Entrepreneurship Institute King’s College London ISSUE TWO: 2016-17 @InnovateKings
James Caan CBE ‘The London start-up scene is thriving. Many people at the beginning of their career aspire to join this ecosystem to enhance their skills and futures; King’s provides a path in.’
Dame Stephanie Shirley: The renowned philanthropist shares insights from over 40 years in business.
Brent Hoberman CBE: The co-founder of Lastminute.com and Made.com on making every day count.
Hilary Devey CBE: TV personality and CEO of Pall-Ex discusses the traits needed to become a successful entrepreneur.
Dame Stephanie Shirley
Jacqueline Gold CBE
Hilary Devey CBE
04 Principal’s message
12 Farzana Baduel’s tips on
PR for competitive advantage
#inspiredby Interviews 37 How robotics can change
medicine by Arthur Zargaryan
05 KCLSU President’s message 14 King’s College London’s 06 Meet the Entrepreneurship
10 Entrepreneurially inclined
48 Chinasa George and Olumide
Ogunlola give an honest account of their start-up, Vorganise
20 Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE 32 Stressbuster fun
muses on the entrepreneurial mindset
42 Entrepreneurial memories
49 Founder of London Universities
Athletics James Findon on the power of sport
on the importance of extracurricular activity
by Reshma Sohoni
and executive coach 22 Chief Executive of Ann
Summers and Knickerbox Jacqueline Gold CBE 24 Co-founder of Lastminute.com
25 Simon Coyle Co-founder
of the Brilliant Club 53 Are we too reliant on
Meet Lauren Kienzle and her start-up, Moovr
technology, asks Waowi founder Martin Hartt
33 Dimitri F. Dimitriou discusses
54 Dr Gavin Armstrong on his
the science of entrepreneurship
Helios Investment Partners Babatunde Soyoye
50 Top Tips For Founders
55 Key entrepreneurial moments 29 Uber for cows? You bet.
Institute Jonathan Grant
18 Managing Partner of
Brent Hoberman CBE
28 KCL Tech Society’s Alex Telek 47 Stressbuster fun
36 Director of King’s Policy
52 Google tech veteran
19 Yoram Percale entrepreneur
Alaboud set up his Medic app
Businesswoman and philanthropist
46 Russell Hall on his taxi app, Hailo
the Entrepreneurship Institute 15 How King’s helped Fares
ISSUE TWO: 2016-1
43 Four lessons for entrepreneurs
from Saatchi & Saatchi’s Kevin Roberts
Entrepreneurship Institute King’s College London
16 Dame Stephanie Shirley
James Caan CB E
‘The London startup scene is thrivin g. Many people at the beginning of their career aspire to join this ecosystem to enhance their skills and future s; King’s provides a path in.’
08 Introducing the four strands of
Business Club founder Zain Jaffer discusses his multi-hundred million dollar start-up, Vungle
START! MAGAZINE ISSUE TWO: 2016-17
In this issue: Start! Here
16 Dame Stephanie Shirley: The renowned philanthropist shares insights from over 40 years in busine ss.
24 Brent Hoberman CBE: The co-founder of Lastminute.com and Made.com on making every day count.
30 Hilary Devey CBE: TV personality and of Pall-Ex discus CEO ses the traits needed to become a successful entrep reneur.
17 Do you have an
entrepreneurial mindset? 26 Cover TV Dragon and
successful entrepreneur James Caan CBE 30 Hilary Devey CBE TV star
and CEO of Pall-Ex 31 Sir Alex Reed CBE founder
38 Touch me, now you can:
A Year of Innovation @King’s 40 Complete the Business
Model Canvas 51 How to impress the investors
of Reed Executive 34 Founding Partner of Clearbrook
Capital Robin Saunders
venture, Lucky Iron Fish
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and interviewees are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of The Entrepreneurship Institute and King’s College London. Produced by The Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London. Editor: Anandana Bakshi, Head of Entrepreneurship Sub-editor: Hemali Patel, Engagement Programme Manager Design: RF Design, www.rfportfolio.com Approved by email@example.com, Sept 2016
Left to right: Philip Kallberg, Co-founder EatAbout; Professor Byrne; Heston Blumenthal OBE, chef and entrepreneur; Ana Bakshi, Head of Entrepreneurship; Joe Wicks, the Body Coach; and Felix Braborg, Co-founder EatAbout
PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE Welcome to the Entrepreneurship Institute’s annual magazine. The Entrepreneurship Institute aims to takes students, staff and alumni on a journey, introducing them to entrepreneurial thinking and skills, and supporting those who have business ideas to start better and scale. Importantly, our Institute is a student-led body; all ideas, plans, activities and outputs are created and delivered with KCLSU and relevant student societies. So far we have engaged with 5,000+ students, staff and alumni, attracted world-leading leading entrepreneurs to speak at King’s, delivered technical workshops to 100s of King’s entrepreneurs, and supported 20+ King’s ventures that have gone on to raise more than £1 million and employ over 20 people. Our vision is clear; students used to aspire to go and work for big banks or corporations in the city, now many desire to think like entrepreneurs and demonstrate entrepreneurial skills that are relevant for all future careers. Some aspire to work in entrepreneurial environments, some to be successful entrepreneurs themselves. Our aim is to seek out and support entrepreneurial interest and talent at King’s focusing on ideation and creativity, starting and scaling, leadership, resilience, personal branding and self-efficacy. This year the Entrepreneurship Institute has launched its 12-month accelerator programme. With a resounding 100 applications, 20 ventures have been chosen to take part in the programme, which offers co-working space in Bush House and access to expert international support, entrepreneurial scholarship and investor networks. Entrepreneurship has become a core theme at King’s
KCLSU PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE College London, demonstrating commitment to student futures, job creation, wealth creation, up-skilling, employability and social progress. Entrepreneurship in the service of society is our ethos. In addition to the accelerator programme, this year we intend to introduce the concept of entrepreneurship to a wide audience by bringing world-leading entrepreneurs to King’s to speak and deliver events focused on solving the biggest challenges in areas such as health. New this year too is a vast array of co-curricular short courses that will provide our students with careerenhancing entrepreneurial skills and experiences, along with the possibility of an accredited enterprise award at the end of the year. Our aim is to enhance your experience whilst at King’s and ensure that, whether you go on to start a venture or not, we can equip you with useful soft and technical skills for any future personal or professional role. There is no better way to learn how to do something than by immersing yourself in it, or by reflecting on the learning of people who have done it really well; we understand that this is a different personal journey for everybody and hope you connect with us so we can support you on yours.
As a Students’ Union, our vision is for each student to grow into active members of the King’s and London community, and to work in service of society. We work hard to achieve this by empowering our student change makers to make innovations both within the University, in the institution and globally. Part of being an active member of any community is employing entrepreneurial skills to make positive innovations and changes. Our students engage in creating dozens of start-up companies each year which have hugely positive effects in the fields of health, technology and the sciences. From thousands of pounds raised for charities each year, to offering new solutions for security issues by hacking into high technology systems, the skills students have are diverse and a credit to the King’s Community. I am delighted to be introducing this year’s edition of the Entrepreneurship Institute’s magazine, showcasing some of the best of our student groups. The Institute’s studentled nature and the platform it gives to enable students to proactively seek solutions in society are a huge asset to the King’s community. I hope you enjoy this edition and get involved yourself!
Please do enjoy the magazine, it features King’s students, staff, alumni, world-leading entrepreneurs as well as thoughtleaders talking about different themes and topics, including enterprise in London, futurology, sports and leadership. My very best,
Professor Edward Byrne AC President and Principal
Ben Hunt King’s College London Students’ Union President
HEMALI PATEL Engagement Programme Manager
Welcome to the Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London. Like King’s, we aim to work in the service of society with a commitment to up-skilling our students, enhancing their experiences, contributing to their futures, contributing to societal progress and adding value to our national and global economy. We are a student-led Institute and we co-create our activities with our community; we focus on diversity, inclusiveness & being a collective. Our Institute serves as the university’s flagship, extra-curricular, entrepreneurial hub. We support students, staff & alumni. Through our four strategic strands, Engage, Learn, Support & Build, we aim to introduce people at King’s to the concept of entrepreneurialism; help them to meet inspiring, entrepreneurial people; support them to develop entrepreneurial skills; to have entrepreneurial experiences and to create an entrepreneurial community where experiences are shared and enhanced. Some will have an enterprising idea of their own, some may have a start-up of their own; we will support them on their journey to start better and scale.
Our core entrepreneurial aims involve: • Creating leaders • Instilling self-efficacy • Developing resilience • Fostering creativity • Encouraging open & honest collaboration • Enhancing positive personal branding • Seeking out purpose We believe in creating entrepreneurs first and businesses after. Entrepreneurs can be employees or employers. So whether you wish to develop your entrepreneurial mindset to contribute to your future career or start your own venture, our institute is for you.
Hello, I’m Hemali and I am leading the Engage strand in the Entrepreneurship Institute. My aim is to support student futures of all kinds by introducing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking across the university. I will be bringing you inspirational, informative and exciting initiatives. These will empower you to take control of your future, enhance your self-awareness, feed your curiosity and demonstrate that entrepreneurship applies to a broad spectrum of industries and people from every background. If you want to know more about the Engagement programme please go to page 8.
JAY SHORTER Learning Programme Manager Hi I’m Jay and I’m leading the Learn strand of the Institute, which aims to enable students to learn and develop skills that can enhance their future through experiential learning. My goal is to deliver activities in innovative learning spaces, and improve your experience by up-skilling you in the specifics of entrepreneurship through the ethos of “learning by doing”. If you want to know more about the Learn programme please go to page 8.
ED HALLIDAY Accelerator Manager
MEET THE TEAM
Hi, I’m Ed and I am leading the Support strand. My main focus is to lead the 12-month accelerator programme, which finds and develops early-stage entrepreneurial talent within King’s. My role is to design the programme, act as a mentor to entrepreneurs and ventures, and help create a network of experts and investors to support them. If you want to know more about the King’s20 accelerator, please go to page 9.
JULIE DEVONSHIRE OBE Director of Entrepreneurship
Hello, I’m Julie and I am the Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute. As Director I am responsible for encouraging entrepreneurial skills, talent and thinking at King’s College London amongst students, staff and alumni. My aim is to create and evolve a strategy to do this, positively impacting futures of all kinds. There is amazing entrepreneurial talent at King’s College London; it’s the Entrepreneurship Institute’s job to find this and support it.
JOSH BLACKBURN Programme Support Assistant Hey, I’m Josh and I am the Programme Support Assistant for the Entrepreneurship Institute. I undertake tasks associated with administering the Institute’s strategy and assisting with the delivery of our four main strands of Engage, Learn, Support & Build. I will be co-ordinating and assisting the four programmes to help meet the targets set, while keeping the Institute as a whole updated on the high level strategy.
ANANDANA BAKSHI Head of Entrepreneurship Hi, I’m Ana and I am the Head of Entrepreneurship for the Institute. I created, built and scaled the university’s entrepreneurial initiatives, resulting in the founding of the Entrepreneurship Institute in 2015. As the Head of Entrepreneurship I am responsible for ensuring we create, deliver and evolve our annual and future strategic plans to serve the needs of our audience; students, staff & alumni. We want to create an entrepreneurial revolution through our strategic strands to Engage, Learn, Support & Build.
AMY LOTHIAN Communications & Insight Support Manager Hi, I’m Amy, the Communications and Insight Support Manager. I’ll be leading on the communications strategy for the Institute, reaching out to more people, highlighting why you should get involved in our fantastic activities, demonstrating the big impact our entrepreneurial community is having, and looking at how we can use learning from our current programmes to provide even better support. Watch out for new stories, new channels and new inspiration. Get in touch and follow us on Twitter @InnovateKings.
OUR FOUR STRATEGIC STRANDS
Focuses on introducing the concept of entrepreneurship across King’s, with the belief that entrepreneurial skills and experiences can contribute to thriving careers of all types. Engage is about increasing contact with enterprising activity, and your desire to take control of your future successes. We aim to deliver events that enhance self-awareness and explore the challenges faced in various sectors, such as health. This will see us welcome inspirational high-profile entrepreneurs and industry professionals. We will deliver exciting programmes including a regular and interactive hangout session that will give you an opportunity to feed your curiosity in an informal environment, and meet other curious and experienced peers. Throughout the year our activities, including pop-up flash mobs, will demonstrate that entrepreneurship applies to a broad spectrum of industries, and people from every background. As a student-led Institute, we will be supporting
• Co-create, support and develop entrepreneurial projects run by King’s student-led societies. • Inspire and motivate you to control your destiny. • Feed your curiosity of entrepreneurship and the start-up ecosystem. • Help you meet other students who have already started their own enterprises. • Encourage you to start thinking entrepreneurially.
Showcase at Demo Day
LAUNCHPAD: 1-day opening on 3rd October
WORKSHOPS: Non stage-specific, hands-on workshops giving new approaches to start-up challenges MENTOR NETWORKING: Speed dating and drop in sessions to build ventures’ mentor networks FUNDING COMPETITION: Ventures compete for £5k and £10k grant funding
DEMO DAY: Ventures pitch to a public audience of investors, mentors and partners
TECHNICALS: Focused sessions to learn specific skills like Accounting, UI/UX, Financial Modelling, Effective Pitching Wireframing, Growth Hacking, Legal & IP
economic benefits such as job creation, wealth creation and social impact, reflecting the university’s ethos of ‘In Service to Society.’
The Accelerator Programme will: • Deliver and evaluate an impactful programme of support that will help ventures successfully start-up and scale over six sprints, from idea validation to design and pitching. • Provide a network of mentors, investors and partners to support our entrepreneurs. • Offer exceptional co-working space where entrepreneurship at King’s can thrive. • Invest in our students, staff and alumni. We believe in the entrepreneur first and the idea after. The programme will aim to support personal development as much as the progress of the venture itself.
We aim to build our entrepreneurial ecosystem both internally and externally to King’s. Our university is full of entrepreneurial talent, and we want to showcase our community’s achievements on a national and international platform.
The Learn Programme will:
The King’s20 accelerator is a new programme to support and house 20 of King’s highest-potential ventures at the prestigious Bush House building in Strand Campus. We will give start-up teams transformational experiences – through technical and personal mentorship from experts, an inspiring peer community at our new Bush House premises, investment advice and introductions, and access to grant funding that will help their ventures fly. Most of all, we want to develop their skills as entrepreneurial leaders for whatever challenges lie ahead in life. The focus of the programme is centred first and foremost on developing individual entrepreneurs, both in terms of technical business skills and leadership skills such as decision-making, collaboration, and self-efficacy. We will also evaluate progress of the ventures in terms of revenue, team size and investment raised, as well as wider socio-
The Engagement Programme will:
• Introduce you to entrepreneurial skills and behaviours. • Improve your technical understanding of starting a business. • Learn about the idea generation process. • Provide a clear idea of how to use entrepreneurial skills in your professional career or when starting a venture.
Focuses on accelerating the best start-up ideas to reach their potential through the 12-month King’s20 accelerator programme.
and partnering with student-led societies to deliver relevant and inclusive initiatives. The engagement programme is designed to increase your curiosity, confidence and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and innovation as a viable career path.
