyers on their online platform have been vetted, interviewed by telephone and appointed because they are specialists in a particular area of law, giving Lexoo the ability to quickly match the right lawyer to appropriate client.

The SME legal services market in the UK is worth $17.2 billion, and expansion internationally is also an interesting prospect, considering the size of the global market. Currently the team are experiencing 30% month on month growth, with more than 20 clients using the service every day. The service is free for customers; Lexoo is paid a 10% commission by lawyers.

Currently the platform hosts 180 lawyers and Lexoo are on a healthy 7 figure annualised gross transaction run rate. Having already completed a £260k seed round last year, Lexoo is now pitching for their next round which will be led by Forward Partners (who also led the seed round last year.



logo-blackQuickQueue is a free mobile app that allows you to beat the queues in coffee shops and quick-service restaurants by ordering ahead, eliminating what founder Maxwell Harding describes as “the world’s daily queueing routines”.

Discover nearby stores, browse the menu, pre-order and pre-pay, collect without the queues, and earn loyalty points, says the team’s pitch deck. The app even remembers your habits so that you can enjoy your favourite orders in the touch of a button.

Founder Harding, who cut his teeth at Terra Firma under the mentorship of renowned dealmaker Guy Hands, believes that the traditional economy is ripe for disruption now that consumers have become accustom to “hyperconvenience” after the proliferation of on-demand startups such as AirBnB and Uber. The team estimate that the out-of-home drinks and food market is worth up to £500 billion, meaning that the winner in this space is set to be Europe’s next unicorn.

Leading the tech side of the business is co-founder Robert Kehres, who achieved a First Class Honours degree from Cambridge University in Computer Science, and building the global partner base is co-founder Daniel Hodge, previously head of sales at a tech start-up where he originated clients including Amazon, Play.com and Walmart.

A pre-release version of the app was recently shared with a small number of pilot testers; to date over 1,000 transactions have been made and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The team will “go global, fast!” when they conclude their round of £1 million.

3 million cups of coffee, tea and juices are sold every day in London; a 0.5% share of that market would be enough to see QuickQueue’s asset-light business model break even. The team have integrated with Stripe, the billion-dollar payments start-up, to securely handle transactions with complete transparency.



maslogo222WishWant.co.uk allows its users to create and curate a collection of gifts made by independent and boutique brands for their intended recipient to choose from.

In today’s world people are struggling to find appropriate gifts for loved ones, or to mark events, so why not pass on the final decision to the recipient rather than give them something they have no use for. WishWant produce a high quality physical gift catalogue with over 1,000 gifts from 100+ niche designers; you can do the final ordering online and add personalised messages for all the gifts you select for your receipient to choose from.

WishWant uses a dropshipping model meaning there is no requirement to store inventory, reducing costs, and has achieved 2m visitors and 130 transactions with no marketing spend to date, leveraging a proprietary email database of 2,000+ contacts.

The team have already received a grant worth £42k from the UKTI and are looking to raise a further £150k to fund a marketing push utilising celebrity endorsements and social media campaigns. The team is led by 3 founders who specialise in branding, programming, and product design. They believe an exit to a major rival, such as Amazon, is achievable and are anticipate providing investors with a 10x return over a 7 year period.


Serket: A team of Cambridge based scientists hoping to disrupt the world of medicine delivery and support for pharmacies and patients, Serket estimate that more than £300 billion worth of medical products are wasted each year owing to patients not following through with the medical programmes they are prescribed.

The team believe that the app which they have developed can solve this problem by providing alerts to tell patients when to take medicine, and providing interactive services that allow a patient to feel like they are taking an active part in the healing process.

The app the team has developed is safe & professional, with a range of features that make it easy for them work alongside pharmacies such as Boots or Lloyds Pharmacy, helping them to build brand loyalty e.g by adding stickers to medicine bottles with a code that can communicate with smartphones and allow Serket to identify and activate it’s unique range of services.

The revenue model is based on activation fees; the team have carried several focus groups which show that users would be accepting of a fee of around 30 pence to activate the service. Additionally, Serket hope to partner with insurance companies and share valuable anonymous user data with major pharma companies.

Serket’s founders anticipate quarterly revenues of circa £300k and are looking to raise a round of £200k to fund software development, marketing and administration at a pre money valuation of 800k. Break even is achievable by 2017, the founders believe.

