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SPEAKER: M1
Welcome to scaling failing and prevailing. A podcast about helping startups and corporates learn from each other through great conversations. Hi on James Parton. I run the Bradfield Center in Cambridge where we help tech companies scale and hosted hundreds of free tech events every year. Previously I’ve worked in corporate innovation Telefonica and O2 and I’ve experienced startup to IPO with San Francisco based Twilio.
SPEAKER: F6
And I’m Adelina Chambers. I’m known as the geek whisperer. I work in tech startups in corporates helping geeks understand leaders and vice versa. I also help startups from Cambridge University secure investment. This episode is really exciting because this is the first genomics startup CEO we have on the show and I personally I’m really looking forward to having this conversation with Patrick because I want to hear more about what he’s done since the billion pound event panel gave him advice on how to grow his membership and to listen back to the billion pound scale up event episode that we did.
SPEAKER: M6
That was August set aside Episode 13 so you can hear both from Patrick and the other two startup founders that the pitch to that event. I’m I’m particularly interested in talking to Patrick about his experience of entrepreneurship at the university. So both Patrick and his two co-founders are all graduates of Cambridge so be really interesting to the kind of inside perspective on you know their kind of background at Cambridge how they got to forming the company.
SPEAKER: F3
And for me I’m also interested to hear more about how come he became the CEO of a startup. Considering his background is in academia so I’d love to hear his experience and how he got into it.
SPEAKER: M4
So well. Patrick thanks so much for joining us today. Would you mind just describing what you do in a few words.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah it’s great to be here. Thanks so much. Yeah. So I’m Patrick. I’m the co-founder and CEO of SUNO genetics. We’re a startup company based here in the Bradfield center where we’re recording myself and my two co-founders will in Charlotte. We did our pitches at the Sanger Institute at the University of Cambridge and then started the company which is based around connecting people to research and genomics and personalized medicine. We have a real ethos around giving people control of their data and doing research in a very patient centric way. So I personally came over to Cambridge about five years ago to do my part. I’m from the U.S. originally grew up in North Carolina and studied math and biology there. I originally started studying math and business but I didn’t enjoy my business classes so much so I switched to biology and now I’m kind of back into into business. But I’ve been living in Cambridge last five years and adopted a dog a couple months ago so settling in here for for a while I said Yeah.
SPEAKER: F4
Patrick you and I met because you came to the billion pound event in February this year and you presented a really interesting problem which was if I believe how do you get from 2500 members to two million without a huge budget because we’re just a little startup and the panel had to give you some ideas for that. Can you tell us a little bit about what ideas you the panel give you and what did you do with those ideas now six months later.
SPEAKER: M5
Absolutely said the the I thought the event was really great and unique for a couple of reasons most pitch event Keep going keep going.
SPEAKER: F5
Tell us how we’re gonna get a cup of coffee.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah this was there’s every twisting way read this but most there’s a lot of pitch events in Cambridge and are often competitions and there’s you know and there’s nothing wrong with competition there’s a winner and loser but it does change the dynamic a little bit because nobody’s able to talk about the challenges they have it’s all up and to the right and what was good about this event is there is there are a lot of smart people in the room panelists from startup companies that have made it big here in Cambridge but also large companies try to help you solve the problem for us. The challenge was and to some extent still is we’re a two sided company. We have patients and patient organizations on one side that work with us to try to get involved in clinical trials or get access to research and then on the other side we have researchers that we work with to try to help them analyze genetic data from these patients or in some cases generate new data as you can imagine the researchers are interested in a platform that has a lot of people and the people are interested in the platform that has a lot of researchers. We have a classic two sided you know two sided marketplace or business problem. So what I was asking the panelists about that day is you told them a couple of the ideas that we’ve already been working on and asked for some ideas of their own what has been really working for us well in the last three months or in three to six months has been a partnership. So we work with patient organizations as well as other companies genetic testing companies digital health companies that already have existing base of people that are interested you know either they’re they’ve come together because they have the same condition in a support group or maybe they’re interested in genetic testing and they’ve purchased a test somewhere else but now they’re looking for something else to do to support research or to get involved in clinical trial if they have you know we tend to focus on rare and chronic genetic condition so tend to be more serious conditions so people are looking for you know looking for help in many cases are looking for insights.
SPEAKER: M4
And is that is that going so well that you’re starting to think about that as your primary way of acquiring people into your data bases or are you still going to maintain like a direct to consumer model as well.
SPEAKER: M5
Yes. So we have it we have a couple of different ways that people find the platform some have already done a test and they upload their data to the platform. Some people actually purchase a test from us. It’s something we started do recently because some people logged onto the platform. They didn’t have a research project that was a fit for them but they liked our ethos of you own your data. You have control of it. You can support research so we were getting inbound requests and started to offer these tests. But the I think the partnership model is a really attractive one because you know because these people are already organized around themes or condition that they’re affected by so you’re not you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to Facebook to find people which you know I hate from a marketing perspective as to just you know nobody likes to see Facebook ads so to throw hundreds or thousands of dollars at Facebook to find people instead you can work with a patient organization whose job is to help their members you know they help filter out the important stuff from the noise.
SPEAKER: M3
So I do think it’s a you know it’s a big part for us another. Besides companies and patient organizations the next big step for us is to try to partner with healthcare systems like the NHS or they’re none of this more fragmented in the U.S. and it’s different in every country in Europe. But that’s another group of people that the health care system tends to be focused on solving the problem for the people now. Yeah and less so on involvement in research. So working together with them to say you know can we can we make research opportunities available to people. And then it’s no longer the G.P.S. problem. They’re so busy they don’t have to worry about you know matching people with research projects they can focus on the right. They’d rather do. I mean.
SPEAKER: M4
It might be an incorrect perception but that feels like the prize is much greater. But the kind of lead time in landing those relationships is going to be sizable. So as a young company I guess you have to balance your burn rate with how much time you can invest into those kinds of relationships right.
SPEAKER: M2
Yeah exactly right. And to be realistic on just because we think it’s the best way to do it the health care system comes with their own you know their own set of ways of doing things. So we have to be you know we have to have you know have a big dream and vision and think that there’s a better way to do it but also be practical and that the you know the we’re not going to get personalized medicine quote unquote overnight it’s going to come in small steps and we want to be the partner of choice for these kind of organizations but can expect you can expect everything to change overnight.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah.
SPEAKER: F2
So could I just clarify so when when the panel advising the panel gave you one of the things I remember from poppy Gustafson was that you. She said just focus on getting that mess mixed member and all kind of you know you have 2000 now. So just listen it’s all about getting the next member and we were talking I remember I think I mentioned about what made the current two thousand people join. Can you tell us a bit more in terms of like something the panel told you and something you’ve been able to do about it.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah. One I mean one thing we’ve done I think pretty well since the beginning as we’ve talked to participants on the platform people who’ve joined as much as we possibly can. So you know I have a couple of phone calls a week with people who’ve joined because it helps for us to actually hear from them why they joined what they’re interested in what they found challenging as well. Because if you if you have if you just have this imagine problem in your head but aren’t actually talking to people and there’s a lot of things themes that have popped up people have off with our platform it’s people that are affected by a genetic condition they’re frustrated by not having answers from everything that they’ve tried. And and we have to balance between being scientifically rigorous and saying that there isn’t you know genetics isn’t always going to provide an answer. But also helping to match them with the high quality research that might find an answer within the next year or two months a year two years three years. And so a lot of it has been for most people the the main refrain we get is this is really great. You know I’ve. I’d love to match with a research project basically some people they match straight away but other people don’t. So it’s really you know back to this marketplace or two sided problem if we have interesting research projects that are applicable to people then you know then they have a great experience on the platform and that feeds into our marketing as well where we don’t try to get anyone and everyone on the platform we try to reach out to people who are fit for the research project. Otherwise you know you’re just collecting email addresses and people sign up and they’re not getting anything out of it. And for us that’s not you know that isn’t the most sustainable way to grow I want everyone who joins to have a good experience whether it’s to learn something about themselves through one of our reports or join a research project or both.
SPEAKER: M4
I like waiting on where you spend the most time you know just having a bigger pool of participants attract the research project. So was it vice versa or a yes. I think equally between the two.
SPEAKER: M3
There’s there’s kind of three broad classes of research projects that we’re working on. So one is recruitment for clinical trials and some of the most interesting projects we’re working on our clinical trials that involve genetic biomarkers so they’re recruiting based on a genetic feature. And that’s been really good for us because we have a bunch of people who have genetic data so we can much more efficiently screen people based on their genetic data whereas if you if you do it if you genetic test people afterwords and it’s a lot slower and more time consuming the second is there are a lot of companies working on cellular models so they are interested in collecting blood from someone and turning it into a stem cell and using that to test drugs in high throughput for example. This is a again you need specific targeted people. And and for us it’s really important that the participant in these projects know you know they know what they’re signing up for they haven’t just given a blood sample decades ago that’s now turned into a you know that’s turned it into a product somewhere there you know it’s very important to get the consent and informed consent right on this so those are the two that we’re doing the most of now in the future there and this is what a lot of the large pharmaceutical companies are interested in is analyzing data on a very large scale. So hundreds of thousands in couple of years would be millions of people that they can put into their drug discovery pipeline. They use the genetic data to try to optimize the drugs that they choose. And we’re not quite at the scale yet to be able to do those kinds of projects but that’s where we’d like to be able to move in the future as we grow and you enrich your data with other data set.
SPEAKER: M4
So was it purely your own.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes. So it’s it’s enriched with a lot of other there’s a genetic says for it for historical reasons. Very open open data driven community says a lot of open data that we can use to annotate the information that we have and enrich it. So it’s very good from that perspective. One of the I guess one of the double edged swords of the openness of the field is that there’s a lot of anonymous eyes and aggregated data around but there’s very little it’s hard to get data on an individual level. And that’s kind of where we try to come in because if you want data on an individual level in my opinion at least you have to have the consent model and that thing nailed down really well. If you have if it’s a little bit Facebook style where you don’t know who has access to your data and it’s kind of floating around out there then it makes people really uncomfortable so we’re you know we’re trying to take the openness and marry it with the patient centric part so you can get access to both large scale data but also it’s actually attached to people at the end of the day so you can improve their health not just you know understand the aggregate and what trauma is data. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F2
So from what I heard through the grapevine Patrick you have momentum now and your membership has increased significantly. Can you tell us a bit more about how you did that perhaps after the event or any of the tips that you took on board.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah definitely. So so from the event there was you know there was advice around speak closely to the members of the platform understand why they’re there in the first place and double down on them. The other was about using you know using the power of the story that we’re working on something that’s really interesting and we’ve had a couple of you know a lot of great press coverage which has been no press coverage doesn’t really increase the amount of people using the platform substantially but it does help get the word out there about what you’re doing. I think what has helped us gain momentum the most has been whenever we have research projects that is the that’s the catalyst to our growth because if we have a research project then it’s a real impetus for people to join because they get something tangible out of it if we try to do the reverse where you get people onboard and promised them that a research study may someday arrive. Know it’s it’s a lot riskier and a lot less satisfying. So we start with we’ve had a three or four really interesting research projects in the last couple of months that we’ve been able to to leverage to find patient organizations and people to say this is exactly the fit for you. Are you interested in joining and then they can opt in or opt out. So that part and hopefully as we grow the more people we have the easier it is to to fulfill research projects and hopefully there’s a sort of flywheel effect going just drill into the press coverage for a second.
SPEAKER: M4
I think a lot of people you know the whole world of PR is a bit mysterious and you know people are unsure about how they can get themselves you know press coverage. So was this something like it was an inbound opportunity. I reached out to you. Did you hire an agency to put the word out. How did it come about.