Focuses on providing high quality events, workshops and competitions about entrepreneurialism. The Learn programme will allow you to develop in an innovative and immersive environment. With the brand new Enterprise Award we aim to enhance student futures and increase employability, and the Award will appear on the student’s Higher Education Achievement Record. This strand will provide a means to up-skill through experiential learning and peer-to-peer interaction. Two key events to be delivered over the next 12 months will be “The Venture Crawl”, where King’s students will have the chance to spend 24 hours in and around London visiting some of the top ventures and accelerators, ending the day with a hackathon. The other, a high profile competition, will be “The Idea Factory”, where students will pitch an idea in front of the judges – and if successful will then build the idea from scratch, through the creation of a robust business model and plan. This event will be held over a two-day period, with grant funding being awarded to the best ideas.
Workshops & Events Technicals
Our strategic strands are designed to help students, staff and alumni meet inspiring and entrepreneurial people; develop entrepreneurial skills; increase entrepreneurial experiences and create an entrepreneurial community.
We want to: • Encourage collaboration and partnerships with our global community of corporates + more. • Establish our presence and open doors to the investment community.
• Welcome experts, thought leaders and exceptional entrepreneurs and business people to engage with our community and our programmes.
Visit our website and follow us on social media for the latest information on what’s on: www.kcl.ac.uk/entrepreneurship-institute. @InnovateKings @kingsentrepreneurship @kingsentrepreneurship More social media platforms are on the back cover.
KCL Bioscience Students’ Association
KCL Business Club
KCL Bioscience Students’ Association is a newly formed association to improve representation of bioscience students and the facilities available to them. We have a peer support programme that aims to support younger students. The collaboration with KCL Business Club will be one of our highlights this year. Companies involved in finance, banking and consultancies will be invited to introduce science students to different careers, how to gain jobs and be an entrepreneur in a non-science industry with a science degree.
King’s College London Business Club is an award-winning entrepreneurship and business society, which aims to introduce students to the different aspects of the business world, helping young entrepreneurs kick-start their careers. The society hosts over 30 events throughout the year and brings together intelligent and ambitious people to discuss and compete on topics such as start-ups and business, investment banking and consulting. KCLBC’s flagship event is the London Fintech Conference, which gathers top founders from the financial technology world and offers entrepreneurial students from all over the UK an amazing day of acquiring knowledge and networking.
KCL Tech Society KCL Tech Society is run by and made for people who are passionate about tech entrepreneurship and building interesting products and companies. The society does many things, from running events for students to learn how to develop algorithms or iOS/Android apps, to organising hackathons. Through these events we help members to gain confidence in their ideas and build upon them. We also connect students with industry through the above events, and have guest speakers from Google, General Assembly, Entrepreneur First and Avecto.
King’s Robotics Society
Enactus at KCL
Like a good challenge? Jump in, get your hands dirty, and learn how to build whatever you want. Assemble your own maze-solving robot. Prefer to relax? Design a robot to water your plants for you. Enjoy a laugh? 3D print a robo-roach to scare your flatmates. Anything you dream up, we’ve got you covered. Space, tools, equipment; hands-on workshops for all skill levels; talks by experts on hot topics; and the chance to make some like-minded friends. Want to find out more? Keep an eye on our Facebook page: We’ll be waiting.
Enactus is a social entrepreneurship society that supports students in the creation and implementation of ventures that will benefit the local and wider community. In addition to being given the opportunity to essentially start a business, our members benefit from the huge Enactus network, which includes top business leaders, social innovators and students from around the world. They also gain access to our wide range of training and development events, as well as becoming part of the Enactus family!
The Dental Society The Dental Society is 122 years old, it prides itself on its rich history and the fact it is the oldest Dental Society in the UK. We offer social, academic and extra-curricular events and provide any assistance students require. Our society has an entrepreneurial side; the three trade fairs and the Dental Society Lecture Series where we invite innovative and leading professionals to help inspire our students are two examples of this.
King’s Think Tank Society
KCL Innovation Forum (KCLIF) The Innovation Forum is now a global not-for-profit network of over 10,000 bio-entrepreneurs, researchers and industry professionals. With branches in London (UCL, Imperial, KCL, LBS), Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, NYC, Munich, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Lausanne, Krakow, Hong Kong and Tokyo, we see the best new early stage technologies first. We connect cutting-edge grassroots research from leading institutions with industry and investment thus expediting its translation from lab to patient.
KCL Pharmacy Society
www.inno-forum.org @Innovation_F firstname.lastname@example.org King’s Think Tank Society is the largest student-Led think tank in Europe. It exists to empower the student body and thrives to achieve a global change by allowing student voices to be heard. Expert panel discussions, policy workshops and advocacy of policy recommendations assist its members to deliver a change. Seven Policy Centres, ranging from European Affairs to Global Health, ensure full coverage of the student body and prove – you don’t have to be interested in politics to get involved.
www.kingsthinktank.com @KingsThinkTank @KingsThinkTank President@kingsthinktank.org
KCL Pharmacy Society is open to everyone, not just Pharmacy students! From our annual Pharmacy Charity Ball to bowling and socials, from pub crawls to career talks and calculation workshops, our aim is to inform, educate and entertain. We want to provide opportunities for all students in year one to four to meet and integrate. We are drug dealers and we’ve got your fix!
2016–17 issue 11
STARTS NOW Take note of these top tips in gaining a competitive advantage using public relations (PR) by Farzana Baduel, founder and CEO of Curzon PR – a global strategic communications firm.
BE ED FOCUS
BE ISED ORGAN
Any new business needs to be focused on their brand positioning and their brand values. This is especially important in relation to your competitors; what makes you stand out?
Have a planned approach, not a reactive approach to PR.
Putting a planned strategy in place will help you create content around your news and open your mind to opportunity. Identify in advance your PR needs, and the media your target audience engages with. It is important to plan newsworthy ideas intelligently catering to their needs and although it sounds obvious, it’s imperative to read the work of the journalists you make contact with. Self-motivation can be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome, especially if you’re starting out alone, but take time to find a system that works for you, and stick to it. Aside from PR, you can make life easier by using online programmes and applications designed especially to help you organise your work and personal life. Platforms such as Asana allow you to assign tasks to each other and apps such as Evernote, EasilyDo and Any. do help you stay organised.
YOUR N TIO REPUTA
Brands and companies often start off social media platforms enthusiastically and within months abandon them. This doesn’t send a good message to the market about you or your business.
Choose the social media platforms that work for you, and develop them at a consistent and manageable speed whilst interacting with content and accounts that align with your brand values. For example having a LinkedIn page is so important and generally expected of professionals, but you may want to create a LinkedIn profile for your business. Populate this page with your own content, link to accounts that inspire and motivate you, and contribute to conversations within your industry or field, which will lead to searchers associating your name with certain topics or causes. Congregating with those who are like-minded is a good way to communicate a certain image of yourself.
Identify the stand-out messages belonging to your business. PR is really only effective if it is consistent and strategic, so decide on your key messages and keep to them, unfailingly embedding them in your culture and identity. Once you position yourself, you can begin to tell your story and build a PR strategy using the narrative you have created.
YOUR L DIGITA E NC PRESE
It is now more important than ever that as a professional, you are able to manage and protect your digital narrative.
Information brought up in the digital space can affect reputations and alter people’s initial perceptions of you or your business. From potential customers to complete strangers, people can “meet” the digital you and judge your capabilities and character by what they have found. Google yourself. As the face of your business you need to be fully aware of what your online presence says about you, and how prominent any negative material might be. This also applies to your personal Instagram, Facebook or Twitter accounts. Are your social media profiles open and is the content appropriate? Once you know what results appear, then amend information within your digital spaces. For those who are focused on personal branding, creating a blog is a good way to create a digital narrative that is directly under your control. Working on the SEO for these creative spaces will affect search results, and is another way to control your online reputation.
FIND ATES ADVOC
Personal digital narratives are influenced by what is written about you by other people.
When other people support your skills and character, their advocacy acts as an echo that reverberates across the internet. People are more likely to trust in what they read about you if there are other voices echoing your own. And when you do get coverage make sure you not only publicise it across all your platforms, but encourage others to share it both from your network and outside.
2016–17 issue 13
RUMBLE IN THE VUNGLE
PARENTS ARE PSYCHIC
King’s Business Management alumnus and founder of King’s College London Business Club Zain Jaffer has established a multi-hundred million dollar global name in interactive video advertising. Let the Co-founder and CEO of Vungle tell you his story…
Fares Alaboud: Bear with me as I tell you a story, I’ll get back to this at the end, I promise.
As a young man, I was unsure of what my future career might look like. However, I loved playing around with computers and the notion of becoming an “ethical hacker” (i.e. someone who hacks into networks and computers in order to help organisations identify and fix threats to their security systems). I was 15 when I had my first taste of entrepreneurship, through creating a network of websites that featured paid advertising. Despite my desire to pursue my love of technology, my parents were keen that I continue studying. After applying to King’s, I started to warm to the idea of being in the heart of the capital. In my first week I set up a network of student parties across London – after being banned from doing so at my own accommodation. I also joined Students in Free Enterprise (now called Enactus KCL); they are a non-profit organisation that aimed to connect students, academics and organisations through socially conscious, entrepreneurial ventures. Founding King’s College London Business Club (KCLBC) was arguably the most notable of my accomplishments. Most of my peers and fellow graduates were following traditional career paths (namely banking, consultancy and law), but I created KCLBC to enable us (fellow students) to go beyond these conventional routes. The club connects entrepreneurial students with mentors and organisations, inspiring them to forge their own unique futures. Sign-ups to the club rocketed! I was eager to ensure its longevity, and in my final year sought successors who shared my vision. I and the club succeeded, and it remains one of the largest student-led business clubs in the UK. I see KCLBC as a key part of my success. I enjoyed running the
society, and it gave me a host of experiences and skills – leadership, pitching and handling political relationships, amongst others. In my final year I was contacted by Jack Smith, a fellow student and budding entrepreneur. After graduating, I joined Jack’s company, MediaRoots. Although this venture only lasted two years, it paved the way
WE ARE NOW A MULTIHUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR GLOBAL COMPANY - WE’VE GROWN A LOT! Zain Jaffer, Co-founder and CEO of Vungle, King’s alumnus and founder of King’s College London Business Club
for our next project, Vungle; a service that enables creators of mobile apps to monetise their product using video advertising. I came back full circle, back to my teenage years, incorporating advertising into my websites. The early years with Vungle were tough – I recall hunting in Tesco for discounted food that was nearing its sell-by date to save money. Initially meetings with potential investors were unsuccessful; they spent whole meetings on their phone, yawning and walking out mid-pitch. Vungle’s circumstances rapidly changed when I bypassed investors and went directly to prospective customers. These
customer relationships provided me with a list of potential deals and paying customers that convinced previously hesitant investors to reconsider. In 2011 we applied to AngelPad, an incubator in Silicon Valley. Our chances seemed slim, we were young and inexperienced, but we remained resolute. By using loopholes in LinkedIn and Facebook’s advertising platforms, we were able to target anyone connected to AngelPad with a personalised advert linked to a video pitching Vungle. The video went viral across Silicon Valley, and soon I was on a flight to San Francisco – to take my place in the incubator. AngelPad’s investment in Vungle was a smart choice. Our (Vungle’s) technology has now reached over one billion people worldwide. We work with 30,000 + developers and apps, and have 170 employees across offices in San Francisco, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul. We have raised over $25 million worth of funding from a range of companies, one of which is Google. Over five years we have become a major industry player. Currently I am fully focused on growing the company whilst balancing the lifestyle of a global entrepreneur, with that of an equally busy family life. My plan for the future remains open, but I am keen to continue flying the flag for social enterprise. My commitment to help young entrepreneurs is as steadfast as it was back when I joined King’s.
The opportunity In the summer of 2015, I had a few health issues and had to undergo surgery. I was required to take multiple medicines, each with different conditions and timings, and it was extremely difficult to schedule my medication myself. So, I set a goal to create an easy-to-use smartphone application that would allow patients to schedule their medication efficiently, and use planning algorithms to predict when patients should take their next dose. I approached Dr Andrew Coles, one of my lecturers and an expert in artificial intelligence planning, and proposed Medic as my final year project. He kindly agreed to supervise me, and in December I began building Medic.
Turning an app into a venture When I first started my venture, I approached the Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s, and they pointed me in various right directions. I applied for the Lion’s Den Challenge, the annual flagship start-up competition run by the Institute, where Medic received three awards, including an award for being the best start-up idea. A few months later, the Institute asked if I’d like to be featured on Soho Radio. I was interviewed by the amazing Stefan Allesch-Taylor to talk about my app. And now, I am applying for the King’s Venture Accelerator, another incredible initiative run by the Institute. Throughout this whole time, I was constantly being introduced to people who the team at the Institute thought could be of help to me, including medical professionals and successful entrepreneurs.
Fares Alaboud, PhD Research Student: Artificial Intelligence
they gave it. It came in any shape or form, be it funding, contacts or opportunities. This supportive mentality exists across the whole university. When I presented Medic to the committee who graded my final year project, they told me that Medic would be the core of a great research topic. I applied, and was accepted to start my PhD at King’s in September 2016. For the next three years, I plan to pursue my research and continue working on Medic within King’s. If there’s one thing I’m grateful for, it is the fact that I know I will be in the perfect environment, surrounded by people who are willing to give a hand whenever I need it.
Parents are psychic
I OWE MEDIC’S SUCCESS TO THE FACT THAT I WAS ALWAYS SURROUNDED BY FANTASTIC PEOPLE 360 degree support at King’s I owe Medic’s success to the fact that I was always surrounded by fantastic people. What makes King’s so unique is that everyone really wants to help. As a start-up founder and an aspiring entrepreneur, King’s was the best place for me to be. Before Medic, I had the pleasure of working closely with the Entrepreneurship Institute as the president of the KCL Tech Society. Whenever we needed help,
Now, returning to what I said at the start: my mother has always been (and will always be) my biggest supporter. Since I was a child, my parents told me I’d be a doctor. When I decided to pursue a Bachelors degree in Computer Science at King’s, they were supportive as always, but were still convinced that I should have gone into medicine. After I applied for my PhD, I sat next to my mother and explained my research topic to her, and when I was done she told me, “I always knew you wanted to study something related to medicine. I always knew you’d be a doctor.” So, to everyone reading this: mom may know a thing or two about your future, even if you wouldn’t have ever believed it yourself.
vungle.com vungle.com/blog @ZainJaffer linkedin.com/in/zainjaffer www.crunchbase.com/person/zainjaffer#/entity @vungle 2016–17 issue 15
DAME STEPHANIE SHIRLEY Dame Stephanie Shirley started her first business in 1962 and sold it in 2007. Read about how an entrepreneurial mind-set has helped both her businesses and her philanthropic projects to flourish.
