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THE NEW WORLD OF WORK The working environment has changed dramatically in the last few years. Many staff are working longer hours and are now dispersed over multiple locations, working from home for part of the week or while travelling. Thankfully, there is a better way. RingCentral is enabling companies to maintain customer service levels, staff productivity and lower their costs to retain a competitive edge.

Are you ready for the new world of work? Many UK businesses are reliant on a traditional phone solution that leaves clients hanging on, recording a voice mail or calling back to reach the right person. Typical challenges often include: - Expensive and complicated equipment to install and maintain - No support for mobile workers, - Limited call management features leading to missed calls and poor customer service - Multiple and surprisingly expensive bills from your phone, fax and conference providers

There is a better way The solution? A modern, cloudbased communication solution that adapts to the way employees work. RingCentral is cost effective and feature rich. With one business number your professional identity follows you across devices. Company data and contacts are protected on private devices, providing a BYOD experience that works.



Anil Stocker THE ELITE Interview

Having left Lehman Brothers just before the financial crisis, Anil Stocker is strengthening SMEs’ balances with MarketInvoice 4


Contents.indd 1

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issue 44 OCTOBER 17

Exclusive 12-page supplement inside

REGULARS 7 8 15 86

From the editor Upfront The big idea The crunch

columns 19 Gary Stewart 31 Anil Stocker


The french revolution

Paris’s startup ecosystem is on the up thanks to Brexit and the policies of Macron


34 34


Oliver Bridge has proven his sharp business skills with Cornerstone

competition by hiring a diverse staff

A close shave

equal rights Get ahead of the



with live-streaming videos while avoiding making an epic fail

caring for your mental health

peace of mind Meet the startups

Stream Ticket Boost your brand



House of cards Learn from the mistakes of the startups that failed

Getting ready for GDPR Are you ready for the new data bill?


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09/10/2017 23:01

What could your workforce achieve with a Bupa health assessment? Customers who have completed the full Bupa health assessment journey have gone on to achieve real results – all backed up by the support of two follow-up coaching calls, the Bupa Boost app and more.

Creating small, healthy habits


80 % of customers changed their lifestyle habits either a little or a lot* (based on a sample of 1,530 customers after their second lifestyle coaching call)

55 % 27%

felt better able to cope with stress*

improved their sleep*

gave up smoking*

(based on a sample of 316 customers who chose stress as their lifestyle focus)

(based on a sample of 218 customers who chose sleep as their lifestyle focus)

(based on a sample of 153 customers who chose smoking as their lifestyle focus)

Call us today and our friendly adviser can help talk you through the options available for your business

0330 057 4558 We may record or monitor our calls. *Internal data – 2016 health assessment outcomes. Customer data collected before, during and after their assessment during their lifestyle coaching call. Bupa health assessments are provided by Bupa Occupational Health Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 631336. Registered Office: Bupa House, 15-19 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2BA. OCT17

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EDITORIAL Josh Russell – Editor Eric Johansson – Feature Writer DESIGN/PRODUCTION Leona Connor – Head Designer Jenny Allen – Designer Dan Lecount – Web Development Manager SALES Gemma Campion – Head of Sales & Marketing Jemma Tonge – Senior Account Manager Taylor Blayney – Media Assistant CIRCULATION Paul Kirby – Circulation & Data Manager ACCOUNTS Sally Stoker – Finance Manager Colin Munday – Management Accountant

Rising from the ashes One of the things that defines

Fortunately, a new generation of

entrepreneurs is not the fact that

startups has emerged that is using tech

they never fail but they always pick

to bring people with poor mental health

themselves back up.

some much needed peace of mind.

Without a doubt the best businesses

And Anil Stocker is no stranger to

ADMINISTRATION Laura Hyde – Administrator

are the ones that rise from the ashes.

learning lessons from an industry

DIRECTOR Scott English – Managing Director

That’s why this issue we’re taking a look

dropping the ball. Having witnessed

at the lessons startups can learn when

the financial sector brought to its knees

big businesses go belly up.

during the recession, he resolved to


UK £18, Europe £38, Rest of World £60 Elite Business Magazine is published four times a year by CE Media Conference & Exhibitions Limited, 1st Floor, Regency House, 16 Victoria Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1NZ Copyright 2017. All rights reserved No part of Elite Business may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the editor. Elite Business magazine will make every effort to return picture material, but this is at the owner’s risk. Due to the nature of the printing process, images can be subject to a variation of up to 15%, therefore CE Media cannot be held responsible for such variation.

But entrepreneurs don’t only learn from the failings of individual businesses: sometimes it’s entire

bring small businesses better borrowing solutions with MarketInvoice In other words, for entrepreneurs it

industries faltering that sparks

certainly seems true that what doesn’t

startups. With mental health problems

kill you will make you stronger.

now reaching epidemic proportions, treatment provisions are increasingly

Josh Russell - Editor

struggling to keep up with demand.


Simon Whitehead As the managing partner of the firm HRC Law, Whitehead has built up an impressive business law expertise. In this issue he shares his insights about how startups can prepare for GDPR.

ANIL STOCKER Stocker has been particularly prolific this issue. Not only has he graced our cover but has also penned a column revealing just how essential fintech has become for British small-business owners.

GARY STEWART Having just kicked off Wayra UK’s Intelligent Mobility Accelerator programme, Stewart used this opportunity to pen a column about how costly transport holds back startups. Check it out.

Emilie Sandy Back in 2012 Sandy snapped Elite Business’s first cover star. Many covers later and she still impressed us with her pictures of Anil Stocker, proving herself as a total ace behind the camera.


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The investment rounds that rocked the startup community last quarter



P rodig y F in a nce


Anyone doubting that fintech is still going strong will reconsider when they look at the awe-inspiring round raised by the Londonbased credit platform.



Ne y ber

£115m This impressive round improves the Londonbased scaleup’s ability to enable companies to offer employees access to affordable loans. Basically a winwin-win.



R eceip t B a nk


AI influences everything from speakers to cars. Now, with the backing of Insight Venture Partners, Receipt Bank will use the technology to boost bookkeeping.



Gr a p hcor e

$30m Founded in 2016, the startup’s AI technology is already causing ripples and is now set to make an even bigger splash thanks to the backing of Atomico.


Show me the money Amazon and Apple caught in the EU’s latest tax crackdown In the last few years Margrethe Vestager has made a name for herself as European competition commissioner. Having already pursued antitrust charges against Alphabet, the Danish EU parliamentarian now has her sights fixed on Amazon and Apple. In the case of Amazon, the commission argues that the deal Jeff Bezos’s company had with Luxembourg was unfair and that three-quarters of the tech giant’s profits were left untaxed. Following this, Amazon has been ordered to pay ¤250m in back taxes. Additionally, the commission plans to take Ireland to court for failing to collect ¤13bn of back taxes from Apple. This followed from a decision from last year in which the commission said that the tax benefits enabling the company to pay a corporation tax rate of less than 1% were illegal.

Even though Ireland, Apple and Amazon have contested these decisions, it seems as if Vestager isn’t easing off the business behemoths anytime soon.

Grow th spurt s SMEs forecasted to add £241bn to UK economy by 2025 Smaller firms are often cited as being the engine driving the economy. And now a new study suggests that SMEs’ contributions are only going to grow. Having looked closely at the top ten British cities, Hampshire Trust Bank estimates UK SMEs will add £241bn to the country’s economy by 2025, which is an increase by 19% from 2016. Small businesses in Leeds and Greater Manchester are set to increase their contribution the most, with growth of 26% expected in both cities. Hot on their heels,

Bristol’s SMEs are predicted to increase their contribution by 23%. And that is despite the fact that more than a third of business owners expected their growth to shrink following the decision to leave the EU. So while Brexit may have cast a cloud over their future, SMEs could still help keep the UK going. 


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Experiencing some technical difficulties UK companies could lose on average nine working days due to failing technology Entrepreneurs should take computer rage seriously. Not only could employees shouting at their screens disturb other workers but it could also be a symptom of time wastage. In fact, a new survey suggests that failing technology could cause companies to lose up to nine workdays each year. Having surveyed British office workers, Ebuyer, the online tech retailer, has revealed that one in ten workers are deprived of up to 30 minutes a day because machines in the workplace aren’t functioning properly, with the average time lost in a day totalling 15 minutes and 17 seconds. The most common technical glitch was the loss of internet connectivity, with 44% of workers claiming this had affected them in the last six months. The second most common technical issue was computers crashing, followed closely by printers not functioning. So the next time an employee is raging about the spinning beach ball of death, pay attention because fixing it could save you valuable time. 

November 1-2 The Scottish Business Exhibition Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Exhibition Way, Glasgow, G3 8YW. November 7 The Telegraph Festival of Business The Brewery, 52 Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 4SD.

November 8 The Finance Professional Show Olympia London, Hammersmith Rd, London, W14 8UX.

November 14 Global Tech Trends & Innovation Conference RAE, 3 Carlton House Terrace, St.James’s, London, SW1Y 5D.

November 10 MENA Britain Trade Expo Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London, SW1P 3EE.

November 29-30 ad:tech London Old Truman Brewery 91 Brick Lane London E1 6QL A full event listing is available on our website.

The Startup Way. Portfolio Penguin, £20.00, Out October 17

here’s a reason entrepreneurs are often hailed as the heroes of modern businesses. Not only do they have great ideas but they have also shown the grit and ability to make their brainchild a reality. However, how can founders ensure they keep innovating once their first product has hit the markets? That’s the question Eric Ries aims to answer with The Startup Way. Having cut his teeth as serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and as an advisor at the VC firm Kleiner Perkins, Ries is best known as the author of the entrepreneurial bible The Lean Startup in which he revealed how founders can make the greatest impact with the few resources they have. In this sequel he explains how this method can be used to ensure companies remain innovative, whether they’re a scaleup, an NGO or a more established company. Drawing on his experience advising companies like GE, Ries demonstrates in a compelling way how to keep your company at the bleeding edge by using trade tools like minimum viable products, leap of faith assumptions and pivots without ever compromising your vision. Packed with helpful examples demonstrating how the method can be used to achieve quick results and easy-to-follow advice, founders and team leaders alike are advised to pick up a copy.  OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Successful crowdfunding campaigns that have closed in the last quarter

Money Dashboard


9.48% Equity Already backed by Calculus Capital, the company turned to crowdfunding in August to diversify its pool of investors and to create more advocates for the personal-finance-

WIT Fitness


Rocke t m an

17.34% Equity Sports retailer WIT Fitness plans to expand considerably. Not satisfied with having multiple sites in Britain, WIT Fitness aims to use its latest round to expand its online operations into North America.



9.11% Equity Having been recently backed by Usain Bolt, the company’s Crowdcube campaign sprinted way beyond its £750,000 target in August. Enertor develops high-quality insoles to reduce injuries among athletes.

Elon Musk reveals his new plan to colonise Mars It’s hardly a secret that the founder of Space X wants to colonise the red planet. And if Elon Musk’s new plan is anything to go by, the first human may touch down on Mars in less than a decade. Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in September, the serial entrepreneur kicked off by revealing that he’d gone back to referring to the interplanetary transport system as the BFR – which is short for Big F***ing Rocket. He also unveiled how to fund his plan to send the first unmanned rockets to Mars

as early as 2022. Then the first human passengers are expected to follow in 2024 and begin colonising the planet. By reusing all of SpaceX’s existing launch and spaceflight systems for the BFR, Musk said that the system would have the resources needed. Additionally, Space X may also use the technology to ferry astronauts to space stations and even offer flights that could take passengers to anywhere in the world in under an hour. So at the very least he may just put Concorde to shame.

What’s the word nhouse

£984,110 17.94% Equity

Given the UK needs a million new houses in the next five years, it’s not surprising that there is a lot of interest for nHouse’s modular houses, which can be assembled within three days.


I don’t need to understand how [end-to-end] encryption works to understand how it’s helping the criminals After demanding Whatsapp put in a backdoor for the authorities, home secretary Amber Rudd said she felt patronized by tech startups

I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy Mark Zuckerberg announces Facebook’s plan to protect the integrity of democratic elections

The real safety question, if you want to call it that, is that if we give these systems biased data, they will be biased Google’s AI chief John Giannandrea is not afraid of Skynet but the idea that computers dealing with things like law and medicine may become biased


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09/10/2017 23:00

Take a hike

Was TfL right to revoke Uber’s licence?

To say that Dara Khosrowshahi’s first month at Uber was challenging feels like an understatement. Not only did the new CEO of the ride-hailing unicorn take over a legacy littered with legal battles and scandals, he also had to deal with TfL refusing to renew the tech gorilla’s licence to operate in London. While Uber argued that the move was demonstrating how the British capital was unwelcoming to innovation, TfL shot back saying that the startup was simply not fit and safe to operate in the city. But whatever the outcome of the ongoing discussions will be one thing is sure: London’s transportation system is about to change.

Carl Reader startup coach and director, Selling a franchise

Edward Relf founder and CEO, Laundrap

Rune Sovndahl co-founder and CEO, Fantastic Services

Steve Mosser CEO, Sensee

The reason TfL was forced into making this decision was partly due to incidents experienced by service users and partly as a result of taxi drivers concerned by the impact Uber has had on their business. I disagree that this undue pressure from taxi drivers indicates that London is closed to innovation. The spotlight is on Uber due to the company having seemingly overnight totally reengineered the pricing and delivery of the private-hire sector. Nevertheless this is just a small hurdle for Uber.

