‘The thing I worry about is that the Facebook movie and tons of seed funding have made it almost too attractive to get into entrepreneurship. Founders can live for a year or two on seed capital, have some fun and punch their lottery ticket. If things don’t take off immediately, they can simply move on’(David Cohen,Co founder of Techstars, quoted by Murad Ahmed, FT 2/9/15) | We asked 7 leading entrepreneurs if they agreed?


“It’s true: the likes of Dragon’s Den, HBO’s Silicon Valley, and podcasts like StartUp give the impression that building a business is as simple as having a good idea and finding some money to implement it. In reality, anyone who has actually tried to do it knows that it’s sleepless nights, dramatic highs and lows, and a willingness to change your product or service if there simply doesn’t seem to be a market fit. The only thing that’s certain about being an entrepreneur is that it is incredibly hard work – anyone who starts on the entrepreneurship journey learns that pretty quickly.  I’d like to think that on balance, most people who decide to take the plunge, do so with the earnest intention of being successful. And once you’ve invested your heart and soul in an idea, walking away isn’t as easy as it might seem.”

Lopo ChampalimaudLogo
CEO & Co-Founder
Wahanda

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From 3 people in a Copenhagen loft to an IPO (2014) | Morten Primdahl, CTO of Zendesk reflects on his journey!


Prior to launching Zendesk in 2007, I was working as a consultant for some of the larger organisations in Denmark. My role would typically be to come in and make progress in areas where the customer had stalled due to a lack of in-house expertise or just plain inertia.

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Milliennial femails’ anxieties about appearing too many times in the same outfit in their online photos are changing shopping habits. Is this a threat or an opportunity for retailers? (Financial Times 27 July 2015)


We asked Julia Bosch, founder of Outfittery, the online shopping service, about how the men’s market differed and to talk about the growth of her business!

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Words that inspire | 14 Entrepreneurs share the books that are essential summer reading!


The entrepreneurs in our list have raised over $240m in funding. The VC’s in our list have invested in many of technologies leading disruptive businesses.

So we asked for the books that had inspired them!

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Education,mentorship and often investment|We asked two of the leading accelerators in the USA ‘What really makes the difference?’


“When an entrepreneur is thinking about an accelerator, I would encourage them to focus on the point of differentiation between programs. All accelerators are not created equal and there are right and wrong programs for your startup.

Personally, I think the single most important thing to do is concentrate on the thematic focus of the program. The last few years has seen the rise of these thematic accelerators that focus on bringing real depth in a specific area such as Health, EdTech, Hardware, etc. The Brandery was one of the first programs to take this approach as we focus on applying the principles of Brand Building to startups in Marketing Technology and Consumer.

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‘From diagnostics to entertainment, even theft tracking, IOT (internet of things) is now becoming a mainstream automotive feature’ (Raconteur / Sunday Times 28th June) It is not just vehicle connectivity that is changing. Car purchasing is being disrupted and Carwow are at the forefront. James Hind, CEO, explains why!


Carwow is expanding the way Britain buys cars. We’ve taken the existing car buying process – in which new car buyers have no choice but to travel to dealerships and haggle for a good price – and turned it on its head, so that dealers compete for the business of the buyer. Customers pick the car they want, with the exact spec they’d like, and Britain’s best-rated dealers send their best offers.

As with the existing car buying system, the customer still buys directly from the dealer, but by providing up-front offers, we’ve eliminated the hassle associated with haggling for both dealers and car buyers. We’re also empowering customers, offering transparency in pricing and ensuring they get a fair price. We’re already working with 20% of Britain’s manufacturer-authorised dealers to improve the way the country buys new cars.

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Having raised over $9M in funding and a nomination at The Europa’s for Best Education Startup, we asked Michal Borkowski, CEO of Brainly to tell us about his journey so far!


Brainly was founded on the idea that if you create a digital learning environment and put
students in charge, they will have the opportunity to learn freely. Under this idea, we’ve
built Brainly to be the world’s largest social learning network. As an extension of the
classroom learning experience, we have connected more than 40M middle and high
school students together to support each others’ educational endeavors, whether to learn
something new, expand an area of passion, or simply get help on homework.