You were named the UK’s first Ambassador for Philanthropy. What inspired you to develop pioneering foundations such as Autistica and Kingwood? My autistic son Giles was the stimulus to my philanthropic activities in the autism field. He was the first resident in the first home of that first charity, Kingwood. Today it supports 129 adults and continues to pioneer best practice. Then I set up Prior’s Court School for pupils with autism. My last charity, correction: latest charity, is Autistica which funds research. Have you introduced entrepreneurial thinking to the professionals and researchers in your foundations? If so, how? Foundations have been criticised as being responsible to no-one. But they can accept high levels of risk and that allows all staff to be entrepreneurial. Of course, risk means you fail at times. It isn’t that entrepreneurs always do well: we have learnt survival techniques. Foundations can also demonstrate new things for others to copy. You gave your staff at the FI Group shares in your venture, how did you decide how much to give away and how were they allocated? It was a complicated process because staff were both employees and associated consultants, whereas the only helpful legislation that existed referred only to employees. Firstly, via a Share Ownership Trust that started at 4% and went up, year on year, to eventually 17%. Then at our Silver Jubilee in 1987, I was able to give a whole chunk to take it up to 24%. And that made a terrific difference – staff realised “Wow, a quarter of it is ours!” Individual gifts were with singleton shares to qualify everyone for share
IT ISN’T THAT ENTREPRENEURS ALWAYS DO WELL: WE HAVE LEARNT SURVIVAL TECHNIQUES offers; and performance related payments mirroring the previous bonus arrangements we’d had pretty well from start-up. An entrepreneur’s life is not all innovation and thrills, but seemingly driven by administrative burdens, day by day, month by month. Co-ownership took me 11 years to make happen. Why do you think it is important for entrepreneurs to give their employees ownership of their ventures? As the Entrepreneurship Institute will know, in the last 30 years entrepreneurs have taken to offering shares to key members of staff. Success rates are much improved when you take on one or more partners. Which can extend to co-ownership. Coownership organisations now generate 4% of GDP and employ over 150,000 people in the UK – more than the entire aerospace industry. I’d been inspired by the John Lewis Partnership and was proud, later in my career, to serve as their first non-executive director. Which three pieces of business advice would you give to your younger self about to embark on your entrepreneurial journey? I wish I’d balanced my enthusiasm, my crusade for women in technology, with financial knowhow. To keep
things simple, I ran it like a cash business which was great in the long run but very far from optimum in the short term. It was 25 years before we had a Finance Director. And I should have protected myself more against the personnel pressures which were unexpected and literally sick-making. My classic mistake was in trying to replicate our UK success in other markets.
Do you have an entrepreneurial
MIND-SET? The entrepreneurial mind-set refers to a specific mental state that encourages entrepreneurial behaviours, activities and outcomes. People who have entrepreneurial mind-sets are often drawn to opportunities, innovation and new value creation. They are people who share a few recognisable characteristics...
What strategies did you use to cope with challenging situations in your career? Looking back, I always tried to sell more… everything follows sales. And to share my hopes and fears with a balanced group of trained colleagues. Nobody does anything by themselves any more: it’s all a matter of teamwork.
www.steveshirley.com @DameStephanie @DameStephanie
Seeing and creating opportunities
Turning ideas into action
Managing risk Using resources smartly
Leading the way
Collaborating for shared value
Do they sound familiar? Then you are an entrepreneur (at heart, if not yet in practice). 2016–17 issue 17
King’s alumnus Babatunde Soyoye is a Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners, and has previously worked for BT and Singapore Telecom International. Here he shares his thoughts on King’s and current trends with Mantas Gribulis, also a King’s alumnus, and founder of Accelerator Dynamics.
Tell me about your journey, what drew you to the world of investment? What early opportunities did you recognise? In my days at King’s, I ran entertainment businesses. We used to have club nights, I made money from doing that. You need to learn; you have to raise money, you have to know how to market, you have to know how to understand accounting, how to manage people. That’s the hardest. Most entrepreneurs aren’t good at managing people; they’re used to having an idea, and just forcing it through. I actually think entrepreneurs are born, they’re not made. If somebody comes to me and says “I want to be an entrepreneur,” I just think “forget about it.” You either go do it, or you don’t. How did King’s help shape your career/future? Being in London was critical. The range and scope of things you’re exposed to is vastly greater than if you were anywhere else in the country; different people, nationalities, businesses, technologies, culture. It opens your mind, and exposes you to so much. King’s really helped me to find the right people, because you get to meet everybody. In America you just turn up and knock on the door, but in London you’ve got to know the network and how the network works. I had this experience. I was part of an accelerator that helped me to start up, but without tapping into that network, it would have been very hard. Almost impossible, right? The UK is a clubby place. There’s incredible opportunity here, but you have to figure out a way to access it. King’s helped with that.
Mantas Gribulis and Babatunde Soyoye
IF YOU FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE, YOUR BUSINESS CAN BE WORTH A BILLION DOLLARS How have you gone about forming those relationships then? I’ve seen two approaches. One is to use marketing to create hype. Sometimes it works, but you need the right kind of personality. Our approach was to keep our heads down, do the work, and let the results speak for themselves. The people we deal with are very smart people. Hype doesn’t work for those guys, so we built more of a trust network. I’ve learnt everything from my interactions. It all adds up, there’s not just one moment where everything comes to you in one go; you learn five percent here, five percent there.
YORAM PERCALE Yoram Percale is an entrepreneur, executive coach and sought-after business and technology change consultant. Here, he tells Sally Bramley (a King’s student of medicine and former president of the Psychiatry Society) about the value of well-being for entrepreneurs.
What are the key attributes that have enabled you to succeed? You need to have a vision and stick with it. You’ve got to be the über optimist. If you don’t believe, you can’t do it. Most entrepreneurs think their business is going to rule the world. You’ve got to be a self-starter. If the toilet is dirty, go clean it. You need a can-do attitude, be somebody who wants everything done yesterday.
What sparked your interest in the health and well-being of entrepreneurs? I’ve built, or facilitated the establishment of, a number of businesses, so I’ve become acutely aware of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face. My experience of mentoring entrepreneurs has helped me realise how widespread some of these issues are, and the difference that timely support can make.
How have you built a sustainable, scalable businesses? The key thing to any business is people. You’ve got to find the right people to figure it out for you, and lead them. If you find the right people, your business can be worth a billion dollars.
Why do you think this is an important issue to address? I’m a fervent believer in the creativity and passion of entrepreneurs, and their ability to transform society. We’re told that entrepreneurs are the driving force behind the economy, and there has arguably never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. As a result, more and more people are starting their own businesses, though few are truly prepared for the journey. I believe that supporting people to overcome these challenges means we’re supporting society as a whole.
What other trends in business do you follow? For me, it’s mainly about technology. Robotics is one. I’m interested in the whole electronic payment space. The idea of carrying paper and paying people makes no sense any more. I’ve also been doing Pokemon Go. My son has dragged me around London just to play the game. That idea opens up many things. All those kids are walking around, moving around, and they’re interacting with each other. And it costs you nothing. Technology like this will create new kinds of jobs, in service industries, in entertainment industries. It’s a fundamental change.
Babatunde: www.heliosinvestment.com Mantas: www.accelerateddynamics.co @accdynamics AcceleratedDynamics
Running your own business means constant pressure. How can we turn off? It’s about self-awareness. Some entrepreneurs thrive on pressure, and find attempting to turn off stressful. Others risk burnout if they don’t have regular down-time. Knowing your place on this spectrum is key. If you understand this from the start, you can identify the appropriate support structures, and the most suitable industry, business and operating model for you. Building down-time into your routine (for example, a regular workout or meditation) requires self-discipline initially, but works brilliantly once the habit is formed. These activities
WE SHOULD DEVELOP AN AWARENESS OF PRESSURE ALARM BELLS Yoram Percale Co-founder at Stratability
should require your complete attention in the present moment. We should generally develop an awareness of pressure alarm bells, which tell us when we need to come up for air. It’s also important to have a realistic plan of action once these alarms are triggered. Both take practice. How else can being an entrepreneur impact on psychological health and wellbeing? For many entrepreneurs, their businesses are an extension of themselves. As such, even constructive criticism takes a toll. Rejection of their product is often felt personally, and setbacks have a significant impact on self-esteem. In my experience, entrepreneurs often see the world differently to others. This can be a gift, in that it enables them to see opportunities where others see problems. But it also makes them more prone to loneliness,
as they can find it difficult to reconcile their offbeat perspective of the world with the mainstream consensus. Do entrepreneurs tend to keep mental health issues to themselves? In my coaching, I’m primarily focused on supporting personal development, rather than healing. That said, I do encounter repeated themes amongst entrepreneurs. There’s a common belief that projecting success and positivity is always a good strategy (irrespective of the reality), and that showing any weakness will diminish credibility. Maintaining this façade requires lots of energy, and often leads to loneliness and depression. How can this be addressed? It boils down to our cultural norms relating to failure and mental health. Fortunately, we are already seeing the beginnings of a shift. I hope more successful entrepreneurs follow Sir James Dyson’s example and publicly acknowledge the value of failure and setbacks. Ideally, they’d be sharing some of the many challenges that they no doubt had to overcome in order to succeed. Sports stars, politicians and media all have a part to play, as do our schools and universities. They can raise awareness and, crucially, make it socially acceptable both to fail and to seek support.
2016–17 issue 19
THE MUSINGS OF A FRANK ENTREPRENEUR Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE writes about being obsessive, tenacious and persuasive, a true reflection on what he believes to be a successful entrepreneurial mindset.
Eighty new companies an hour were registered in the UK in the first half of 2016, according to StartUp Britain, up from 70 companies in 2015. A record 640,000 new companies will be established this year. This is remarkable when looking at the UK business backdrop in 2016. The uncertainty of impending Brexit, John Lewis reporting a slowdown in sales, the collapse of Austin Reed and the high profile collapse and ensuing scandal of BHS. If you were to read an advert online for a job that said “remuneration: not a lot, sometimes, OK probably not at all for the first three years, hours: variable between 15 and 20 a day, holidays: a distant memory and healthcare: don’t get ill”, it is unlikely you would rush to apply. Nevertheless, this is precisely the job description
most start-up entrepreneurs sign up for. What mindset makes a person want to take on such risk for uncertain reward? Do you have it? I don’t subscribe to the view that entrepreneurs are born and not made, but I believe that entrepreneurship is a deeply personal endeavour. In truth, most of us feel we could be entrepreneurs and many believe that entrepreneurship is simply having ‘a great idea’. The mindset of an entrepreneur includes passion, dedication and tenacity, but in my experience this tends to be the mindset of successful people whether they are entrepreneurial or not. The entrepreneurial mindset can be simplistically broken down into two facets, one ‘light’ and one ‘dark’. The ‘light’ is obvious to see. It involves the attributes of creativity,
patience and leadership to name a few. Clearly these are important personality traits, but in themselves they are far from the only facets you need to be a successful entrepreneur. It’s the other stuff, the stuff no one really likes to talk about, that is likely to fully define the mindset of an entrepreneur, and this is where it starts to get interesting…
Obsession Entrepreneurs are obsessed. Obsession is not necessarily the most attractive quality in a person, but it is likely to weigh heavy in the mindset of entrepreneurs, and from what I have seen, obsessiveness about money especially. If an entrepreneur isn’t obsessed about cash flow and liquidity, then they probably won’t be entrepreneurs for long. They are obsessed about what the competition is doing, obsessed about their brand, both company and personal, obsessed about what their staff think of them, obsessed about ‘winning’, obsessed what their peers are doing, obsessed about pretty well everything.
Stefan, Founder and Chairman of Afri-CAN Charity (ACC), visiting kids in the ACC Free School Breakfast Programme in South Africa in 2015
On the surface, leadership doesn’t sound like a ‘dark’ part of anyone’s personality. It is an easy description of a skill. However, the mentality of an entrepreneur requires the honing of this skill to near ‘cult’ levels. This early stage
entrepreneur’s leadership skill transcends the norm, in that it is immediately monetised. It’s monetised by persuading expensive people to do the things they do cheaply. Money saved is money earned. Entrepreneurs need to be ‘believers’ because they need to convince people who are, preferably, much smarter than they are to follow
HEAVY IS THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN them into the fire (of potential career destruction and poverty) with nothing more to entice them than the shared belief that they are destined, together, to do great things. I’ve found it’s best not to ask an entrepreneur to get too detailed on this; faith is, after all, sacrosanct. This extends into the grey area of what an entrepreneur ‘knows they know’ and what they ‘think they know’. The mindset of the entrepreneur is to always know where the line is, without ever letting you know where it is.
Doubt Crippling doubt is another mindset of the entrepreneur. The adage ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown’ is well understood by entrepreneurs creating disruptive and innovative business models. It’s no wonder they are doubtful; on the one hand, they are told to take advice from experienced people, but they are also told to break the mould, and to create disruptive solutions that by their very nature may look unworkable to an industry veteran they’re supposed to be listening to. This crippling doubt extends to an acute fear of failure, which keeps the entrepreneur constantly sharp, checking and doublechecking actions to be taken.
Although seemingly contradictory, an entrepreneurial mindset is undoubtedly fearless in approach (but not in execution). Invariably an entrepreneur is creating a business because they see that a service is either sub-standard or non-existent. More often than not, they recognise that existing market leaders are huge, and that the world thinks the idea that their idea can topple the mighty from their position is at best naïve, and at worst arrogant. To entrepreneurs, the more they are told it cannot be done, the more they strive to get it done.
Adaptation A true entrepreneur, however, does not stand resolute in the face of evidence contrary to their business plan. Instead, they adapt. It is this ability to adapt that produces the best results, not in the steadfastness of war leaders. I once remarked to a brilliant businessman that it is a shame that great business leaders never make great politicians. The response was enlightening. As a politician you create a policy, you work on executing that policy, and in so doing, you find that new facts come to light. These new facts prompt you to make significant changes to your policy, seemingly for the better. Then, of course, you are a ‘flip flopper’ and ‘U-turner’ and derided as useless. However, business leaders routinely adapt their strategy to prevailing trends. They re-write plans and are heralded as ‘visionary’ and ‘gifted’. The ability to see opportunity and constantly adapt, with all that entails, is the mindset of a true entrepreneur. It is the ability to build a team of people that trust you enough to follow you, even when you completely shift from one strategy to another, without ever losing faith in you or your company. That takes a combination of the ‘light’ and the ‘dark’ to achieve. Bizarrely, this mindset is best summed up as a team playing, obsessive, dangerously persuasive, tenacious outsider. Of course these are just the views of a team playing, obsessive, dangerously persuasive, tenacious outsider – so what do I know? 2016–17 issue 21
JACQUELINE GOLD CBE As chief executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox, Jacqueline Gold CBE has changed the landscape of both sex and business for women. Alae Ismail, a King’s alumna and co-founder of Styled By Africa, talks to Jacqueline about party planning, death threats and how to shatter the glass ceiling.
Women in boardrooms or senior positions in the 1970s must have been extremely rare. When you started your time at Ann Summers, did you have any role models or influential people that nurtured your confidence and resilience to succeed? When I started my career there were very few female role models and business was very much seen as a man’s world. When I joined Ann Summers, it was a very male dominated business and I had to report in to an all-male board, which as a 21-year-old woman with no formal business training or experience was extremely challenging! I look back at that time and recognise that whilst I didn’t have confidence, I had courage and belief in what I wanted to achieve and once I had used that courage, my confidence came and I wouldn’t let anything stand in my way. As the party plan element of the business grew under my leadership, I started to recruit many amazing women, all of whom regularly inspired me and still do today. The list of barriers facing women who aspire to move from middle management to boardroom is vast; including unconscious bias, ingrained mind-sets and lack of role models. At Ann Summers, how have you managed to tackle these obstacles? At Ann Summers we always employ the best person for the job. We have a culture that nurtures talent and offers endless opportunities across all elements of our business. Our board is 50 50 male female, however this isn’t because it has to be, it’s because these are the best people. I hope that I am a positive role model to the women in our business, as does my sister Vanessa who is our MD. We believe that an
Jacqueline Gold CBE speaks at King’s College London with Sol Campbell and King’s Ventures
inclusive culture that rewards and recognises talent will always produce the best results for our business.