Uber’s revoked licence is a terrible decision. The news is a blow for London. How can a city famed for being an influential entrepreneurial hub not be home to one of the world’s largest and most disruptive businesses? It’s senseless. Until Uber, I would avoid taking taxis; they are inconvenient and expensive. Uber solved this. There’s no wonder why 2.5 million Londoners use the service. Perhaps if TfL innovated and put customers at the heart of their service we wouldn’t be in this position.

TfL not renewing Uber’s licence came as a surprise to everyone. Although it seems to be more of a negotiation tactic to push Uber to improve, this could have been approached in a different manner. If Uber was to be shut down, nearly 40,000 drivers would be left jobless and millions of users would all feel the repercussions. This is something that cannot be taken lightly and needs serious consideration. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is for certain: Uber has to change their methods.

I welcome the proposed ban. TfL was unsatisfied with Uber’s approach to public safety and don’t forget the reported poor treatment of Uber drivers. It’s unfortunate that the livelihood for many may be at risk. However, we also need to understand the importance of this ‘nod’ to sustainable work and working with dignity. Consumer and worker safety is paramount, and Uber’s practices have demonstrated carelessness on both these fronts.


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A dv ert i s i ng f e at u r e

Bupa health assessments

For results you can really feel

While some health assessments simply give people an idea of their potential health risks, others go further. For instance, Bupa’s range of health assessments, which include additional coaching sessions, isn’t afraid of going that extra mile. Whichever you choose, your employees will continue to benefit from Bupa’s health expertise after their appointment. Through practical help and lifestyle support, they’ll have all they need to become healthier day by day. And the benefits to this approach are clear. Already over 75% of people who completed the Bupa health assessment journey have reported an improvement in How Bupa health assessments go further for your business With Bupa, it’s about so much more than just a check on your people’s health; it’s about working together for a healthier future. Here’s how they can support you at every step. Before You have a choice to pick from a number of health assessments that best suit your priorities and budget, each of which is ensured to promote wellbeing among your staff. On the day Your employees are invited to a health assessment at a date, time and location that best suit them. This will enable them to easily fit their appointment around their schedule, ensuring work won’t be affected and cause any unnecessary stress. 12

Afterwards As more of your employees attend our health centres for their health assessments, we’ll be gathering data that could prove invaluable for your business. Once 50 employees have had a health assessment, you’ll get regular, detailed management information reports that cover how your staff are performing in many different areas of their health and wellbeing. These insights can help you identify patterns, strengths and weaknesses, which you can use to inform your wellbeing strategy – all with the help of Bupa’s experts. Not only that, you’ll get access to an interactive dashboard called Boost Manager. This pairs up with the Bupa Boost app available to your employees, so you can see how they’re using the app and getting on with their goals and set them challenges to help stay motivated both at work and beyond.

Some of the success stories so far Many of Bupa’s health assessment customers have reported changes in the areas of health and wellbeing they chose to focus on. 80% of customers changed their lifestyle habits either a little or a lot1, 60% felt better able to deal with stress2 and 55% improved their sleep3. It’s these small behaviour changes that can add up to big positive changes for your business. *Internal data – 2016 health assessment outcomes. 1Based on a sample of 1,530 customers. 2Based on a sample of 317 customers who chose stress as their lifestyle focus. 3Based on a sample of 217 customers who chose sleep as their lifestyle focus.


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Big on colour, small on mono costs Our LED colour printers give your business stand out

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09/10/2017 15:28


FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS COME GREAT THINGS COULD YOU BE THE FSB SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 2018? Entries are now open for the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018! The awards showcase the best small businesses from the length and breadth of the UK, offering national recognition. Expert small business judges will select category winners in 12 areas across the UK. WINNERS FROM THE 12 AREAS WILL BE ENTERED INTO T H E G R A N D F I N A L TA K I N G P L A C E I N L O N D O N O N 3 M AY 2 0 1 8 A T T H E P R E S T I G I O U S W E S T M I N S T E R PA R K P L A Z A .


FOR MORE DETAILS ON THE AWARDS AND TO ENTER FOR FREE GO TO WWW.FSBAWARDS.CO.UK Registered Office: National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses Limited, Sir Frank Whittle Way, Blackpool Business Park, Blackpool, FY4 2FE. Registered in England No. 1263540.

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09/10/2017 27/09/2017 15:27 08:59

Let’s Do This

On your marks Let’s Do This aims to become the Airbnb of endurance events BY Eric Johansson


ore people than ever are signing up to sport events. Thanks to the growing popularity of Tough Mudder and Iron Man races, the global endurance race market is estimated to be worth $13bn. But while fitness aficionados often find it difficult to locate the best events for them, a new startup is here to help. Launched in 2016, Let’s Do This is a platform listing everything from ultra-marathons to cycling events, enabling people to easily pick the challenge most suitable for their athleticism and wallets. Let’s Do This is the brainchild of CEO Sam Browne who came up with the idea after struggling to find fun races to run. He founded the company with another Cambridge graduate as well as the former head of

technology at And the founders are not alone in recognising the need for the services as Let’s Do This recently came one step closer to reaching its goal of becoming the “Airbnb of endurance events” by raising an impressive £1.29m seed round. The round was backed by an accomplished group of heavy hitters from the world of sports and startups. For instance, the group of investors included Mike Miller, CEO of the World Olympians Association; Brian Schuring, founder of US venture capital fund Rubicon and founder of London workout startup Heartcore Fitness; Jonathan Goodwin, co-founder of founders Forum, head of Lepe Partners; and Paddy Dear, co-founder Polygon, the hedge fund. The startup aims to use to money to keep growing the number and widen the range of events on its platform, three-quarters of which currently consists of running. Given the interest in endurance events and the hefty bag of money that’s found its way to their doors, it seems as if Let’s Do This has everything in place to go the distance.


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20% OFF




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GARY Stewart director, Wayra UK

How travelling costs hold back startups

given how Britons repeatedly unveil astounding entrepreneurial flair, it makes no sense that expensive trains, buses and trains should hold them back


rowing up as an immigrant in the Bronx, mobility referred to opportunity, not transportation. My young parents had moved with three kids from Jamaica to New York to realise the American dream. Upward mobility was our drive. However, as I grew older I came to understand the link between the metaphorical and literal senses of mobility. In high school, the train from the Bronx to Manhattan facilitated a visit to the Promised Land. The fact that the trip only cost me $1 each way meant that I could go to Manhattan as often as I liked. Once I joined the debate team in high school, my friends and I would trek to the Mid-Manhattan Library on Fifth Avenue so that we could research in style. Even if a fictional Carrie Bradshaw would get married there years later in one of the Sex and the City movies, I can proudly say I conquered the place first. When I joined Wayra UK, Telefónica’s technology accelerator, as its director in 2014, we commissioned a

study on the UK tech ecosystem. We found that most founders were uppermiddle class, white men that worked in zones one and two of central London. Subsequent studies confirmed that more than 60% of all funding goes to Londonbased startups. Therefore, we decided to “democratise entrepreneurship” by opening up new spaces in Oldham, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Haringey. What I did not expect was just how painful the experience of travelling to these different locations would be. A return train ticket from Manchester to London costs £200. A flight costs £349. I could get a return flight from Manchester to Malta for less, as it would land on £279. How many entrepreneurs can afford these prices? And it’s not as if the service is delightful. Standing on a costly, long-distance train makes no sense to me. Though most of us, hopefully, won’t be dragged off an overcrowded flight anytime soon, airlines are little better. Many companies seem to treat customer service as an inconvenience best avoided. Incumbents that treat customers badly are fodder for hungry startups like Citymapper, Skyscanner, Trainline and Uber, which participate in a £900bn market. That’s why we’re launching the Intelligent Mobility Accelerator, powered by Wayra and the Transport System Catapult and supported by Network Rail, Thoughtworks Ventures and Telefónica Smart Steps. It will be based in Milton Keynes, which raises the question of whether it makes sense to build entrepreneurial hubs that are costly to reach. Founders with billion-dollar dreams shouldn’t be blocked by skyhigh transportation costs. The country needs an entrepreneur’s railcard to give entrepreneurs discounts and achieve true mobility, in both the literal and metaphorical senses. OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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09/10/2017 23:17

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T ON PARIS IS SERIOUS ABOUT STARTUPS. From Emmanuel Macron pledging to transform France into a nation of entrepreneurs to the surge in VC investment sweeping the country, it’s safe to say something is brewing on the other side of the English Channel. “We’re seeing the beginning of a cultural shift,” says Tamara Brisk, general director France at WiredScore, the real-estate-rating company. “A few years ago, if you worked at a startup it meant you weren’t good enough to work at one of the big companies like L’Oréal.” But as French entrepreneurs have begun to flex their muscles, more people have ditched established behemoths in favour of joining the revolution. “Suddenly it has become a legitimate choice for France’s best and brightest to join a startup,” says Brisk. Given it was only a few years ago people like Oussama Ammar, co-founder of The Family, the French incubator, openly declared the country to be toxic for entrepreneurs, the cultural turnaround is simply astounding. “It’s incredible,” says Jérôme Lecat, CEO and co-founder of Scality, the storage-software startup. “I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 25 years and the progress made in the last five is nothing short of exceptional.” Indeed, between 2012 and 2015 the number of French startups launched jumped

by 30% to 9,400, according to La French Tech, the French government’s initiative to champion the country’s startups. “All this creates an exceptional dynamism, which becomes a selffulfilling prophecy making it easier to succeed and succeed big,” says Lecat. One reason for this surge is thanks to many VCs having reconsidered their previous opinion that the French ecosystem wasn’t worth their attention. “People are more willing to invest,” says Gregory Gazagne, executive president EMEA at Criteo, the ad-tech unicorn. The numbers certainly back him up: last year saw French startups complete 590 rounds raising a total of $2.7bn, up from $768m in 2014, according to a report from Atomico, the VC firm. This upswing means that France is now seriously challenging the two countries usually considered to be the European leaders in terms of attracting VC investment: the UK, which raised $3.7bn in 2016, and Germany, which raised $2.1bn. “And the more success stories we have, the more they’ll invest,” says Gazagne. However, while this influx of capital is stellar news for entrepreneurs looking to launch their enterprises into orbit, there is still a limit to how much people are willing to invest in French ventures. “It’s very challenging for French companies to raise later rounds,” says Brisk. “One reason is that compared to the Germans, the French speak very bad English.” She argues that the linguistic and cultural divide combined with lingering doubts about startups being able to thrive in France have held back foreign VCs from investing in huge scaleup rounds. “You have to overcome all that to convince investors,” says Brisk.



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Pa ri s


But, oddly, Brexit may change that. “I actually think it’s one of the reasons why we’re having a very exciting moment in France,” says Brisk. While French startups have previously moved abroad to get closer to investors and raise bigger rounds, the decision for the UK to leave the EU has meant that London may soon no longer have access to the single market, making the British option potentially less attractive for French entrepreneurs. In fact, the mayor of Paris is betting on it, having launched a charm offensive in February to persuade the roughly 300,000 French people living in London to return home. “There are a lot of French people sitting in London or New York who just need a little nudge to come home,” says Brisk. “And Brexit is a great opportunity to do that because it’s no longer that easy for French founders to transition to London.” And while some entrepreneurs may previously have been unwilling to up sticks from London, the election of Macron may persuade them to take a chance on Paris. “He comes from the finance industry and has an entrepreneurial mind himself,” says Lecat. “This is great for our startup ecosystem.” Having made no secret about his vision to turn France into a startup nation, the new president ran on a manifesto packed with pro-business measures like slashing corporation tax and exempting the ownership of company stakes from the wealth tax. And this summer he introduced an entrepreneur visa, which would enable foreign talent to come and work in France for up to four years. “Everything he’s done so far goes in the right direction,” says Lecat. Additionally, not only has the president has introduced the visa but Macron has also endeavoured to make it easier for startups to source talent by rewriting

There are a lot of French people sitting in London or New York who just need a little nudge to come home Tamara Brisk, WiredScore

French labour laws. “It used to be very scary to hire people,” says Brisk. “It was like getting married, you really had to mean it when you hired someone.” From strict legislation giving workers a three-month notice period to the risk of paying huge severance packages whenever startups fired someone, the laws turned recruitment into an excruciatingly sluggish affair where entrepreneurs could spend months hiring someone thanks to the extra due dilligence that had to be carried out. But in September Macron aimed to make it easier to hire and fire people when he signed five executive orders. While the move was met by an outcry from unions, French entrepreneurs have welcomed it. “It’s exciting and a huge change for France and especially for its startups,” says Brisk. Even though Paris is feeling the Macron effect, these aren’t the only measures the government has in place to support the French startup revolution. “There are a lot of government incentives for startups,” says Etienne Krieger, scientific director of the Entrepreneurship Centre at HEC Paris, the business school. Not only is the French government championing startups through initiatives like La French Tech but it has also launched a range of subsidies and investment initiatives aimed at boosting innovation. For instance, the R&D tax credit Crédit d’Impôt Recherche enables SMEs to deduct investments in innovation from their taxes. Another example is the fact that government-run bank Bpifrance injected ¤191m into startups in 2016. “Many obstacles have been removed in recent years but we can still improve the dynamics of the French innovation ecosystem,” Krieger says. Another initative that may further persuade French expats to return to Paris is the launch of a slew of incubators and accelerators over the past decade. “Not only is it boosting the French incubation offering but it will also help attract promising European and international startups that would have otherwise have made their debut in London, Berlin or Silicon Valley,” says Krieger. For instance, this summer saw the launch of Station F, which claims to be the world’s biggest startup campus. Housed in an old OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Pa r i s

