The 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.
Smartzer: is a 2 year old retail startup with a strong and unique core proposition. The company is able to provide an interactive overlay to a brands online content, providing clickable links for image or video. When the viewer clicks on an item within the content, a personal wishlist is created, which the shopper is able to email to themselves later at their convenience, or connect with a personal shopper at a nearby store. Smartzer also supply a dashboard for brands to use which provides in depth analytics such as views, engagement, social media shares and conversion rates, helping the brands make better informed marketing decisions.
Emma Ghosh, Head of Business Development revealed that retail miscalculation costs brands up to £800bn p.a., a staggering figure, and one that can be managed downwards by using applications such as Smartzer. Additionally, Emma revealed that 22% of clicks in emails resulted in a purchase.
Smartzer has 3 revenue streams, a setup fee, monthly subscription fee and a share of affiliate sales. The company are looking for £500k of investment to fund development over an 18 month to 2 year period. Existing clients include Grazia, Boux Avenue, Whistles and Puma, with whom they have been jointly nominated for several awards reflecting the strength of the team’s work and core proposition.
FilmDoo allows users to rent, stream and share international films that have not been made available for general release in the UK. Founders Weerada Sucharitkul and William Page believe that FilmDoo is the first project of its kind to be launched into the UK film market and also hope to quickly expand internationally.
The FilmDoo website provides hand-picked film selections to help users discover new films and also offers users the chance to write and compare reviews with other users. The team has personally curated over 300 films, with a further 300 to go live come summer, hitting 1000 by Christmas, and believe there is a growing market for foreign films as filmgoers increasingly search for more eclectic and niche alternatives to traditional Hollywood blockbusters.
The FilmDoo site is free and contains social networking elements to help create a community feel, including likes and gamification incentives to watch more films and share experiences. Revenue comes from the cost of streaming the films, which are priced according to the age and popularity of the title.
As a public we are increasingly aware that car ownership is inefficient, not to mention bad for the environment. GoCarShare! Connects drivers who are travelling to the same destination and allows them to travel together.
With 33,000 registered users GoCarShare! hopes to become the AirBnB for car journeys, believing that they can help drivers reduce the cost of their journeys by up to 75% as well as reducing emissions and increasing car occupancy rates from their current low average of 1.6 seats per journey.
The Company have experienced a growth rate of 283% since launch and are exploring the possibility of earning revenue by taking a 15% commission of the price of each ride, which is determined by the driver. The site is currently free to use. GoCarShare! Hope to raise £575k to fund expansion, in exchange for 25% equity in the business.
Kwanji is an international trading platform that connects its users to multiple forex providers so that they can get the best deals on their international payments. With over £46 billion transacted last year alone in over 160 different currencies, Kwanji allows for businesses and individuals to conduct trades without the hindrance of any service charges or hidden fees.
Kwanji is partnered with a diverse list of payment providers and leading accountancy software packages that include Xero, Sage One, Kash Flow, and Exact.
The Kwanji Widget, which sits on the homepage, is a convenient and handy little tool that’s designed to instantly calculate and display to users their currency conversions in real time, which means no more guess work, no more estimations, or nasty surprises. The widget can be white labeled or embedded to third party websites which enables businesses to start receiving payments in real time and at a fair and transparent price while providing clients with an alternative and cost effective payment means.
Founder and CEO, Leslie Onyesoh is an entrepreneur and campaigner and the creative and dynamic force behind Kwanji while Co-Founder and COO, William Lorenz is an experienced FinTech practitioner and entrepreneur who previously founded successful start-up Ixaris.
Having already completed a small raising, Kwanji are looking to find a further £500-800k to fund further expansion.
The company helps its users increase engagement and revenue by building specialised algorithms for media and ecommerce with flexible deployment options that are easy to integrate. Data science is a growing industry that is increasingly becoming an indispensable part of any company’s big data and analytics strategies and because the software is available through open source costs can be driven down and services tailored to specific company’s needs.
The team at Seldon have worked closely with major organisations such as the Trinity Mirror, RTL and Mondadori and are looking to partner with angels to complete a £300k funding round, with a view to completing a much larger Series A in 2016. Seldon represents an exciting opportunity to get on board with a startup that will enable developers to create leading technologies, saving their organisations onerous research and development costs in the process.
Dreamstake has one of the strongest pipelines of potential dealflow on London’s startup scene: Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Marina (Marina@dreamstake.net) have worked together for more than 3 years and in that time they have worked with the likes of Grabble, YPlan, Gamar and TwoTen, who have all gone on to successfully win investment. Paul is one of the more well-known and trustworthy figures mentoring startups and as well as being present at all Dreamstake events regularly blogs and joins panel debates across Europe. Marina is a friend and voice of reason to countless entrepreneurs and founders, presents all of Dreamstake’s events and provides influential mentoring and guidance, as well as tweeting and writing the occasional blog piece.