FIND THE COURAGE TO STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND THE CONFIDENCE WILL FOLLOW Tell us about the most challenging moment in your career thus far? And what strategies do you use to cope with similar stressful situations? I have had many challenging moments, more than I probably would have predicted when I first started out in business. I would say the most challenging would have been when I received a bullet through the post when I wanted to open a store in Dublin. It was an incredibly scary time, and it did wobble me and make me question if I was doing the right thing. However I very quickly realised
that I wouldn’t be someone who would be intimidated or bullied, and that I would not let anyone stand in the way of what I knew was right for our business and customer. We went ahead and opened the store and I’m pleased to say it was a huge success and continues to be one of our top performing stores. Business will always bring challenges, its unavoidable. The test is how you deal with them and finding that courage, self-belief and passion to keep focused on your goals and what you know is right for your business. The #WOW Twitter campaign has been running for four years with thousands of businesses taking part. Within the campaign, what has been your most memorable experience to date? Each week I’m inspired by the women who enter and their enthusiasm and passion for business and entrepreneurship. The majority of the women that enter have started their businesses from nothing, taking big risks and following their dreams, which I find so inspiring. It’s a very brave decision to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and what all
my WOW winners show is that when you do, great things can and will happen. It’s hard to pick just one memorable experience, so I will pick five (if that’s ok!) which is the mentoring lunch that I have each year with that year’s three overall winners. I love these lunches as I get to spend time with amazing women who are striving to achieve great things and embody everything that an entrepreneur should be, it makes me proud to be a woman in business. What advice would you give to men wishing to support the success of women in the workplace, but don’t know how to do so? Men should support women in the way they support men, with respect and by nurturing their talent. All businesses need to recognise the female talent they have, and to encourage young women to strive to reach the top. Mentoring is key, and I encourage all businesses to implement mentoring schemes where possible. What are your top three tips for women in the workplace? • Find yourself a mentor – male or female – and someone that can work with you to achieve your goals. • Shout about your successes – don’t be afraid to tell people what you have achieved, unfortunately in many cases others won’t shout about your successes so make sure you do. • Remember that courage comes before confidence, so if you don’t feel confident, find the courage to step outside your comfort zone and I promise the confidence will follow.
Jacqueline Gold CBE www.jacquelinegold.com @Jacqueline_Gold Alae Ismail www.styledbyafrica.com @StyledByAfrica @StyledByAfrica @styledbyafrica 2016–17 issue 23
Philip Källberg, Co-founder and CEO of EatAbout – winner of the ‘best start-up’ award in this year’s start-up competition, run by the King’s Entrepreneurship Institute – sat down for a fireside chat with Brent Hoberman CBE, the co-founder of Lastminute.com and Made.com. They had much to discuss...
You’ve previously mentioned being fired from your first job after being called a ‘prima donna’. What initially drove you to start-ups? I didn’t just leave for being called a ‘prima donna’! I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My grandfather was an entrepreneur, he turned one clothes shop into 650. My father was also investing in VC funds, so I saw the excitement of that entrepreneurial journey. Much has been written about Lastminute.com’s success. How did you feel when the company’s share price halved within the first month of its floatation? There was nothing we could do to prevent it. The main thing was staying optimistic about the business. I remember people saying that the travel industry wouldn’t move online, so we used that as a motivating force, proving the cynics wrong. The second motivator was that we were doing a massive service for customers: customers love it. Lastminute was acquired by Sabre in 2005, and you stayed on. What was it like, going from a nimble company to a behemoth? I thought I’d stay for three years, but ended up staying for just 18 months. I was justifying decisions to Sabre. After being in charge for seven years, it just wasn’t normal. So I moved on. Last year you started Founders Factory. What can you tell us about that? We have corporates who invest in an operating company, they incubate and accelerate businesses. We’re building
up to a team of 50 full-time people. Nobody in Europe has a team helping start-ups that is as good, or as large. The first cohort was June 2015, and since then, The Guardian has joined too. There’s so much excitement working closely with entrepreneurs, and creating something world-class. And for them, it builds their credibility, which is something I always highlight to people. Early on, we hired Peter Bow (former Chairman and CEO of KLM airlines) on to the board as Chairman, and having that as an indicator of credibility shows that there’s some value in the venture.
THE IDEA OF FAILING, AND TAKING LESSONS FROM IT, SHOULD BE SEEN AS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE Brent Hoberman CBE
Are you familiar with the concept of the hedonistic treadmill, where you have a goal, you reach it, and once it’s reached you remain unsatisfied? Do you suffer from it? I studied Goethe and Faust, and ‘Faustian striving’ is basically what that is. Faust was never happy because he was always on a journey. It’s the human condition, to always be on a journey, and yes, I love this journey.
Given that you’ve accomplished so much, what drives you now? It’s making every day interesting. You can get lots from a rewarding day. It can be entrepreneurial, it could be helping the government on something, or helping charities work with technology: a real range. You’ve said that this country needs more naive optimism, which is prevalent in the US. How do you overcome that? There are two things: one is naive optimism, and the other is schadenfreude, and it being an almost British word. I think the counter-point of naive optimism is our attitude towards failure. It’s all very well to say we should be accepting of failure, but should we really? The idea of failing, and taking lessons from it, should be seen as a wonderful experience. You’ve tried something, and we should be better at saying that. Not failing more, but better synthesizing the lessons from failure. Philip and Brent rounded off the conversation with a browse of EatAbout’s homepage. Brent was sufficiently impressed by the business model and website that he promised to try EatAbout with his team in the near future.
www.foundersfactory.co @brenthoberman @factoryfounders www.eatabout.co @eat_about
BRENT HOBERMAN CBE
SIMON COYLE Anne-Marie Canning, Director of Widening Participation at King’s College London, interviews Simon Coyle, co-founder and co-CEO of the Brilliant Club – an award-winning charity that exists to widen access to highly selective universities for pupils from under-represented groups.
Why did you found the charity? I co-founded The Brilliant Club with my friend and colleague, Jonny Sobczyk, after we completed the Teach First graduate scheme. The scripted answer is that we had a shared frustration that the talented pupils in our classes were not progressing to highly selective universities and wanted to do something about it. However, the truth is there was no one standout reason why we decided to set up the charity, it was more a happy confluence of factors. We wanted to try something different after teaching, to test ourselves running an organisation and to build a team with a strong culture. What does the Brilliant Club do? The Brilliant Club works to increase the number of pupils from underrepresented backgrounds who progress to highly selective universities. We do this by mobilising the PhD community to share their expertise with nonselective state schools, either as part-time tutors or full-time classroom teachers. Over the past five years we’ve grown The Brilliant Club from a two-man start up to an award-winning charity that works with 10,000 pupils a year, turns over £4m and employs a team of 50 staff. And while Jonny and I are proud of these achievements, it has only been made possible by a huge collective effort. What role do you think entrepreneurialism has in education? I’m a bit conflicted here. On the one hand, I’d like to see more done to help pupils and students to be enterprising; on the other, I’m not sure you can ‘teach’ entrepreneurialism as a distinct skill. I think good entrepreneurs usually
Local students get a taste of King’s on a campus visit day
SPEND AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE DOING THE THINGS THAT YOU LOVE bring a mix of conviction, drive, energy, fearlessness, innovation, problemsolving and resilience. I think that schools and universities can promote these values by encouraging action and by creating effective support structures (and possibly incentives). Do you call yourself an entrepreneur? Well, I identify with being an entrepreneur, but I don’t really call myself one. If people ask, I say I run a business, which I think gives a more accurate picture of my day-today. Probably 95% of my time is spent on leadership and governance, plus a fair amount of good, old-fashioned firefighting. It’s maybe 5% of the time where I’m doing typically entrepreneurial activities like generating new ideas, innovating existing ones, pitching or negotiating deals. The other thing is that it’s a bit fancy to call yourself an entrepreneur, perhaps it’s acceptable once you’ve started three or four businesses?
What advice would you give your 21-year-old self? I have two bits of ‘life advice’, neither of which are about entrepreneurship, but they are genuinely what I would say to my 21-year-old self, or any 21-year-old. First – and above all else – spend as much time as possible doing the things that you love. The times spent playing football and guitar were the best of my life. Second, really treasure it. When I was 22, I developed a health condition that means I can no longer play sport or music, and I’d trade everything in my professional life in a heartbeat to have that back. In terms of my professional life, the turning point for me was when I realised I was crap at teaching, which was after about 15 minutes. So, my advice would be to develop the habit of putting yourself in positions where you might fail or be embarrassed. Not only is a dose of failure healthy for your ego, but in striving to overcome it you’ll become more resilient, and humble when success comes.
King’s Widening Participation Team
The Brilliant Club: www.brilliantclub.org @brilliantclub King’s Widening Participation: www.kcl.ac.uk/wp @kclwp 2016–17 issue 25
JAMES CAAN CBE James Caan CBE is a hugely successful entrepreneur, renowned philanthropist and well-known television star who has spoken at an Entrepreneurship Institute event. King’s alumni Razvan Creanga and Mark Chaffey, Co-founders of hackajob, one of the latest King’s-supported start-ups, sat down with him to gain some business-related wisdom.
In your career, you’ve met many aspiring entrepreneurs with good ideas, some that go on to be very successful and others that unfortunately don’t work. What do you think are the most common traits in those that succeed? In my eyes, a successful entrepreneur is not just someone who has a great idea, but someone who is extremely conscious of the challenges of execution and delivery. Ideas are the beginning of a journey, but success really comes from what happens next. Entrepreneurs who do really well and go on to build very successful businesses are generally people who surround themselves with people who are as good, if not better, than themselves. Building the right team is one of the most fundamental ingredients of success. In your eyes, what does a perfect founding team look like? You need the entrepreneur, the person with the vision and passion for the business. You also need someone who clearly understands business, commercials and finance, because
I’d say the vast majority of businesses that fail are the ones that go over budget, that don’t generate enough revenue quickly and therefore run out of cash. If you were starting a tech business, then clearly you need a product specialist who can get it off the ground in time and at scale. Someone who can understand the challenges of building a technology
I REMEMBER HIRING MY FIRST ACCOUNTANT AND THINKING ‘WHAT DO THEY DO?’ platform, software development costs, implementation, regulation, etc. If it’s a service sector business, let’s say recruitment, you need somebody who is an expert on the subject, otherwise what you’re building might not be right for the market. So I think understanding the key components of the team are absolutely crucial.
From left: Razvan Creanga, James Caan CBE and Mark Chaffey speaking at King’s College London in October 2015
We all know being an entrepreneur is a very time consuming job, if you could call it a job! What are some of your non-work habits that help you with your work/life balance? Sorry, can I just Google work/life balance. *Laughs*. Let’s rephrase it: what other things should an entrepreneur do, outside of working on the business? Sorry, I don’t understand the question! Entrepreneurs live and breathe their vision for their business. It’s 24/7, there’s no such thing as a part-time entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur that I’ve met lives and breathes their business. After 30 years in business you’d think I would have had enough, but what am I doing? I’m still working. Successful entrepreneurs have a way of combining their passion and business into their social life, not the other way around. To me, there is no difference between a Saturday and a Tuesday, or Sunday and a Monday. I’d love to say to you that entrepreneurs have the most amazing work/life balance, they finish at six, they have a great social life, play sports, but I’d be lying. What do you think most early stage companies get wrong about hiring, and what are your tips for recruiting successfully? I think the biggest challenge when you start to hire is figuring out how to manage people in jobs you’ve never done. I remember hiring my first accountant and thinking ‘What do they do?’. I’ve never managed an accountant before. How do I measure his or her performance? How do I measure their output? I think the
one key thing that entrepreneurs constantly get wrong is hiring people without knowing what ‘good’ looks like; they don’t know what they should be measuring, therefore your employee has no structure. What frameworks have you used to manage people in roles you haven’t done yourself, and how do you measure their success? Say I’ve hired someone who’s been doing that particular job for three to five years, I’ll ask them how they’d define an exceptional month. For example, if it were credit control, they may say ‘I know I’ve had a great month when I collect invoices on time within 30 days.’ Awesome! I now have a concrete metric that I can review at the end of the month and see how many invoices were collected in 30 days. If that metric drifts, I’ll ask ‘what can I, as your manager, do in order to put you back on track?’ I think the role of an entrepreneur to a large extent is also managing productivity levels of the people around them. Moving towards recruitment, an industry you know well: what is the best job application you’ve ever received? I like personability. If you find a way of getting in front of me, I’ll remember you for longer if I meet you face to face, or if your CV oozes personality. If I’m looking for somebody, I want to know as quickly as possible, can that person do the job and how do they add value to my organisation. I would expect someone to research the company, what I do, who I am, what my business is, what my proposition is and how they could make a difference. If they can communicate that very quickly and very effectively, the chances are I want to meet them.
www.james-caan.com @jamescaan www.hackajob.co @hackajob_co
James Caan CBE speaking at an Entrepreneurship Institute event in October 2015
2016–17 issue 27
TECH-ING YOUR CHANCES
KEEP ON MOOVING
Alex Telek, King’s Computer Science student and president of the KCL Tech Society, tells us how a little extra-curricular activity can go a very long way.
King’s alumna Lauren Kienzle introduces us to Moovr, a service borne out of a KCL International Development Institute workshop, which aims to empower rural traders in developing nations.
I was super excited, largely because I hoped there might be a chance, however small, that I could make a difference. The following year, I started teaching iOS programming to students at society events. We had around one hundred attendees: my difference was made! Bringing in students to learn skills that they might never have otherwise found was an amazing feeling.
Learn something new every day Alex Telek, Computer Science undergraduate student
I first decided to apply for Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in 2014. As a first-year student, I was thrilled to experience the conference for the first time, right at the heart of Silicon Valley. I received a student scholarship, which gave me the chance to meet with thousands of engineers, incredible people who I’m now proud to call my friends. Better still, I got to see Swift (Apple’s new programming language) before everyone else in the world! I was already involved with the KCL Tech Society at that time, and had been going to their events for a while. After I returned from San Francisco, Ammaar Reshi, the president at the time, asked me if I wanted to be part of the society.
From experience, I can say that being involved with extra-curricular activities is a key part of your university studies. It could be anything: from getting involved with events or workshops, to organising (thoroughly awesome) hackathons. It allows you to engage with people, travel to exciting places, and learn something new every day. These activities will not only make your CV stand out, not only help you land your dream job, but they will make you into the kind of person you want to be. For people with little or no technical experience, the importance of getting involved is even greater. The workshops and events that KCL Tech run are all beginner-friendly, making it an easy start for anyone. Having an interest in technology is more than enough; we do the rest.
EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ARE A KEY PART OF YOUR UNIVERSITY STUDIES If we can get someone from a nontechnical background interested in coding, we might end up changing their life a little bit. We have the sheer pleasure of engaging with amazing, talented people from all over the UK. That’s what keeps us going.