We’ll soon have more incubators and accelerators than startups Etienne Krieger, HEC Paris

railway depot as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall, Station F can today host 1,000 startups and 20 startup programmes, including Facebook’s first incubator. And Station F is hardly the only game in town: La French Tech estimates that there are approximately 236 incubators and 59 accelerators in France. With numbers like these, it’s hardly surprising that some people are even wondering if the market is becoming saturated. “We’ll soon have more incubators and accelerators than startups,” says Krieger. And while many of these initiatives will take time to show results, the push by the city of light to take startups seriously has already resulted in some shining success stories. For instance. Paris has witnessed the rise of three unicorns: Criteo, Blablacar, the ride-hailing startup and VentePrivee, the e-commerce business. “They have shown people that it is possible to succeed in France,” says Gazagne. But far from functioning solely as radiant examples to aspire to, the founders of the startups valued over $1bn are also smoothing the path forward for the next generation of entrepreneurs in other ways. “They are investing in the startup ecosystem, which is very beneficial for everyone because it will only create more successes,” says Gazagne. Given these unicorns and the surge of investment, it certainly seems as if the city of love is having more than a fleeting affair with the entrepreneurial spirit. “I’m very excited and can’t wait see where it all goes,” concludes Brisk. “I think this is just the beginning and that there will be a lot of exciting new initiatives. Let’s see what happens.” 26

Criteo This summer saw Station F, the world’s biggest startup campus, launch in Paris. While this latest addition to the city of light’s incubator market has received a lot of attention, a different insitution played a significant role in establishing Paris as a city of entrepreneurs. “The founders of Criteo actually met at the Agoranov incubator,” says Gregory Gazagne, executive vice president EMEA at the ad tech company that has since become one of France’s three unicorns. “But they didn’t know each other.” At the time, Jean-Baptiste Rudelle had joined the programme after exiting his first startup K-Mobile Kiwee, the mobile phone operator, and was now looking for his next venture. Unbeknown to him, his future cofounders Franck Le Ouay and Romain Niccoli were tinkering away on a business of their own in another part of the programme. “The guy at the incubator told them that ‘you know, the three of you should meet because you’re doing very similar things,’” says Gazagne. And the resulting meeting lit a spark of creativity that resulted in the launch of Criteo in 2005. Since then the company has specialised in retargeting online ads depending on how people browse the internet. “And they had a global vision from the start,” says Gazagne. Faithful to their vision, the startup first entered several European markets in 2008. Additionally, the company opened an office in Silicon Valley in 2010 to enhance its US presence. Having raised a total of $63.4m over four rounds and officially being valued at $1.6bn at it’s IPO in 2014, Criteo today has over 2,700 employees in over 60 offices around the world.


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09/10/2017 15:22

Anil Stocker co-founder and CEO, MarketInvoice

Why more businesses are embracing fintech

Fintech is revolutionising the way companies do business


he adoption of tech-driven digital services over the past five years is nothing short of remarkable. Not only have consumers adopted tech applications into all parts of their lives but UK businesses are also increasingly becoming more tech-savvy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in fintech. From how employees report their expenses to the way businesses present their financial performance, these applications are revolutionising the way business is being done. To find out exactly how much, MarketInvoice recently surveyed UK businesses on their awareness, adoption and use of fintech products and services. We found out that 77% of UK businesses are aware of fintech products and services and two-thirds have adopted at least one fintech application, with a fifth taking on four. These adopters reported saving on average over £5,500 a year as result of using the fintech products and services. Entrepreneurs always seek out the best means to drive their businesses and clearly fintech products and services are becoming a stable part of this approach. Of the companies surveyed, 23% used fintech products and services for banking transactions, while 16% used the technology for foreign exchange services. Meanwhile, one in four reported using cloud-based software for their accountancy functions and a third used online lenders for business loans or invoice finance. Interestingly, only 2% use insurance technology, or insurtech, services.

Over half of the business leaders were drawn to fintech because it saves time and money whilst a third were impressed by the user experience. Interestingly, almost a quarter said fintech was more transparent on fees and provided a better customer service. It’s not only business processes that are benefitting from fintech adoption. Companies are using fintech to engage staff. 62% of businesses use fintech adoptions for staff to report expenses and for payslips automation. A

further 23% are using online prepaid cards in allocating budgets to teams. It’s great to see that awareness is high and take-up of fintech services is enabling business to benefit from a time, resource and financial perspective. I expect this trend to continue. From seeing the success of mobile app-only business accounts to how fintech’s will work with high street banks in supporting UK businesses, 2018 looks set to be a big year for the sector. OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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C o r ner s to ne

Oliver Bridge reveals how frustration and fear of failure inspired him to make Cornerstone a success story with an edge BY Eric Johansson


t’s not often that the queue at Boots is credited for sparking entrepreneurial creativity. However, standing in line to buy a razor would change Oliver Bridge’s life forever. “It was all a bunch of rubbish,” he says. “I’d wasted my lunch break walking there in the rain and waiting to buy an overpriced product that would end up cutting my face up when I used it.” But the experience made him realise that there was a better way to buy high-quality shaving equipment suitable for his sensitive skin. “It was a classic eureka moment,” Bridge says. And armed with this razor-sharp insight he set out to launch Cornerstone, the shavingproduct-subscription startup.

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C orne rstone

And this was not the first time frustration had encouraged him to flex his entrepreneurial muscles. “I don’t see any other way of doing it,” says Bridge. “It’s hard to get passionate unless it’s either something that you care deeply about or that really frustrates you.” And looking back at his curriculum vitae, the Cornerstone founder seems to be quite easily irritated. For instance, growing up with size-13 feet, he found it excruciatingly difficult to find shoes that fit. In response the then 15-year-old launched, the online shop for big shoes. Similarly, when working at a charity while at university he found it really embarrassing that he couldn’t tell by someone’s name what gender they were. Giving in to his entrepreneurial instincts, Bridge used one semester of his student loan to pay software developers to create, the search engine enabling users to find out whether a name is male or female. “My friends said I was crazy but it has paid back the investment between ten and 20 times over,” Bridge says. Clearly, launching businesses by being slightly ticked off has served him in good stead. But compared to his previous endeavours, launching Cornerstone would prove to be a particularly challenging experience. For starters, Bridge was still working full-time as an investment manager for Synova Capital, the private equity firm, when he began to research the launch of his startup. “It was pretty brutal,” says Bridges. “I was up at 6am to do a few hours before work and then I did a few hours in the evenings at my kitchen table. I spent 18 months like that.” Still, his previous entrepreneurial adventures, studying economics at Oxford University and his job had made it clear to him how important it is to prepare before launching a business. So he kept pushing himself, did his due diligence and sought funding to launch his venture, which Bridge eventually found thanks to a £5,000 loan from the Startup Loan Company and £10,000 of his own savings. “So very humble beginnings,” he says. And, having done his research, he knew exactly which razor manufacturer would give him the best bang for his buck. Unfortunately, the factory in Frankfurt wasn’t particularly keen on the idea. “When I got on the phone with the sales manger, he OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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C o r ner s to ne

Es s e n tia l ly, w e wa n t o ur c u sto m er to n e ve r h ave to go i n to B o ots again said ‘sorry, but the minimum order is ¤100,000 and it’s honestly not even worth generating the paperwork if you can only spend ¤5,000,’” Bridge recalls. “And I said: ‘What if I turn up tomorrow morning with ¤5,000 in cash?’ He replied: ‘Okay, if you’re crazy enough to do that then sure.’” Not one to shy away from a challenge, the entrepreneur and his stepfather raced through the night and across several international borders. That’s how, when the sales manager arrived to work the next morning, he found the entrepreneur and the money waiting for him. “He thought it was hilarious,” says Bridge. “But that’s how we got started.” Having bagged the best shaving equipment for his venture, the last piece was finally in place and in the summer of 2014 Bridge quit his job to launch Cornerstone. 36

However, making a success of the startup required the founder to deal with buckets of selfdoubt when the launch came and went without the company attracting many customers. “But I couldn’t tell anyone else about my doubts,” he says. “Obviously you can’t tell your investors. And you can’t tell your girlfriend or your family either because they already think you’re mad for leaving your job.” Determined to not call it quits just because things had proven more difficult than expected, the entrepreneur decided to buckle down and power through. “I told myself that if this doesn’t work out then I’ll make damn sure that I couldn’t have tried any harder,” he says. Still, even with Bridge doubling his efforts, attracting the first customers to buy his product was no easy task. “I had to convince customers who’d bought the same razors their entire lives to not only swap to a brand they’d never heard of but also to buy it online,” he says. In the first months Bridge tried everything he could think of: from teaching himself to set up ads on Google and Facebook to sending journalists samples and writing blog entries, all to no avail. The turning point came when he launched a campaign on Reddit. “It went viral and within a week we’d bagged our first 1,000 customers,” says Bridge. Not only did this boost his morale, the data also enabled Cornerstone to better target other potential customers, growing the number to 5,000 and employing his first staff members by the summer of 2015. Invigorated by his success he decided to set the target to grow his customer base to 60,000 by 2017. However, it soon became clear that Bridge had seriously underestimated the potential of the market. The first clue was that Cornerstone wasn’t the only startup disrupting the shaving industry. “Two other companies, Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, were both successful in the US,” he says. By this stage both companies had just raised rounds totalling over $75m. But rather than making the entrepreneur feel apprehensive about the future, Bridge realised that their momentum could work in his favour. “If these guys were doing so well in the US, we could easily capitalise on that if we had some more funding,” says Bridge. Egged on by the competition, Cornerstone launched a Crowdcube campaign in June 2015 with the aim to raise £500,000. “We quickly ended up raising that in just two days,” Bridge says. At the end, the startup raised a total of £876,810. The money certainly proved handy, with some of


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C o r ner s to ne

It’s hard to get passionate unless it’s either something that you care deeply about or that really frustrates you 38

it being used to develop the company’s products further, improve the packaging and hire more staff members. In a bid to sustain the momentum, Bridge decided to ask his shareholders – like angel investors like Andy Oldham, CEO at Quidco; Will Hobhouse, former chairman at Jack Willis; Nick Wheeler, chairman at Charles Tyrwhitt and Joe Middleton, ex-president of Levi Jeans, as well as JXC Ventures, the VC firm – to invest more, resulting in a second £3.5m round in 2016. The extra influx of cash was used to grow the team further, launch a TV campaign and to grow the startup’s customer base to 100,000 by the end of 2016. And it hasn’t stopped there: this summer Cornerstone raised another £1m from existing shareholders and £2.5m from Calculus Capital, the private equity firm. “It’s been absolutely bonkers,” says Bridge. And this money will initially be used to extend the startup’s existing product line. “Essentially, we want our customer to never have to go into Boots again,” Bridge says. That’s why Cornerstone is set to launch its own deodorant, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush and hair wax over the next six months. And just like with the razor, Bridge is determined to source products of the highest quality. “None of them will include any nasties and they will be well-priced with less packaging and a really high quality,” he says. However, that’s not the only change in the pipeline. “We’re going to make shopping much easier,” he says. Not only is Cornerstone aiming to produce tech able to better predict how much individual users’ need and enable customers to easily change their orders as they like, but there are also plans to create an app. “It will strike at the heart of what Amazon is trying to do and it will be miles ahead of what Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots are doing,” Bridge says. But the money hasn’t just meant that he can be confident about the future, it has also enabled Bridge to finally let go of the fear. “In the first six months I used to wake up and think ‘crikey, this is it,’” he says. “It feels like there are so many neardeath experiences until you reach critical mass and it’s only recently that I’ve felt that we’re out of the woods.” But the growth and the new product line will also mean that will soon be able to reach the goal he’d been working towards all along. “In six months, I’ll never have to walk inside Boots ever again,” he laughs.


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The rise of VoIP solutions 02 | WELCOME 03 | The silver lining of cloud-based communications 05 | THE USES OF UC 09 | The benefits of customer experience with collaboration 10 | INFOGRAPHIC

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The rise of VoIP solutions

Welcome T

o say the internet has changed business at the core is not news. But it’s clear that the benefits offered by modern communication platforms will probably have the single biggest impact on long-term success. Over the last two decades, businesses have embraced two fundamental shifts in how they interact with customers and manage internal processes, with both benefiting from access to the internet, smart software and emerging trends such as voice over IP (VoIP), collaboration and the cloud.  From the customer side, communication has shifted to become truly multi-modal with demands across voice, email, webchat, video and social platforms that blend formal and informal groups together. The second shift, prompted by globalisation, has witnessed many businesses embrace remote working for staff and collaborative relationships with suppliers and partners that span industries and time zones.  With so many combinations of communications paths needed for different

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stakeholder groups, many organisations are adopting unified platforms. These empower individuals and groups to communicate in the most effective way with one or many people using the medium and device best suited to their requirements. With an ongoing and widespread upgrade of the broadband infrastructure, the limitations of technologies such as VoIP are truly a thing of the past. For many organisations, unified-communications platforms now offer a significant advantage, allowing them to react quicker or work more efficiently to deliver goods and customer service as a competitive differentiator. In the same way that the industrial revolution of the late 1800s forced businesses to adapt or wither, the VoIP 2.0 revolution is fostering a new age where agility and joined-up processes can help visionaries achieve sustainable growth and ultimately success.  Offering valuable insights into the technology, strategy and real-world use cases, this supplement will highlight how modern communication technologies are solving longstanding challenges while delivering tangible long-term benefits and, in some cases, transformative outcomes.