XCordis Fintech


imageXCordis uses proprietary Intelligent Automated Payments technology to improve the way money flows through transactions. The company are pioneering 2 different models, Franchise Pay and Pay Properties, introducing features such as automated billing, collection and distribution, instantaneous billing, multi vendor baskets and high volume disbursements to ensure a business can handle its payment structures as efficiently as possible.

The team hope to address markets such as franchisers, FOREX, insurance, wealth management, property and monetising social media. The team is led by Robert Atkin and also includes a former MD at SWIFT Payments, an advisor to the cabinet office and a former MD at Goldman Sachs.

A Joint Venture with OSTC F/X will provide XCordis with £150k of funding, a sales team and warm leads to 200 + corporates companies. Revenues are earned form transaction fees, card processing fees and setup, customisation and integration. Anthony Hicks at PayPal recently said of Xylyx, the team’s software: “there’s nothing in the world like XYLYX”. Another JV, The Payments Franchise, is launching on Sept 3rd.

The team are looking for £500k go-to-market funding and introductions to more customers and clients.



imageGlisser is a presentation software that engages audiences at live events and supplies presenters with valuable leads and feedback. The software capitalises on converging trends such as BYOD, social media, big data and the rise of organic events as inspired by sites such as MeetUp.com and EventBrite, and has the capability to live share slides.

The Glisser software, which allows audience members to submit comments to the presenter during a live show, askying questions and commenting on the subject matter in exchange for providing their email details, is aimed at event planners, presenters and internal comms.

Glisser founder Michael Piddock believes this is a hot market, with applications such as Prezi attracting more than 50m users, and with slide share users numbering more than 4.3m. Piddock also describes the perfect use case being self discovery, citing a recent presentation given at SXSW where the presenter chose to use Glisser unprompted having discovered the app by accident, and subsequently tweeting about how effective it had been.

Although small, Glisser is revenue generating, has patents pending for their tech and the team hope that positive publicity can help the spread of the app and that exponential growth is possible. Having already secured backing from Downing Ventures and an Angel Investor, the team are seeking further funds for expansion.

for more details visit HoxTechAngelsDreamstake or email Paul (paul.dowling@dreamstake.net) or Marina (Marina@dreamstake.net)

Entrepreneurship: how can policy keep up? Panel discussion at the Collective with Mike Butcher, John Spindler, Steven Norris

By Tuesday, July 7, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 2

imageThe great thing about London’s latest breed of entrepreneurs is that they don’t stand on ceremony. In that respect they have quite a lot in common with politicians “of a certain age”, who are and indeed always were equally unafraid to speak their minds.

The stage was set then on Monday evening at the Collective’s stylish townhouse HQ in Bloomsbury for a political debate that will be remembered as a relatively straightforward victory for the Conservative party, represented by “roustabout” ex-London Mayoral candidate, Tory MP and successful businessman Stephen Norris. The Labour panellist, Lord Adonis, had had to cancel at the last minute, having been asked to return to the House of Commons to discuss recent events in Tunisia, which should give a sense of perspective to an otherwise outspoken, occasionally fiery and occasionally hotly contested debate.

Fortunately John Spindler, Co-founder of the London Co-investment fund, stepped in at the last minute and in fact made a contribution which was quite possibly every bit as illuminating as Lord Adonis’ could have been. We’ll never know for sure, but in his absence it was the man asking the questions, presenter and Tech Crunch Editor-in-Chief Mike Butcher, who took on the role of chief Norris-needler.

Butcher, praised by Spindler for being the driving force behind the “Tech City” start-up phenomenon, opened the debate by describing his experiences of pitching the concept of “the Internet” to John Major’s Conservative government in 1995, of which Norris was an influential member. “We don’t need it, it’s full of criminals and porn”, he was told.

Which was, of course, true, but in a not altogether who,esoteric way hasn’t the porn industry often found itself ahead of the game, and criminals too (Bitcoin anyone?)! When Butcher returned to the commons the following year the government had performed a spectacular volte face: now every British citizen must have access to the Internet! Are politicians always behind the curve when it comes to setting policy?

Not at all! Countered Norris; although admitting he had never had a PC back in those days, governments were duty bound to move with the times. The example he chose to use was to become a theme for the evening; property; today’s government must wake up to a growing need to provide cheap, flexible accommodation, and not just for entrepreneurs. The model everybody should be using was that of Reza Merchant, founder of the Collective. It sounded a teeny bit like sucking up.