SPEAKER: M7
Just yes. So we we decided to try to do most of our PR in-house. The reason being we know it can be a little bit mysterious where you don’t you don’t know if you’re working with an you know with an agency for example you don’t necessarily know what’s happening.
SPEAKER: M3
And if there’s success you don’t know why it was successful right. It’s a little bit of a black box thing and we thought that it was important enough to our operations as a company that we would you know we would do the job of getting in touch with reporters if we thought we had an interesting story to tell then we would reach out to them. And you know and if they think it’s an interesting story then they can follow up on it. So we had a couple of weeks ago we were in the part of a story in The Guardian around personalized medicine and this was just after we launched our genome sequencing kits and we had a great discussion with them about how we’re trying to be different as a direct consumer genetic testing company that rather than promising that this test will solve all of your problems. We tried to be very upfront with people that we’re a research company and this industry is still in its infancy. By joining you’re not going to get an answer to all your questions but you’re going to be matched with research projects that will hopefully get us a step. And you’re taking the first step with us on what’s a longer journey of trying to build the future of personalized medicine not a quick fix and I think they appreciated that angle of it as well because the NHS is very there they’re very interested in engaging with personalized medicine yet there’s also a lot of pushback because until you have the until you have the proof that it’s economically viable and that it really works then it can be really costly and you know to roll genome sequencing out. But what the NHS has done really well I think is they’re now starting to do genome sequencing routinely for anyone with a paediatric rare condition because it’s been proven to accelerate diagnosis. It’s much more cost effective than these terrible diagnostic autopsies that parents go on where it takes them years to figure out what’s going on with their their children. So I think the NHS is doing a good job kind of being you know picking the the most important the lowest hanging fruit and it’s good to be part of that story for example.
SPEAKER: M4
OK. So you know in your introduction you talked about you’ve come over from the US to Cambridge about five years ago. So we’ve touched on a couple of episodes elements of entrepreneurship at the university. So we had Andy Neely on earlier in the year. Jerome had some experience of starting up at the university so it would be great to ask you a few questions about your experience being an entrepreneur at the university. I guess the first one would be. Was that your intention when you came to Cambridge to actually become an entrepreneur and start a business or was it more of an academic kind of mission that you were on. How did that come about.
SPEAKER: M7
Yes it definitely wasn’t my intention although it is throughout my research career I’ve had several great role models that do both research and and have spin out companies. So when I was at University North Carolina as an undergraduate I worked in a nanoparticle lab with a guy named Joe de Samoan who’s now running a company called Carbon that does 3D printing and while I was a student in his lab he was spinning out a company every two years and it was a really interesting exemplar to me if you can do great science and you know and spin it out to do something you know something that lives beyond the science paper you know.
SPEAKER: M3
And when I was in my Ph.D. I worked with Matt Hurley’s who’s at the Sanger Institute and he co-founded a company called Angelica. Well you know and is still part of the company and he’s an amazing human geneticist and so it was you know there’s. And he’s primarily an academic researcher so he hasn’t left to work at congenial. But I think he saw and with his colleagues that the what they’d done in the lab or in the research group could have a much wider impact and that commercializing it was a way to take it forward. So I always kind of I guess had I didn’t have the academic mindset that they were two worlds apart. And as you say Cambridge is a very it is a great place to kind of I suppose as a PHC student learn by doing how to become an entrepreneur. So we did Charlotte and Will and I did loads of the Q competitions. So with you know the one of the Cambridge Cambridge University Entrepreneurs student organizations Darren Disney was really helpful to us and helping us to learn how to pitch and how to write a business plan and refine refine some of the commercial thinking you have as a PHC student Charlotte was the president of cute Charlie was president of cute very active in that entrepreneurial scene. And that’s right. And we join so we were all part of St. Edmunds college who had a entrepreneurship competition and through that we got onto the Judge Business School accelerate program which as some of your listeners may know is is a kind of accelerator program that you can really do alongside a degree because it’s one it’s one day a week. You work with mentors and it was really helpful for us as well to again just bring that commercial thinking to something that was primarily scientifically driven.
SPEAKER: M6
When did that spark happen between the three of you. Well you kind of you kind of sat around a table and said Okay we should do something like You know there’s this let’s start a company.
SPEAKER: M7
How did you know. Well we we had gone to the CU competitions and worked on different ideas with different people sometimes with each other we were those kind of people that were just you know interested in learning by doing. At some point we we started to work on something relatively seriously together. We kind of saw about six months in that it wasn’t going anywhere. And so we figured you know we basically said this isn’t going anywhere but we have another idea which is we every day we see direct to consumer genetic testing companies getting in the news because they’re selling people’s genetic data and their people technically tick the box but they didn’t realize it.
SPEAKER: M3
And so there’s this whole you know there’s a. My opinion is these companies like twenty three and me there. Their intentions are very good. They do want to move research forward but there’s a little bit of a perception problem with how you know how they pitch it to people and they’re changing and starting to do you know do much better with this the industry is changing. But we saw this as a big problem. We also saw on the research side this problem I mentioned earlier about data tends to be very very static and siloed off in our industry. So there’s that data in the health care system. There’s genetic data from a company there’s no information even on a wearable device and none of this is ever really connected together. And we felt like it would either be connected together by a company like Google or or Apple or someone like that that would pool it all together or it could be connected in a way that’s very patient centric where you own your data and it’s more of you know an API interface to your data that kind of approach. So that was the sort of approach we to take makes sense.
SPEAKER: F3
I’m really I was really delighted to hear about the fact that you said that you didn’t have this kind of mindset that academia and business are two worlds apart.
SPEAKER: F2
Yeah. And I think that’s really important and something it really makes me very excited about the world and the future of of the world when we have scientists like you being interested to be in business. And you know when you when I first heard when you said earlier that you weren’t really interested in the business courses initially it goes to show how doing business is so different than the study of business. So anyone out there who’s studying business and his board please don’t just write off entrepreneurship as a career. But I wanted to ask you what do you think. Is it the fact that you worked with the guy who runs this company called Carbon in the states and the fact they worked for the contracting co founder is that what open your eyes to entrepreneurship as an academic or what was it. Because know a lot of academics who often feel that as a scientist you’re going to business music you’re selling out. And I’m sure you’re aware of that. Yeah. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah I think it’s I think it’s part them but it’s also the a lot a lot of the skills in Cambridge are gained extra curricular they through things like q q tech the judge business school because you know when I was in my when I was in my PHC lab I was focusing on my page D 100 percent I was doing sanga. Yeah. The Sanger saw you know it was almost like a second part time job that we were working on the company. So I was working on my page D and then evenings going to events weekends working on things with Wil and Charlotte. And I think the. But my pitch to supervisor was always very supportive of that. And I think for a PHC student unfortunately a lot of it depends on the you know the vibes that you’re getting from your peers. Supervisor if they’re saying to you if you don’t go to a postdoc then you’re a failure then yeah. You know they’re the they are your you know role model and in many cases for those four years your life. But if you have a supervisor that that has a holistic view of you know we’re in genome sequencing and we get all of our sequencing done by Illumina which is a company that was started by someone here in Cambridge right. And so if you if you think about it one step above that what we do as possible because people take technology and commercialize it. People think about it that way. I think realize that you need you know you need people that are smart and working hard and not just in academia but in all you know in all parts of the industry for it to continue to grow and prosper.
SPEAKER: M4
So so I guess while we’re talking about Cambridge that’s let’s move on to like the challenges that you face growing the company. You’ve obviously decided to base yourselves in Cambridge which I assume is to be closer to the talent pool coming out the university. But I guess there’s lots of other companies with the similar ambition so how to you. Well I mean no one took us through the decision to base yourselves and growing Cambridge then I guess the second part of the question is how do you how do you recruit in an intensely competitive marketplace.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah for. For us Cambridge was I think a good choice because there’s a huge amount of life sciences talent here. Although we are also pretty software engineering driven company.
SPEAKER: M3
So far we’ve you know we’ve been able to find great people and the there’s some companies I think have struggled with software engineers specifically in Cambridge and ended up moving to London. We have a great software engineer who works remotely from London. So for us we’re now we’re happy to set up a work culture and have a have a operations that supports remote working for example. I think that’s one way that you can and some people are really good at remote working. Other people aren’t. I think in terms of attracting good scientific talent and people to join in general for us it’s really about finding people who are very mission driven. I think you hear startup companies say this a lot but we can’t pay as much as a big company. We know we can offer stock options to you know because I feel like that people should be owners in the company in the same way that we are. So. So we all share success together. But you know many people are not motivated by that. They want to be working on an important problem. And I think that’s you know that’s more important than anything is that if what you’re working on is really important and people can see if you succeed how the world will be different. And I think for you know for a lot of people that’s a really big motivator and that’s what we try to do.
SPEAKER: F2
Well that’s interesting cause that’s one of the things that Katherine Veit who was this recruitment specialist was saying how you get you as a small startup who can’t compete on price with big corporates or even bigger companies than you can actually get the right people for you by focusing on that vision and on those values and beliefs that you have. So that is nice to see it reflected in the day to day.
SPEAKER: M3
And I think I think it’s you can you can learn so much working in a startup where seven or eight people now and everyone has multiple jobs. And if you want to learn that’s you know that’s a great way to do it to figure out what you like to do best and you’re also by being thrown into the fire a little bit. You know you can. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish I think.
SPEAKER: M4
Yeah I mean you you touch on the ethical thing and that’s come up in a number of times I guess you can position yourselves from a PR perspective as being the kind of I guess the you know the good guy and in a in a shady world potentially right. Because you’ve mentioned this a couple of times already in the conversation that the the ownership of the data and the trust around that is paramount in what you’re doing.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah exactly. I think the you know I do think the majority of companies in this space have good intentions but there they have systems that are that were set up 10 or 15 years ago before people were really clued into the fact that there’s so much commerce that goes around around personal data. So now I think some companies are finding it hard to kind of rip out all of that old infrastructure that was based around not telling people what was happening with their data and shuttling it around and I think we do try to position ourselves as a sort of ethical marketplace or ethical broker between patients and patient organizations and research and there have been plenty of I mean even a month or so ago in the news there was the issue with the with deep mind and Google and the NHS data that they kind of tore up an old agreement and now some of the NHS data may be you know maybe headed back to the US so that you know that it’s a problem that we’re going to continue to face. And I think by we position ourselves value wise as as. Patient data ownership and transparency are always top of the list. So we kind of run anything we do past that first. And I think it’s the way it’s the way anyone in our industry should operate because it gives you a check on if what you’re doing isn’t best for the patients that you’re serving then what’s the way you shouldn’t be doing it basically.
SPEAKER: M4
How do you maintain control. Because the access to those data records is far more like an API interface rather than you ever transferring any data to partners.
SPEAKER: M7
Yes. So exactly so. So at the moment we we have an interface that gives people for any piece of data they upload or that they add they can control whether they want it to be available and anonymized and aggregated format which means no individual data or if they want to be asked every time. And it’s really interesting what people choose based on different kinds of data. But basically if a new request for data comes in then they get an email or a notification through the platform to say you might be eligible for this project would you like to join. And and this might sound you know it might sound like it can get annoying but the volume of research projects is still pretty low. And also most of the research projects are looking for new information. They want to know hey are you still you know you’ve been on the medication for this long.
SPEAKER: M3
Have you experienced any side effects is it working for you. So there is an element of longitudinal data and freshness of data as well that by actually engaging with the participant you you get better data as well because if you just try to collect as much data as you possibly can and then stick it in your database and you know and then shut the door then you miss an opportunity as well to actually you know keep engaged and see how people change over time.