09/10/2017 19:49


The silver lining of cloud-based communications

The communications imperative. All organisations have it. Employees need to share and collaborate, better communications boost supply-chain efficiency, and it is vital for connecting with customers – whether they are buying or complaining BY ROB BAMFORTH, PRINCIPAL ANALYST, QUOCIRCA

While there has been much emphasis over the last decade on advancing various forms of messaging, visual and social communications, the majority of day-to-day business is still conducted by phone and basic email. Businesses know they need to be able to deal with many more diverse communications technologies in order to accommodate the changing needs of customers, suppliers and employees. For small and mediumsized businesses, this is becoming a significant challenge.

Driving forces Firstly, there is much uncertainty. At a direct level, businesses are concerned about increases in communications costs but also

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selecting the right technology and showing demonstrable returns. At a wider level, there are many unpredictable international, national and social changes. Attitudes to work have shifted. New working practices emerge and change is being accelerated by new generations of workers. Much of this is enabled by technological innovation. Connectivity is expected on the move and must deliver increasingly rich and varied forms of media and content. Organisations recognise the need to adapt. Communications are no longer seen simply as a set of onpremises equipment and systems but a range of services. Quocirca research conducted in May 2017 – summarised in The Next Step in Digital Business Transformation report – backs this up. Cloud-based services have already made inroads in other parts of IT infrastructure but UK businesses now believe the delivery of telephony, collaboration and conferencing as-aservice will be vital for their future.

Why make the change now? The most immediate – and directly realisable – reason to make change in business communications is for cost saving. In the short term, this can mean reducing the transactional impact of telephony by moving to VoIP and, in the mid-term, by encouraging a switch from business travel to remote video collaboration and conferencing. Finally, in the long term it can reduce the management overhead of communications. A large – but harder to measure – set of benefits comes from streamlining business processes and improved personal productivity. This is not about communicating more but more effectively. Faster decision making, more collaboration and freeing up individual time to focus on adding value to the business all have an impact. It might be harder to measure but it is significant. 3 09/10/2017 19:50

The rise of VoIP solutions

Businesses need services that deliver multiple business communications channels that can be accessed anywhere Delivering these improvements efficiently requires a step up in companies’ flexibility. Moves and changes have long been the bane of many telecoms managers but the challenges are now more intense. Communication services need to be delivered in a far more flexible way to deal with business uncertainties, more flexible working practices and employee mobility expectations.

What to look for? The primary focus should be user experience. Businesses need services that deliver multiple business communications channels that can be accessed anywhere, by anyone and on any device. This means that mobile, the primary choice for most individuals, needs to be embedded at the core of any solution, not added as an afterthought. Secondly, is the feature set fit for the working context? Technology often aims to overdeliver on features but this clutters the user experience. Those who need a broad array of capabilities will want to access them when they need to but the day-to-day user experience needs streamlining. Seek out communications services that keep things simple, specific, tailored and direct. Simplicity is also key to communications management. Few organisations need or have the resources to manage communications systems in-house, yet most want to retain overall control. Cloud-based communications platforms allow organisations to outsource the daily grind of management but also gain better understanding of usage and adoption through analytics. This means they can focus on those important strategic elements of management rather than the time-sapping drudgery. With the right dashboard or control panel, you can meet these needs. 4 pages 3-4.indd 2

Even basic business-communication needs no longer revolve around calling and messaging. Organisations must choose services that integrate across the full spectrum of information-sharing requirements. Mobile is critical; so too are a whole raft of content storage and sharing services. This means integration with popular cloud-based services is important. Not only will users expect it but tight integration will reduce management efforts and security risks. Commercially, cloud-based services offer more cost flexibility – pay-as-you-go and pay-as-you-grow – but this should not be the only commercial driver. A more strategic view of usage and cost visibility will also be valuable. Making the change to a cloudbased communications service may also be, or perceived to be, a difficult and time-consuming challenge. But it need not be. Look to providers that can deliver a smooth transition. How much help can they offer through the evaluation process to ensure that future communications needs are met with the right service levels up front and that making the switch is as painless a process as possible? Finally, since reliable communications are so vital to any organisation, the long-term relationship with communication providers must be considered. Do they have the right attitude and commitment to offer the support required? Can they cope with the scale and speed to reliably deliver to meet the growth in volume and adoption, not only of the basic communications needs of today but also the growth in more sophisticated information sharing and visual collaboration tomorrow? Much recent focus on communications has been on unifying the technology infrastructure and so unified communication services have often been nothing more than unified plumbing. While this can lead to some cost reductions the key to success is focus on the user. Make it easier and more productive for them and they will increase adoption. In the past this might have required a lot of management, deployment and integration skills but with cloud-based services this is no longer the case. Now is the time to seize the opportunity to improve business communications by choosing flexible cloud services.

09/10/2017 19:50


The uses of UC

Using a cloud-based, unified-communications system can bring businesses all kinds of benefits, including lower fees, more flexible working and improved collaboration ou probably started your business in one small space. But gradually all of your hard work paid off and the business grew, so now you have more employees and more than one location. You may also have employees working from home, as well as nomads who rarely come to the main location. Trouble is, integrating multiple locations and remote workers can be hard for small businesses: not only are old-school phone systems more expensive but they are designed to work within four walls. Fortunately, unified communications (UC) can help bring together a company’s scattered workforce and come with untold benefits when compared with their more antiquated analogue brethren.

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One of the first benefits you’re likely to notice when switching to a UC solution are the savings. Given that they offer a VoIP solution for calls and take advantage of a connection that any modern business already utilises, they ultimately work out more cost-effective than traditional telecom solutions. VoIP operates over the same connections as your internet service meaning no new lines have to be installed, which keeps initial costs low. Additionally, VoIP allows small businesses to keep their operational expenditure low. As calls are made over the internet, it doesn’t matter how long distance these calls are – something that’s a particularly big blessing for companies operating in multiple markets. But while this has clear benefits when trying to link up with international offices and customers, how can UC solutions edge out the competition when it comes to remote working? When workers from offices with traditional phone systems want to stay in touch with customers they have to give out their home or mobile number. And if a call comes in to the office for a remote worker, someone needs to get in contact and ask them to return it. By contrast, UC solutions can connect workers wherever they are – across multiple offices, at home or on the road. Setting up an IP phone on their desk can be as simple as plugging in an ethernet cable and means home workers can have a business number and full access to the company directory and voicemail. Moreover, many UC packages can turn mobile workers’ smartphones into fullfeatured business phones, allowing them to make and receive calls using your business number – not their personal mobile numbers. This means that wherever staff have to travel, to the outside world it looks as if they never left their desks. However, a company’s comms needs don’t begin and end with calls:

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The rise of VoIP solutions


The ability to increase the number of users remotely from Jersey has proven very useful when setting up new licensed partners, getting them connected to the central office and their customers straight away.

Going global 365 Tickets

With UC tools allowing it to communicate and collaborate internationally, the world is 365 Tickets’ oyster To quickly set up new team members in its 15 global locations, provide cost-effective international calls and the tools to manage its own business communication solution, 365 Tickets, the ticket company, required a system that was more advanced than the traditional legacy private branch exchange it had. “We work closely with our suppliers in order to secure the best deals for our customers worldwide,” says Ross Coupland, domain relationship & UX systems manager at 365 Tickets. “As such, we receive a range of different calls depending on whether it’s a customer, supplier or one of our 12 licensed partners based around the globe. As our business continues to scale and grow internationally, an intuitive and cost-effective communications infrastructure is essential.” Each of 365 Tickets’ international locations has VoIP phones connected to a central RingCentral account, which is used to make and receive internal calls for free.

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Adapting in real time RingCentral Office provided 365 Tickets with the flexibility to design a telephony system that allowed different journeys for specific callers. This has allowed 365 Tickets to work smarter with the way that it handles call volumes for different departments and create dynamic call handling rules on the fly to adapt to the needs of the business in real time. “It’s not just external communication that has been simplified as a result of switching to RingCentral, engagement between colleagues has also improved,” says Coupland. “We are based in Jersey and often have to travel for meetings, so being able to make and receive calls using the iPhone app helps us to stay in touch with each other.” Efficient team collaboration 365 Tickets has also benefited from the UC specialist’s powerful collaboration tool, Glip, which is offered at no extra cost to RingCentral Office customers. The business’s technology team were looking for a costeffective collaboration tool to help with its internal project management but didn’t want to pay an expensive monthly fee for all the features that were needed. “Many of the more basic collaboration platforms, whilst low initial cost, generate significant spend on training, uptake and acceptance,” Coupland says. “We also found that most of the products that were compatible with things like Google Drive and Hangouts required a high monthly cost per user. “Glip makes handling projects and daily tasks really easy and it also works with RingCentral Office, meaning that we can make video and audio conferences with a single click. We have been really impressed with the increased efficiency and reduction in emails since using Glip.”

09/10/2017 19:52



Taking care of business Optimum Healthcare Solutions

Offering more lines and a way to easily share customers’ medical information, a UC solution is proving to be just what the doctor ordered for Optimum Healthcare Solutions

Dean Payne built Optimum Healthcare Solutions from the ground up and, seeing a gap in the market for end-to-end treatment, he expanded the company to include rehabilitation. Optimum Healthcare Solutions grew rapidly and is now one of the main regional healthcare providers in the UK. But with upwards of 500 inbound and outbound calls a day, its previous telecoms solution – an iPECS 50 phone system with only four lines – meant customers were kept on hold for much longer than they needed to be. “Even though Optimum Healthcare Solutions thrives on the best customer service, we realised we weren’t

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achieving our KPIs because of the time it was taking to answer customer calls,” says Payne. “We considered getting more lines on our existing system but it meant we’d be spending three to four times as much and this just wasn’t financially feasible. That’s when we started investigating possible alternative platforms and decided to implement RingCentral’s cloud-based system. Within a week, we let go of our iPECS system completely and now have 32 lines with RingCentral for the price we used to pay for four ISDN lines.

Pure and simple “Apart from the financial costs of the iPECS system, it was also relatively complicated to program, which meant an engineer had to be called out each time we wanted it to be changed,” Payne says. “Consequently, we could not react quickly to issues or when we wanted to make changes to the system like changing call volumes or recording promotions for the client to hear while they were put on hold. “Not only is the administration of the RingCentral system very straightforward but the implementation was incredibly easy – all the equipment arrived as promised and we had really helpful tutorials at the start. This means my staff are now in full control of the system and don’t require any additional technical support.” Come together “Information-sharing across all our clinics is vital especially in our line of work, where communicating a customer’s medical history is necessary if they visit physicians in a number of our clinics,” says Payne. “We use RingCentral cloud technology to connect all our staff and share information easily. Our phone system means staff can contact colleagues in different locations through an allocated extension number and we also use a cloud-based clinical system to securely share notes. “I’m also a huge advocate of cloud technology that enables my staff to lead flexible lives. This means they can work from home, or remotely, when they need to and still be securely connected to the office. In fact, I have an employee that has recently had to relocate to Germany for her husband’s job but thanks to our cloud-based phone system, clinical system and the cloud desktops we’re about to launch, she can work remotely via the cloud.” 7 09/10/2017 19:53

The rise of VoIP solutions

enterprises wanting to really engage with clients and customers should also have their hearts set on a range of conferencing solutions. Any UC solution worth its salt can host audio conferences for many hundreds of delegates, as well as HD video meetings that can be conducted from any computer, smartphone or tablet. However, enabling execs and sales teams to host meetings for clients from wherever they are in the country doesn’t help if they aren’t able to back up their patter with quarterly reports or data on ROI. That’s why it’s invaluable to find a solution that offers a simple and easy way for teams to share screens whether they’re working on an iMac or an iPhone. Another side effect of the fact that workforces are spread out across so many locations is it is becoming difficult to get different stakeholders together in the same room. Inevitably, this makes it far harder for businesses to work on new plans and proposals without a lot of faffing about with emails, which often proves to be a clunky way to collaborate and only adds to businesses’ admin. Fortunately, quality UC tools put collaboration front and centre, allowing companies and their clients to work jointly on projects no matter where they’re located. Allowing teams to manage projects, store and share files, access individual and group calendars and conduct private and team conversations, a good UC package will make it a breeze for staff to cooperate, whether they’re in a meeting room or on the move. For ambitious, fast-growth companies the real clincher around implementing UC is that they can scale as you do. As they enable you to quickly set up satellite offices and plug new employees into your systems, they can prove invaluable for any business with a bullish attitude toward growth. Whether you’re a real-estate business looking to unify the communications of a number of small offices, a scaling

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Many UC packages can turn mobile workers’ smartphones into full-featured business phones

tech startup wanting to expand into markets where it can access talent or a construction company aiming to seamlessly integrate site workers with the larger enterprise, UC tools can prove to be the solder that holds a rapidly growing business together. One final benefit worth considering for firms thinking about the future is how easy the system is to maintain and update. Even once they are installed, traditional phone systems require a good deal of management and maintenance, while upgrading can prove a costly and time-consuming fair, often requiring the installation of new hardware. However, thanks to the fact that UC systems are cloud-hosted, updates are easily pushed out across the system, minimising the ongoing costs and time commitment companies have to make in taking on the system.