Butcher agreed that business rates on property are a serious issue that threaten entrepreneurs and that the government must look at new ways of levying taxes on property as soon as possible. Merchant, standing at the back of the “Den” the co-working space his team are in the process of renovating, could probably have weighed in with a suggestion or two at this point, but wisely chose to keep his counsel.

John Spindler agreed; co-working spaces are struggling to get business relief. Tech Hub, for example are paying exorbitant rates, more than almost anybody else. “Let’s stop talking about property” intoned Butcher, but Norris was not to be denied his rant (another theme of the evening); “property owners must recognise the speed at which the property and tenant occupancy model is changing! The market is behind the 8 ball: nobody wants to rent 50,000 sq. ft. footplates or whole floors of the “Walkie talkie” or “Cheesegrater” skyscrapers. Now that anybody can be connected, anywhere, the flexible working model is key; the office is losing its importance; why join the commuter rush when you can work from home?

imageThat was more like it: a piece of advice for entrepreneurs! But as Spindler pointed out, even start-up Mecca San Francisco has property problems; where you end up leasing your office space could determine whether an investor is going to back you or not. And as for the North of England, as Butcher put it with deliberate bluntness; “there just aren’t any f*ing investors in the North.”   Still, there’s always “The Angel of the North”, huh Mike?

Norris was scathing about the chances of business owners making a go of relocating outside of the M25. “A lot of people tried it, went to the North or Northampton to see if they liked it, see if they could make it work and they came straight back!” He reminisced. That was 25 years ago however, Stephen, when HS2 was no more than twinkle in Boris Johnson’s eye.

Apparently the issue was that there was nothing to do in Northampton on a Tuesday night. What, no televisions, no microwave dinners like we have in London? No beans on toast or Tinder? For shame. Keep building in London, that’s the answer, opined Norris, returning to his favourite theme. “10 years ago in Shoreditch you couldn’t give property away, now look at it.” Quite.

It was time for Butcher to steer the conversation away from “the middle-class dinner party topic of property prices in London”. It was time to talk about property prices in Berlin! The local government there are backing rent control; god’s gift to entrepreneurs, surely?

But rent control is not the answer, Norris replied, because it is anti-entrepreneurial and discourages investment into property. Spindler’s view was that start-ups need to find a solution fast before the hipsters and indeed everybody else starts to move out of the capital.

He followed up with another view; not about property, but about data-privacy! Spindler is a libertarian, but believes that the “Snowden effect” has largely passed Britain by; “we’re the world’s biggest data spys!” he declared. Butcher reminded us all that the government had once sold off patient’s health records to insurance companies. “Remember, if you are not buying the product then you are the product”, Spindler added: it’s all getting a bit “Minority Report” when it comes to digital data mining, was the general view, although Norris demurred.

“Could the government be doing more for entrepreneurs by extending the EIS and SEIS tax breaks or making more funding available?” asked Butcher. They could, replied Spindler, but they already do a fair bit. 85% of London’s VCs receive some form of government funding; angel investors are mainly put off tech investing because of the length of time it takes to get their money back; usually around 8 years. They should remember what the economist Adam Smith said: “common investment must be done by groups.”

All of a sudden, Norris, who had been a touch quieter during the non property related part of the discussion (not a criticism, he still made interesting and relevant points) sprang to life. It was at this point that a 3 way discussion effectively became the 1 show. Norris wasn’t taking any prisoners and Butcher and Spindler seemed to have no answers, just more questions for Norris! It was reminiscent of W.G. Grace in his prime. They’ve come here to see me bat not watch you bowl son! Norris was opening up. Take cover! It was occasionally crude, but the crowd loved it and there were few dissenting voices.

Product Launch Flat IllustrationWebinars are “boring”, ID cards “worthless”; the magnanimous Norris is prepared to share his data online, because “I’m still getting the better end of that deal”. The French government took a pounding, although they deserved recognition for arresting Uber’s senior management team and putting them in jail. The Brits, the inventors of the world, need to toughen up, rediscover their nasty side, and invade the tax havens!

Of course these were extreme edges of a well intentioned and well-researched rant. The term “disruption” has been redefined, he went on; “in my day to be disruptive had negative connotations, not positive ones”. In his day also everything he said was written down by a young, almost always female secretary. Not sure if that was a dig at bloggers, but if it was: touché!