Share knowledge generously Probably the most important part in it all is the community we have built, the people in that community, and all the diverse and varied personalities that come with it. It’s one big family; we build cool things, learn from one another, and share our knowledge generously. Sometimes, a few of us might even end up going to San Francisco (no guarantees though). I’m incredibly proud to be leading the society to even greater heights in the next academic year. We can’t wait for you to be part of it too.
Imagine that you had to walk for a day, just to do your shopping. The more resourceful of you might be able to grow just enough food for you and your family to survive. What about the other things you need though, the things you couldn’t grow? You’d have to take everything you could sell, walk for a day to get to the shop, accept the best prices you could get, and start the day-long walk back home again. Given your circumstances, can you really bet on the shopkeeper (who knows how desperate you are, and how far you’ve walked) giving you a fair price? Probably not. Moovr is an “Uber for cows”. It helps to address this very problem, which is faced by countless people living in rural areas in developing countries. Using an SMS-based app to link farmers with truckers who are driving through the region, Moovr will expand farmers’ access to safe, reliable transportation to more markets, and thus help independent truckers to build their client base.
Sustainable business solutions The app came about during the second annual Social Entrepreneurship Workshop (run by KCL’s Department of International Development). You might wonder: “why would a school of international development help students to build businesses?” Development has moved beyond the traditional government-to-government model of transferring aid money, and social entrepreneurs around the world
The Moovr team (left to right): James Middleton, Dima Alazzi, Lauren Kienzle, Olivia Spaethe, Jon Campbell
are creating sustainable business solutions to pervasive social problems. My teammates and I were drawn to the workshop because it presented a market-based alternative to donor agencies; essentially, it’s a bottom-up approach that ensures solutions take into account the unique aspects of the market. For example, to ensure the design matches the technological landscape of the areas in which it will be used, Moovr will begin as an SMS app, rather than being built for smartphones.
Aiming for broader impact Social enterprises can also have a broader impact than highly-targeted traditional development programmes. Andrew Wanyonyi is from One Acre Fund, an organisation that works with smallholder farmers in East Africa. He writes that “transportation, especially to rural Kenya, is full with cartels [groups which collude to demand artificially high prices], but if you identify real companies that own trucks, all is possible”. With Moovr, farmers and truckers will need to agree on a price before a match is made, thus excluding cartels from
DEVELOPMENT HAS MOVED BEYOND THE TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENT-TOGOVERNMENT MODEL the price-setting process entirely. Moovr aims to give farmers faster, more affordable transportation to a wider variety of markets. In doing so, we hope to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people to earn more, and to reduce the time they spend away from their homes. Truckers will have fuller trucks and increase their client list, while livestock traders will buy healthier products for wholesale. Ultimately, it’s about empowerment; people who previously had to accept prices because they were ‘better than nothing’ can now gain negotiating power and decide their own incomes. If that’s not development, I don’t know what is.
@moovrkcl 2016–17 issue 29
Hilary Devey CBE, CEO and Chairman of Pall-Ex and television personality, talks about tackling early career challenges with Georg Vooglaid, Vice President of start-ups and business in the King’s College London Business Club.
Was there a specific moment where you realised you wanted to become an entrepreneur, and what steps did you take to realise that goal? One of my earliest memories as a child is of bailiffs taking every last stick of furniture we had. I remember feeling a powerful sense of injustice, despite not understanding what was happening at the time. I found out that my father had been screwed over by his business partner, which broke my heart. My father had grown a large central heating company, where he employed some 300 people at its peak, but suddenly all that was taken away. Despite losing everything, he was able to get into another business and provide a good living for us all. My father is the biggest inspiration, and I believe he gave me that early entrepreneurial spirit. His mantra was always, ‘one door closes and another one opens.’ With that kind of optimism, nothing can stop you. If you could boil it down to one thing, what would you say is the most important aspect of building a successful venture? It’s often a combination of things, including having the right idea, identifying your core customers, hiring the best team, and finding the most suitable facilities to operate from. However, in the beginning, it’s just you – you, and only you. Your self-belief, ambition and determination has to be matched by the strength of your business plan, the accuracy of your numbers, and probably a bit of blind luck! Nevertheless, the only ventures that successfully get off the ground and build up and up are the ones that refuse to be held back by the naysayers at the start.
MY FATHER’S MANTRA WAS ALWAYS: ONE DOOR CLOSES AND ANOTHER ONE OPENS Hilary Devey CBE
How do you decide whether a person is a good match for your team? And how closely are you involved in the hiring process? When I’m hiring, or sizing up potential business partners, I look for a number of qualities. I want selfless people, who are self-motivated, tenacious, focused, and who come with bags of energy. I’m not a fan of ‘yes-men’. I’d rather find people who can challenge and debate, but also accept when they’re wrong. Often, people’s biggest strengths emerge when they’re in a low moment. The best people are those who understand that if they make a mistake, they will ensure that they won’t make it again. I like that – it’s honest, and it shows a willingness to improve. I still get involved in the hiring process, because it keeps me on my toes. We all need to go through learning curves, and they’re a common part of life and business. So, give me someone who can hold their hands up and say ‘I messed up – and I ensure it won’t happen again’, over someone who passes the blame any day.
Is there an area or a sector you are currently especially excited about? Though I was Small Business Champion for the EU Referendum’s ‘Stronger In’ campaign, I am interested in seeing how the process of extracting Great Britain from the EU plays out. There are many jobs and businesses at stake, and though I wouldn’t say I’m particularly excited about the situation, I will be keeping a close eye on proceedings. Were you ever treated differently as a female leader? If so, how did you react to this and develop the confidence to become the powerful business woman you are today? It’s happened to me throughout my life, but the most significant example I can think of occurred when I initially had the idea for Pall-Ex. I knew I’d need capital to get it running, so I went to the bank for a loan. Despite going to them with a business plan so accurate it traded pound for pound and pallet for pallet, they turned me down. I knew immediately I was turned down because I was a woman, and because the bank manager was, frankly, a misogynist. He patted me on the head, and said I had no chance in business. He told me one in every three businesses fails, and that I should go home and look after the child. I had to sell my house and car, and everything but my son (and myself) to raise the money. I needed £112,000 to get Pall-Ex going, and that was what I put in all on my own. It’s fair to say although he was far from an inspiration, that particular bank manager unwittingly gave me a boost of determination to succeed, and I’ve never looked back since.
HILARY DEVEY CBE
SIR ALEC REED CBE The founder of Reed Executive Limited shares his insight and advice with Pahini Pandya, a Life Sciences PhD candidate at King’s and committee member of the KCL Innovation Forum. She quizzes Sir Alec Reed CBE on his first steps, lessons learned and what motivated him to launch Reed over 56 years ago.
You started business at an early age, the first one with your brother. How did that come about? Our first venture was making lead soldiers in 1944, when I was ten years old and my brother was 14. Having traded a plastic revolver for a mould of a mounted soldier, we gathered lead from the pipes of houses that had been bombed and melted it into the moulds. We sold them through the milk lady, and as there weren’t any toys available at the time, they sold remarkably fast! Other ventures included printing Christmas cards which we sold to family and friends, and making aftershave. We saw these as hobbies and enjoyed them greatly. What were the key lessons you learned from your early endeavours? Two of the most important lessons I have learned are: cash is king, and respect your colleagues and co-workers. What motivated you to start your own business, and why did you start Reed? I was motivated to start my own business both by frustration and fear.
Lightning questions Ballet or opera: Ballet Theatre or cinema: Cinema Favourite food: Nuts Top holiday destination: Somewhere distant and new
THE BURNING QUESTION TODAY IS ‘HOW WILL YOU IMPROVE MY LIFE?’ Whilst working as an accountant, I had felt frustrated. I had so many ideas and no way of putting them into practice. I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny and experiment with my own ideas. Additionally, my brother had started a printing business, and I felt a real pressure to compete with it. In the 1950s it was difficult to find good staff, so I left my job as an accountant and started an agency of my own.
Looking back at your entrepreneurial journey, what things would you have done differently? Rien regrets. What four pieces of advice you would give to the budding entrepreneurs at King’s? Rectitude, Education, Enterprise, Dedication: my family motto.
www.reed.co.uk Pahini: @PTC_Solutions
You are a successful entrepreneur and a philanthropist. What has been your biggest success so far? My biggest success has undoubtedly been Reed Employment, from which everything else has grown. What skills do you think were indispensable for your success? Innovation and knowledge of accountancy. 2016–17 issue 31
Welcome to the Start! de-stressing pages, because even superheroes need to hang up their capes and relax once in a while... Entrepreneurial word search E J W Z B H V R O T L C D T
B W K L F K X N A Z T A A S
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Confidence • Opportunity • Innovate • Future • Ambition • Pitch Entrepreneur • Startup • Intrapreneur • Investment
3232 @InnovateKings @InnovateKings
Is there a science to entrepreneurship? Or an entrepreneurial approach to science? Dimitri F. Dimitriou should know; as well as being a King’s alumnus, he’s also Co-founder and Chief Executive of ImmuPharma plc. He outlines the process of transforming scientific research into a marketable product. The biotech sector typically implies new drug development and is almost synonymous with pharmaceuticals, but the technical difference is that biotech involves biological drugs vs “small molecules” (e.g. biotech = proteins, antibodies and in general “large” molecules). It’s an exciting area of health and a relatively new industry. What is more important in life than health? If one can therefore innovate, enjoy research (which is different from “development”, more on that later), and also help people’s health, one should feel quite happy to be able to make a contribution in life. Knowledge and innovation are not a direct function of time. One person could be researching throughout their lifetime and not come up with an innovation that makes a real impact, and another could come up with an innovation in a short amount of time. Great! But what good is an innovation if it stays in an archived journal, on a shelf, or worse, in electronic form left in a folder that gets older and older?
Create a home for the project
MAKING BIOTECH MATTER
How can an innovation make an impact? At least in the space of biotech, probably only by reaching the people it’s supposed to help. If it’s a possibility of a new drug, that’s not easy! That’s where development comes into. The “research” comes up with the novel idea. To reach the potential end-users who will benefit, one key step is creating a new company to become the home of the project and help development. To form a company is very easy; to keep it alive, not so
FOR A NOVEL PROJECT TO REACH THE MARKET, MANY THINGS ARE NEEDED. FUNDING IS ONLY ONE OF THEM easy; and to make it succeed, quite difficult! But the rewards are huge.
Entrepreneurship is not everyone’s cup of tea… Scientists by default enjoy trying things; understanding how things work, testing, innovating, creating, solving challenges. One would logically presume therefore that a scientist would also be entrepreneurial. That’s true! And a very good start indeed. Being an entrepreneur is a dynamic, not a static state, and one of the key factors of success is the desire for continual learning (which scientists logically have), and adapting to new situations. An entrepreneur must surround himself/herself with the most competent people accessible, must incentivise his/her team, must be realistic to accept losing control of the company as investors invest, and must be happy to also find a better replacement when the time is right.
are generated in academia, which is expected of course, however, they can’t be further developed because the budget does not exist, neither does the development expertise and commercial expertise. If done properly, this creates a future source of funding for the academic institution. In the US, where people are more commercially focused, since 1980, universities have spun-off 5,000 start-ups, creating 3.8m jobs, resulting in 965 new products and, between 1996-2013, the economic impact was $1.1 trillion (Source: www.autmvisitors.net). Dimitri F. Dimitriou wins Breakthrough of the Year award at European MediScience Awards 2009.
The only way forward? For a novel project to reach the market, many things are needed. Funding is only one of them (and unfortunately it does not come easy either). It’s the whole process and expertise that are the other pieces of the puzzle. But many innovations 2016–17 issue 33
I wake up. I really enjoy jumping into the operations of businesses we are involved in or considering for investment. A highlight of investing is learning how industries really work – everything from waste-to-energy plants to mobile phone payment platforms to Formula One. Each business is exciting in its own way, and I spend as much time as I can with those businesses bringing our expertise from other sectors and the financial markets more generally to bear on their success.
How do you set targets? What does a good investment look like? Fares Alaboud, King’s postgraduate researcher in the Department of Informatics, puts these questions (and more) to Robin Saunders, a founding partner of Clearbrook Capital with over 20 years’ experience managing investments.
Robin, you’re one of the most successful and inspiring women I’ve met. What advice would you give to young men and women who look up to you? Three practices have served me very well in my career: setting targets (large and small), never admitting defeat and remembering that ‘all the world’s a stage’. While ‘setting targets’ sounds like obvious advice, I have seen that people often lose sight of their own goals. ‘Where do you want to be in five years?’ was a common interview question when I was going through the ranks. And if your goals are audacious, your audience will fall neatly into believers and non-believers pretty quickly. For me, non-believers served as an inspiration, galvanising my commitment to achieving what others thought impossible. Those goals will constantly evolve (to bigger and better!) and luck will play a part. I believe that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity – a quote that still rings true in the 2000 years since Seneca coined it.
plan is compelling with a huge pool of supporting evidence; the details of executing the plan are thoroughly articulated; and the risks and rewards are in proportion, you’re on your way to a winner. My last intrepreneurship endeavour before starting my own firm involved building a principal finance group within a bank. This took a couple of years to achieve – building trust inside and outside the institution, delivering the objectives of the institution while keeping my eye on the ultimate goal of building a ‘bank within a bank’. After a couple of years of demonstrating how the business could work, the bank committed €3.5 billion of capital against the business plan. That led to creating our own firm, Clearbrook Capital.
CELEBRATE ALL SUCCESS – BIG AND SMALL
Defining ‘In-trepreneurship’ One notable goal of mine was to build a specialised investment business within a bank – practising ‘in-trepreneurship’. That’s a term I heard years before and never forgot: being an entrepreneur from within an organisation. Convincing a large institution to support something completely new can be very challenging, however it is a great stepping-stone to full-on entrepreneurship. As with starting any new business, if the business
So, keep a watchful eye on your objectives, remind yourself daily what you want to achieve… and using seemingly boring lists has helped me accomplish most things I wanted out of my career and life. When you tick off those objectives – big and small, it feels great! Celebrate all successes – big and small. Never admit defeat: my daughter said to me one day, when she was only eight, ‘you have to learn how to fail before you can learn how to succeed.’
And I thought, if she remembers that, she will go very far in life. I have led teams to complete some groundbreaking transactions in my life, and each formed part of my big picture journey. I have been told ‘no’ hundreds of times, and stepping over the nos like fallen leaves has been critical to crossing each finish line. The most rewarding experiences of my career involved convincing the nay-sayers to hop on board and be part of designing the solutions to mitigate risks, exploit the opportunity and make the vision a reality. This leads me to my last point…. All the world’s a stage… And we are but one player on that stage. It is very difficult to achieve anything alone. As a result, we will be performing and selling our vision, our abilities, our approach to problem solving, our passion and ourselves to get things done. Inevitably we need people around us pulling in the same direction: our own team members, customers, suppliers, bosses, investors, lenders, regulators, even our peers, you name it. The way we conduct ourselves in business today can pay dividends tomorrow, in a year or 10 years, from the most unsuspecting people. If a start-up company or management team approached you seeking investment, what is the first thing you look for? In the founders or management team we are looking for strong industry knowledge and reputation, technical capabilities and obvious determination to achieve clearly defined objectives.