SPEAKER: F2
Well it’s hard to imagine you know that annoying anyway because if it’s about you you know it’s about your health and something really really matters to you. I mean I remember seeing this lovely lady called Sue who’s doing some research into M.S. and seeing hundreds of people online when an article appeared about her in the news saying how can I offer my data to you how can you test this out on me and they were super keen and they wouldn’t have my 100 e-mails from her. So you know and it’s so personal and so important to your life and your quality of life I can’t imagine people being annoyed by it actually.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah we do a lot of work in rare and rare disease that is what my PHC was based on as well and in the rare disease community it’s challenging enough to get people to work on your condition because it’s often not you know the pharmaceutical companies aren’t always economically motivated to work on it.
SPEAKER: M3
So you know so there’s a there’s an incredible amount of energy and organization that patient groups to say people aren’t going to work on this just by you know just by magic. So we have to get organized get our data together and it’s amazing what you know what a group of a couple of parents can do to marshal the thousand people in Europe that have this particular condition and it’s inspiring to come to work with these groups as well because you can see how much can be done with so little if you have a motivated parent or family.
SPEAKER: M4
So just picking up your comment around the frequency. You know if you if you were working in more of a traditional SAS business or something like that where the marketing team are kind of keeping an eye on the usage data yeah. And you know. Okay so user X hasn’t triggered a transaction in know three week so there’s an activation process that goes back and starts to nurture them and get them re-engage with the product. So if the frequency of these trials is fairly infrequent once you’ve acquired what’s the terminology used as a trial list or a memo. Participant yes. So once you’ve acquired a participant what’s your kind of take on how you keep them engaged for when the next opportunity comes up. Because if it’s a period of time like this they might might even forget they ever signed up and they got kind of dormant right. So what’s your approach to that side of things.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes. So we see that in terms of the users on the platform that kind of key metric that we like to track is how many people are being matched to a research study. Because this is you know this is what’s if.
SPEAKER: M3
If they’re just logging on and not getting anything out of it we don’t want to call that success. So what we’re optimizing for somebody signs up and they join a project that’s relevant to them. But we also give free reports based on people’s genetic data. So there are and these are updated pretty frequent every two weeks or so we add a new report. So there. So there is there’s new stuff on the site all the time for people who are interested in learning more. The research studies tend to be more infrequent. So the average user might have something every two months or so that’s relevant to them. But there’s you know that we have we have a podcast we have our own podcast we do we write a couple new blogs a week and so a lot of people come back because they’re interested in and learning more. And so there’s a balance between learning more and then contributing and then they learn more and then do some contributing.
SPEAKER: M4
So there’s you know there’s a I suppose a give and take and I guess tying it back up some previous conversation around PR if you’re putting content out there it’s establishing you as thought leaders which would then lead to potentially opportunities with press because they’re going to know you guys from the content that you’re putting out there.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah exactly and it’s also getting back to speaking to our users.
SPEAKER: M3
It’s it’s really useful to hear what what it is that they don’t want to you know that they don’t know about and they want to learn.
SPEAKER: M2
So for example we do a lot of genome sequencing but a lot of the rare disease community is now interested in learning more about RNA sequencing. So this is not in the DNA. You can think of as kind of the you know it doesn’t change it’s the fixed you know your recipe for you know for James or for Adelina and then the RNA is what’s happening in every tissue of your body and in real time kind of like the software and this is one of the areas where research is going so you know we can write a blog explaining what RNA sequencing is and and you know by speaking to the users we can.
SPEAKER: F4
It’s certainly the simplest explanation I heard of DNA and RNA I remember back in biology classes squeezing my brain trying to figure out what the difference I mixed my metaphor metaphors recipe book software. But hopefully it came across as very good very good.
SPEAKER: F2
I wanted to ask you if you were able to give us a specific example of a participant you know the journey they go through through a real project they might have going at the moment in like with autism or something else. I dream I think would be good for people to understand exactly what you do because it’s I think the if I was to ask someone to explain what they’ve heard so far they probably would have heard platform API participant and met medical research maybe we were we’re part of this personalized medicine agenda but that’s about it. So I think I understand your case that would be really helpful.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah definitely. I’ll go through two quick ones because they’re they’re both sort of illustrative in their own way so. So we’ve been working on a project with Professor Simon Baron Cohen who’s a researcher and Haroon doctor friend warrior who works with him as a postdoc in his group. They’re studying how genetics influences autistic traits in the general population. So this study can be joined by anyone. It’s primarily intended for people who’ve already done a genetic test because they are asking people to upload their data and then they compare the genetic data to the results of this 50 questions survey that asks you very simple questions like I prefer to know if I have a Friday night alone I prefer to be at home by myself versus go out and party. It’s a set of 50 questions that don’t in any way diagnose someone with autism spectrum disorder but there they put you on a continuum from 0 to 50 where the closer you are to 50 the higher you are on the.
SPEAKER: M3
Autism spectrum quotient scale so so you can take this quiz you can upload your genetic data if you don’t have the genetic data then you may be able to get Gina typed by Sano genetics for free it depends a little bit on some of funding we’re waiting for and and then you get updates on the project as it goes so we keep people updated with the results of any research that’s published by the group. What you know what has where you are in the process if your data is being analyzed et cetera. So that’s one example the second one I’m working on a study based around genetics of stomach ulcers. So some people when they take aspirin they get stomach ulcers and whether you know whether you develop stomach ulcers is is related in some way to genetic predisposition how your body reacts to the active ingredients and aspirin so this is another example that’s very specific to people who’ve had if you’ve had experience stomach ulcers then you can join this study you don’t have to have genetic data because we’re doing some genotyping for this one as well but we get it we’ve gotten a lot of responses from this where it’s almost like a light bulb moment for people you know I had a message for some of the other day that said this this is literally me I know I have stomach ulcers whenever I take aspirin and I’ve been trying to figure out why for years like cool research basic I hope you know I hope you can figure it out. And so that’s the kind of thing that we we probably won’t be able to give this person an answer you know immediately of what they can do and why it’s the case but over time people like that can contribute to a problem that affects them directly and hopefully get something back in return in that kind of then implies that the company is a long devotee to what you’re doing right.
SPEAKER: M4
These these studies potentially are going to take years. Right. Notable studies in the same topics over and over again. I mean what is the what does the future look like for you guys in terms of what was your vision for the next few years with the company.
SPEAKER: M7
Yes. So you’re exactly right. The frustrating thing about research is it can take years. So I have a we have a kidney rare kidney disorder in my family and we’ve joined research projects and there is one that I sent blood to probably a year ago and we still haven’t you know they still Southern finished sequencing it or analyzing it so it can take a really long time. But there are other studies that we do that are very quick. So we recently finished a study that from start to finish took about four weeks.
SPEAKER: M3
It was it was a trial so very you know. And so it’s very time sensitive. So we’re balancing between these you know quick and and very impactful individual level studies like clinical trials where the the effect for the participant is potentially very large.
SPEAKER: M7
You’re on to something that’s not working and you get put on to a trial and it does work balancing that with the longer term slightly more blue skies research which is being done by drug discovery companies academic researchers where they’re saying you know this might take two years for us to learn anything but we’re still committed to give people those updates so we don’t just update them into years when it’s finished. But you can update people along the way right. With this stomach ulcers study we let people know when we’ve reached 100 people reach 200 people when the data starts getting analyzed you know and people appreciate actually just knowing that their sample hasn’t been washed down the drain and forgotten about that it’s you know doing something.
SPEAKER: F2
Yeah that’s true because I did actually do a bowel bacteria test myself and it just took forever to hear the results and then the results were so so so complicated and scientific I didn’t understand what they meant at all. And I asked them translate them for me and they still want me to be honest.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah I mean this is one of the I think things that the health care system needs to improve on that most test results are very readable by clinicians but not very readable by participants and there’s a group of researchers here in Cambridge actually that have been working on making documents that are friendly to both patients and clinicians. So it’s one it’s still one document it’s not like a children’s book you know play but it’s one document that both people can read. I think that that’s the future to me because people should people want to be empowered with their own health. They don’t want to especially in rare disease where often patients can. Patients often know more than their doctor because I’ve been living with it for decades or they have a child and and you know they can educate their doctor in some cases.
SPEAKER: M4
OK so last question for me. You know I think you know listening to you speak kind of really strikes me as the kind of intimate relationship that you’re building up with your members your customers your participants. And you know you’ve also got a strong duty of care and you’re really thoughtful about the kind of ownership of the data and the kind of empowerment of those users. How how do you think you scale that. Because you know right now it maybe a manageable. Yeah. Constituent the people that you signed up on the platform got no reason to doubt that you’re gonna scale in scale and scale in scale. So how do you think about that kind of problem when you’re operating millions of users.
SPEAKER: M7
So the way the way that we are thinking about that is rather than trying to build as large as possible and have millions of people.
SPEAKER: M3
We want to build in clusters or in therapeutic areas. So rather than. And the reason for this is is to we can. It can be much more personal and dedicated to those group of people in that cluster. So if we take auto immune conditions for example this is epilepsy is is an area where we’re starting to work on very soon. So parents of children with severe epilepsy have similar problems and and we can build similar solutions and stay in touch with this group much better than we can with with dozens at once and on the research side. I believe it’s also much better to do it this way because from a research perspective rather than got a hundred people with this and a hundred people with that and two hundred people with this and three hundred with that we can say we’ve been working on epilepsy and we have you know we have. We understand the patients and the patient organizations and we have good data and we have longitudinal data and the researchers can really make use of that and then we can scale the community approach or scale the therapeutic area approach. So rather than multiple talk. Yeah and and start you know. And I think that you know you can think of a lot of different ways to scale that whether it’s you have a dedicated person who is a community manager or group for example or working with organizations so you know there is other models that we thought about where you have you know we work in tandem with a patient organization or multiple groups of patient organizations to manage it that way. So yeah I think it has to scale rather than than be a one size fits all solution for everyone which I would you know would argue. Some companies like twenty three and me or ancestry have done that method where they sell a test to anyone and everyone and then try to get to such a large scale that then the clusters start to emerge. And we’re trying to do it slightly differently.
SPEAKER: M4
Yeah. I think that really comes through because you’re thinking out it from the patient’s perspective rather than the technology. Yeah which I think is really interesting.
SPEAKER: F4
So Patrick what’s happening for you next. Are you fundraising hiring firing. What’s going on.
SPEAKER: M7
Yes. So we’re you know for the least until January of next year we’re very focused on continuing to build the patient communities and execute on some of the research projects that we have running make sure we do them really well. We are not we don’t have any open positions at the moment but we’re always looking for smart motivated and passionate people especially if you know the mission of the company resonates with you so you can email me Patrick at Santo and dot com if you’re interested and we will be fundraising early next year. So we raised our first round of funding in around October November 2018. So we’ll be raising our second round of funding starting around January 2020.
SPEAKER: M6
Amazing. Well thanks so much for taking the time out. I know you’re super busy. It’s been fascinating.
SPEAKER: F4
Yeah. Yeah sure I understood finally what RNA and DNA means for expatriates Great to be a part of it. Thanks.
SPEAKER: F3
For me I was really delighted to hear that Patrick took on board the advice that he heard from the billion pound event panel and he was able to increase his membership exponentially in one of the key things he did. It sounds like I was speaking closely with the members that he already had to find out what works for them and not trying to blow my own opinion too badly here.