09/10/2017 19:53


The benefits of customer experience with collaboration t’s a given that technology is constantly evolving, with new innovations coming to market every day. Some of these new solutions become the latest trend du jour and businesses need to carefully evaluate the overall value and benefits of deploying these solutions in their enterprises. The truly disruptive technology is driving the digital transformation that is improving the way many companies operate. That said, there’s some uncertainty in understanding what digital transformation means to different companies. Decision makers need to understand the applications, processes, and outcomes that come with digital transformation and how they translate into business value. The analysis begins with perhaps the hottest topic in the collaboration space: customer experience (CX). This may not be the first thing you associate with collaboration or digital transformation but it certainly resonates strongly with management.


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The connection between CX and collaboration needs to be clarified. Traditionally, contact centre interactions haven’t been very collaborative at all; they’ve mostly been just a dialogue between customers and agents. Contact centres that are still based on legacy technology are falling further behind the digital applications that customers are using and this model is putting agents at a disadvantage; they simply don’t have access to enough resources or expertise to resolve customer issues in real time. As far as collaboration is concerned, enterprises have typically viewed these solutions for use by internal teams but not for agents because they’re customer facing. Today, a new opportunity is emerging that enables collaboration platforms to integrate office-based workers with contact center agents - not for working on internal projects but rather for ad hoc collaboration to solve customer problems as they happen in real time.

Cloud-based collaboration solutions: taking CX to the next level Today’s customer expectations are for greater immediacy and shorter time frames to place orders, get answers, etc., and companies need to elevate CX beyond what they are doing today to meet those expectations. Technology isn’t the only way to improve CX but if you continue using legacy technology or communications applications that are not tightly integrated, it will be impossible to keep pace with changing customer needs. Whether the end customer is a consumer or a business decision maker, recent research indicates that their needs are being shaped now by digital transformation. This means having faster bandwidth, adopting a mobile-centric workstyle and using cloud-based applications tailored specifically for their needs. Digital transformation goes well beyond deploying a collaboration solution; but in terms of delivering a great CX, it may well be your best investment, short of doing a complete refresh of your contact center. That’s not an option for most businesses, so it’s easy to understand why cloud-based collaboration solutions are gaining traction to meet today’s customer and team collaboration needs. 9 09/10/2017 19:54

The rise of VoIP solutions

Bruce is a busy guy. Follow his day and see how he manages to stay in control. Bruce is often out of the office...

8PM: Bruce travels 9AM: Bruce picks up his office calls on his home number

overseas and downloads the mobile app to take calls anywhere

11AM: A quick stop at the cafe and Bruce takes calls directly on his desktop app

2PM: Bruce gets out in the open and diverts calls directly to his mobile

Never miss a call again

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09/10/2017 19:55


When unavailable, he always has a back up plan... DURING OFFICE HOURS


Important callers are forwarded straight to his colleague

Bruce’s calls are forwarded to colleagues working late Bruce’s team pick up calls based on who’s availble in their Call Group

If nobody answers, the call diverts to the main company switchboard

When no-one is available, calls are sent straight to voicemail

Want to be more like Bruce? Get your own personalised infographic with tips on how to take full control of your communications. Request yours by emailing

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11 09/10/2017 19:55

The new world of work The working environment has changed dramatically in the last few years. Many staff are working longer hours and are now dispersed over multiple locations, working from home for part of the week or while travelling. Thankfully, there is a better way. RingCentral is enabling companies to maintain customer service levels, staff productivity and lower their costs to retain a competitive edge.

14 day free trial (risk free) 30 Day Free Trial for Elite Readers Ring Central FP 1017.indd 1

09/10/2017 19:53

GD P R i s co m i n g A N D it a ffe cts u s a l l

The law is changing. It affects our business and it affects your business. Download our free guide today. pr i n ti n g . co m /so o n Owl full page.indd 1

06/10/2017 09:16

A dv ert i s i ng f e at u r e

ALTERNATIVE FINANCE for a changing world

NOT JUST FOR WHEN THE BANK SAYS NO Effective routes to funding for SMEs across all sectors throughout the UK


he alternative finance industry was born as a result of the financial crisis, when the banks had severely reduced their lending capacities and savers were struggling to access any decent returns on their investments; things haven’t really changed. A small number of companies started up in the early days offering access to funding for both businesses and individuals, and varied rates of interest based on the risks involved. In the years since then a large number of lenders have joined the sector offering a variety of ways to gain funding and invest your money. But the one thing that they all have in common is that they link investors more directly with borrowers, cutting out the traditional middle man and thereby providing the potential for better rates for all parties involved. From the borrowers’ perspective the alternative finance industry offers access to funding that many have struggled to obtain for years. However, it is not just a last chance saloon – shrewd businesses are recognising that other benefits of alternative finance can make it a very viable and astute way to drive their company forward. ThinCats provides a flexible way to fund


business ventures from MBOs to growth capital, cashflow to refinancing, and offers bespoke loan options to suit the needs of businesses across all industries and sectors. Starting from the belief that applications deserve more than just harsh number crunching, ThinCats uses innovative data analysis with a human touch to candidly assess each loan, listening to the story behind each case. Reduced and simplified covenants and conditions ensure that drawdown times are days rather than months, and there is no need to wait a year or more between loans, as with many of the traditional lenders, giving sagacious business owners the opportunity to make the most of lucrative opportunities as they arise. Fees are transparent and upfront, security can be tailored to each proposal and repayments are flexible. Alternative finance may still seem new to some, but ThinCats is one of the pioneers of the industry. The experience and institutional expertise behind the company substantiates the recommendation that it should be considered by any prudent SME owner looking to make the best funding decision for the future of their business.


ThinCats Advertorial Oct17.indd 1

09/10/2017 17:17

Unlock your business potential Fast, flexible finance that works for you

Business loans from £100,000 Competitive rates Flexible repayment terms Funds available in weeks not months No hidden fees Opportunity & innovation – real alternative finance As one of the pioneers of the peer-to-peer business lending industry, ThinCats has always offered real opportunity to UK businesses struggling to access funding through traditional channels. Starting from the belief that funding applications deserve more than just harsh number crunching, we use innovative data analysis combined with a human touch to candidly assess each loan, listening to the story behind each case. Our network of financial service professionals will be there to help you along every step of the way, from application to loan drawdown.

Apply for a loan today Speak to us directly 01530 444061 ThinCats is a trading name of Business Loan Network Limited (BLN) registered in England & Wales No. 07248014, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. BLN is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Capital is at risk. ThinCats is an online peer to peer lending platform, successful funding of your loan is dependent on our lenders and not guaranteed.

ThinCats Advertorial Oct17.indd 2

09/10/2017 17:18


Thanks to Anil Stocker’s leadership, MarketInvoice has helped small businesses bridge a £1.5bn gap in their balance sheets and the startup is now surging toward success

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When Anil Stocker, co-founder and CEO of MarketInvoice, the invoice-finance marketplace, first hit the road to speak to small businesses about their cash-flow woes in 2010, the same story came up time and time again. “Business owners had completely lost trust in the big banks: they blamed them for their plight,” he says. “They said bankers didn’t really care about their customers; they only really cared about their bonuses.” SMEs desperately needed new lending solutions but, having worked at Lehman Brothers shortly before its collapse, Stocker had seen first-hand what happened when the big banks took big risks. With regulators on the warpath and some bankers even facing criminal prosecution, there was no way the Big Four were going to risk getting their fingers burnt offering radical new lending products. Fortunately, Stocker was part of a new cohort of startups that was in the process of transforming Britain’s financial sector. “We all looked at banks and they were doing the opposite of what they should have been,” he says. “So we thought: ‘let’s pick things up and do them better’.” And if anyone was well-placed to become one of the forefathers of the UK’s innovative fintech movement it was Stocker. Growing up in Switzerland, he was immersed in a very entrepreneurial culture. “I’m actually half Swiss and half Indian but the Indian side of the family is from Kenya,” he says. “So I grew up surrounded by a really different mix of cultures.” Among Indians of Kenyan heritage, Stocker explains that there is a long tradition of entrepreneurialism and building businesses, meaning that he never lacked for role models. “As a young kid, I was hearing a lot of conversations about people starting companies and the trials and tribulations they faced but also the enjoyment of what they were going through,” he says. “I really looked up to that.” 46

Without a doubt this had a marked impact on the young Stocker: by the time he moved to the UK with his family at the age of 13, he had already clearly embraced the entrepreneurial mindset. “What really gives me a kick is taking an idea and turning it into reality,” he says. Not only did he set up a school newspaper – a particularly memorable series of interviews featured the Chilean members of the school’s cleaning staff, who it transpired had been exiled during the Pinochet regime – but he also became the CEO of a company as part of the Young Enterprise scheme. Getting through to the regional finals with a business that sold alumni cufflinks for local schools, Stocker’s company for some time held a Young Enterprise record for generating the most revenue – although there were still a few lessons for the young entrepreneurs to learn on the way. “I always joke with my team at MarketInvoice that this is where I first came across working capital and the challenges for small businesses,” he says. “Customers all started sending us cheques for like £40, so we were sat on all of this cash and suddenly we were like ‘hang on: we need to actually make the cufflinks.’” After finishing his A-levels in London, Stocker went to Trinity College, Cambridge, to study economics – which is where he met his future MarketInvoice co-founders Ilya Kondrashov and Charles Delingpole. Upon graduating, he hit the milk round but at the time it was impossible to escape the gravity of the finance industry’s largest players. “The City was sucking up all available talent,” Stocker says. “I remember all the big investment banks coming to Cambridge and competing with each other to offer the best jobs and salaries.” Clearly making an impression on the recruiters, Stocker was selected for a role at one of Lehman Brothers’ private equity funds and he soon found himself learning how to identify companies to buy, work alongside financial directors and CFOs, analyse cashflow forecasts and develop business strategy. “It was a tough school: going into a big aggressive American bank was hard,” he says. “But that’s probably where I got my first sense of why getting finance into businesses was so crucial.” While Stocker feels like he learned a great deal from his time at Lehman Brothers, he saw it more as a means to learn about the ins and outs of enterprise than as an opportunity to make it big as a career banker. “Culturally I didn’t really feel like I belonged in the big investment banks,” he says. “I viewed it as a stepping stone to learn about business.” As a result Stocker began to get itchy feet and, desiring to work


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09/10/2017 20:22

A ni l Stoc k e r

Business owners had completely lost trust in the big banks: they blamed them for their plight

in a smaller, more intimate investment environment, he followed the lead of a co-worker and jumped ship to Cogent Partners, a smaller investment firm. And the timing couldn’t have worked out better: just two months later, Lehman Brothers announced it was filing for bankruptcy, essentially kickstarting the global financial crisis. “I saw the boom and bust of that era: 2006 was the high point for those investment banks and that kind of culture,” Stocker says. “And 2008 was the end.” Making smaller investments for several years helped Stocker recognise where his passions lay and in 2010, with his boss’s encouragement, he began to look at ways he might be able finally stretch his entrepreneurial muscles. “My heart really lay in helping small-business owners scale,” he says. “I was really interested in using technology to look at the problems that small businesses face.” And in light of the faltering global economy, there were plenty of problems that needed addressing: big corporates were shoring up their balance sheets by lengthening payment terms while banks were cutting back overdraft facilities, leaving many small businesses struggling to make up the shortfall. Fortunately, huge technological change was not only seeing swathes of financial data being made easily accessible for the first time but increasing numbers of startups Stateside were bringing the power of the crowd to consumer finance. “There were some interesting companies in that space that were using a marketplace model,” Stocker says. “That gave me an idea.” By marrying a marketplaces model with the reams of data that were becoming available on companies, Stocker and his co-founders realised that they could make it easier for investors to lend small businesses money against the one asset that was in plentiful supply: their unpaid invoices. “You’re not just lending them unsecured funds on a pipe dream they’ll pay you back in the future,” he says. “You’re actually bridging future revenue coming in.” While invoice financing wasn’t exactly a new concept, introducing a touch of tech in this way would allow small businesses to get much faster decisions and enable them to quickly access capital from sources far less risk-averse than the big banks. “Company owners want to concentrate on their business: they don’t want to spend half of their time worrying about the finance facility, maintaining it or dealing with bureaucracy,” Stocker says. “We are giving time back to the business owners so they can focus on what their passion is.”


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09/10/2017 20:23

A ni l S to c k er

You’re not just lending them unsecured funds on a pipe dream: you’re actually bridging future revenue coming in

ubbed MarketInvoice, the new business wasn’t the only startup to be using tech to upturn traditional finance – TransferWise, Funding Circle, Crowdcube and GoCardless were also just getting off the ground. But while it was exciting to be blazing a trail, there were drawbacks to be operating in an entirely new vertical. “We were the first pioneers, before fintech was even really a term,” says Stocker. “London was a different place: there weren’t very many startups and there wasn’t the great ecosystem there is now.” This meant that when it came to raising investment there weren’t hordes of hungry fintech VCs on the hunt for the next big thing. “We got through to one angel investor who said that he would put in £60,000 and then used him to get other people interested,” Stocker says. “Knocking on the doors of a lot of friends of friends, angels and people we’d worked with, we managed to raise £330,000 to get going.” Given the fact there seemed to be a paucity of lending available, the co-founders assumed that it would be relatively hard to find people to invest through MarketInvoice’s platform. “But there were lots of pools of private capital out there,” he says. “I remember I had one conversation, the guy sent me £100,000 an hour afterwards and said: ‘can I deploy?’ We were like ‘we don’t have enough opportunities for you yet’.” Conversely, while Stocker and his fellow entrepreneurs had thought cash-strapped companies would be queueing around the block to access funding, convincing business owners to take a chance on a new solution took some work. While the British Business Bank committing to invest £40m in small businesses through its platform in 2013 certainly drew in borrowers in their droves, Stocker has never forgotten how important building confidence can be when someone’s livelihood is on the line. “When you’re building a financial services brand, trust is so important,” he says. “And working capital and cashflow are so integral to small businesses’ existence that they’re not going to take risks with it.” But if Stocker has learned anything from his Young Enterprise days, it’s that customers alone aren’t enough: you also need a product. Fortunately, it wasn’t hard for MarketInvoice to assemble a crack team of coders and banking buffs to help it build its platform. “The quality of people applying was just mind-boggling given the fact that we were just a small startup,” says Stocker. “We have some really amazing minds working here.” And working in one of the city’s sexiest sectors doesn’t hurt: not only has the industry been able to draw in talented technologists, data scientists and machine learning experts but the experienced execs and gifted graduates that were once swallowed up by traditional finance are now being drawn to fintech startups like MarketInvoice. “Rather than going into banking or consulting, they want to join a company with a clear position and a mission they believe in,” Stocker says. “So London has been great for talent: all I hope is that it stays like this.”