Let’s say you’d like to hire someone to join your team. What do you look for in a candidate? As we provide and arrange equity and debt financing for businesses and participate on boards in building companies, we look for individuals with strong analytical skills, financial modelling expertise, absolute dedication and a genuine passion for business. Having fun on the journey is also important, so emotional intelligence is also high on the list of attributes we look for.
We welcome ambitious dreams, but we also look for a thorough plan (practical, researched and numeric) to realise those dreams. From an industry perspective, we seek to back companies that operate in a predictable income flow business, usually underpinned by real estate and/or intellectual property. If the company is relatively new, they will need to be well on their way with proven capability (products and/or services), customers, and profitability by the time they’ve reached us. The investor base we have is focused on companies that have contractual or predictable cashflows already and can grow those substantially over time. We have invested in a number of roll-up strategies over the years including pubs, microbiology and chemistry testing labs, financial services and data centres.
According to a report by PwC, in 2010 women represented 60% of the financial services workforce in 20 global markets, yet they only represented 19% of senior management positions in financial services. Do you think the gap has affected your success, either positively or negatively? In my view, the business world is competitive for both men and women. I never focused on discrimination or harassment (although there was plenty of both, especially during my 20s and 30s). While I’m aware of the statistics, from my perspective, the business world is more equal opportunity than it’s ever been. You’re a very busy businesswoman and entrepreneur. What does your usual work day look like? Most days are filled by phone calls and meetings pretty much from the minute
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy everything related to the arts, and dance in particular. I studied dance at university along with finance, and it still features as an excellent balance to the financial world. Serving on the board of Sadler’s Wells gives me the opportunity to experience new choreography on a regular basis, which I love. Through physical movement, the works manage to convey societal and political issues right through to the basic human condition… good or bad, it’s all uplifting in an inexplicable way. Equally important, whenever I can, I persuade my twin teenage daughters to join me for hip hop or contemporary dance classes too. Fun fact: what’s your favourite meal? Toughest question so far – I have many favourites: Japanese, Lebanese and Mexican and fortunately, London offers plenty of everything.
Fares: @TheMedicApp @themedicapp 2016–17 issue 35
TRAINING DR ROBOT
Jonathan Grant, Director of the Policy Institute and Assistant Principal for Strategy, shares King’s strategic vision for 2029 with Damilola Fajuyigbe, a King’s PhD candidate (Photobiology).
Arthur Zargaryan is going into his second year at King’s, studying Computer Science with Robotics. Here he writes about how King’s research could soon change the fundamentals of medical practice.
Since your appointment as Director of the Policy Institute, what has been your biggest accomplishment? For me, it has been recruiting a brilliant team of individuals who are committed to the aims and values of the Institute. It’s rare to find people who are entrepreneurial, have outstanding analytical skills, and also have the personality to work with lots of people! Persuading a group of people to invest their time and talent has been fun, rewarding, and key to our success thus far. King’s research and commercial profile continues to improve. What area of innovation here are you most excited about? What really excites me is bringing together different disciplines to solve problems. In 2014, I worked on a project examining 7,000 case studies that demonstrated the impact of UK university research on wider society. We showed that research that contributes to a more secure, healthier, prosperous and culturally enriched world is inevitably interdisciplinary. That is, innovations that improve the world occur when academic disciplines work together. Given King’s broad portfolio of research, aligned with our ethos, history and ambition, we are uniquely placed to be one of the world’s most innovative universities. King’s turns 200 in the year 2029! What exciting plans should we look forward to? Recently I’ve been helping to formulate a new strategic vision that will take us to 2029. The process has been interesting, as it’s hard to differentiate a leading university like King’s from its peers. Working with students, staff and alumni across the King’s community through workshops and other engagements, we have developed
a vision that focuses on our existing strengths, but also looks to stretch and define King’s as a truly unique institution. Our strategic priorities for the next 12 years are education, research, service, London and international. The inclusion of service and London is new, and for me that’s really exciting. It allows us to think about the broader civic role that universities play, be it in London or more broadly. King’s was established to be distinctive not by simply serving our own concerns, but by being committed to benefiting others in the wider world. I hope that King’s will be known as the university that makes a significant and innovative contribution to society.
STUDENTS SHOULD BE AT THE CENTRE OF EVERYTHING WE DO Jonathan Grant is Director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London
King’s Entrepreneurship Institute, while still young, is bringing together King’s student enterprise organisations. What are your aspirations for King’s students over the next few years? Students should be at the centre of everything we do. They are some of the most creative, entrepreneurial and innovative members of the King’s community. We should empower that energy to contribute not only to the development of the King’s Entrepreneurship Institute, but in teaching and learning, in research and innovation, and in serving the communities around us. By creating
an environment where ideas flourish, the future of King’s will be secured. As a leader within the R&D field, what steps would you recommend students take to protect their intellectual property rights? I’m not really qualified to answer this, simply because my research interests have largely focused on issues that don’t have a commercial outcome. That said, it is important that IP is protected. But for me, the motivation must be in contributing to wider society, whatever the field. There have been many recent innovations, especially in the medical field. What major problems might we have solved in the next 20 years? One of the biggest challenges we currently face is the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We have for a generation abused antibiotics and other drugs. I co-wrote a popular book, The Drugs Don’t Work, on AMR a few years ago and was shocked by the way we, especially in richer countries, have brought this impending crisis on ourselves. If we are not to see a return of infectious disease, and an associated decline in life expectancy, we need to not only develop new antibiotics, but also alternative approaches to combating infection. Although this is ‘re-solving’ an old problem, if we don’t succeed it really will change the world in a bad way. And finally, what is the top quality you look for in friendships? Humour!
Jonathan Grant and the Policy Institute: www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/policy-institute @jonathancgrant @policyatkings Damilola: www.linkedin.com/in/DammyF Publication: DOI: 10.1111/pcmr.12511
The current layout of robotics research appears similar throughout the world, whether in major universities or tech companies. The physical side (hardware) of robots has sufficiently developed, yet their programs and brains (software) are still in their infancy, hindering them. Things have been changing however; since 2009, neural networks machine learning (a computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system) and artificial intelligence (a broad technical field that deals with intelligent behaviour exhibited by machines or software programmes) have been gaining mainstream momentum, and we have been flooded with buzzwords such as “artificial intelligence” and “big data”. Despite widespread media coverage and hype, these ideas are actually rapidly revolutionising the way technology around us behaves, particularly in the domain of robotics.
Teaching the machines The growing trend has been that academics and engineers are slowly moving away from manually creating extremely complex software for robots, and instead have been embracing the idea of teaching and training these machines by feeding them large amounts of data, or by teaching them through trial and error. This approach has allowed us to solve incredibly complex problems that had previously seemed impossible, including flying drones, helicopters and controlling advanced robotic arms. It is particularly exciting as it could well usher in
MEDICAL ROBOTICS IS THE NEXT BIG THING, OR AT LEAST THE MOST EXCITING ONE Arthur Zargaryan, President of King’s Robotics Society
a new era of medical robotics, and subsequently a new medical renaissance. Medical robotics is the next big thing, or at least the most exciting one; imagine that major surgery becomes so cheap and reliable that performing it would be as banal as curing a common cold. Amazing right? Unfortunately, we are still far from achieving this. Current technology exists in which surgeons can use telerobotic surgery (where the surgeon controls robot arms) to perform minimal invasive operations. The technology even exists (though not as widespread) where robots can assist surgeons by not letting them cut into certain tissues. Nevertheless, we are still not
Prototype of new generation of surgical robot by Virtual Incision Corporation
where we could be in terms of these platforms’ capability. In the near future, fully autonomous robotic surgery might come: technology that can independently perform organ transplants, complex spinal surgery and more.
New generation of robotic surgery King’s College is pioneering this research, and pushing the barrier forward. The robotics laboratory is currently working on the development of a new generation of robotic surgery arms (the stiff flop project) and advanced medical-sensing technology. The advanced medical and mechatronic laboratories that we have at our disposal throughout the Strand and Guys campuses put our university in a uniquely advantageous position. We can see this in the research and advanced technology that has already come out of the labs, such as the MIR compatible heart catheter. Being at King’s College is fascinating; we are given the opportunity to contribute to major milestones in medical technologies, and we absolutely must seize it.
@robotics.kings 2016–17 issue 37
TOUCH ME, NOW YOU CAN! It was a special year for innovation at King’s. Together with Ericsson, the world’s largest telco vendor, we launched a collaboration on 5G research and innovation that addresses both technical implications and societal challenges. Research activities and experimentation focus on ultra-low latency and very high reliability applications in health and the performing arts – areas in which King’s has a global leadership position. Our ambition is to disrupt the traditional status quo in communications, thereby enabling a transition to a new “tactile internet” that will be able to convey physical, tactile experiences remotely, and thus
invoke a fundamental shift from content-delivery to skillset-delivery networks. We call this new internet, the “internet of skills”.
A revolution is within reach The impact of this will be vast and will revolutionise the way in which we currently use the internet, by creating an inter-sensory, more immersive experience, combining not only sight and sound, but incorporating touch.
The ability to touch through the medium of the internet will enhance basic but important everyday tasks such as online shopping, which will be an improved experience allowing a potential consumer to feel the texture of a dress or jacket before making a purchase. Most importantly, however, the tactile internet will transform the way healthcare, engineering and entertainment are delivered across the globe.
Transforming medicine by providing remote access surgery across the globe Dr Prokar Dasgupta, Professor of Robotic Surgery and Urological Innovation at King’s Health Partners, is revolutionising the provision of surgery for patients across the globe, by providing remote inter-sensory surgical procedures through the medium of the tactile internet. Through our innovation in telecoms and robotics, King’s is striving to achieve the provision
for surgeons to (remotely) operate on a human body, and touch and feel the organs within it, whilst making only minimal incisions in to a person’s skin, leaving behind almost no trace of a patient ever having surgery. Made possible by the tactile internet, the surgeon can now touch from all sides, and from anywhere in the world before conducting robotic surgery, thereby largely eliminating errors and thus potentially saving lives.
Prof Zoran Cvetkovic, of the Centre for Telecommunications Research, King’s College London, explores how the glove could give an unprecedented immersive user experience
Led by Dr Toktam Mahmoodi (King’s telecoms), Dr Maria Lema (King’s telecoms), Dr Thrish Nanayakkara (King’s robotics) and Dr Peter Marshall (Ericsson), we have integrated cutting-edge 5G telecoms technology with soft-robotics equipment to showcase what such pioneering technology can achieve. It was the central exhibit at the 5G World Summit in June 2016, and was highly praised internationally: “... the centrepiece of Ericsson’s stand was one of the most futuristic demonstrations at the show – a joint project with King’s College London in 5G tactile robotic surgery. This showed a probe as a robotic representation of a biological finger, which gave the remote surgeon a sense of touch. Amazing...” The work of King’s is ongoing, and our vision is to develop and finesse this innovative provision of remote-surgery, so that in the future, patients can benefit from treatment by the best surgeons, regardless of their geographical location.
Revolutionising entertainment through the creation of an inter-sensory experience The biggest challenge in delivering powerful and emotive theatre to different countries across the world via the internet, is the ability to recreate the ambience of a live performance. King’s College London is currently working with Ali Hossaini, an American artist, philosopher and businessperson, with extensive experience of introducing innovations in content, interaction
and distribution, and developing it to industry standards. The vision of this exciting collaboration is to combine touch with the traditional visual and audio aspects of a performance to disrupt the performing arts in the same way Netflix disrupted cinema, making a truly transformative and wide-reaching impact on the way people experience the entertainment remotely. Thanks to groundbreaking innovations taking place at King’s
College London, entertainment will become an enhanced, immersive experience for audiences across the world. Through the inclusion of touch, it will become possible for a viewer to feel the vibrations of a violinist’s bow, or feel the thud of a performer’s heartbeat, providing a more realistic atmosphere and greatly adding to the excitement and intrigue.
WE CALL THIS NEW INTERNET, THE “INTERNET OF SKILLS” Visit the test lab Experimental activities include the set-up of a 5G Tactile Internet Lab with testbed capabilities, enabling the easy creation, testing and adaptation of radio technology in software. Our Ericsson-King’s College London 5G Tactile Internet showroom showcases developed prototypes and connects to real-time live test beds in London and globally. Come and visit us! Professor Mischa Dohler, Head of the Centre for Telecommunications Research at King’s, said: ‘In addition to groundbreaking telecommunications paradigms, computer science, such as innovative artificial intelligence and edge-cloud technologies, and robotics such as novel edge-haptics, will be used to pioneer the tactile internet, which is one of many opportunities that 5G will enable.’ Valter D’Avino, Head of Ericsson Western & Central Europe, said: ‘The collaboration with King’s will accelerate the momentum around critical 5G services, the Internet of Things and evolved industries powered by 5G. It underscores our ongoing commitment to innovate and develop 5G with globally leading partners as the basis of a networked society and of digitized economies in the next decades.’ 2016–17 issue 39
Production, problem solving, platform/network 6 3
• What key resources do our value propositions require? • Our distribution channels? • Customer relationships? • Revenue streams? TYPES OF RESOURCES
hysical, intellectual (brand patents, P copyrights, data), human, financial
• What value do we deliver to the customer? • Which one of our customers’ problems are we helping to solve? • What bundles of products and services are we offering to each customer segment? • Which customer needs are we satisfying?
IS YOUR BUSINESS MORE:
ersonal assistance, dedicated P personal assistance, self-service, automated services, communities, co-creation
Cost driven (leanest cost structure, low price value proposition, maximum automation, extensive outsourcing Value Driven (focused on value creation, premium value proposition)
1.Awareness: how do we raise awareness about our company’s products and services? 2.Evaluation: how do we help customers evaluate our organisation’s value proposition? 3.Purchase: how do we allow customers to purchase specific products and services? 4. Delivery: how do we deliver a value proposition to customers? 5.After sales: how do we provide post-purchase customer support?
• Through which channels do our customer segments want to be reached? • How are we reaching them now? • How are our channels integrated? • Which ones work best? • Which ones are most cost-efficient? • How are we integrating them with customer routines?
• What are the most important costs inherent in our business model? • Which key resources are most expensive? • Which key activities are most expensive?
Fixed costs (salaries, rents, utilities), variable costs, economies of scale, economies of scope
• For what value are our customers really willing to pay? • For what do they currently pay? • How are they currently paying? • How would they prefer to pay? • How much does each revenue stream contribute to overall revenues? TYPES
Asset sale, usage fee, subscription fees, lending/renting/leasing, licensing, brokerage fees, advertising FIXED PRICING
List price, product feature dependent, customer segment dependent, volume dependent
• What key activities do our value propositions require? • Our distribution channels? • Customer relationships? • Revenue streams?
• What type of relationship does each of our customer segments expect us to establish and maintain with them? • Which ones have we established? • How are they integrated with the rest of our business model? How costly are they?
Optimisation and economy, reduction of risk and uncertainty, acquisition of particular resources and activities
MOTIVATIONS FOR PARTNERSHIPS
• For whom are we creating value? • Who are our most important customers? Mass market, niche market, segmented, diversified, multi-sided platform
• Who are our key partners? Who are our key suppliers? • Which key resources are we acquiring from partners? • Which key activities do partners perform?
ewness, performance N customisation, ‘getting the job done’, design, brand/status, price cost reduction, risk reduction, accessibility, convenience, usability
1. don’t write on the canvas, use sticky notes in several colours to keep things flexible. 2. keep your ideas rough. 3. one idea per sticky note, don’t make bullet points, so you can play around with your business model. 4. visit strategyzer.com for an instruction manual.