SPEAKER: F5
I can hear the whole main blow. I think guys said that during the vote. That was my piece of advice was it. Yes it was down to you. Yes exactly all of his success is about to say wow I really delighted to hear that.
SPEAKER: M6
I’m obviously delighted to hear that he increased his membership so much and I think building on that point I really liked Patrick’s aren’t the answer to my question about you know right now it feels like they’ve built up a really nice intimate relationship with their users. You know as you mentioned he’s he’s interviewing people on the phone and getting all those kind of that great feedback and you know that question around well how do you do that scale when you’ve got millions of people on the platform. And I think he’s a good answer in terms of building those focused specialist communities around particular kind of diseases and stuff like that.
SPEAKER: F3
So and conditions so yeah I’ve got a lot of confidence so they really have thought this through and it’s it’s looking really good in terms of the feature and also I was delighted to hear that because his academic supervisor was supportive of entrepreneurship and also he worked with the co-founder of congenital heart which is a successful genomic company in Cambridge. He was then encouraged and feel able to go into entrepreneurship from academia as well. And I think it shows again the people you hang around with they really help move you forward and influence what you’re doing. So the environment really matters. You know Jim Rhodes said you were the average of the five people who spend more time with. Really. Yeah okay.
SPEAKER: F5
I’ll explain why. Patrick’s age I was smoking and hanging out. Not doing anything constructive with all so my friends felt well it’s also that so that’s why you’re so good now because you hang around more with me. Oh. Back to you. Yes. So many people are so grateful to you for everything.
SPEAKER: M1
Thanks very much to Patrick short for coming on today’s episode. Another great conversation. The show was produced by Carl Homer and our logo was designed by Tanya’s ilk. And Ann Marie Miller of carbon orange. A huge thank you to speech Mattox who are supporting the show. Thanks to them we have a new feature the industry leading voice to speech technology has allowed us now to offer transcripts of all the shows. So if you check out scaling failing and providing dot com you’ll see a little linkup in the top navigation to our block. There you can read as well as listen to all the episodes say thank you to speech metrics. Much appreciated.
SPEAKER: F6
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SPEAKER: F1
Welcome to scaling failing and prevailing. A podcast about helping startups and corporates learn from each other through great conversations.
SPEAKER: M19
Hi I’m James Parton. I run the Bradfield Centre in Cambridge where we help tech companies scale and host hundreds of free tech events every year. Previously I’ve worked in corporate innovation O2 and Telefonica and they’ve experienced startup to IPO with San Francisco based Twilio.
SPEAKER: F1
And I’m Adelina Chalmers I’m known as the geek whisperer. I enable leaders to speak to engineers and engineers to speak to leaders. Today we’re speaking with Jerome Joaug who’s a V.C. investor with our state capital but also an angel investor. I met Jerome seven years ago before he started his first company and I helped him make really good pitches about graphene. So I really look forward to hearing more about his journey and how he sold to companies.
SPEAKER: M22
So I think what I’m looking forward to for this conversation is Jerome’s wears both hats he’s been an entrepreneur and an investor. So I’m really first off really looking forward to learning the kind of lessons of being a student entrepreneur and coming out of university starting a first business.
SPEAKER: F5
All of the kind of chaos in that situation for me also I want to understand the the biggest mistakes people make because they don’t realize especially if you’d become an MBA overnight you almost from being a student the Master’s student or an MBA student or whatever kind of student you might be.
SPEAKER: M4
What are the biggest mistakes people make the only one realize they’re making them so we look forward to hearing his opinion on that. We won’t let him leave until he’s given us a list of three things right. Absolutely not.
SPEAKER: M3
So dry. Thanks so much for coming onto the show today. Could you just introduce yourself to our listeners.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah thanks a lot first for for having me near so very quickly about myself.
SPEAKER: M9
So I guess I can call myself a serial entrepreneur because I’ve created two businesses and now so turned into like the other side. The venture capital side. So I founded two businesses the first one was a trader so the university component cocaine business systems in advanced materials for lithium ion batteries and a second one in I.T. that I sold to arm in 2017 also sold my first one in 2015. And so now I work for a large French venture capital fund and I’m in charge of deploying the fund in the U.K. and also looking at the other international offices in San Francisco in Israel.
SPEAKER: F7
So Rob you and I met about six or seven years ago. I remember you were quite young at the time literally as you were starting your first company Cambridge nano systems can you. Can you give us the time I think you were start you were finishing up your masters at Cambridge University in technical management or technology management. Management Yeah. Can you can you tell me about what are the toughest lessons you learned moving from being a master’s student to being the M.D. of a thriving company like Okay that’s this big time I would say like the the toughest lesson I learned like the first year is that entrepreneurship is really not cool.
SPEAKER: F2
I think I might be a cool kids think.
SPEAKER: M7
You know I mean even like for me as a student like I turned down a really well-paid consulting job guitar is to do like a business with basically you know initially when they. Yeah it looked cool and then like I mean to give you just an anecdote of that part of my life. So at that time when we started in 2012 I was teaching in my student accommodation and my landlady got Alzheimer. So sad story but the sad story on my side is that she decided to sell the house and forgot to tell me. Oh and I just learned like the day before the new tenants was supposed to move in because I still have another time. So obviously like I had like a nearly no salary at that time you know like I had to find the flat couldn’t find a flat in the in the next few weeks. And yes I spent a month basically sleeping on the floor friends you know. So I think like the top of the senior that’s really like that. I think people see it as cool. But I think like the daily life is it can be quite tough if you’re sort of not necessarily prepared or like properly planned. At the same time I would say like at that time if I sort of understood the risk and all the difficulties that we go through I probably would have not done it. So I think it’s also like the sort of naivety is is part of the fault of the entrepreneur Jenny.
SPEAKER: F7
Johnny So what were the toughest things that you had to learn really quickly after you got investment in the company was was going you know your student and the next thing you know you’re an M.D..
SPEAKER: M17
Yeah I think they are.
SPEAKER: M5
Well first it’s a tough question because I think at least like maybe that’s my point of view like now seven eight years down the line when I sort of have a global vision of everything I’ve done before is that in a company like every step where you I mean where you make progress. Hopefully there are some very very tough things to learn told because it’s not necessarily natural for founders which is normal. Like where we have our own way of thinking but like in a team for instance like managing for people is very different from managing 10 managing 20 50 you know like every step you need to grow with a company. And very often like when people say growth is hard to manage the thing which is how to managing growth is actually your personal growth. I mean. So like for me like in terms of tough lesson it’s like I really had to put my head into okay how to do a proper recruit months how to manage a larger team making sure that everyone is always on the same page.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah and how did you develop those skills who sat through like having a mentor or advice from your advice your investors how how did you know so those skills you said.
SPEAKER: M17
I would say I mean the main source was I would say like more I mean as a first step is always good to do a lot of personal research like reads read things.
SPEAKER: M7
I mean there are a lot of multiples of that. I like to be honest like very often is a high level articles etc. but like I think like as an entrepreneur if you’re not as stupid as I usually when you get the beginning of the information you are able to sort of you know act and understand better yourself learning.
SPEAKER: M5
So yeah a lot of self learning and then like mentors are very important but it’s very easy to find the wrong mentor. Yeah I would say so mentors it is a bit simulates that you need to have several mentors with probably like different point of views so you can actually learn from all of them. So be able to compare the different point of view so I would say like for me it was like the I would say the second source of learning. It could have easily been my my first source and then the third step which is it’s harder to do as you have your head like.
SPEAKER: M7
Sort of like you know your nose in your company but like if you take a step back taking a professional coach et cetera that’s that’s something I’ve done like. I mean the first time I’ve done that is actually after I sold my first business. Yeah. So it was sort of like the the six month break that I had before I started my second one because I had I had much more time and I actually took the time to reflect on what I’ve been doing in the past like four years.
SPEAKER: M3
I was gonna say it sounds like you got a high level of self-awareness and reflection and you know you know you’re kind of you know identifying your own strengths and weaknesses.
SPEAKER: M17
And I think that’s I mean I didn’t have that on the first day but I think like when you when you start like like the first time I really felt like let’s say I get overwhelmed is so like was it in the end to sound like begin 2014 we did our first fund raising of three million pounds. And obviously after that you recruit a lot of people. Yeah. And out of those first people I recruited I mean a lot of people. I mean I think like they were like at least one third of people that we didn’t keep beyond a probationary period. Right which is when that happened.
SPEAKER: M7
It means you’ve done your recruitment was was wrong. Basically you need to recruit the best you know there are something that you didn’t see during your recruitment process.
SPEAKER: M2
Yeah so. So back to your point you know around self awareness and experience and growing skills when you were building the team out were you consciously hiring people with different skill sets to pluck your own gaps or did you fall into the trap that I’ve certainly been in and I’m sure many people have where you it’s easier to just hire people like you that you get on with because it feels like you’re building a team you know that you can get on with gel very quickly.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah I mean this is a really good question so like the the first aspect I would say I have learned there is that first like really separating the I would say like the technical skills and then the personal slash of skills. I think like as an entrepreneur. Like when you’re sort of less experienced you only look at technical skills and technical skills it’s like Of course you need to recruit people with very different technical skills to make your product work. And that’s usually the most most people would do that. And then is trying to how do you make the engineer talking to the technician or talking to the scientists. You know that’s that’s already a first challenge but I think like the second even bigger challenge is recruiting people with different profiles like personality profiles motivation drivers et cetera. That’s extremely important I just give you an examples of for instance like I mean in large companies like everyone wants entrepreneurial people etc. You know like we we really want. I mean I really want that way you know because if you think I give you an extreme example is like if you want to build whatever a nuclear power plant right. It doesn’t matter but and you want to recruit and you recruit like a whole team of entrepreneurs then that would be really really wrong you know because it’s like the whole job is about risk management next idea.
SPEAKER: M5
And I think in a startup is the same you have to have balance you have to have people who have actually a different point of view to also like challenge. I would say like the the main thing you know the wise like when you grow a company like everything goes really fast which is like it means that first you need to align everyone but if you’re lying on the wrong direction you. Yeah. So I think it’s always good to have you people like with with different point of view who can actually channel.
SPEAKER: M2
And I think is building on that point I think it’s really important that the leader or the leadership has a supportive culture where if you are maybe saying a bit more process orientated or structured that you’re not blamed for slowing things down. You know that position is a good thing because the company needs structure and needs repeatable processes to scale. Right. Cause sometimes if you’re the old personnel in a room of crazy people engineers that are doing amazing inventive things but you’re the one that is trying to find the repeatable processes and you know saying not saying no to things all the time rather than saying yes to things you know it’s sometimes that can be a I guess a challenging environment for the for the person that’s got a slightly different profile while trying to put process when you have lots of creative engineers in the same room by leading from the area.
SPEAKER: M5
Is this is the job of the SEALs. Yeah a line although I was too.
SPEAKER: M3
You have to set you have to set the the culture. Yeah absolutely.
SPEAKER: F3
Exactly.
SPEAKER: F4
Can I ask you what would you say are the biggest mistakes that people James always makes fun of me that I like we have a list of three things you’re gonna be repeatedly asked. Well it’s you know the top three mistakes can we do a show of your top three lists of your lists.
SPEAKER: F8
Maybe. Let’s say that what nobody wants to couple this show any more. Yeah. Top three kind of mistakes that people make when they they start a big business and they are a young entrepreneur from your own experience of a young entrepreneur because remember you’re about 25 or 26 24.
SPEAKER: F6
Yeah. Really young. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean the first is I wouldn’t.