On driverless cars: “What’s technically possible today may not be practicable tomorrow”, but he’d use one, “and my nine year old son probably would too!” On Visa policy: “we must get our policy right. We refuse to be a part of the Schengen area because we don’t want to accept economic migrants, but the vast majority rarely if ever claim benefits and bring extraordinary and much needed knowledge and expertise into the country.”

Finally, and to sum up perhaps with a non-property related topic. Investors must be incentivised to fund UK based technology companies, not just by the government, but by the companies themselves. They need to be won over. Winning over a crowd. I have a feeling Stephen Norris would have a thing or two to say about that, and he’d probably be right. With a little wrong thrown in, just for effect, you understand.

Entrepreneurship: how can policy keep up? Took place at The Den, The Collective Elevator’s newly refurbished co-working space in Bloomsbury. Desk space is available from just £198 pcm. For more information please visit: http://den.thecollective.co.uk/bedfordsquare

As Axis Stars rolls out version 2.0 of its Elite sportsperson networking, contract and sponsorship management platform, Haggerston Times asks, do we still need to see our sporting heroes suffer?


axis1The elite sportsperson as entrepreneur? It’s hardly a stereotype we normally apply to the world’s top football, basketball, rugby or tennis stars. We, the public are often quick to judge our sporting heroes, but rather than praise them for their achievements we’re often more likely to accuse them of being overpaid, spoilt, arrogant or living in a bubble, unwilling to engage with the real world and the real suffering that is happening around them.

Future of Men’s Fashion on show in LCF Ba Men’s Show; it’s in safe hands!

By Thursday, June 25, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

In conjunction with London Collections Mens, LCF Ba menswear students showcased their final collections in an end of term show at Shoreditch Town Hall on June 16th to mark and celebrate their graduate collections.

What was perhaps most striking about this presentation was the clear ability and enjoyment the students showed in taking risks with their designs and materials. This particular course and its students are notorious for pushing boundaries, and the show was nothing if not proof of this idea. After all the show’s own tagline was welcome to an evening of rebellion, as the show was intended to outline the student’s desire to break away from university standard expectations and conventions.

Dreamstake founder stories: David Buttress on risking it all and how “talking about Kevin” helped deliver the goods!


David Butress tells his founder story at Google Campus

Dreamstake’s excellent founder stories series continued on Wednesday evening at Google Campus; there were queues around the corner as a packed house assembled to hear David Buttress give a talk about how he helped turn JustEat from a promising Scandinavian start-up into a household name in the UK, with revenues of £157m and profits of £33m in 2014 on the back of over 1bn orders, with more than 1,500 restaurants signed up to the platform.

Like all great start-ups, and given the fact that all of the company’s profits continue to be reinvested straight back into a growth trajectory that he believes to be practically vertical, a start-up is exactly how David still thinks of Just Eat, it began small. Very small.

Flubit, the disruptive ecommerce start-up taking aim at Amazon and E-Bay, are wrestling back the initiative with the launch of BeFlubit


beflucitA few months back I spoke with Flubit co-founder and CEO Bertie Stephens and his COO Steph Fiala about how they had managed to create one of the most enviable disruptive start-up cultures in London; quite an achievement when you consider the competition. We spoke about team bonding exercises, share options for every staff member, the importance of keeping staff informed about what is happening at the sharp end of the business, and the sheer hard work involved in tripling the size of the workforce in a little over 18 months.

Beating the best at their own game!

But the most exciting thing about working at Flubit I’d wager is that this is a company whose mission statement is all about breaking the hegemony of some of the largest, most profitable and most talked about companies in the world. Amazon, e-Bay, Rakuten, Tesco; the fact that Flubit has these behemoths in its sights must make Flubit a thrilling company to be a part of. It’s rare and totally refreshing to hear a Tech City start-up talking up its chances of taking on the big boys, and even rarer to find one that can back up its words with actions. Flubit are tring to change the way we think about ecommerce forever.

Trip Space Yoga is the place to go if your week feels like a downward dog!

By Friday, June 19, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

trip yoga

Ever found yourself suffering from the Monday blues, only to discover it’s already Thursday? Of course you have! But it doesn’t have to be like that. For centuries, Millenia even, spiritual leaders have been perfecting the art of controlling the mind by contorting the body. We’re talking about yoga, and now it has a new home in Haggerston.

Trip Space Projects occupies two converted railway arches in Acton Mews, the cobbled alleyway next to where the Regents Canal meets Kingsland Road. It’s the perfect home for this funky and ultra-hip collective whose mission is “to organise progressive activities for contemporary performance and social engagement”. It’s all about the body, the being, and the social.