With the business model canvas you can sketch out new business ideas or visualise existing businesses. Bring your completed canvas to the Entrepreneurship Institute team and win a book by Bill Aulet, MD of the Martin Trust Center for MIT; Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Start-Up.
TIPS ON USING THE CANVAS:
THE BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS
Negotiation (bargaining), yield management, real-time-market
© 2016, Strategyzer AG www. strategyzer.com. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
2016–17 issue 41
BEING IRRESISTIBLE IN THE AGE OF NOW 42
Four lessons for entrepreneurs from former Saatchi & Saatchi Chairman Kevin Roberts from his new book 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World (June 2016). Building a business from an idea is the hardest and most satisfying and rewarding thing you can do in life. This is what entrepreneurs do. Entrepreneurs are crazies. ‘It can’t be done’ isn’t in their vocabulary. George Bernard Shaw nails the essence of entrepreneurship: ‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’ Entrepreneurship is hard yards because we live in a VUCA world. Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous. VUCA is a military acronym that has penetrated business speak. It recognises that running a business has become like flying through an asteroid field. In a 2015 survey of Fortune 500 CEOs, rapid technological change was the greatest threat. Ninety-four percent of respondents expected their companies to change more in the next five years than in the past five. An entrepreneur is a radical optimist. Entrepreneurs don’t get distracted by VUCA negativity, not when seven billion people need to have shelter, eat food, drink water, stay healthy, get along, be happy, pay for it all, keep the planet green, and fight off aliens. Entrepreneurs go SUPERVUCA, building a vibrant, unreal, crazy and astounding world.
BRAND MARKETING IS DEAD, SO DON’T SPEND MUCH TIME ON THAT I often get asked to provide ‘top tips’ on branding/marketing for businesses. Brand marketing is dead, so don’t spend much time on that. Marketing was something done to consumers by marketing departments and imposed on people through perfect media
distribution systems. The web and social blew all that up, and transferred control from marketers and retailers to consumers. It took the telephone 75 years to reach 50 million users. It took the Angry Birds app 35 days. We live in the Age of Now, an era of instant connections where the ultimate drive force is the idea. Ideas are reframing every industry there is. Technology enables them, but it is the idea that is the currency of today.
THE BURNING QUESTION TODAY IS ‘HOW WILL YOU IMPROVE MY LIFE?’ There is a premium on originality, and ideas are at the centre of a new order of value. It is not brands. Like marketing, brands are dead. Today, everything is a brand because quality, service, availability and operational excellence are embedded. Brand respect is a table stake. You’ve got to have respect, but it won’t command premiums or power loyalty. Respect has been commoditised by rapid imitation, borderless competition, fast-cycling innovation, rising standards and promiscuous consumers. People can choose to block you, ignore you, scorn you, embrace you or applaud you. To convert and keep people, work with the primary driver. Neurologist Donald Calne: ‘The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.’ The burning question on lips today is, ‘How will you improve my life?’ Brands have no answer to this. Brands used to be irreplaceable. Nothing is irreplaceable now. People can replace anything from anywhere. You have to be irresistible, a Lovemark. 2016–17 issue 43
Owned by companies
Owned by people
Created by respect
Created by respect and love
Loyalty for a reason
Loyalty beyond reason
Aim to be irreplaceable
Return on investment
Return on involvement
There are four keys to becoming a Lovemark in this rapid age.
#1 Start with Purpose Purpose is the framework for executional excellence. Purpose creates belief, belonging and direction. Revolution begins with language. Every day should start with inspiration. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr did not say ‘I have a mission statement.’ A leader inspires people to be the best they can be in pursuit of a dream. Dreams are about reaching for the stars, not counting them. Dreams should go beyond. Compare the England and NZ rugby union dreams of late. England rugby dream: ‘To win the World Cup in our own country.’ All Blacks: ‘To be recognised as the best rugby team that ever played the game.’
#2 Stay in Beta
Kevin Roberts, speaking at an Entrepreneurship Institute event in October 2015
In a world at parity, ideas are the difference, the currency, and entrepreneurs are our new super heroes. Double Nobel Prize winner Dr Linus Pauling said the way to get a good idea is to have lots of ideas. The cultures with the most ideas, generated fastest, will win. Get to your big idea by having lots of small ideas and testing them quickly, cheaply and widely. Chances are your customer or your audience
will turn one of your 20 small ideas into a big one. Creativity is often staring you in the face. Look for the surprisingly obvious. It is now obvious that you shouldn’t need to own music to get all the music you love. Speed up by asking three questions of any idea: Do I want to see it again? Do I want to share it? Do I want to be in it?
DR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR DID NOT SAY ‘I HAVE A MISSION STATEMENT’ #3 Use the Three Secrets People care most about three things: mystery, sensuality and intimacy. Mystery, the stuff we don’t know, priceless. Great stories are at the core of mystery. In 1996, Rolf Jensen, a futurist, said: ‘The highest-paid person in the first half of the next century will be the “storyteller.” The value of products will depend on the story they tell.’ Story sharers are the new heroes. The entire purpose of communicating today is to have people share your stories. Sensuality is sight, sound, scent, touch and taste, the enthrallers of
emotions. Consumers operate on all five senses, and most brands do not. Offer people a sensual journey. Intimacy is empathy, commitment and passion. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture. The Ritz-Carlton nailed it when they changed their slogan to ‘Let Us Stay With You.’ Technology, robots and data don’t do empathy. People like technology, but people love people. Intimacy is unbeatable.
#4 Execute, Execute, Execute Chess Grand Master Savielly Tartakower said: ‘Tactics is what you do when there is something to do; strategy is what you do when there is nothing to do.’ In a high-speed world, velocity defeats strategy. Be bloody quick or be beaten bloody. Execution is the killer app, the difference between getting things done and making things happen. You can’t be consensus-driven, process-driven, or horizon-driven today. To win, be now-driven. Run 100-day plans. Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast. Fuse inspiration, ideas, emotion and momentum into the ultimate business package, the irresistibility of a Lovemark. ■
www.saatchikevin.com @KRConnect 2016–17 issue 45
TAKING THE OFFLINE ONLINE Russell Hall, co-founder of taxi app Hailo, spoke to King’s students at the Entrepreneurship Institute’s event in February 2016. Here, he talks first steps, family and his prized football coaching badges. I’m from the East End. I did all sorts; at 14 I worked in the Blind Beggar pub (famous for the Kray twins); I worked down the market in Brick Lane; I helped the milkman. It was basically anything for a bit of money. Eventually I decided to become a taxi driver, back in 1984. While I was driving, I had a few years of just chasing around, earning a few quid. In 2009 I met Terry Runham and Gary Jackson (Hailo’s other two cab driver co-founders). We all felt that the taxi business needed to change. I’d started noticing that, when you picked people up, you were getting fewer conversations with them. They’re in the back of the cab on their phone instead, and often they’d be talking about the difficulty of booking a London taxi. Drivers were seeing less work, and something needed to fill that void. Essentially, we found a problem in the market, and it turned out that the best way to address it was online.
Once we got that fire, we never stopped. Gary worked days, Terry worked nights, and I worked evenings. In the early days we constantly motivated each other, it was very difficult for three cab drivers to adapt to life as entrepreneurs. My main focus is promoting Hailo and making sure drivers get what they want, and feeding that back to the tech team.
WE THOUGHT, THIS IS IT. WE’RE GOING TO MAKE A MILLION POUNDS TOMORROW My advice is this: whatever market you’re in, understand it well, and try not to antagonise others. Get out and talk to people. If you want to create a taxi app, speak to taxi drivers. If you want to become a tailor, speak to tailors. Always make your roadmap achievable. When you go back to financiers for money, you need to explain to them
Understand your market Our initial platform was TaxiLight. First we had to convince drivers to use it, and then promote it to passengers, who would then use the app to find drivers nearby. Whereas before, you would pay £60 for the driver to come out, collect them, then add the cost of the fare on top, now you could cut out that first leg of the journey and only pay the fare cost. I remember doing our first job, with Terry late one night. Someone booked a journey through TaxiLight and we thought, this is it. We’re going to make a million pounds tomorrow.
where it’s going. Stay focused, and don’t be frightened to share your vision. Expect to work 365 days a year.
DE-STRESSING ACTIVITIES Learn to juggle
Take a yoga class
Go for a jog
Learn to juggle
Take family with you For those who want to start a business in later life, that’s obviously even more of a challenge. You have a mortgage, you have family, and family is really important. I’m always doing something; I’ve done my football coaching badges, I contributed on BBC London, and have my own podcast (The CabCast). I have two daughters, so my kids, and my grandkids, help me get some time away from all that. The main thing, I think, is just to be honest with your family, because they’re going to be coming along for the ride no matter what. There were times when my wife would watch me working on my laptop all night, and she’d take pictures of me while I was just totally focused on whatever it was I was doing. She understands the whole business now, of course.
Have a better way of de-stressing? Tell us @InnovateKings or your preferred social media platform.
@joshy_cook and @HyrumCook We play ping pong in the office when it gets really stressful and talk action points while we play.
Being President is no easy task. Early morning exercises help me keep a cool-headed attitude.
Exercise is really therapeutic. If I’m ever feeling tense, I put on my iPod and head to the gym or out on a bike ride.
Meditating helps connect you to a source of energy that’s more powerful than the material world.
Four hours of video gaming leaves me feeling jolly good when I am stressed out.
To battle pressure and tension I adopt meditation and mind control techniques.
A planned day is the best way to beat stress and procrastination: a sound six hours of sleep, a pleasant morning routine and an energetic evening.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress.
LOG ON TO
www.soundrown.com www.simplynoise.com www.calm.com www.tonematrix.audiotool.com www.intotime.com www.donothingfor2minutes.com www.headspace.com
2016–17 issue 47
LET’S GET VORGANISED
RUNNING MORE THAN A RACE
King’s alumnus Chinasa George and his co-founder Olumide Ogunlola give an honest account of their entrepreneurial journey with their Entrepreneurship Institute supported venture Vorganise.
King’s student, president of King’s Athletics and founder of London Universities Athletics, James Findon shares how disappointment and frustration spurred him to transform his sport in London.
The origins of Vorganise can be traced to the humble beginnings in a South London classroom, where we became friends during chats in our secondary school business class. A decade later, we would find ourselves pitching our very own business idea at a King’s College London Accelerator Weekender. By this point we had both completed our Master’s degrees; Chinasa studied Political Economy at King’s, and Olumide studied International Relations at Brunel University. We were equipped and ready to enter the job market. When Vorganise was born the original idea was a virtual calendar – an electronic paper with digital capabilities. Alas, we had to simplify our offering to the market due to our limited finances. Consequently, we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered how adaptable our prototype was, and as a result decided to target a few niche applications, such as digital menus and digital captions. Fast forward to today, Vorganise is an award-winning digital signage
At the 2014 London Universities indoor championships, our relay team had set our sights on a medal. Despite our best efforts, we came up short by a millisecond. I carried the baton over the line in fourth and threw it on the ground in frustration. It was disrespectful, childish and unsportsmanlike and I regret it. But it showed my passion and desire to excel in everything I do – a skill that would be important in the times ahead. At the time, these championships were the be all and end all of university track and field in London. I recognised that this presented a gap in provision and sensed an opportunity. So I started planning a three-meet athletics series called London Colleges Athletics Series (LCAS). The idea was initially greeted with scepticism. People said that hosting just one would be an achievement. But there is a time to listen to advisers and a time to persevere with your gut instinct. The skill is knowing which to listen to. I knew others had overlooked something crucial – I had assembled a team of people from different universities who wanted this to succeed just as much as I did.
IN OUR EXPERIENCE, THE BIGGEST HURDLE WE HAVE FACED WAS THE HURDLE OF GETTING STARTED company with a twist. We use electronic paper coupled with internet connectivity to enhance customer experiences. Electronic paper is a technology that excites us due its paper-like display, which can be updated effortlessly in seconds. Perfect for digitalising menus, exhibition signs, museum captions – the possibilities are endless. Our mission is to revolutionise the manner in which casual information is displayed.
A significant turning point However the Accelerator Weekender, which took place in October 2015, marked a significant turning point for Vorganise. We emerged as one of two winners of the competition, and received a £5,000 prize! This gave us the validation we needed to take Vorganise seriously, as a result we decided against looking for employment and pursued Vorganise full-time. With an initial budget of £5,000, it was obvious that
Above: King’s alumnus Chinasa pitching Right: Vorganise in action
bootstrapping would have to be our religion if we had any chance of success. For the next 10 months we would live, eat and breathe the principles of bootstrapping. We began prototyping with help from tech giants Texas Instruments, who were so impressed with our concept they provided us with all our early components free of charge.
One lesson: get started Earlier this year, we travelled to Amsterdam to attend the biggest digital signage exhibition in the world – The Integrated Systems Exhibition 2016 – which attracted a record 60,000 people. We were there to conduct some market research and rub shoulders with some of the major players in the industry. This was not only our first business trip, but also our first opportunity to present ourselves as entrepreneurs. The trip was insightful as we were able to gain a detailed view of the digital signage market, as well as network with likeminded individuals. Our concept was well received, and we established there was certainly a gap in the market for electronic paper in the display of casual information. Starting a hardware start-up is often discouraged due to the resourceintensive nature of its operations. But entrepreneurship is never without risk. In our experience, the biggest hurdle we have faced was the hurdle of getting started. If you are to take anything away from this article, let it be this. GET STARTED. Be it setting up a twitter page, or writing a business plan, the only person between you and your dream is you. As Alexander the Great once said “Nothing is impossible to him who will try”.
Learn from your mistakes Keeping them motivated and invested in the idea was critical. Projects on this scale are never delivered alone, and I needed everyone to work hard to see it succeed. I led by example and sacrificed my time to work hard for the series. The more I gave, they more they gave. Despite our best planning, the first meet still presented huge pressure on the day. As someone with dyslexia, directing an event with 150 athletes, making decisions and trying to focus on my own 200m and relay race was not easy. But I was determined not to shy away from the challenge. We learnt from our mistakes through honest reflection,
volunteer staff for its various operations. Slowly, the voices of the sceptics have been drowned out. I sold the idea of LCAS by proving there was a demand for competition. I sold the idea of LUCA when clubs saw how much they benefited from being part of it. There will always be doubters, but the figures don’t lie. London has larger, better funded and more competitive university athletics clubs than ever before.
Focus on the positive
THE POWER OF SPORT REACHES FAR BEYOND TRAINING AND COMPETITION and established protocols for decisionmaking and a chain of command to effectively handle problems. Each meet significantly improved on the last, and by the end of the series over 200 athletes from 11 universities had taken part. And our relay squad? We won all three 4X100 races to win the series championship. LCAS had jumpstarted interest in university athletics in London. But after you jumpstart a car you still need to apply the gas. It would not be enough to just host the series each year. We needed a creative way to drive the development of athletics at universities in London. To this aim, I founded London Universities & Colleges Athletics (LUCA). LUCA is a sort of governing body for university athletics in London, providing competitions, club development programmes, community projects and more. It has grown massively within the year and now relies on 16
I had started with the desire to win a medal, disappointed with my own performance and frustrated at a lack of opportunities to compete. From this negative situation, I focused on the positive things that could be done. With a team of hardworking people who shared my vision, we defied the sceptics and established a new competition. It served as a catalyst for an even more ambitious project that has redefined what is possible in university sport. Through sports, I developed resilience, leadership and the ability to think creatively about problems. These skills are transferable into all aspects of life and have been crucial in helping me set up LUCA. The power of sport reaches far beyond training and competition. It equips us with a mentality that enables us to solve problems, lead teams and face adversity head on. These skills are as vital to leading sports as they are to an entrepreneur.