SPEAKER: M7
I mean I would classify that as a mistake but I would say it’s something quite common which is some other people may not consider it as a mistake first is relieved to have like the the right mindsets about the concept of learning so you know like I mean a lot of people would tell you like yeah entrepreneurs you need to learn etc. But I think like what you need is really something which is beyond learning and I give you an example that that you actually like understand like quite like straight away which is like imagine like you playing tennis you’re never going to become like Roger Federer if you just go to work and play a few balls every day you know. So like as an entrepreneur it’s like you need like your job. At the end is to become an Olympic champion. It’s like everything you go through when you think about it like growing a company like killing you raising funding and is really like it’s about that. And for that you have a lot of skills not just that you need to learn but really to master. I mean people can be good at everything. But it’s like at the end like the job of the CEO is really to estimate as many of those cues as possible. And obviously like when it’s not since it’s not possible to do everything yourself you need to recruit people who are better than yourself in those key skills but yourself you need to understand those aspects before and when you think about like I mean Roger Federer for instance it’s like when you think about like a world class athlete like everything that they need to go through they’re not just going they’re playing the ball. You like that they go to the do the the gym they train the strength that train they called. They have a psychological coach. They have a physical coach. They have a big game play coach you know. They have like all this. So those support structure around them and I think like when I started I do. I mean no one would do that but I mean athletes like for me like I didn’t sort of build that superstructure on me. I just went in and you know learn on the fly and yeah that’s what most people do. But I think that looking back I would have like I would have been so much more efficient and it’s just I would have avoided myself so many painful things that you know in the company you get problem every day and then you solved them. But when you think when you take a step back in the first place you could have avoided most of those problems. So that’s really like Yeah I first my I was in.
SPEAKER: F5
So you’re telling people they should get a coach not just one.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean a coach. Definitely yes on specific aspects. In general I would say not just one coach because I think like I mean for instance like my my my my my background is is mathematics. Like that was my undergrad master until I arrived in Cambridge where I only did business. There was a phase in my life where I was talking to people with the equations you know like so you just do so you like sort of how five been through like in the past year and the thing is like imagine like for someone like with this really technical scientific profile like if you start a company I mean you have so much to learn. You have like management marketing sells you know product management. You know it’s in churn a culture values et cetera. Yeah. This is so many things so one coach is never going to be another thing is several but it’s not just the coaches also like the learning environment around you not just for you but also for your team you know. I mean your coaches mentor mentors and also like mindset of the people around you to like implement this sort of culture of of learning and progress.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah. So a couple of thoughts spring to mind off the back of what you just said.
SPEAKER: M2
If anyone listening to this is thinking about coaches in particular rather than mentors. You are these paid coaches you know you have to think about how you can actually find money to cover the cost of getting this support in or did you find the you know people will lend you experience and advice just because they’re part of the ecosystem and want to see you become successful.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean well it depends on your personal situation. Yeah. As a as the sort of student entrepreneur I had known when had to pay. So I was literally trying to find like anything you know like take any free advice I could find making when you talk to me.
SPEAKER: F2
It’s just free advice. That’s what I mean as a friend.
SPEAKER: M7
Yes. But you know after that like you I guess at some point you need to play right.
SPEAKER: F6
I mean initially you know what. Because I think I think I saw your presentation about graphene. And I said to you right do you mean to help you make it a bit better. I think that’s how we started to be honest at that time I had no idea what I was doing. It’s.
SPEAKER: M10
Your first e-mail your help. I took it like that. But I mean just to give you an idea like a quote you need on your website. You.
SPEAKER: F2
Help.
SPEAKER: M5
Like now I mean years later for me now as an investor it’s like we in our fund like when we invest in a company we are located budget for the full. I mean allocated to the personal development. Okay interesting. And it’s not this I like dedicated to coaches we call them Nike operating partners or like it is people who can actually come in and maybe run the show project with the team. Sometimes it’s purely like you know coaching the team in a in certain aspect. Yeah I know we think like this is extremely important.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah I mean that brings up a lot of topics like you know about replacing CEOs etc. which we think like it’s it’s way too disruptive in a company it’s actually much easier to develop the founders like very early on like when we invest in seed serious series be like it doesn’t matter. It’s like at each stage of the company you founders need help and need personal development. So for us as an investor we actually look at the money for that to fulfill for the funders.
SPEAKER: M3
So in that case for instance yes it’s a paid coach obviously you find that helps you attract you know companies that want to come and work with you.
SPEAKER: M14
Is that a real selling point for you in terms of attractiveness is not necessarily the the first thing we put forward actually convince people to work with us because I mean there’s so many of our expertise it’s quite progressive sex and interest. Definitely.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah but I would say I mean the interesting aspect about that is that when we when we launched that for our portfolio companies like at the beginning it was quite hard to convince CEOs to actually take it because I mean obviously if you don’t convince I mean if you don’t sell it well it can really.
SPEAKER: F2
People can feel that they you know they feel attack argues that I’m stupid though I’ve got enough. Exactly.
SPEAKER: M5
But honestly like now after two years of sort of I would say education about just the concept like all of our portfolio companies have at least like one one mentor one coach and that’s paid by your V.C. fund. Well I mean it’s part of the money that we invested in the company but it was budgeted as nothing at the moment of the investment. Right. Right.
SPEAKER: M3
Or is it you give them the investment but then the amount that’s actually for breakthrough element that’s interesting we’re going to jump around a lot but I got another. As you were saying that the Roger Federer kind of analogy that to become a world class athlete takes so much time and focus.
SPEAKER: M2
And I if we rewind back to your student days when you were kind of thinking about forming a company I think sometimes it is hard when you when you’re at that stage and you’re trying to balance maybe study with entrepreneurship with may be thinking about a more stable career in a corporate. Like you mentioned you had an offer from a consultancy you know am I right to think that your advice there is you know is pick one and focus all in on something because otherwise you won’t have enough time to become proficient enough to be successful.
SPEAKER: M8
You mean you focus in terms of skills that you want to learn or skills and tie because like if you’re hedging your bets you know China like hunt for jobs at the same time is starting a business at the same time as finishing your studies. You know that’s a really challenging time because we hear a lot about student spin outs and the potential of student startups but you’ve got so many balls that you’re spinning or plates that you’re spinning at the same time you know what would your advice be to people in terms of how to focus to make sure that you you’re successful in whichever path you end up choosing.
SPEAKER: M14
Yeah I mean for sure you know you’re not going to be successful with your startup if you’re a part time right.
SPEAKER: M5
Right. There’s like a hundred I have never seen that right. I think like coming back to these student entrepreneurs things I think like the balance is more like as long as your students you paid to learn. I mean you’re not petulant but like you have a budget basically you to learn. Right. And so like the Learning is a you you need to really use that time like as much as possible.
SPEAKER: M11
I think like it is good to sort of have at least like you know start a company like as this as you like during your time as a student or like you know peers these students is like you have a time to think about so many things is is good. But like in the mindset of like trying failing and then you know take the learning from that. And then like get ready for your next one. Yeah. I mean doesn’t mean you will always fail but like at some point you should transition to startup.
SPEAKER: M7
Yes you have to do a hundred percent transition like a bit like I did it is.
SPEAKER: M11
I mean I I had a job that I turned down. So like I didn’t have a safety net. I didn’t have to think about a safety net. I didn’t spend the time applying for jobs et cetera. I was I fully focused on my startup. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M5
So yeah I would say like definitely 100 percent focused and really it’s interesting.
SPEAKER: M2
I mean I want to put words in your mouth but sometimes you see people take a job to bootstrap their startup you know so they’ve got revenue coming in and they don’t have to then go raise money. Sounds like you’re saying actually just pick your passion and put everything into that.
SPEAKER: M12
Yeah. I mean the thing is like as I said like I’m sorry entrepreneurship is not this is a cool right.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah. And if you do something which is painful and it doesn’t work you want to also fail quickly. Yeah yeah. So I think like without making like everything black and white and talking about like success and failure because obviously there’s a whole span of things that can be I think.
SPEAKER: F2
Exactly.
SPEAKER: M11
I think if I were to try my next company which would probably happen one day and know like and I have a concept that I’m not sure about I want to test it and if it if I’m not sure about it I want to kill it as fast as fast as possible to move on to something else.
SPEAKER: M13
And I think like that’s also like the spirit.
SPEAKER: M1
So if you focus your time is better to to spend you know three months without a salary rather than three years with the part I’m sorry. Yeah and that’s that’s like the perfect I think running on one of your list of three things.
SPEAKER: F2
Yeah well I feel like at least two more I can keep interrupting and sending us down aside I forgive you. I think I thought I avoided that were those I think like the the number two is I would say not caring enough about anything related to company culture and values.
SPEAKER: M5
Because again it’s like when you think about what we mentioned earlier it’s like if you want to build a really strong team you need to recruit people with very different profile which makes it even harder to have everyone work together. So. And the thing that actually holds a company together like a big team together like if you two it’s easy you talk every now and then head back to the first company get to at our peak we were 34. Even 40 people at some point know.
SPEAKER: M14
Yeah.
SPEAKER: M15
And so when you have like people with those all those different backgrounds etc. like the only thing that can actually make them work together like as you I would say like a line towards a single Israeli like the like values and culture that they share. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M5
Because it’s like the processes that none of them are going to focus the same processes because you have different team with different methods or different way of working the message mission statement whatever it’s like it’s the same inside the sales team is going to have a different mission than the the engineering team et cetera all of this would be different like the only thing which is common with the company or the culture the values and the overall objectives.
SPEAKER: M13
And I think like in my first company like I mean I really struggled to work for instance with like some technicians just because I had no idea how to align them with the others right. I mean the nature of the work is is very different than the research the the researchers and the engineers. And we didn’t implement any of those cultural aspects. So I think like that would be like I was probably you know have that as my my second second mistake.
SPEAKER: F8
I’m delighted to say that because I haven’t I haven’t had many startup founders saying that oh I’m going to focus my efforts on culture and values that people are not aware of it.
SPEAKER: F3
No because it’s to me culture and values is like the oil that makes the engine run smoothly and you don’t even necessarily see it but you only see it when when the engine fails.
SPEAKER: F6
Yeah even when the engine fails sometimes you’re not aware of it but it just you know when the engine starts burning then you start realizing you didn’t put oil. Yeah that’s right.
SPEAKER: M3
Finally it permeates everything. This is not just the day to day operations of the business it’s like happy employees become your best advocates for hiring new people. Yeah. It solves problems with retention with people getting fed up and leaving. You know it’s it’s it’s all encompassing isn’t it.
SPEAKER: F3
It is. And I actually wrote some posts Ellington about this because some some engineering minded CEOs just do not think it’s an issue and one in fact one CEO I can think of said to me I don’t want to be wary about people being upset about this decisions that we make. They need to just be happy with whatever we decide and that’s what they thought the culture meant.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah that’s the newness Targaryen in the piece all six of them also it helps if you have a dragon.
SPEAKER: F2
Yeah so weird isn’t it.
SPEAKER: F6
Yeah it’s just I’ve seen it and that’s why I keep writing about it on LinkedIn because I want to hammer that point in so much.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean I think like the way I present to two CEOs to to have done I care about like culture is that I mean today like especially with the younger generations I even like the younger than than me I would say it’s like people don’t have the same attachment they have with companies like you know 20 years ago that would work in the company. They may do like all the careers in that they would progress et cetera and they will actually love the company have been a bit by default. Know today people don’t care about all of this. It’s like you know like you do one year two years you think you have learned that we’re seeing you see if you can still progress in the company. If you can’t do you choose another one. Yeah yeah. And on top of that you have the Google Microsoft Amazon etc.. Like if you look at machine learning engineers excel they are paid like insane amount of money. In those companies Yeah.