So what kind of PR does your start-up business need (and what is PR anyway?)


Public relations innit! Your company’s relationship with its public. And who is its public? Here’s your first tip; don’t rule anybody out. You never know who might need what service, where, when, or even why. Life is unpredictable, don’t be afraid of that fact. Don’t hold out for the customers you’ve always dreamt of having; to paraphrase George Michael; if you can’t have the ones you want, love the ones your with!

Company Profile: international payments start-up The Money Cloud does what a good FinTech company should; cuts out the middle man


Money Cloud3If we look at the reasons why FinTech has been able to mount a successful challenge to traditional banking and financial services industries, taking a slice, albeit still a very minor one, out of their profits pie and achieving the kind of company valuations that suggests there may be plenty bigger slices to come (think TransferWise, Azimo, or Nutmeg, for example), three things stand out very clearly about the provision of professional services in the financial sector:

London’s Top VCs: Charlotte Street Capital are VC’s dark horses, 3 founders running a lean, mean start-up funding machine


charlotte street capitalA little later than we anticipated (sorry folks), the final part in our “London’s top VC’s” series. A few weeks ago we decided to research 5 different sized VC’s, with different areas of expertise, contrasting investment targets and sizes, and different kinds of internal cultures and investment strategies.

The results have been well received by the VCs themselves, founders, angels and many more casual readers from a range of different industries and backgrounds. feel free to leave your comments below!

Our final instalment looks at Charlotte street capital, a small, hardworking and highly effective team of tech, IT and finance experts that work closely with founders and are steadily building up a portfolio with a lot of potential to deliver stellar returns if the tech industry in the UK continues on its upward trajectory.

London’s Top VCs: MMC Ventures are one of London’s most active, strategic VC funds with enviable experience and great contacts


mmc venturesHaggerston Times has been blogging all week about some of London’s top VC firms, to try to help founders understand who they should be sending their business plans to, and paint a picture of where VC’s fit into the start-up eco-system. All the research conducted has been done purely by us based on what was available online and our opinions are entirely subjective.

Founders should bear in mind, that just as they must impress VC’s with their dedication, passion, and thirst for success, VC’s must wow their institutional and private investors by picking, funding, and developing early stage start-ups into comanies that dominate in their chosen industry sector, to the extent that they become acquisition targets for some of the world’s biggest companies.

Looking at how different VC’s go about their business may help founders understand who they should be partnering with, and what they should be prioritising as they look to scale without sacrificing the core proposition that that inspired them to start a business in the first instance! Today we look at MMC Ventures, who are the only VC we have looked at to date not to have their own Wikipedia page.


MMC Ventures was founded in 2000 by Bruce MacFarlane and Alan Morgan, with the objective of “backing early stage, high growth companies”. Whilst the total funds under management are dwarfed by the likes of Balderton or Index Ventures, MMC are one of the most active investors in the UK in terms of deals done, with a knack for attracting co-investors.

London’s Top VCs: Notion Capital believe the disruption of the software industry by SaaS is the key to establishing itself as a major league VC


notionThis week Haggerston Times is looking at some of London’s top Venture Capital Firms, to help readers (and us!) gain a better understanding of what Venture Capital is all about and whether you and your company should be approaching them with your business plan (clue: you should, but find out which one first and try not to waste anyone’s time!).

So far we’ve looked at Google Ventures and Balderton Capital, 2 pretty serious players, even if Google Ventures in Europe are fairly embryonic (although we have discovered that the European arm of GV were credited as lead investors in a recent $60m funding round for music rights tech company Kobalt, although the US team supplied the quotes!).

Today we look at Notion, who exploded onto the scene when 2 brothers pulled off a “sale of the century” deal; and they are very much in the business of looking forward, not back. High growth, high octane software as a service specialists. We’re also very grateful for the (extremely prompt) feedback from Wayne Gibbins at Notion, which served to reinforce our view that Notion are right on top of their game.


Notion Capital was founded in 2008 when brothers Ben and Jos White sold their business MessageLabs to Symantec for £397m, and decided to allocate £20m to developing a VC fund. The brothers had also founded RBR Networks and internet services provider Star Internet. Stephen Chandler and Ian Milbourn, senior executives at MessageLabs, and Chris Tottman, who worked for both companies, also followed the brothers to Notion as partners.