James: @JFindon90 LUCA: www.london-athletics.com @LUCA_athletics @londonuniversitiesathletics King’s Athletics : www.kingsaxc.com @KCLRunning 2016–17 issue 49
TOP TIPS FOR FOUNDERS
IMPRESS THE INVESTORS
By Reshma Sohoni, Partner and Co-founder of award winning startup accelerator, Seedcamp.
London Business Angels (LBA) is one of Europe’s oldest and most established angel investment networks. Each year we review over 1,000 investment opportunities and go on to invest in 15-20. The process of raising investment is a crucial part of an entrepreneur’s journey, and provides the fuel needed to properly execute a business plan. There are a number of ways you can increase your chances of raising investment:
the way, so it’s important that entrepreneurs demonstrate tenacity and determination.
Here’s one classic myth of start-up life: the team thinks they are building the greatest product ever, so investors will simply find them and be instantly impressed.
7 Stay on top of your game. These
days you have no excuse not to keep on learning. Tech tools should be second nature. Read on the go, bookmark your resources, listen to podcasts and webinars, meet the most relevant people for you at events, try new things. Being a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of you as a person, so aim to be the best version of yourself and don’t settle with ‘warm’.
This is rarely the case, and if it happens it’s an exception. In reality, there is an extreme need for hustle, perseverance and homework to find the right investor for your business. Having done early-stage investments for almost a decade now at Seedcamp (a First Round Fund), here is some advice I’d give anyone who’s up for taking this challenge:
8 Do your homework. Never attend a 1 Set ambitious but realistic
expectations. Expect critique and pushback. Founders that are most impressive are the ones that adapt and learn the quickest. You aren’t expected to know the answers to everything. Be ambitious with your goals and vision, but have realistic steps to achieve them.
2 Have a clear vision and set goals
– both personal and professional. Don’t think just of your first round, but have a more complete picture about your company’s roadmap. Set objectives and KPIs and prioritise. How you prioritise is a key indicator of how you think, which is always important in an investor’s eyes. And always set deadlines.
3 Get to the point. Coherence in
communication and the way the founders answer questions is often what makes great entrepreneurs stand out. You hear that a lot, but try to really envision what it means for you to be authentic and put it in practice. As investors, we meet a great number of people and most of us develop a sixth sense for the superficial. Don’t be that guy.
4 Be time efficient. Time is your most
precious asset. Deciding how to spend your time can have a huge impact on what you accomplish in your business, quality of life, and overall level of happiness. Run a series of timed stage pitches and take a couple of top-level meetings, and you’ll understand instantly what 10 minutes actually mean. Have this imaginary timer set for all meetings – even if you’re discussing the Christmas party, don’t spend a minute more if it’s not needed.
5 Think ‘people first’, starting with
your team. For Seedcamp it’s critical that we see vision, drive, ambition and talent in a functional team. Being a founder will ask a lot of you as well as your team. Think of the future, but live in the present. Enable yourself and your team to have a personal life – a physically and mentally exhausted CEO can make really poor decisions.
6 Be perseverant – hustle and push
but always with respect and the best of the other person in mind. Building a successful start-up is a great challenge and you’ll bump into loads of roadblocks along
meeting unprepared. At Seedcamp we make tons of introductions, which makes it one of the greatest benefits of becoming part of our family. You shouldn’t take these for granted – some doors can only be opened once, and founders also have to put a lot of effort into it as well. Know the market you’re operating in perfectly and do your due diligence research in order to truly access smart capital. 9 Ask yourself what investors you
should target and have a realistic sense of your round. VCs are nowadays providing more support to start-ups than ever. From early-stage funds, angels with exit experience or crowdfunding campaigns to family offices and corporates for later rounds, you have a great number of choices to raise capital. And the UK couldn’t set a better landscape. Search for my Startup Grind talk this year for more on this or the “Fundraising Field Guide” book, a valuable tool to help early-stage tech start-up founders decipher and navigate the fundraising process.
1 Utilise referrals wherever
possible: all investors receive a large number of opportunities to review. Being introduced to a prospective investor by a contact provides validation and will help your opportunity to move to the top of the investor’s in-tray! Over the past five years, the vast majority of the investments made by LBA have initially been introduced to us via referrals.
2 Check the investment criteria
and refine your message to suit these: most investors have clear investment criteria, generally available on their website. Before approaching an investor, check these criteria and try to align your investment messages to these.
3 Seek SEIS/EIS advanced
assurance: the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme/Enterprise Investment Scheme account for circa £2bn of investment per annum and are highly attractive to individual angel investors. SEIS/ EIS advanced assurance is often a pre-condition of an investment round, so the sooner you can have these to hand the better!
4 Put together a financial model:
your financial model offers an insight into how you see the business evolving over time. Whilst a financial model can never be more than a forecast, an entrepreneur should be able to articulate the key drivers of their business, and convince the investor that it is realistic and feasible.
5 Be flexible: it takes time to raise
investment and it is much like selling a product to a blue chip client – on average it takes three months. To expedite the process it’s important to be flexible and be prepared to negotiate on the terms of an investment deal.
6 Have a clear investment pitch
deck ready: in the first instance, investors will want to review an investment pitch deck, which should emphasise the key elements of the business: the value proposition, management team, channel to customers and financial models etc. Keep it nice and snappy and generally aim to stick to 10-15 key slides.
7 Create a DD dropbox: a Due
Diligence Dropbox enables all of your main investment documentation to be stored in a single vault – this may include I.P agreements, sales pipeline analysis and employee service agreements. This makes an investors’ DD process significantly easier!
8 Speak to fellow entrepreneurs: the
entrepreneurial eco-system is based on collaboration and sharing of best practices. When raising capital, speak to fellow entrepreneurs who have successfully raised in the past, and try to get a feel for what has/ hasn’t worked for them.
9 Bootstrap your startup as far as
possible: there are many sources of soft-funding such as grants, that can help an entrepreneur get their business off the ground. In general, the longer an entrepreneur is able to bootstrap their business, the less dilution they’ll have in an investment round.
10 Keep the investment message
simple: try to write the investment presentation in such a way that the key investment messages are clear and understandable to everyone (and not just industry specialists!). One easy way to do this is to avoid acronyms.
By Alexander Sleigh, Investment Director and Yann Moulary, Investment Associate at London Business Angels.
@rsohoni 2016–17 issue 51
Ahmad Hamzawi is a tech veteran. He currently heads Ads Engineering teams at Google in London, and has previously worked as Head of Engineering for Emerging Markets in Zurich and CRM Engineering in California. Previous to that, he spent eight years at three different start-ups. He tells Alicia Beylan about the journey from multinational to start-up (and back again), and the lessons that remain true no matter what size the business.
How did you find your passion for tech? My father was a civil engineer and worked in airport capacity planning. He built simulations of air traffic patterns to determine optimal utilisation of airports. Sometimes he’d take me to work, and while he coded, I would sit in the computer lab with a rolodex of floppy disks with games on. That was when I was first introduced to computers. I remember seeing thick manuals about GWBasic, a programming language, so I skimmed through them and played around, writing random programs. I thought it was cool to make the computer do something.
YOU CAN’T EXPECT STRUCTURE, PROCESS, OR CLEAR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
out as you go, and will constantly be outside of your comfort zone. Then just when you think things are under control, it’ll change again. It’s a thrill, but prepare for a rollercoaster ride!
What do you think is the biggest difference between tech start-ups and large tech-based organisations? When I made the jump, I felt like I had leapt off a cliff without a safety net. You can’t expect structure, processes or clear roles and responsibilities. You’ll be figuring it
What skills and qualities do Google look for in potential interns or graduates? Google hires across a range of disciplines, so it’s hard to say without getting into specifics. Generally speaking, you should remember that Google receives thousands of CVs a
My friends and I can’t imagine life without technology. I mean, we can order artisan cheese-on-toast at the tap of a button and have it delivered in minutes. Or have you been to London recently? I can’t imagine navigating this urban jungle without Google Maps (or Pokémon Go), nor can I quite believe that it’s possible to instantly book a room in the house of a stranger living halfway across the world.
week, so you’re competing with a large candidate pool. Think about what makes you stand out. If you have hobbies or something you’re passionate about, mention it, particularly if you can back it up with an online presence. Be specific about what YOU did, and what impact it had.
What advice would you give to people transitioning from multinational organisations to start-ups? Firstly, be comfortable with ambiguity. You’ll be figuring things out as you go, so don’t expect everything to be written down and defined for you. Secondly, the pace is very fast, so prepare to work long and hard. Lastly, many start-ups fail. Prepare to spot the warning signs, and always balance what’s best for the company with what’s best for you personally. Be clear on what success looks like and stay focused on those goals. But when you fail, fail fast. Learn from that experience and move on.
WAOWI: CHAT BEGINS NOW!
What do you think is the biggest technological advance up to now? There have been many, but a more recent one I’m excited about is the convergence of the sharing economy and autonomous driving vehicles. It’s amazing how we’ve gone from decades of basic innovation in the automotive space, to a future of self-driving vehicles and a shared transportation service economy. I’m looking forward to not having to buy a car; we’ll buy in to a service that provides a safe, frictionless service that gets us from A to B. We won’t need driving licences either. Imagine a world with no driving tests! If you were to choose a different career path, what would it be? I’d definitely consider working in an existing VC firm, or starting a fund with friends. I already invest in start-ups, and advise as many as I can in my spare time. I’ve worked at start-ups and large multinational companies in the past, and have seen successes and failures, so helping entrepreneurs to find that success is what really excites me. From my own start-up days, I can remember how useful advice from mentors could be. Now, it’s my turn to pay it forward.
Martin Hartt won Apple’s WWDC Scholarship and met Tim Cook
But is it all that great? Some people say we’ve become too reliant on technology, and I agree. In order to complete even the most basic of tasks, we turn to our phones for the answer. We spend more time looking at our screen than the world around us, which ultimately takes us from what really matters: human contact. We are inherently social beings, and have a natural curiosity for discovering and communicating. Despite that, talking to new people can be hard. We all know the feeling; standing awkwardly in the middle of a party, ostensibly there to meet people and yet somehow spending most of the time shuffling your feet and looking at the ceiling.
Virtually human interaction That was how Waowi came about; not as a corporate venture, nor as part of a grand business plan. My brother Rudi and I conceived of Waowi simply as a cool way to connect people. It’s a voice chat network where people can privately discover each other through short audio recordings, and then connect
WE ARE INHERENTLY SOCIAL BEINGS, AND HAVE A NATURAL CURIOSITY FOR DISCOVERING AND COMMUNICATING Martin Hartt, King’s student
in live conversations. Basically, it’s practice for talking to new people, using the very technology that can so often be socially alienating in the first place. Our aim was to use digital tools to enhance the most natural of human exchanges: using your voice to have real conversations with people you’ve never met before, and creating a place where you can virtually meet anyone and make new friends.
of iOS programming and helped me improve my design skills. My overwhelming message, for those who would like to learn to code and build their own apps, is that there’s no better way than to just jump in and try it. You don’t need to commit to a lifetime of business responsibilities, or declare yourself a dedicated entrepreneur. All you need is to create something you believe in, trial it, and take things from there. There’s literally no reason not to. In my case, there was an unexpected reward when I won Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) Scholarship 2016. This summer, I spent seven wonderful days in San Francisco, and met loads of interesting people (including one Mr Tim Cook), admittedly in person this time, without using Waowi. I’ll still be using my phone for the artisan cheese-on-toast though… by Martin Hartt, King’s student
The cherry on top For me personally, developing this app has taught me the mechanics
waowi.com @waowichat 2016–17 issue 53
LITTLE FISH, BIG CHANGE Social entrepreneur Dr Gavin Armstrong explains how his venture, Lucky Iron Fish, found a way to tackle one the largest global problems using a business model. Contrary to the prevailing rhetoric that emanates from Friedman economics, business should be a force for good as well as a driver for financial benefit. These principles are not mutually exclusive. But it is challenging to find a niche to promote social enterprise and withstand the pressures and views of the more traditional business community. Lucky Iron Fish Inc. is a successful social enterprise that could serve as a model for aspiring social entrepreneurs. The company was established in 2012 to tackle one of the largest global problems – iron deficiency. A lack of iron affects the mental and physical development of children, reduces the capacity of adolescents and adults to work and concentrate, predisposes people to other diseases and can be fatal. It is the only micronutrient deficiency that is seen in both the developed and the developing world and affects almost 3.5 billion worldwide.
Boost iron without pills Astonishingly, we have the scientific knowledge to cure the condition by taking iron pills, but taking pills
LUCKY IRON FISH INC. LIVES BY THE APHORISM OF “MAKING GOOD BY DOING GOOD” Dr Gavin Armstrong, Founder and CEO
on a regular basis is often a cultural anathema for many people in the developing world and the pills have side effects, which means that many choose not to take them. Moreover, the prevailing model for distribution is through government and national and international aid programmes, which means that distribution is expensive, unsustainable and ineffective. The Lucky Iron Fish® is based on an old idea that cooking in an iron pot boosts iron in the diet. The fish was developed to release the right amount of iron to augment the diet, and it has been shown to be
effective in reducing the prevalence of anaemia.
Commitment to social good But the strength of the company is its commitment to social good. Woven into every aspect of our business, are efforts to reduce negative environmental impacts, provide training and employment for those who are normally marginalised, and to seek opportunities to engage and lever support from the developed world to benefit people in the developing world. Lucky Iron Fish Inc. is recognised as Canada’s top performing Benefit Corporation and among the top 1% in the world. Approval as a Benefit Corporation is a third-party assessment of social, environmental and humanitarian impact. Lucky Iron Fish Inc. lives by the aphorism of “making good by doing good” and stands as a model for others to emulate. It is possible to create for-profit business that makes a difference, is a force for good and is financially successful. Learn more at www.luckyironfish.com.
over 34500 under 1000
under 1000 See how many Lucky Iron Fishes are there around the world
under 1000 over 4000
2016–17 issue 55
Photo: Nick Wood
Our team are always happy to help and support you. Send us an email or drop by our office in the prestigious Bush House building, where you can also meet our King’s20 accelerator ventures. Address: King’s College London, Bush House, North Entrance, Strand Campus, 4, 30 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BG.
Keep up-to-date on all our activities and opportunities, and receive helpful start-up information by following us on social media and visiting our website – don’t miss out! Follow us on Twitter: @InnovateKings Follow us on Instagram:@kingsentrepreneurship Like our Facebook page: @kingsentrepreneurship Connect with us on LinkedIn: @kingsentrepreneurship Subscribe to out YouTube channel: youtube.com/EnterpriseConnect1 Send us an email: email@example.com Explore our webpages: www.kcl.ac.uk/entrepreneurship-institute