The power of Brainly comes from the students with the site and service acting as a place
for students to interact. They create the content, they control the environment, and they
moderate the service. We are able to do this effectively because we founded Brainly
shortly after we graduated which, since our inception, has kept us close to what students
need.

While in school, I became frustrated with the “one size fits all” approach to education.
Rather than focusing on individual needs and ambitions of young people, the education
system wrote curriculum and taught and tested students as if we were all the same. I knew
there had to be a better way.

The foundation of social learning for Brainly is a strong belief that every student brings
strengths into the education experience for themselves and others. We believe students
should advance in areas they are passionate about and be able to develop areas of
weakness.

When you put students in control of their learning experience, the classroom barriers melt
away and students learn in a way that’s only possible when there is true freedom to ask
and answer questions without prejudice or judgement. We noticed this recently when our
data showed that only about 15% of Brainly users choose to use a real photo, with the
remainder participating anonymously. We also see it in the breakdown of traditional
gender divides. On Brainly males and females answer a similar number of math and
science questions, with females answering slightly more in biology and chemistry.

We see this data come to life with student stories. We were talking to one of our students
from Texas and he said that he was never a popular kid in school because he excelled at
physics not sports. After a few weeks on Brainly, he became a Senior Moderator and was
helping other students with physics problems. Not only did he find a way to use his talent
and develop it, he actually gained a lot of self confidence and managerial skills supervising
and working with his peers.

I want to be clear that Brainly is not a replacement to a classroom experience, we are an
extension of it. Increasingly students are bringing more and more school work home, and
parents and teachers are challenged to keep up with those commitments. This is where
we come in. Once back home, students use Brainly to connect with each other in a
peer-to-peer environment where we encourage engagement by having students share
what they are knowledgeable in.

Today, we are in 35 countries and 12 languages, and truly we are just getting started. At
Brainly, we believe that for students to learn and succeed in their education, they need to
do it together. We’ve created a platform that allows students to get the help the need while
also pushing them to do more to help others. This is the future of education and we’re
excited to be a part of it.

Michał BorkowskiLogo
CEO
Brainly

 

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Jamie Oliver and the YOU-app team are plotting a self-improvement revolution | We catch up with Co-Founders Nelli Lähteenmäki and Nora Rosendahl


YOU-app, our new wellbeing app is gearing up to revolutionize self-improvement. The weapons: micro-actions, positivity, and support.

We all make big resolutions. Eat better, move more, get organised… These resolutions are ambitious, vague, and most of us stumble to fulfil them, coming out feeling worse. In fact, more than 9 out of 10 fail, and the huge self-improvement market, including weight-loss, self-help books, fitness programs etc. is filled with frustrated customers who have learned to expect failure. It’s a market just waiting to be revolutionized.

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Stephen Rapoport talks about his new project,raising £2m Series A and why the coffee market is ripe for disruption.


Running out of coffee at home can be a real pain. I remember waking up one Saturday morning and the coffee jar was empty so I had to go out to a local corner shop and buy a sub-standard, overpriced bag of big-brand coffee. I’d known for a while that coffee tastes better when it is freshly roasted and that coffee in the supermarket has often been sat on the shelves for months going stale.

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Discussion| As Farfetch is valued at $1bn we ask leading entrepreneurs ‘are renewed fears of the UK’s tech sector being overhyped justified?’


As online retailer Farfetch is valued at $1bn we asked ‘are renewed fears of the UK’s tech sector being overhyped justified?’


‘The VC market in Europe is hot right now, but I don’t think it’s out of control. UK tech valuations are still a pittance compared to the Silicon Valley. Farfetch is an impressive business which has grown tremendously in the last 5 years. $90m in revenue and zero EBITA doesn’t justify a $1BN valuation at face value, but it’s all about growth rate (and Farfetch is booming and has investors willing to get behind it at this price). I’ll be watching these guys closely, along with the rest of the sector over the coming 12-18 months. The market is swelling, but it’s not about to burst’

Andrew HunterLogo
Co-founder
Adzuna

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