The fund was intended to bridge the funding gap for tech ventures in the UK, and introduce a more US centric approach to venture capital investment. The first fund has invested nearly $50m, and the second, launched in 2012, has raised around $125m, and received support from the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the European Investment Fund, the first time the two bodies had backed the same project.

London’s Top VCs: Balderton Capital, a big, blue chip VC where all partners are equal and market disruption is the goal


Balderton_Logo_Rev_CMYKHere at Haggesrton Times this week we are looking at 5 of Europe’s best and brightest venture capital firms. We wanted to examine the psychology of VC investing by looking at the key players, what, and just as importantly who they invest in, how much they are spending and how founders can help themselves get in front of them by learning more about them.

We’re not only looking at the giants and the hopelessly exclusive, just as VC’s aren’t always looking for the best qualified or most polished. The start-up eco system in London and the UK, just as in any other business network, is built on relationships between people. It’s worth bearing this in mind as we look at Balderton; a brains trust with a long term approach whose interest in a company is very close to a guarantee that that company will be successful.

Balderton bow to no-one, being one of Europe’s largest VC funds, and like to be the first institutional investor in. Balderton are about hard work, charisma and ingenuity, with just a dash of rocket science.


Balderton Capital, founded in 2000 was originally formed as the European Investment arm of Benchmark Capital, based in Silicon Valley, and one of the world’s largest venture firms. Although the two maintain close ties, Balderton officially became a separate entity in 2007.

Balderton is one of Europe’s largest VC’s, managing around $2.3bn US dollars, the bulk of which is drawn from “university endowments, charitable foundations and pension funds”. Balderton V, the most recent fund, raised £250m, four years after Balderton IV completed a raising of £285m. The most recent funds have been raised with the goal of backing technology companies in the UK and Europe, however Balderton has been known to make investments elsewhere, such as Asia and in the US.

London’s Top VCs: Google Ventures in the UK has £100m to spend and a great team but strangely, online visibility is not its strong point


google venturesThis week in the Haggerston Times we’ll be looking at 5 of London’s prominent Venture Capital Tech investment firms. The goal is to research the firms to try to find out more about what each stands for, who its key staff are, what kind of company culture they espouse, and what the future holds for them and, by extension, the companies they invest in.

Hopefully this will provide a little insight for founders searching for funding, business people operating in London and perhaps for the VC’s themselves to see how others perceive them and whether their marketing is co-ordinated and realistic. Fundraising is a serious endeavour, but it’s also a gamethat’s fun to play, and different people interpret the rules differently. Here are our interpretations, far from definitive, very subjective, intended to provoke debate and hopeful that something good might come of it. We’re starting with Google Ventures, the European version, which was launched in June last year with a £100m “prize pot”.


This is the Venture Capital Investment Arm of Google, providing seed, venture and growth stage funding to Tech start-ups. It was founded in the US in 2009 with a £100m capital commitment, which increased to $300m annually from 2012, and now has $1.5bn under management.

HoxTech Angels leveraging Dreamstake pipeline to provide some of London and Europe’s hottest Angel investment opportunities

By Thursday, April 30, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

HoxTechThe third Monday of every month is HoxTech Angel’s night at the Hoxton Hotel. What does this mean? It means that 6 start-ups in the process of graduating from the Dreamstake Academy are invited to pitch to an exclusive assembly of London based investment angels.

It’s reward for the hard work the founders have put into turning their start-ups into investable propositions; a chance to mingle with High Net Worth individuals who have the financial means to turn an entrepreneur’s dreams into reality. And of course for the HNWs, it’s an opportunity to get in on the action ahead of anybody else, before the pre-money valuation escalates and inflates the price of an equity stake.

Investing, like growing a fledgling business, is a science; Hoxtech Angels, run and presented by Paul Dowling and Marina Atarova, who divide their time between running workshops for the Dreamstake Academy, helping new or struggling founders understand the basics of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and helping their “graduate” start-ups secure the investment they need, help the two sides of the funding divide find common ground in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere, but one that often results in long term relationships between founder and financial backer.

This Monday’s start-ups were the most diverse, technical and eclectic bunch yet, being drawn from different industries: retail, the media, FinTech and AI, amongst others. Each of the 5 minute presentations was well delivered and as always the networking over drinks seemed to throw up a lot of opportunities for collaboration. Here is a brief overview of 5 of the 6 start-ups who pitched (the sixth is still in beta and therefore details are being witheld for the time being). If you are interested in finding out more about a particular startup please contact Paul or Marina, or, if you prefer, register to attend the next HoxTech Angels event.