SPEAKER: M16
So as a startup the only thing is like recruitments as a startup is is a war like literally you need two fights. You don’t have money to fight against the Giants. At the end the only thing you can you have actually to read.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean to recruit to convince people to join you and to retain your like the people is your belief your values and your overall objectives. And it’s like the passion of the people there. The ability to develop et. Yeah absolutely. So it’s not just I mean this is like a very concrete aspect. And you see it’s like in a startup if you if you train someone for a year and then they leave. It’s a huge waste of money. At the same time you have to train everyone right. Otherwise if you if you don’t train like you it’s just me. Yeah they don’t progress. So it’s like you need to train and retain. Yeah. I would say cultural and values are important in that aspect.
SPEAKER: F9
Absolutely. And the last one. Number three fine.
SPEAKER: M17
I would put maybe a much more practical one which is choosing the wrong investor.
SPEAKER: F2
Oh tell us more about that. They choose the wrong. I.
SPEAKER: M11
I would not. I would rather tell you about the positive aspect it’s like yeah. Well when you think about investment it’s like I especially like an eventual investment. Investors follow you for like 5 7 10 years.
SPEAKER: M10
It’s almost like a marriage that doesn’t last very long. While it’s a marriage and you have no way out. There’s no possibility of divorce.
SPEAKER: M16
No one is going to buy out an investor in a company that is not working hundred percent well. And I think that what what people really means there usually is the alignment of interest between investors and entrepreneurs.
SPEAKER: M5
So here like the mental picture like obviously value sharing between entrepreneurs and investors investors like sometimes they want to take as much as they can in the doing the in the in the company in terms of ownership.
SPEAKER: M11
Sometimes like the reverse is also true it’s like entrepreneurs don’t want to give more than 5 percent you know. But then it’s like why would the investor put the money. And then sometimes you also have the corporates fund for instance which are quite hard to manage because they have the strategic aspect of their of their parent company. So you have like all of these aspects sometimes also like the support that funds are not providing you know it’s like funds like a lot of partners will have been there for a long time like that. I mean they are supposed to have like so much knowledge and so much experience about different startups. But I mean you know often we see like more than 3000 companies per year.
SPEAKER: M5
So we have an idea of sort of what works what doesn’t work et cetera. And the thing is like the.
SPEAKER: M18
I think like I mean to me at least that’s what we had which really trying to implement in our fund is to really make use of this experience in a very concrete terms to actually provide that to the startup to actually be there like as a report.
SPEAKER: M5
It’s like if you look at the US a lot of funds it’s like if the company doesn’t work well they’re just abandoned you know they don’t necessarily go to to the board meeting or whatever because I mean if you think about the time you spend is that it’s actually not worth the investment which are returning you the money is actually the one that worked not the ones that don’t work. But then it’s like in terms of alignment of interests and in terms of how you want to develop the people et cetera. There’s so many things you can do as an investor to actually support the team.
SPEAKER: M15
So I would say like as an entrepreneur today I mean entrepreneurs it’s actually a I would say a good decade to be yellow.
SPEAKER: M5
I don’t know if it’s a decade but I actually like the few years back Yeah you know because they are these a lot of money on the market. There are a lot of funds. So it’s really the occasion for entrepreneurs will so choose the right investors the one who can support them not just you know giving some interest here and there but like. Funds for how. Who are really differentiating themselves with with the proper support structure like. Yes.
SPEAKER: M3
I can’t remember if it came up on one of the shows or not but I think a good thing to do is as an entrepreneur is always do your homework and speak to companies in the portfolio of the investor and understand the experience that they’ve been through.
SPEAKER: F8
Yeah definitely. I was gonna ask Ashley what would you say are the tail tale signs that the in this investor is not right for you. You know thinking back from your experience what would you say as an as an entrepreneur what do you what should you look out for when you’re interacting with investors that tells you they’re not right for you.
SPEAKER: M16
I mean the first first thing is is very simple is it’s a whoever partner is going to sit on your board like do you want to work with that person. So that’s it this is like not even related to money or whatever. You know it’s like from a pure personal point of view like do you connect with that person.
SPEAKER: M5
And I would say like I mean people always ask me those questions but it’s really important to understand like I mean entrepreneurs and investors is like the same thing. It’s like we work in the same ecosystem. We do like I mean not the same job but it’s like the. I would say two faces of the same job. It’s like you have the mirror and each one is on one side of the mirror you know. So like everything that applies to investors like investors you know like they do the due diligence on the start that they want to investing. They evaluate the team exceptional like entrepreneurs should do the same about the fund. And like that I would say like the sign that you say like the first thing is like can I would I be able to work with that person. Do I feel comfortable do I connect. Is it someone that I would trust to tell him my problems. That’s also a really important aspect. It’s like some entrepreneurs like you know I mean they don’t necessarily want to hide things from the investors but sometimes they they don’t it because they they just have no idea how the investors are going.
SPEAKER: M3
There is a trust thing right. Exactly. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M5
So like the trust you want to establish is I okay. Like first like is the investor establishing that sort of trust relationship. That’s probably like the first thing I will. I would look at the second aspect is I mean as you say like called the other portfolio companies like again it’s like investors they would call all your customers or all the people around you you know like you you should do the same. I mean I know like for instance like the the investment I did in the U.K. like the entrepreneurs that they called like directly and the most you would reply.
SPEAKER: F8
And I would say yeah is there any one piece of trust where you think about something else I’d say. I spoke to a couple of the startups that you’ve invested in yourself and the both CEOs told me that they trusted you to tell you everything and they thought you were the most supportive investor they had ever worked with.
SPEAKER: F2
Good to know. I spoke to them without you knowing and is happy to hear that.
SPEAKER: F8
That was I think because you do have this kind of supportive attitude I think towards it rather than getting them to justify themselves in front of you. You kind of go right. So how can I help. How’s it been going. Are you struggling with stuff and that’s that’s that’s one of the things that I think people really really appreciated so well done by the way. Thanks a lot. And I was there anything else you think telltale signs in terms of the investors. Yeah I would say like you.
SPEAKER: M11
I mean the last aspect is like whatever the investor says whatever the funds say on their Web sites really check if they have that in reality because they see it.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean this is a central start as well you have a very nice shiny website and then behind you don’t know what’s what you’re going to find. But I think that for investors the same music if they tell you they have a recruitment structure like you know check how many people they have in that structure how they help like in very concrete terms when you call a CEO of another portfolio company like ask them what have they done for you. You know I think this is really important because a lot of funds now they realize they are not differentiated so they start telling stories etc. Like portray about how they are supportive but at the end of the three people they can do much investors it’s like the basic basic things investors need to provide is advice and network. I mean obviously on top of the money right. Yeah. This is like it is like liver zero. It’s like the minimum. It’s like all the rest is like is probably what entrepreneurs need to look for.
SPEAKER: M8
And with your investor hat on what what kind of percentage of deals that you take forward are inbound kind of almost cold requests vs. relationships that you’ve built up over a period of time.
SPEAKER: M20
Very good question. So thank you very much. You mean like investment that went all the way through. Yeah yeah actually companies you put money into you know yeah again I’m just trying to put myself in the shoes of the entrepreneur thinking about how to approach investors.
SPEAKER: M2
You know it is cold outreach work or is it more of a build up of relationship over time. So let’s I would put it like this is a.
SPEAKER: M16
It should be no difference right.
SPEAKER: M13
Because I mean if someone called emails me I would read the e-mail.
SPEAKER: M18
I will if it’s interesting for us I will reply. And you know we will start the process and then we will start building the relationship.
SPEAKER: M5
In practice the codes e-mail that I receive they’ll really run them like are. I mean like I’ve no idea what I’m going to find people write like three pages in the LinkedIn message. It’s impossible for me to read on my phone. You know it’s it’s more like things like this. So like as such a cold email should work. But it has to be done in a proper way. And but then the thing is I receive so many of them it’s like if it’s not relevant for us I want I want to have them on with to reply. This being said like in terms of inbound deals like I would say the it’s more like who is there to actually qualify those deals for us and the like the thing that really works is a referral from another entrepreneur that I know because I know like the like one of like the CEO of my portfolio company. He’s not going to send me a random company. Like he’s himself he’s going to be convinced first and this is the answer. Yeah exactly. So there is already a filter. Yeah. The problem of like inbound requests is that there’s no filter. I literally have like everything like well that’s a nice tip.
SPEAKER: M6
No you do your homework find an iPhone within the portfolio.
SPEAKER: F6
And the I mean that I think we know him. So how we get up. Yes. Well that’s right. If they don’t want.
SPEAKER: F4
To put that in boxes. No that’s why I have an out of office reply.
SPEAKER: M5
But I mean a really good company that could contact me I would definitely reply. Yeah. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F5
Okay. Interesting. So can I ask you because you said if they do it in the proper way do you mind explaining that a little bit.
SPEAKER: M5
What is the proper way look like in Jerome’s world in terms of call Emilia I mean very simple like don’t write three pages in the first email because it’s impossible to read. You know like one sentence introduction and pretty much that’s it it’s like it’s the first one the first time I discover an idea or a company I don’t need more than one line and interesting about the company or about why they contacted you or whatever.
SPEAKER: M14
So you know expressing a pitch deck or anything after the first call I mean the first call I mean it’s okay to attach a pitch. But most of the time the call e-mail I receive is three three pages of text. And if you think about it like I mean email okay maybe but like even like I receive like the call e-mail usually are LinkedIn messages I’m in LinkedIn if you more if you have more than one line it’s unreadable.
SPEAKER: M16
So it’s something really simple yeah. And I mean sorry a second piece of advice though is that I think like in general like startups they really need to think before contacting venture capital funds in the sense that I mean it’s really simple again it’s like V.S. fun.
SPEAKER: M5
They are looking for like really high growth potential. They are really looking for like unicorns like you know a billion dollar market et cetera. Most of the companies out there like are more of sort of semi profile which I mean there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s like the vast majority of our economy is made by its image. So that’s really not the problem. It is simply not. I would say the visa model. So yeah if you’re a company and you’re potential you know is to run a 1 2 million revenue but probably like not much growth potential beyond that like you just like venture capital are really the wrong people to try to actually work with.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah yeah absolutely. So we are jumping around a little bit but I wanted to to put your entrepreneur hat back on. Okay. Well I wanted to just talk to you about was the kind of process around your two exits. We talked a little bit about your advice for building the companies and growing the companies. I always like to understand the signals that you saw or the path you were on that got you to a point where you felt like you were at a point for an exit just so I want you and our listeners can get a sense of timing and the conditions and the signals that they might see that now’s a good time for I’ve seen your case you had two sales trade sales is that right. Yeah. Yeah. So there are two particular types of access that my order is off the others but I’m just always interested to kind of understand the thought processes and the signals that you saw that you felt that that was a good course of action at that point in time.
SPEAKER: M14
So I will rephrase the question.
SPEAKER: F2
I don’t blame you because I was a bit rambling.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean the first aspect is the next it is really hard to sort of predict again. So I mean sometimes some companies are not in the really good spots and you’re sort of forcing the exit actively you know hiring advisors et cetera but like I would say I mean this happens quite a lot to be honest. But obviously that’s not the best outcome right. All the remaining scenarios usually they are not planned. So it’s a bit of luck and it’s more about how you’re going to promote dialogue right and putting yourself in the position where you’re sort of attractive to exits is is really simple you need to be like like in the overall value chain or ecosystem that you that you that you operate in. You need everyone to to be aware of you and you know to be like the go to company in that ecosystem. It’s like everyone needs to need you if you see what I mean. In our case it was more like about our customers. So I mean in both case the exit went to one of our customer. And here it’s like we had like a sort of technology piece that they were really really seeking. So like that they both from us initially because they have no choice. And at some point Akkad became so big that it was like in their strategic interest to acquire us to to open a new product line using our technology or like integrate that into their existing product line et cetera.