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09/10/2017 20:39


REGISTER NOW* November 7, 2017 The Brewery, London

The Telegraph Festival of Business focuses on ensuring the continued growth of Britain’s small businesses. A combination of keynote addresses, live interviews, case studies, expert panels, quick-fire talks and masterclasses will ensure attendees leave the conference having found inspiration, pioneering examples of business development and cemented valuable relationships with their peers. Speakers pioneering British SMEs include:

Karen Blackett OBE Chairwoman MediaCom UK

James Daunt Managing Director Waterstones

Craig Donaldson Chief Executive Officer Metro Bank

Richard Hilton Founder Gymbox

Alice Mayor Founder We Built This City

Helena Morrissey Head of Personal Investing Legal & General Investment Management

Chris Morling Founder and Managing Director

Mary Portas Executive Creative Director Portas


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A ni l S to c k er

Sadly a spectre is haunting European startups: the spectre of Brexit. With Britain’s departure from the EU threatening to turn off the tap of talent and trigger an exodus of big banking brands, the country’s fintech ecosystem has reached an interesting point in its evolution. “We are concerned about talent: that’s probably our biggest worry,” Stocker says. “When we’ve talked about it with our staff, there is anecdotal feedback that people feel less welcome in Britain than before.” But talent isn’t the only thing that’s under threat: FX fluctuations and an inability to predict the long-term economic picture is making it hard for both fintech startups and their customers to focus on their long-term goals. “Not having clarity as to what’s going to happen when just creates uncertainty,” says Stocker. “Our current political leaders need to crystallise very quickly what will happen and how it is likely to unfold.” Fortunately, fintech founders are fighting back: Stocker was invited to join Tech City UK’s fintech delivery panel earlier this year by Eileen Burbidge, founding partner of Passion Capital and the British Treasury’s special envoy for fintech, and now regularly meets with various stakeholders to represent the industry’s interests. “It’s important that entrepreneurs who are building companies have a structured way of feeding back on and guiding government policy,” he says. “And there are big banks represented in that panel as well, so it’s a good forum for us to discuss mutually

There are huge advances in things like blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies: there’s a lot more innovation coming 50

impactful things that are happening in the market.” However, while it could be easy for this to turn into an echo-chamber that drowns out the voices of enterprises elsewhere in the nation, Stocker is keen to stress that the last thing the FDP wants to do is assume that it speak for other regions. “If we can be helpful in some way and raise the profile of certain schemes that helps,” he says. “But you’ve got to let entrepreneurs around the country take it on themselves to push things forward.” And Stocker is also doubling down on his ambitions. Not only has MarketInvoice now funded over £1.5bn in invoices through its system – currently it’s funding nearly £80m a month – but it has begun to look at how it can support businesses later in their growth journeys. “As customers were growing bigger, they said they wanted a slightly different product to help them scale,” says Stocker. “So this year we launched an invoice finance facility that’s better suited to larger businesses turning over more than £1m.” And while it’s currently under wraps, in November the startup is due to announce a new initiative that will help widen the number of businesses it can help in the UK. Thanks to these new products, MarketInvoice already has its eye on its next milestone: breaking the £2bn-funded mark. Additionally, as MarketInvoice has helped support small businesses exporting to 93 countries around the world, Stocker isn’t willing to rule out potential international expansion. “We think that once we’ve got the right product set and the right foundation we can definitely go to other markets,” he says. “We think that some European countries could be very interesting for us.” Certainly, it seems like things have come a long way since small businesses were bemoaning their lack of options way back in 2010: while the first fintech wave has now crested, a new generation of startups is already swelling up behind it. “There’s a lot more innovation coming,” says Stocker. “More and more finance is being done with smartphones and there are also huge advances in things like blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies.” With established fintech brands bridging the gap between the old world of the big banks and the radical future being ushered in by these scrappy startups, clearly MarketInvoice’s journey has scarcely begun. “We want to be the go-to destination for businesses to raise their working capital and get that monthly oxygen of finance,” says Stocker. “But excellence takes time and building a big financial services business is not an overnight thing. So there are going to be lots of challenges and lots of things to get excited about.”


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ALLOWING CONSUMERS TO EXPERIENCE AND REACT TO UNMISSABLE MOMENTS AS THEY HAPPEN, LIVE STREAMING IS THE PERFECT WAY FOR STARTUPS TO BUILD ENGAGEMENT WHILE APPS LIKE PERISCOPE sparked live streams of everything from storm chasers documenting hurricanes to members of the public finding increasingly ingenious ways to cross a puddle in Newcastle, Facebook Live has definitely brought it into the mainstream. But it’s not just consumers that are broadcasting their most intimate moments: savvy startups are also using live streaming to create unmissable experiences. Although broadcast and even streamed video have typically been fairly passive media, downloading content into viewers’ heads after the fact, social platforms have geared consumers to expect more interactive experiences that offer 52


opportunities for instant feedback. “With [...] social networking becoming an essential element in all of our lives, users are more comfortable with the lean-forward experience that online platforms offer,” says Chris Dabbs, CEO of digital broadcasting at Karma, the live-steaming and video-production company. Consumers already expect to be notified of breaking news and cultural phenomena within minutes and be able to respond accordingly; live streaming simply plugs into this well-established habit and allows users to watch and respond to things in real time as they unfurl. “With the advanced targeting of the social channels, each user is being notified of live content that is directly relevant to them, as it happens,” Dabbs says. “This gives huge power to both brands and the users themselves.” And with live streaming exploding in this way, it’s hardly surprising that startups are eager to get involved, particularly given how the medium can provide an avenue straight into audience’s affections. “Consumers today want to be connected with brands in special ways,”


says Brian Cheek, senior manager of display at Sprinklr, the social-media-management platform. “If I feel like a brand knows me, obviously that is going to drive more purchases.” Creating intimacy between a brand and consumers can quickly lead audiences to feel like they have a personal relationship with that company. And given live streaming by its very nature is much more honest and transparent than heavily scripted and edited marketing messages, it offers the perfect way for companies to show the human face behind their brand. “Live streaming allows brands to take down that corporate veil,” Cheek says. “Offering that glimpse behind the scenes to a brand advocate is really powerful.” But showing a little vulnerability in your vids isn’t the only way to boost engagement: another reason live streaming can prove so sticky is the fact it allows consumers the chance to interact with content in the moment. “Consumers can respond in real time, offering them [instant] gratification and giving brands direct and immediate feedback,” says Dabbs.

And the nature of social media means that these interactions can echo even louder than one might expect. Dabbs splits people that watch live streams into evangelists, participants and observers. While evangelists are dedicated advocates that love to shout about a brand’s content, it is when this piques the curiosity of participants and provokes them to comment and like that the magic happens. “Not only does this provide the immediate feedback to the brand but, by actually participating with the live feed, they are also creating a larger reach due to the social network algorithms,” Dabbs says. “[Because of the] prioritisation of posts and social promotions [...] live content will appear higher on the social timeline than all other content.” This then allows a stream to reach a much larger group of observers, who are engaged by the experience and absorb the brand’s message. “Live streams remain one of the most powerful ways to reach the largest audience through social networks,” says Dabbs. Clearly the way live content spreads on social media is extending startups’ reach and giving them more bang for their buck. But perhaps the biggest benefit to smaller brands is the fact that live streaming doesn’t take a whole lot of lucre in the first place. “It doesn’t have to be a major production anymore,” Cheek says. “These more impromptu, behind-the-scenes kinds of live streams don’t require a huge production and a lot of money.” Thanks to the fact that an entrepreneur with an iPhone or a CEO with an HTC can create unmissable moments just as well as a billiondollar brand with a full film crew, live streaming is helping to democratise video content. “It’s restoring the balance now so small brands can compete with larger ones that may have access to more funds,” says Cheek. Certainly successful live-streaming campaigns can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. For the European launch of its Noosa FlyteFoam trainers for example, Asics went for a no-holds-barred live-streamed extravaganza in Tower Bridge that drew in over 90,000 viewers. “The Facebook Live stream was hosted by Vogue Williams with a number of special guests,” says Dabbs. “It featured exclusive interviews with product designers [...] an interactive leaderboard, a running challenge, product displays and a DJ set.” Conversely, while no one can claim that Paris Fashion Week is a modest affair, it was its candid and comparatively uncomplicated live stream that proved particularly popular on social media. “Using Rihanna’s own personal Instagram account, over 100,000 viewers tuned in to watch live as she OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK


L i v e st r ea m i ng

What really gets sticky is that magical moment when something happens that you weren’t expecting Brian Cheek, Sprinklr

made the final inspection of each look backstage,” Dabbs says. Obviously not every live stream is going to be a viral sensation drawing in hundred of thousands of hits and, as in any medium, it’s not always clear what will encourage viewers to repost content. But it’s safe to say that the things that rack up the most shares tend to be the unscripted occurrences that take people by surprise. “What really gets sticky is that magical moment when something happens that you weren’t expecting,” says Cheek. “That’s where you really hit it right: your brand advocates will think ‘woah, there was no way that was staged’ and it will go crazy on social.” He recalls a recent instance where the social-media manager of the Boston Red Sox baseball team was live streaming its spring training and was on the hunt for star player Big Papi Ramirez: they eventually found him sat in full uniform fishing in a stream behind the field. “If you’re a fan of the Boston Red Sox and you see that, you’re going to share that with everybody you know,” Cheek says. “And what did it cost the Red Sox to do that content? A little bit of time. Zero dollars.” Unfortunately, this very spontaneity can sometimes end up causing brands to come a cropper. “The power of a live broadcast can work against brands,” Dabbs says. “We have often seen campaigns [with] shaky, unprofessional results, poor audio and badly thought-through creatives.” Launching straight into a live stream with little thought is unlikely to achieve meaningful results,


at best producing lacklustre content that fails to capture consumers’ interest and at worst seeing unforeseen catastrophes being broadcast to the world. “A campaign needs to be well planned, professionally produced and have the creativity to grab the audience’s attention,” says Dabbs. Even if things don’t quite go your way though, consumers are far more forgiving when live events go awry and savvy startups can always find a way to spin things to their advantage. “Live content always has that possibility of something happening that wasn’t planned,” says Cheek. “You can always cut away to something else and if something undesirable happens there’s always a way to turn it around and fix it.” Moreover, being overly precious and protective over the content that your business puts out can end up undermining the very lack of polish and pretension that audiences have come to expect from live streams. “The big companies really want to protect their brand but they have to get over that stage fright,” Cheek says. “You’ve got to be a little bit more impromptu and let it happen.” And while live streaming has definitely reached the mainstream and increasing numbers of companies are joining the party, as long as startups remember this it should still be easy to stand out from the crowd. “Just be agile and be very creative: that’s what your fans are expecting,” Cheek concludes. “They just want to be entertained and, thanks to the phone in their hands, you can bring them that pretty much anytime, anywhere.”