Motivii founder Eamon Tuhami on quitting the day job, founding an ambitious new start-up, and why happiness is a journey that can be mapped


motivii3Eamon Tuhami has half a mind to take his dissertation back to his professors at Derby University and ask to have it re-marked. “They didn’t believe me back in 1999 that digital would be the worlds biggest marketing channel!” he says; perhaps not many lecturers would have done, but most of what Eamon believed would change in online at the time has indeed come to pass.  Given this charismatic founder’s penchant for making things happen, this is unlikely to have been a coincidence!

Eamon’s dissertation was on internet marketing and his career to date has maintained a similar upward trajectory to his subject matter, whilst encompassing some of the same ups, downs, and periods of change. It’s been an adventure.

After uni Eamon joined an emerging internet start-up in Cardiff called Acequote, working in the sales team and quickly being promoted to marketing manager. A year later, and as the internet bubble was bursting and the company was suffering financial losses Eamon opted for redundancy and went travelling with his then girlfriend, now his wife.

He left Acequote with his reputation enhanced, being labelled a “born marketing whizz” by colleague Drew Benvie, who is now the founder of Battenhall PR. In fact, if the sheer volume of positive feedback and solicitations to work again someday in the recommendations section of his LinkedIn page are anything to go by, Eamon can be considered one of the hottest properties currently plying his trade in the “Silicon Roundabout”.

Dance, Fashion, Film…All in one MOVEment!


sadlers wells6fashion correspondent Abi Buller writes: What happens when you merge the mediums of dance, fashion, and film, and put them together in a Sadler’s Wells production?

‘MOVEment’ is a dance, fashion and film hybrid performance project presented by AnOther Magazine and created in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells to display the unification of multiple creative forces. Featuring fashion designers Gareth Pugh, Prada, Calvin Klein, Iris Van Herpen, Hussein Chalayan, Alexander Mcqueen and Stephen Jones Millinery, in conjunction with respected dancers and directors.

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Devised by Jefferson Hack, co-founder and editorial director of Dazed group, and featuring choreography by Wayne Mcgregor, the production was unlikely to disappoint. With each designer resulting in a unique artistic vision to represent their brand and chosen narrative, seven films were presented to eager audiences on 17th-18th April at Sadler’s Wells theatre. Through diverse and experimental collaboration, the film projects convey engagement with bodily motion, creating atmospheric and captivating sequences. Each asked to create bespoke costumes for specific to the project, the designer’s had to consider their choreographer and dancer collaborators to enhance their narrative vision.

Food StartUp School at WeWork: Raising the bar!


foodsus1It’s not that often that you can take somebody at their word in business but when Victoria Albrecht arrived in London from St Andrews University a year ago on a mission to shake up the food and drink start-up scene and we had all known then what we know now, people would have been queuing around the corner for a slice of the action, maybe even a piece of the equity “pie”?

Already the first Food StartUp School London held in Hoxton Square was a success, largely due to the excellent speakers, her non-stop networking, the sponsorship deals she arranged and a unique presentation style that won plenty of admirers, oh and of course the masses of free food and drink on offer at the stalls prepared and presented by London’s founders, from brownies to cayenne drinks and delicate canapes. Life is never dull around Tech City!

Technology reviewed, refined, and restored at ‘This Happened’ MeetUp:


this happened 7fashion correspondent Abi Buller writes: The power and influence of technology within our everyday lives is certainly not news to most of us. But has anyone really considered how we can begin to rehumanize our digital lives?

The speakers at Saturday’s “This Happened London”, a quarterly event held at the V&A, considered this notion. While not disputing the importance and usefulness of technology, the speakers were creatives simply considering the journey from hands on human makers to a species where everything is accessible and instantly available to us.

Dreamstake FinHack Funding Forum & Startup Showcase: startups are leading London’s FinTech charge!


image1FinTech has been variously described as the saviour of London’s startup scene, the industry that will finally put paid to the hegemony of the traditional high street and investment banking industries, and a bubble that is in serious danger of falling under the wheels of its own overhyped bandwagon.

The facts are that after London was hit hardest by the global banking crisis, losing its place as the world’s leading financial hub to New York City for the first time last year, the capital has increasingly turned towards FinTech to showcase the fact that it is still fighting hard to maintain an edge over its rivals as the most innovative, efficient and lucrative destination for financial services.