SPEAKER: M3
So they were kind of managing risk on their side. Yeah yeah.
SPEAKER: M14
Also I mean it’s more like I mean in my case it was more like allowing them to conquering new market the product faster. Yeah. So it’s about having the right position in the value chain.
SPEAKER: M18
And that’s also something quite interesting it’s like you can have some companies who are really interesting while even growing.
SPEAKER: M11
But no one is going to buy them because they are in the value chain where competitors are not interested all customers are not necessarily interested in the in terms of strategic acquisition I mean this happens in that case you only way out is IPO which doesn’t really happen often.
SPEAKER: M5
So Israel like your positioning within your valuation within your ecosystem understanding like the interaction with the different players and you make make this ecosystem feel that they really really need you for one reason or another.
SPEAKER: M3
And how did that experience go down you know. Did they just kind of reach out and say hey we’d like to talk to you about this.
SPEAKER: M5
Oh yeah I mean that happened like this for me. Yeah yeah. In both cases we went to them to to fundraise basically kind of thinking about the next fund raising we started to have early conversation and then they say yeah like we don’t really want you to go away so just here. Interesting. Okay. I mean usually it takes time. It’s more it’s more than a year of discussion.
SPEAKER: F6
Yeah I’m glad you clarify that because a lot of people think that when you had a meeting that was it. Yeah that’s just lack of experience isn’t it.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah I think they takes about 50 conversations and I guess the other thing just kind of tying it back to the early conversation about being the leader setting the tone and the culture. It must be hard to maintain the business as usual business knowing that those conversations are going on in the background and you can’t necessarily share them with the rest of the organization.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah I mean first you need to because as long as it’s not signed and you know every other legal document in place and even like you know money wired into the right account etc and transaction done and dusted yeah it can fail. Yeah it’s like for me like as an investor I’ve seen a lot of exit that felt like last moment. Really. Yeah that happens. Mm hmm. I mean various employees like if it’s a corporate doing the acquisition and suddenly their share drops for whatever reason or it’s like you know they made tons of money. Yeah. It’s like with corporates you never know you know the IPO is more about is it the right timing. If it’s not the right timing you wait for another five years for it to be the right timing. Yeah. So yeah it’s like it’s never never granted. So the business has to run because otherwise if you focus on your own or all of your effort on the on the exit and then it doesn’t happen like that the whole company is screwed.
SPEAKER: F7
Yes I would ask actually one one last question as well about culture if we may. You know you said earlier that one of the big mistakes people make is that they don’t think about culture early enough. What would you say how many staff do they have when they should start really seriously thinking about culture and spreading that and having consistent across the company.
SPEAKER: M14
So I would start like even before culture like starting with the values and motivation. So what are your what are your drivers.
SPEAKER: M18
Why do you wake up in the morning like having these sort of shared across the team. You start with the founders and so it’s like you start when you’re like two or four people like it’s really important to start at the very beginning.
SPEAKER: M13
It doesn’t matter if people have different values or like different sort of like motivation driver but it’s important that they are aligned right. If someone is very convinced about ecology and the environment and someone else is just you know throwing plastic all the time that’s never going to work in them.
SPEAKER: M15
So I would say like this. This aspect is so. On day one yeah. Culture so it’s important to sort of build up as it goes so like the startup that I like some of investment that I have like there are like we started when there were five people and the thing is like it is really like even at the beginning it’s is really it’s actually quite useful to actually motivate people you know if your employees they I mean you you don’t want them to feel like simple employees you really want them to be part of the business.
SPEAKER: M18
And as if they own part of it so you have a DC like you can give like show options et cetera but it’s a lot of like asking them about their view on many things including you know sometimes like fund raising et cetera. Obviously you don’t want them to focus their time on it but you know like asking their views setting the cultural etc. is read like occasions to have like everyone on board for day one.
SPEAKER: M16
And the thing is that it’s much easier to do it early than you know if you start that when you’re 50. That’s going to be a tough time. Yeah like really tough time. Yeah I’ve seen those sorts of projects so I would say as early as possible when you start early it’s actually easy.
SPEAKER: F6
Yeah because it spreads like a virus virus it spreads really it spreads.
SPEAKER: F8
Yeah because it’s what people do. Culture is what people do isn’t it. Yes well it is.
SPEAKER: M16
And it’s also like I mean so when you like sort of below 10 people like the country is literally said by how the founders behave. Right. So if you say we are open company everyone should I mean can accept or can give feedback to anyone. If the founders are like this everyone is going to be like this. Yeah. If the founders are not like this is not going to work. Yeah. So. Well when you tend to be bored it’s easy. And then when you grow it’s like you need to train your management team to be like this.
SPEAKER: M5
And then it’s the same they would spread right if you’re 50 and you haven’t implemented any of this is going to take you like a year to implement it. You know it’s going to cause a lot of pain etc. and sometimes you know it’s like if you’re 50 and you haven’t implemented that you also mean that some people within your team would never become like this. You know we never share the same culture and values meaning that yeah probably you need to take actions or like if you if you want to move forward like people need to be changed.
SPEAKER: M18
And that’s you obviously you want to avoid them.
SPEAKER: M3
I mean signs of a strong culture our thing is when the employees self police the culture people step out of line and they’re acting outside the values of the business. You know they’re identifying that and correcting it you know without necessarily the leadership team having to get involved.
SPEAKER: M20
Yeah exactly. You know I think that’s I mean that’s what you wanted. Yeah absolutely. You don’t want to like micromanage how you are and I give you that.
SPEAKER: M4
So that’s when you know you’ve if you’re on to something more successful I think. Yeah I agree.
SPEAKER: M18
And that’s part of the scaling. Yes. If you if you have 50 people and you want to recruit 150 people to get to 200 you need a team like that because people would it would be much easier to sort of onboard the new people because I’ve seen this the culture dilutes the more people you bring in culture dilutes more and more.
SPEAKER: F8
You know if you’re growing Don’t you feel that if you let it go. Yeah but if you’re going for 50 to 100 and those 50 don’t actually live the values of the company you know that crazy guy is going to I’ve seen this happen. The foundations of companies have hired me to spread a certain type of culture in the business and they just think you know the three hour workshop will sort it out.
SPEAKER: M6
I mean that if you listen to what Jones said why are they hiring of that doesn’t work for the company to spread the culture.
SPEAKER: F2
Donny tells you about it tonight.
SPEAKER: M6
If it doesn’t come from the founders or the leadership team already I’m suspicious that’s just put a flag up in my head.
SPEAKER: F5
Yeah exactly. That’s why I keep working with the leadership team trying to say to them you have to live this. I n people techniques ought to be honest with each other. But you’re the one who have to live this way. Show it. Well three hour workshop with me is going to change anything.
SPEAKER: M20
Well and again you don’t learn coach by three hour workshop. No it’s what you do on a day to day basis. Yeah. It’s those interactions.
SPEAKER: M16
I mean it’s back to the Roger Federer example. If you want to become an Olympic champion he’s not by you know. Yeah yeah. Ain’t in his life twice a day.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah yeah. It’s a but it’s interesting.
SPEAKER: F8
Yeah. Jerome thank you so much for coming on the show. He’s been absolutely amazing to have you I really enjoyed the conversation because it also I learned aspects of about you that I didn’t know I mean I met you very early on and I was close and I talked to you a lot early on but I haven’t really spoken to every week like I used to in the last few years and it’s been really insightful for me as well to hear what you’ve been going through.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah. You know I have an experience on both sides as an investor and an entrepreneur. We’ve covered a lot of things that are really interesting. So thanks for taking the time out.
SPEAKER: F1
Yeah thanks a lot. That was my pleasure.
SPEAKER: M6
So another great conversation like a conversation is that way. So in terms of you know some insights and all of that great stuff that we went through I guess for me starting off around one thing we haven’t heard before is like being self-aware as a leader as a founder. Yeah. And like that kind of need to continually grow and learn new skills because you know as Jerome described you know you need different skills at different stages of the company’s growth and you need to be aware of your own shortcomings and continually hone your skills and develop new skills and grow yourself with the company as it were.
SPEAKER: F5
And I like that he said that this was the hardest thing actually the hard thing to manage is your own growth while the company grows. And I think this feeds into the fact that they said Jeff was really good for an investment fund then it’s the second investment fund I’ve heard. Does this they budget a personal development as part of the investment they give to the startup and that’s really quite special. I’m delighted to hear that’s actually happening with them as their capital.
SPEAKER: M6
And then I guess kind of linked to the skills of the founding team that kind of openness around how hard recruitment was you know.
SPEAKER: M21
Did he say up to a third of their hires left within their probation period. Yes I mean that’s obviously I guess a reflection of maybe the the the lack of experience in kind of recruiting people and what to look for and maybe it bleeds into the culture stuff that will come on and talk about.
SPEAKER: F5
And for me was really good to hear. To be honest because of my work I can see this a lot. I see this mistake a lot. Another mistake people make is they don’t care enough about anything related to culture and values to hold a big team together from different backgrounds so they don’t care about this early enough and leave it too late.
SPEAKER: M6
Yeah and like you know same thing we talked about in the chat didn’t we. You know you know you’re on to something when the culture is self enforcing and the employees take ownership of it and it’s not just a thing that the founders have dreamt up is something that they actually employees recognize believe it and actually live by.
SPEAKER: M21
And I think as we spoke about again it’s like culture the kind of 10 people sized business to the 50 to the. You have to have those foundations in place for each stage of growth otherwise it quickly becomes inauthentic and impossible to scale.
SPEAKER: F5
Well exactly as he said when even when you’re under 10 people culture is what the founders do. And yeah the founders say the our values are open and transparent but nobody is open and transparent. That’s what the culture is not what it says on the paper.
SPEAKER: M6
I mean there’s a lot of pressure on you as a founder already but just be aware that people are watching you every day. You know everything the signals you know the body language everything sets the tone for the business and they emulate that.
SPEAKER: F5
Yeah. One of the things that you mentioned which I think we might have heard before is the fact that as a startup you are fighting against the Amazons the Googles the big Microsoft and corporates of this world and you can’t compete with them in terms of offering people money. But what you can compete on is authenticity and inspiring them to to want to work for you because of your values because of the world that the world of difference that you’re bringing. Because of that they know that if they hold you they are working on. So I think having the right values and overall objectives and beliefs in the company can help you recruit when you compete with these big companies.
SPEAKER: M6
Yeah definitely I think you know I think looking back it was episode six when we spoke spoke to Catherine. Yeah and we can’t wait. Yeah we covered some of this in terms of you know how you can be against the you know the companies that can clearly outspend you. And I think you’re right is the culture. It’s the is the challenge. You know the kind of the role itself and the autonomy that you might have or the responsibility or the opportunity to learn new skills. I think in Catherine’s example the guy actually took less money because there was a commitment to train him right right new skills.
SPEAKER: F5
Yeah. And then the last thing I thought Jerome says which is really good as well was some telltale signs that this investor might be wrong for you or might be right for you. And one of them that really stuck with me was would you trust to tell this person your problems. And do you fancy working with them for the next seven to 10 years. That was a really good insight.
SPEAKER: F4
Good scare everyone office. I’m not sure I want to work with anyone but it.