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Back in style MADE Entrepreneur Festival is returning to the Crucible, Sheffield on November 9 and, having been voted in the top ten worldwide entrepreneurial conferences, this year promises to be even bigger and better


he festival is the UK’s biggest event for entrepreneurship, offering a brand-new experience that will to educate, inspire and motivate both early-stage entrepreneurs and established business owners. MADE Entrepreneur Festival powered by Plusnet aims to give practical, meaningful advice and inspiration through a world-renowned line-up of experts and peers who will be sharing their views, advice and experience on how to grow and succeed in the world of business. This year’s line-up features a fantastic collection of seasoned entrepreneurs, world class skills trainers, business leaders, industry experts and exciting thought-leaders. Every attendee at MADE is a valuable source of knowledge and inspiration, and will provide you with a world of inspiration to help you achieve remarkable things with your business. Returning to host this year’s event is past keynote speaker, Geoff Ramm, customer service and marketing expert. The creator of celebrity service and OMG marketing, will have you on the edge of your creative seats with his superb on-stage performance. Alongside him will be the UK’s number one motivational speaker, Brad Burton, founder of Webmart; Simon Biltcliffe, founder of Beer 52; James Brown and Ruth Nic Aoidh who is shaping the future strategy of McLaren Automotive;


and Emma Cooper who is inspiring the next generation of digital creatives. Additionally, Phil M Jones, a bestselling author and multiple award winner who’s regarded as the world’s leading sales trainer, will also be speaking at MADE. Jones’s unique skillset of working with small-business owners, looking to increase sales to globally recognised companies, allows him to serve a range of people with different goals. You’ll hear from Sahar Hashemi, founder of Coffee Republic who was recently appointed co-chair of the government’s new Scale-up Task Force, brought the coffee cafe culture to the UK in the 90’s with her chain Coffee Republic. Alongside her brother, she built the company into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with 110 bars and a turnover of £30m. Hear Hashemi’s entrepreneurial story which has led to her being nominated by Director Magazine as one of its Top 10 Original Thinkers, alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Jonathan Ive. All of the experienced speakers will be bringing a motivating story or skill to help you enhance your business. In the words of host Ramm: “On the November 9 you have three choices. Stay at home, stay in your office or stay in your seat at the number one voted entrepreneur event in the UK. The choice is yours.” For more information and to book tickets, visit


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POWA TECHNOLOGIES’ FALL FROM GRACE caught many by surprise. The British unicorn had at one point been valued at $2.7bn and had even been hailed by David Cameron as a big contributor to the UK’s recovery after the financial crisis. So when the tech company went into administration in 2016 it stunned entrepreneurs everywhere. “The collapse of Powa Technologies was a wakeup call to UK enterprises [reminding them] that even so-called unicorns can die,” says Marina Nicholas, strategy director of ventures at ThoughtWorks Ventures, the global technology consultancy. It also served as a reminder that launching new enterprises is not for the faint of heart. In fact, research from RSA, the commercial insurer, shows that more than half of British businesses don’t survive into their fifth year. And there are plenty of reasons for founders to pay attention when startups collapse like a house of cards. “Naturally entrepreneurs love to read the success stories of companies like Uber and Airbnb to learn exactly how to succeed,” says Nicholas. “However, the number of startups that fail exceeds those [succeeding and the ones that falter provide a wealth] of insights and knowledge of what not to do.” But it’s not always easy to pinpoint exactly what sends an organisation tumbling as most businesses fail for a plethora of reasons. That being said, the ultimate responsibility will always lie with the person at the top. “Leadership is everything,” says Royston Guest, founder of Pti Worldwide, the business60


growth consultancy. “[There is always inspirational leadership] wherever you see a high-performing business delivering accelerated, sustained and profitable growth.” But it works both ways, which is why head honchos will also receive the brunt of the blame when their startups fail. That was something Dan Wagner, founder and CEO of Powa Technologies, learned when the company collapsed. In the months that followed the fall, his leadership was criticised for being too focused on sales and the upcoming IPO rather than actually making a great product. Others claimed that he surrounded himself with yes-people who didn’t challenge his decisions. Given the responsibility that comes with leading a business, entrepreneurs should think long and hard whether they are the right person for the job. “Great leaders know their strengths and play to them,” says Guest. “However, they also know all the critical success factors required in starting, growing and scaling a business and therefore surround themselves with the people who have the skills in those areas.” Having the right team isn’t just essential to get a company off the launch pad: it will also enable entrepreneurs to keep things stable as their enterprise leaves the atmosphere. “Without those people, you’re not going to last very long,” says Joel Hughes, head of the UK and Europe at Indiegogo, the crowdfunding platform. And the numbers certainly back him up: according to research from CB Insights, the VC database, 23% of startups fail


Sadly, just because they think it’s great doesn’t mean that everyone else will Nick Thompson, managing director, DCSL Software





because they don’t have the right team in place. Not only does a good founding team need someone with a clear vision and an ability to lead, they also require people with the skills to keep the organisation going, bring the product to market and sell it once it’s there. “So don’t go it alone,” says Hughes. “Spend time reaching out to people who you feel will genuinely benefit the business.” And when assembling this A team, it’s vital that entrepreneurs identify a member with a solid understanding of the market or risk having their venture tumble down one of the most common pitfalls startups face. “Entrepreneurs often overestimate their market simply due to their personal belief that they have a great product,” says Nick Thompson, managing director at DCSL Software, the customsoftware company. “Sadly, just because they think it’s great doesn’t mean that everyone else will.” In fact, according to CB Insights, not finding a market need for a product was the most common hurdle for new enterprises, with 42% of startups’ post-mortems citing it as a reason for their demise. Fortunately, founders can easily gauge if there is a demand for their products by engaging with their prospective customers early on in their startup journey. “Never underestimate the importance of in-depth market research and testing,” says Thompson. “Without these measures, there is no telling just how positive or profitable the public reaction will be.” However, customers are by far not the only actors to be aware of in the market. To avoid ending up on the scrapheap of forgotten businesses, founders have to know who their competitors are. “[Don’t] run from competition,” says Thompson. “If there are other startups working on [similar products it shows] that there is a strong market demand for it and [that] should inspire confidence.” But while the existence of rival businesses may be a cause for celebration, it also means that startups face the risk of not coming out on top. And winning this fight for domination may be easier said than done given that 19% of startups failed partly because other companies outmanoeuvred them, RAN OUT OF CASH according to CB Insights. In other words, founders must pay close attention to what the other players in their field do and respond to their moves. “That being said, entrepreneurs should keep the main focus on their own business,” says Thompson. “Ultimately, if they have a great product or service and a team of people devoted to making it work they should concentrate on that and not get too distracted by PRICING AND COST ISSUES everyone else.”

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Why sta rtup s fa i l

What is the biggest mistake startups make?

Russ Shaw, founder, London Tech Advocates All tech products are works in progress, particularly for startups. To develop a successful product, you need to be flexible and to shape your work according to needs of the market; customer insight and competitive intelligence are vital for building a solid product offering. Don’t be afraid to take chances or be bold with vision and forward thinking, especially if it is around a compelling growth story.

Lynn Morrison, marketing director, Opus Energy We recently spoke to 500 small-business owners about the challenges that they faced when setting up their business. We found that one of the top struggles was the time it took to take the business from plan to reality, with 30% citing this as a difficulty. Therefore, underestimating how long a project might take is a big mistake for a startup, which in turn could lead to cashflow or resource issues.

Phil Blayedes, o-founder of Talentful It’s important to test and test again that everything is working the way you expect it to before launching. This is particularly imperative when launching your first product as it will set expectations of your company’s capabilities. If you get it wrong, you might not get a second chance. Also, it’s important employees know the product as they will be the ones selling it.

Gurpreet Jagpal, director of research, enterprise and innovation, London South Bank University The biggest mistake startups can make is to misunderstand the market and what it is that their potential customers need. That’s usually a result of not engaging with customers early on in the development of the business and the business idea. And if you haven’t been engaging with them, how do you know that it is what they want?

Equally important in avoiding being forced to close shop is making sure the founding team possesses the ability to balance their budget. “Entrepreneurs often stumble when planning their finances,” says Thompson. In fact, it’s so common that running out of cash was the second biggest reason to why startups failed, according to CB Insights. The organisation noted that this was usually due to a combination of problems, such as having failed to find investment. That was certainly the case for Better Place, the electric-car company. After successfully raising $675.3m and having been celebrated for spearheading the automotive revolution, the company suddenly filed for bankruptcy in 2013, making it one of the costliest startup failures of all time. During the fallout that followed, it was revealed that the main reasons for the collapse was that Better Place had failed to acquire enough market penetration and had mismanaged its finances. “To avoid making these mistakes, entrepreneurs should always add a surplus to their estimated costs and have a backup plan for any investments that may not come to fruition,” says Thompson. In other words, if you want to succeed you better keep a close eye on those purse strings. Closely related to the being able to balance the budget is entrepreneurs’ ability to raise money. However, just like most startups don’t fold for one single reason, there are many reasons why investors may be discouraged from opening their pocket books. For instance, if the startup is either unable to demonstrate a viable product, an understanding of the market or keen business acumen, that would give potential investors cause to keep their cash for themselves. “Whether you’re running a crowdfunding campaign or an equity round, you need to be able to check those key ingredients,” says Hughes. Ultimately, knowing how other businesses fail won’t inoculate new entrepreneurs from making mistakes of their own but paying close attention can help founders avoid following in Powa Technologies’ footsteps. “Essentially startups must become experts in why others have failed and subsequently adjust their own plans to achieve success,” concludes Nicholas. “We all know that success leaves clues but don’t discount the teaching power of failure.” OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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D i ve rsi t y

While James Damore argued that women are naturally less suited for some roles, startups have much to win by taking equality seriously from the get-go

Equal rights BY Eric Johansson


ech startups are changing, with more businesses taking action to boost the number of female employees among their staff. However, when James Damore posted his now infamous memo in July, the ex-Google engineer demonstrated that the sector still has a long way to go. “His argument is based on the idea that men and women are wired differently and as a result each sex is more suited to certain roles,” says Jonathan Atkins, managing psychologist at Pearn Kandola, the business psychology consultancy. Leaving the accuracy of his ideas aside – although plenty of those in the science community have dismissed his arguments and even one of the researchers Damore quoted said that he misrepresented the studies – views like Damore’s highlight how the industry is still struggling to come to terms with its equality problem. And it’s hardly a mystery why these companies are eager to fix the issue as failing to do so can have lasting ramifications for startups. “The tech industry is seen as lacking in diversity and many companies therefore appear to be highly unattractive places to work for women and people from ethnic backgrounds,” says Atikins. OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Di v er s i t y

And there’s good reason for founders to pursue an equal work environment from the beginning. “It’s important that a startup is inclusive from the beginning as it ensures that all employees feel valued and appreciated in the workplace,” says Jonathan Richards, CEO and founder of breatheHR, the HR-software developer. And while it may seem like an odd priority when a new venture is still trying to ensure its own survival, getting equality right will have long-lasting benefits. “Setting this norm at the start will ensure the culture goes from strength to strength and the company’s values are at the centre of it,” says Richards. Fortunately, while big companies may be slow to change their ways, new ventures are not saddled with the same legacy issues. “Startups have the unique opportunity to create inclusive frameworks from the word go,” says Atkins. And it’s vital that entrepreneurs take this chance or risk ending up like Uber: struggling with discrimination lawsuits and a slew of accusations concerning sexual harassment. Having taken the wheel of the company in September, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is now hard at work attempting to change the perception of the brand but transforming the culture will prove to be no easy task. “It’s very difficult for established organisations to change a culture that’s been part of their company for years,” says Atkins. “But startups have a chance to build an inclusive culture that welcomes diversity from the ground up.” Not only will setting a great example early on help ensure startups have a more open culture but it will also provide a clear financial benefit. “There is five decades’ worth of research on diversity and inclusion, which almost universally show that it fosters productivity, engagement, motivation, innovation, attraction and retention of talent, as well as financial success,” says Atkins. For instance, when Sodexo, a food services and facilities company, looked at the performance of its own 66

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Startups have the unique opportunity to create inclusive frameworks from the word go Jonathan Atkins, Pearn Kandola

50,000 managers around the world it found that gender-balanced units were 13% more likely to deliver consistent organic growth and that 23% had a higher likelihood of increasing their gross profit. And if you ask Atkins, that’s not unusual. “Diverse organisations almost always outperform their non-diverse competitors,” he says. And it’s not difficult to see why having a diverse workforce can boost sales as it will bring more varied perspectives to the table. “As a startup you need to be competitive, which means being able to differentiate yourself from the rest and to be able to connect with your customers,” says Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO and co-founder at The Chargeback Company, the startup preventing chargebacks. “For the best approach you need to have as many views as possible when you’re targeting your audience.” Given that more different people there are looking at a subject the better the results, it’s hardly a mystery that more equal companies are 15% more likely to outperform less diverse businesses, according to research from McKinsey. And for a startup, those percentages could prove paramount. “Being able to find an advantage your competitors are lacking can be the difference between success and failure,” Eaton-Cardone says.


09/10/2017 22:35


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Di v er s i t y

However, recruiting female engineers to join tech companies is easier said than done. “There simply aren’t enough women,” says Eaton-Cardone. And a survey from the Institute of Engineering and Technology backs her up, highlighting that only 9% of engineering and technology employees were women in 2016. Additionally, it seems this won’t change anytime soon as male students studying STEM subjects still outnumber female students. “This is one of the challenges that we all face as a society,” says Eaton-Cardone. Fortunately, tech startups do have an advantage when it comes to scooping up the female talent that is out there. “Startups have the advantage that they can offer somebody the opportunity to be more than just a cog in the machine,” says Eaton-Cardone. She explains that while big organisations may be able to provide lavish pay packages, startups can offer a chance to be heard. “A lot of women working for huge companies feel that their voices aren’t listened to and that they are just a number,” says Eaton-Cardone. “In a startup environment, no one is a number. You don’t have the luxury of being one. You can’t hide in a cubicle: it’s not big enough for that. Everybody has a voice.” And given that having a wide range of voices is one of the advantages of having a diverse workforce, this is a win-win for entrepreneurs. But hiring women is only the first step: entrepreneurs must also ensure that the new venture has an environment that boosts retention. To accomplish this, founders must ensure that their employees live and breathe their values of inclusivity. “Culture is particularly important for retaining a diverse workforce, as one of the key reasons people leave an organisation is because they don’t feel valued or included,” says Atkins. That means that startups cannot just pay lip service to equality but that they must actively work towards having a culture that enables it. “Businesses must strive to create an atmosphere of psychological safety in which staff feel comfortable and confident enough to express their views without fear of punishment or retribution,” says Atkins. Given the advantages ensuring a startup has a gender-equal and diverse workforce can bestow, entrepreneurs better think twice before reading too much into the ramblings of a sacked Google employee.

