I must admit, when writing this piece I had to fight the urge to fill it full of bad puns, for Daisy Blount is the PR machine with the super-famous family member, who is putting the petal to the metal, moving to pastures new, and promoting a blooming great new product that helps entrepreneurs find the investor that is right for them. A star in the making, to put it Bluntly.
That’s enough for now. I meet Daisy at Haggerston Espresso Rooms, HER for short (another pun-tastic name), she is waiting patiently for me whilst sipping on a green tea. I’m a few minutes late, although should I mention that Daisy stood me up the week before? Too late, I already have. Some people can get away with that kind of stuff, because they give you the impression it’s all part of their master plan, and Daisy certainly comes across as if she has one of those.
For a certain type of person, if at the age of 20, they had to plan the next 10 years of their life in meticulous detail, and if by some miracle everything that they hoped for happened, their 20’s would probably resemble Daisy’s 20’s. A couple of years in Financial PR in the City, mixing it with the big knobs and cheeses, followed by 3 years as Chief Operating Officer at BarChick, “probably the coolest company in the world”, as Daisy’s LinkedIn profile succinctly puts it.
BarChick was set up by her best friend Tatiana Mercer, and very quickly it piqued Daisy’s interest, so she joined the Company; she has a knack for joining companies even when they are not taking on staff, but more of that later. When she joined BarChick its website was getting 1,000 unique visitors each month, and by the time she left, in June this year, it was achieving numbers 100 times that figure.
BarChick is the app that matches people to nearby bars and restaurants, (“but only the best ones”, Daisy insists), providing written recommendations full of zany detail and colourful description, helping users pick the places that most reflect their personalities or mood on their nights out.
As the business expanded to more than 60 countries, Daisy and Tatiana found themselves visiting increasingly far-flung locations, checking out bars and chatting up locals, all in the name of research, of course. Daisy found the US most fascinating: “Miami and Austen, Texas, were incredible, she gushes, “I love the US, to me, its lack of culture is a culture in itself. Whenever we went out we would always sit at the bar chatting to the locals, I could write a book about some of the guys we met.” “Did they all have guns?” I ask. “Most of them”. Or maybe they were just pleased to see you, Daisy?
After 3 years building a successful business, Daisy decided she wanted to start again and grow another business “from the bottom up”. “Learning from some of the mistakes I made”, she adds.
She met Peter Walsh and Matt Hobbis, the founders of Match Capital, through a mutual friend, and decided she wanted to join them, so she did. There’s that spontaneous job creation thing again! Peter and Matt developed a matching algorithm at ICAP, the brokerage, and had built an MVP and a basic website for their new project. The idea is to use the algorithm to find matches between start-ups looking for funding, and a database of investors who are looking to invest. A dating website where founders meet funders, hence the name, Match Capital.
The service is subscription based with start-ups paying £29.99 per month, entitling them to as many searches as they need. The algorithm compiles lists of potential investors, ranking them by relevance to the search terms input. The database is the result of 2 years of research by the founders into money lending trends, encompassing crowdfunding, Angels, VCs and High Net Worth individuals.
Match Capital won’t contact the investors for you, that part is down to the start-up, but they do provide detailed information about each investor, as well as searching and displaying mutual connections it finds through social networking site LinkedIN.
“This was the coolest Company I had ever heard of”, Daisy says, “I told them I’d work there for free. I started to run their email marketing campaigns and to use my PR skills, essentially I came in and started bossing everybody around!” Nobody seems to have minded, however, and now Daisy is on the payroll, and has become the Company’s mouthpiece. “I’m really enjoying it”, she says, “that was always my aim”. Programmer Jagadeesh Gorla, who holds a PHD in Information Matching and Recommender Science, also joined the team to help optimise the algorithm and make sure it was fully adapted to its new task.
The Company is based in the WeWork hub on the South Bank, a very cool suite of offices “with lots of free beer and parties”. So far they have raised some private investment and are looking to raise more, so will they be using their own platform?
“The results are second to none”, enthuses Daisy, “all the data is based on publicly available information, and the database is constantly updating so search results keep pace with changing metrics. We are a very scientific company”, she confides, looking a tiny bit like Jenifer Aniston in the old L’Oreal commercials.
Joking aside, start-ups need all the help they can get when it comes to raising finance, and there is every reason to believe that Match Capital is potentially one of the most effective solutions to the problem of knowing who to approach. There are already 750 start-ups on the books at Match Capital, and over 100 paying customers. The Company has played a part in over £6m worth of deals to date.
“We’ve held off on a big marketing push as the product is only recently out of beta”, she says, “but we’ll definitely become more visible over the next few months. You’ll see us at more networking events and meet-ups, it’s very important to get a strong feeling about who your clients are.”
The Company are offering a 50/50 revenue split to affiliated parties who can help to bring in clients, so a successful recommendation is worth half of the £29.99 monthly subscription fee that Match Capital charge. A pretty generous split, to my mind. “Yes but we want to go global”, is Daisy’s exasperated response, “we want to be reaching out to and helping as many entrepreneurs as we can, that’s the whole point of the Company!”
Everyone seems to want to help entrepreneurs these days, but in Daisy’s case she has won me over. The service does not take a cut of any funding received, so nobody is forcing you into anything, it just puts you in touch with the right people at a very reasonable price using the latest technology. Cool.
Oh, and the famous family member? “He’s my best friend, we lived together for 5 years” I’m all out of clues (and puns).
(Daisy Blount is head of operations, marketing and PR at Match Capital. Previously, she was Chief Operating Officer at BarChick, and before that she worked in PR in the City of London. Match Capital is a new, subscription based platform that uses an algorithm to recommend suitable investors to start-up companies)