Diverse organisations almost always outperform their nondiverse competitors Jonathan Atkins, Pearn Kandola


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NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT, mental health is one of the most pressing problems society faces. Indeed the statistics are sobering. According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s Health Survey for England, one in four Brits have been diagnosed with a mental health problem at some point in their lives. The UK in particular seems to be finding itself in a dark place: according to data from the OECD, one in ten people in Britain experience depression, which is twice the frequency seen in countries like Italy, Greece and Poland. And this problem isn’t simply going to go away: the World Health Organisation already ranks depression as the leading cause of ill health and predicts that by 2030 it could be the number one global burden of disease. Evidently poor mental health is reaching epidemic proportions. Suggesting technology could be the cure of all this may raise a few eyebrows. After all, many would swear blind that technology – having brought trolls and Twitterstorms, sexting and cyberbullying into our lives – has done us more harm than good. “In a funny kind of way, the more interconnected we are, the lonelier we are,” says Dinesh Bhugra, president of the World Psychiatric Association. “The whole idea of personal relationships is changing: likes on Facebook and Instagram seem to be becoming far more important than actual human contact.” And yet despite this, technology paradoxically seems to be bringing mental health out into the open and making it increasingly accessible. Not only do stories about Cara Delevigne’s experiences with depression and Emma Stone’s encounters with anxiety arrive straight into our Facebook feeds but help for our mental health is also only ever a few swipes away. “On the tube everybody’s on their phones and you don’t know whether they’re playing games or whether they’re having their session of cognitive behavioural therapy,” says Bhugra. OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK



A AND WITHOUT A DOUBT, we desperately need some new ways of tackling the problem. According to NHS Digital’s Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, nearly two-thirds of Britons with common mental health conditions don’t receive treatment. Part of the reason for this is that treatments that are reliant on therapies or pharmaceuticals are inherently unscalable – the cost per user stays the same regardless of the number of people being treated. “There is a high marginal cost to treating somebody, whether it’s pills or face-to-face therapies, so we’re not going to be able to do it through the current system,” says Jim Woodsco, cofounder at Zinc VC, whose first mission is to build tech ventures focused on mental health problems. This means that while government spending on mental health has risen to £11.6bn this year, providing treatment for all who needed it would likely need funding raised to well over £30bn. “We all know that’s not going to happen,” says Woods. “So we’re stuck in this situation where mental illness is rising and, under our current system, we’re clearly incapable of coping with it.” Fortunately, if there’s one area that both startups and technology shine, it’s solving problems at scale. While developing an innovative new technology tends to require significant investment up front, the cost of scaling that and rolling it out to increasing numbers of users is trivial – even if they live in regions much harder for traditional medicine to reach. “Virtually everybody in India will have at least one mobile phone even if they don’t have access to doctors 72


or psychiatrists,” says Bhugra. “So you can download an app that can give you the help you need, whether that is simple information about dealing with stress or a tool for managing an anxiety attack.” Using technological treatments, scrappy startups are in a position to offer those with poor mental health the help they need for much lower costs. Hardly surprising then that entrepreneurs are being drawn to the industry in their droves. “If you’re passionate about helping people, working in this field means you’re actually impacting their lives,” explains David Brudö, co-founder and CEO of Remente, the mental-health and personaldevelopment app. “But, at the same time, there are significant business opportunities because it affects individuals, companies and whole societies.” However, boosting accessibility isn’t the only benefit that digital entrepreneurs can offer those experiencing poor mental health: technology can also speed up diagnosis. “At the moment it takes on average six to eight years for someone with depression to get treatment,” says Woods. “A lot of that’s because they don’t want to be diagnosed as depressed or they don’t really realise that they are.” While booking an appointment with their GP can feel like too big a step to take to begin with, many of those worrying about their mental health feel more comfortable first exploring the subject online. And the world’s largest digital brands are now looking at how they can support this: Google recently began trialling an online depression test in the US that appears alongside searches on the subject, while Apple is currently recruiting software engineers to help Siri better respond to users asking questions about mental health. “Through things like Google or Siri, you can start to diagnose these things much earlier,” Woods says. “You wait for people to go out to their therapist or



GP, you may be waiting years and years but actually digital could massively shortcut that process.” Beyond just offering general advice about mental health, thanks to the amount of data now available from things like apps, fitness trackers and social media, tech can also offer far more personalised insight. “Because we’re posting so much online, by doing big-data quantitative analysis, you can draw really interesting conclusions and understand someone before they understand themselves,” Brudö says. For example, by taking into account data on things like how much exercise users have had, how well they’ve slept or the amount they’ve interacted with friends, startups can potentially provide users with actionable insights on the things that have historically helped to boost their mood. Additionally, this kind of information could also act as an early warning system, helping users recognise times at which they may feel more vulnerable. “That’s where technology becomes really interesting, both when looking at warning patterns but also preventative measures to suggest things for people to keep them on the right track,” says Brudö. But perhaps one of the most powerful things technology can do is to continue doing what it always has done: making it easier for people to communicate with each other. “There’s some research that King’s College London did that found the best way to break down stigma is to have access to other people who are going through mental health problems,” says Jayne Hardy, founder and CEO of the Blurt Foundation, the social enterprise dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of depression. “For those who are feeling isolated, it’s a way to make connections and to feel less alone, which will probably save lives.” By making it easier for people to share their experiences and plugging isolated people into communities of individuals who understand what they are going through, technology can weaken some of the taboos that persist around the subject and help normalise mental health as something everyone will experience. “It’s that knowing nod that really understands what you’re going through when you’re feeling so odd, so weird and so detached from how life was for you before,” says Hardy. While there are certainly many promising avenues for startups in the sector to explore, this is not to say that there aren’t some challenges to face. And the first is likely to be familiar for any entrepreneur with experience of entering a new vertical. “It’s a very embryonic market,” says Woods. “Very few early stage businesses are yet to make it across the valley of death.” For every Big White Wall and Sleepio that secures series A or B investment, there are many more startups struggling to draw down signficant OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK



funding. And part of the reason for this is that currently nobody is 100% clear on who the customer is. While nobody is denying that improved mental health solutions will benefit individuals and society as a whole, the government and the NHS are much quieter when the subject is raised of who’s going to pay the bill. “Investors looking at digital mental health are just going: ‘Who is going to pay for all this?’” Woods says. “There’s no revenue model.” And this directly contributes to perhaps one of the biggest issues the industry currently faces. “There’s still not a huge evidence base that individual solutions are as good as face-to-face therapies or pills,” says Woods. “In fact if you go to the App Store and put depression in, you’ll find 400 or 500 apps in there: some of them will help, some of them will do nothing and some of them could actually be harmful.” One of the big criticisms that is levelled against digital players entering the mental health space is that they aren’t subjected to the same scrutiny as other clinical interventions. But as well as being prohibitively expensive for startups without a guaranteed revenue stream, lengthy double-blind trials aren’t much use if in six months you have entirely redeveloped your product. “Pills stay the same: digital platforms are constantly evolving,” Woods says. Fortunately, if there’s anything startups excel at, it’s testing and tweaking things in a live environment. While more traditional trials are restricted by the number of people they can physically assemble and work with, digital platforms interact with thousands of data points, meaning they can potentially assess far faster what does and doesn’t work for their users. “We have hundreds of thousands of users and we can draw conclusions of what works based on their useage,” says Brudö “To have a clinical study with that mass of people would take years.” And this could provide a valuable testing bed for all kinds of interventions, providing data that speeds up the existing trials process for other medical interventions. “With the right kind of frameworks around it, technological products could actually be a superb tool if they worked together with the science community and the universities,” Brudö says. 74



If it’s able to overcome some of these hurdles, however, the startup community certainly stands to make a real difference when it comes to mental health. And while some people may still be sceptical that technology can be both cause and cure, as with most tools the critical thing is how we use it. “Like with everything there’s a negative side to it, which can be ugly, scary and dangerous at times,” says Hardy. “But it also shines light on great things: people are coming together working as a community to address something that they’re passionate about.” And while she doesn’t believe that technology can ever completely replace having a real-life support network, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the benefits it can bring. “I don’t think it could or should ever replace spending time with loved ones and friends: a virtual hug is not going to be the same as a real hug,” she concludes. “But technology still enables us to do amazing things.” 01367 700555 Making IT Work Smarter For Your Business

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09/10/2017 15:23


Getting ready for GDPR

With many businesses seemingly still unaware of what is required to ensure they’re compliant with the upcoming GDPR, it’s worth brushing up on the data protection basics

By Simon Whitehead, managing partner and solicitor, HRC Law


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hen was the last time you read a privacy policy? And by ‘read’ I mean from start to finish, fully understanding what the intended use of your data is. Some of you may remember a few years ago cybersecurity firm F-Secure set up free wifi hotspots across busy areas of London. Passersby signed up to the network, clicking through a host of terms and conditions without a second thought. Unbeknown to them, these Ts & Cs in fact included a ‘Herod clause’: a pesky little clause that stated that by accepting the terms the user agrees to “assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”. Quite the sacrifice to make just to be able to quickly check your emails. Fortunately for the unwitting users, F-Secure opted not to enforce this clause. However, it shone a light on the wider issue of small print, data and the control we so freely hand over to organisations. The new GDPR changes coming into force in May 2018 aim to give people greater control over what can be done with their personal data by businesses. It will have bigger and sharper teeth than its predecessor, with substantial penalties for non-compliance, including fines of up to 4% of annual worldwide turnover or ¤20m for the worst violations. Unfortunately, there is still a huge amount of confusion as to what these changes actually mean for businesses. At HRC Law, we recently conducted research on what business owners have been searching for online regarding the upcoming changes to GDPR. A huge increase in searches over the past quarter highlighted that the changes are increasingly on businesses’ radars. However, a 450% rise in the most frequent search term, ‘GDPR compliance’, indicates that organisations aren’t clear on what they must do to ensure they’ll be compliant when the changes come. With some parts of the regulations focusing on organisations with more than 250 employees you may think that this will not impact your business. But this is not just one for the big boys and girls: it’s one which will apply across the board. The regulations require compliance from all businesses that process or control personal data. With data rapidly becoming the lifeblood of the global economy, the GDPR will very likely impact you. And if it does impact


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your business, you’ll have to make some important changes to the way you deal with personal data in your organisation. The good news is that the new legislation builds on many of the concepts and principles used in the current legislation. If you comply with data protection laws now, you’ll have firm foundations to build on. If you don’t, it’s high time to get your foundations in place. Consent New higher standards regarding consent will be required. Consent to process an individual’s personal data must be given by a clear affirmative action for each processing purpose – whether that’s a written or oral statement. Whatever it is, it must be unambiguous, freely given and with all required information provided. Rights to access data As previously, customers will be free to request a copy of their data. You will now have to comply within the month and provide the first copy free of charge. While this may seem like a simple request to fulfil, as a small business your CRM system may not lend itself well to this. Data may be scattered across servers or departments and an influx of customer requests may be a drain on resources. Now is the time to ensure your systems will be able to handle this. Right to be forgotten Businesses shouldn’t hold on to a customer’s data indefinitely. If it’s very old and of no business use, delete it. Under the regulations, customers will gain new rights, one of which is the aptly named the right to be forgotten. Data protection New regulations will take cybersecurity up a notch. If you don’t have one already, now may be the time to get an IT expert on board to take a lead on encryption and pseudonymisation. This tongue twister is a new concept that means personal data can’t be attributed to a

With data rapidly becoming the lifeblood of the global economy, the GDPR will very likely impact you specific individual without more information – think of it as a hightech pseudonym. Data breaches Should the worst happen and your business commit a data breach, you must notify the regulator and – in some cases your customers – within 72 hours. Some of these changes will take time to implement so, if you haven’t already, you should start preparing for the changes now.

Clearly delegate the responsibility of compliance to someone within your business. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to appoint a data protection officer – although some businesses will have to – but it does mean you need a considered and documented approach. The changes will affect different organisations in different ways. Whoever is internally responsible for compliance should know enough about how your business operates to spot problem areas. Carry out an information audit and look at how your organisation uses personal information. This will help you highlight problem areas and prioritise when and where to focus. At a minimum, you need to know what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. Draft an action plan. Begin by targeting areas that will most affect your organisation – or take longest to implement, such as contractual renegotiations – and leave no stone unturned when you do. The end goal is to ensure that, by next May, you and your organisation will be GDPR ready. Time is still on your side but preparation is key. So don’t leave it too late. OCTOBER 2017 ELITEBUSINESSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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09/10/2017 14:58


The stats that matter – and some that don’t

of UK adults would judge someone based on their spelling


30% 70% 36% 13% 46% 70% 38% 17% 60%

of exited startups don’t return the VC capital invested

of women across the globe have used an app to find a sexual or romantic partner

of office workers are annoyed by bad body odour in the workplace

of British women have used an app to find a sexual or romantic partner

of exited startups triple the VC capital invested

of Swedish women have used an app to find a sexual or romantic partner, making them the most prolific female dating app users in the world

of Brits lie in job interviews


of SMEs say absenteeism directly impacts their bottomline

9 8

years is the average time it takes for European startups to be acquired

years is the average time it takes for US startups to be acquired

of British small businesses rely on EU funding

is how much the UK sharing economy is expected to grow this year

Sources: Mind the Bridge, Crunchbase, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Oxford Open Learning Trust, Hiscox,, Clue, The Kinsey Insititute, Morrepay, Purple CV and PwC



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