SPEAKER: F1
Thank you very much to your own joke for being our guest today. I really enjoyed the conversation. The show was produced by Carl Homer and our logo is designed by Tanya’s your and and Mary Miller of carbon orange.
SPEAKER: M19
We’re really pleased to have central working as a sponsor of the show. We record each episode at the Bradfield center which is operated by Central working along with 10 other locations around the UK. If you’re looking for flexible work space wrapped with a vibrant community in the services you need to grow your business. Visit central working dotcom to learn more. If you’re enjoying the show please leave us a review. I think we’re now up to four or five five star ratings on Apple. You need more than that. Come on people already helped build awareness of what we’re doing. And don’t forget to connect to us on social to suggest guests or give us feedback on any of the episodes. …


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SPEAKER: M1
Welcome to scaling failing and prevailing. A podcast about helping startups and corporates learn from each other through great conversations. Hi I’m James Parton. I run the Bradfield Center in Cambridge where we help companies scale and host hundreds of free tech events every year. Previously I’ve worked in corporate innovation at O2 and Telefonica and have experienced startup to IPO with San Francisco based Twilio.
SPEAKER: F15
And I’m Adalina Chalmers. I’m known as the geek whisperer. I work in tech companies and corporates enabling geeks at all levels from engineer all the way up to CTO and CEO to get buy in from others. I also organize a bi annual event called the Cambridge startup billion pound scale up challenge where growing startups pitch a business challenge and the panel advise them how they would solve this themselves. This episode we will be discussing the sum of the three most common challenges that startups face.
SPEAKER: F1
And these were raised in the Cambridge startup billion pound event in February 2019. We recorded the Bradford center.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah this is gonna be a good one I think. I mean as you know I’m a big fan of the event. It’s nice to have them here at the Bradfield center as you know this building is all about supporting scale up and start up businesses. So I managed to kind of see some of it popped in and out during the day so I’d love to hear in a bit more detail some of these challenges and we can get into the meat of kind of what we thought what the panelist thought and a bigger conversation I really look forward to it as well.
SPEAKER: F2
Because I was in the middle of it on the day so hyper emotionally attached to it and that would be nice to be able to look back at it after a few months after I’ve had a chance to emotionally disconnect from it and coldly analyze everything.
SPEAKER: F6
This could be the Halloween upside. When the first of February 2019 the Cambridge startup billion pound scale up challenge ran on a windy and snowy morning in Cambridge.
SPEAKER: F7
The Bradfield centre.
SPEAKER: F6
The concept of this event is this instead of pitching to be judged or pitching against each other to win a prize or money we would like three Cambridge startups to big pitch a business problem or a business challenge they’re facing and the panel instead of judging them they give them advice support ideas connections as well as the audience who offer ideas and connections as well. This means that the panel put their heads together to try and solve the problem with the startup instead of competing on who can find the biggest problem in the startups business idea. The panel on the first of February 2019 was Ellie Hardwick who now is Chief Digital Officer at UBS. There was Poppy Garrison who is the CEO at dog trace in Cambridge.
SPEAKER: F12
That was the lovely Jane you work Hart who is the former founder and co-founder at AAM also we had Lauren Kayser director engineering at Amazon Cambridge and as well we had Monica Biddulph former general manager from arm.
SPEAKER: F6
We had three startups pitching three very different yet is very very common business problems.
SPEAKER: F7
One of the problems which was pitched by Patrick short of Santo genetics back in February they were called heterogeneous because that’s the life of startups you change your business name sometimes twice in the life of the business sometimes even more. Patrick’s question was one of marketing and one do we get very very often from startups. They had two thousand people signed up to his genomic data platform and he was wondering how can they get to 2 million people to sign up without spending millions on marketing the question that we had from Tony Beller D from capital Io was about sales meetings with corporates. They had done this amazing project for an online food company where they were able to show that with their voice recognition technology they were able to shave three minutes of an ordering of online food when regularly would take about 48 to 50 taps and about three minutes and 50 seconds to carry out that sort of process then get to ordering the food. Despite all this success and despite having wows in the room from the corporate. Tony was wondering why didn’t they bite our hands off. It feels like we’re wading through treacle why is this happening. How can we get interest in in the face of fierce competition and the last pitch in question we had was from Dan Kowal of silo mix which is a Cambridge University spin out. Dan was pitching a very common question we get at the Cambridge startup billion pound event. Where should we go to market. Should we go to the NHS or three big corporates through long sales cycles or do we go directly to the consumer. These questions are very common that we see in the startup world. And James and I will have a chat and discuss them today.
SPEAKER: M7
OK so let’s get into this then. I’m looking forward to it. So which one should we talk about first.
SPEAKER: F3
Patrick from Santa genetics as they called now. It was called heterogeneous at the time and he was talking about the fact that their genomics data platform has 2000 people signed up to this platform. However they would like to increase the two million people. How could he do that without the enormous marketing budgets that big corporates would have that they certainly don’t have as a startup.
SPEAKER: M7
So I think the interesting thing there is they’ve already got 2000 users. That’s right. So that’s not a bad place to be. Not sure how long it’s taken to get 3000 users but you know that’s progress. Thinking about how you can leverage those 2000 people and understand why they’ve signed up you know what the motivations were for them. Get to know those those 2000 people intimately because you’re going to get a lot of insights from those people that you might then be able to apply in your marketing material the way you communicate the channels that you use because obviously you want to double down on how they signed up and and replicate that at scale as quickly as possible. And it sounds like from the question they don’t they haven’t spent a lot of money to get that those two thousand people. So they’re not that at all. They didn’t even have money at the time. Right. So. So something worked for those two thousand peoples. How do you replicate it out you scale that so you know building a community and an anointing power users or you know knowing who your influences are first and foremost they know who these people are. Right. So they can have a conversation with them. That’s the most important thing. Gain the insights to understand what motivated and drove those people to sign up. Look for those the answers in that information to then you know inform your strategy moving forward. It’s a great idea. I mean it ironically feels like they’ve got a problem because they want two million. But you know the problem would be if they got zero right.
SPEAKER: F3
They’ve got two thousand exactly. So it shows this huge potential there and I think that’s what helped them get investment in the first place. And I during the event actually I was suggesting to them to ask the the Autism groups or the Alzheimer’s groups that they that have signed up to the platform button and do exactly what you’ve just said. But also to ask them to spread the word about it. Yeah yeah yeah.
SPEAKER: M2
Totally. I mean that’s a classic channel marketing right. You know don’t always assume the burden of promotion is always on your shoulders. You know by partnering with other organizations that can help spread the word. You can you know really increase your reach without really spending a of money.
SPEAKER: F10
Absolutely right. And I mean I know you are you’re quite the expert in marketing as far as I know of your ability to give me advice let alone a startup where the question is so specific.
SPEAKER: F3
I remember one of the one of the things that poppy Gunderson was talking about as well. And I think where you’ll be able to hear her exact question later on in the show was what benefit do these 2000 people get. What benefit did they get right now. Yeah. So then he can sell that very benefit to other people as well.
SPEAKER: M2
And it sounds kind of similar yes kind of similar thing. It’s like understanding why those 2000 people felt like this was a good thing to pay for. And you know find out what they in their own words what the benefit was or what the motivation was and see if you can apply that and scale that to attract the other 2 million or so people they want to find.
SPEAKER: F3
So I’m really delighted to hear that you you picked on that because you said they paid for that they pay for it at night no they didn’t actually I didn’t they don’t want to charge the patients because they can charge the clinical trials companies. Right. So the reason I think I believe and I may be wrong about this but the reason I believe Patrick wants 2 million users because then it would be easier for them to share that data anonymized of course with the clinical trials people who might need that genetic data to be able to make better medicine.
SPEAKER: M2
Are they supplying just the data or are they also matching potential trial lists.
SPEAKER: F2
I believe they’re doing both actually. Yeah but I may be completely wrong.
SPEAKER: M2
This was a few months ago but I think ISIS is a it’s a classic marketplace challenge isn’t it. If you’ve got a two sided marketplace yet where they’re trying to find trials and match them with the pharma companies. Yeah. You need scale. Otherwise you know if you’ve only got a dozen trials to dip into. You’re not gonna be as attractive as a as a company that has a database of 2 million chances.
SPEAKER: F2
Exactly and I think that’s why Patrick was really struggling to to find really as quickly as he can make it as viral as he can to get from 2000 to 2 million. And they I’m aware they only have about 500000 pounds investment so far. So 500000 houses and go very far. When you have a small team of people you’re starting out no brands like like Edward was saying about these three clocks that this was six watches. They have this brand. Two hundred years. You recognize them. But when you starting out in such a new service as well. Much harder to build that brand and also people’s awareness. And I think people’s ability to feel safe their data is okay.
SPEAKER: M2
I mean it’s difficult to make assumptions or give advice with limited information. Maybe we should get them on the show you a future. But I mean you know another classic problem of companies trying to build marketplaces especially on limited budget is you’ve got the challenge of marketing to two distinct audiences. Yes. So in this case you’re trying to acquire try lists but you’re also selling to the pharma companies that want to use you to match with the trials. So you you’re splitting you know your budget between marketing to two different people and a lot of companies have this challenge right. So you know I think we spoke and maybe we spoke about this before dinner but you know BME they’ve got to they’ve got to recruit people to want to rent places and people that want to put their places on the market. You know for renters to use you know Uber has got to find drivers and it’s got to find passengers you know all of these marketplaces have that challenge and I think being smart about where the focus should be in the early days is really important. Otherwise you’re gonna burn through your money. Yeah. Without really denting either side of the marketplace.
SPEAKER: F3
Absolutely. Actually that’s really interesting is one of the things that Poppy also mentioned were during her feedback on the panel was that timing is really important so I always say if you want to help startups pitch for investment why now should be the first thing that you pitch as well. Because so much research is show that timing is crucial to business success. But Poppy you were saying that when do they get their data sequenced. Because if they just got it they might be keen to do something with it. Yeah. And although Patrick was saying that some people even dug out data that were sequenced nine years ago they most of them yes had just sequence the data and they wanted to be able to do something useful with it. But these were people who had diseases these were people who had genetic diseases or disorders that were really hard to find cures for.
SPEAKER: M2
So the motivation there is clear for them. Absolutely. By participating in these trials they might get access to a medication that can help them.
SPEAKER: F3
That’s right. Absolutely. And an interesting actually suggestion that Monica Biddulph had during the panel discussion was that because this is about community and about helping people. She was convinced that you could get quite a lot of positive PR that’s free for fought for your company for what you’re doing because you’re such a such a good outcome for it for real people. Suppose it was an interesting idea as well about how you can make the buck stretch as it were. Yeah definitely. Let’s see what Poppy actually said during the event.
SPEAKER: F4
So what’s the benefit that your two thousand people get when they put their information so that you’re not doing the sequencing yourself that’s already the grants they just provide that information into your portal and then what’s the benefit that they get.
SPEAKER: M4
So for most people the immediate benefit now is access to clinical trials or other research and their disorder. So it’s not of benefit necessarily someone who is healthy right now. We’re very kind of. Focused on the idea of data privacy trust and transparency and in contrast I think to some other companies in this space. So any data we generate is owned by us and by the individual and they can do whatever they like with it if they wanted to leave it take it with them.
SPEAKER: F4
So. So you. You as an organization heterogeneous your goal is to bring in as many of those users because you want as much of that genetic data as you possibly can. And the individual the one person in that 2010 benefit they could be if they could find out about clinical trials is something that’s going on that then enables them to sort of benefit individually. Yes. So I think talk to me about partnering with a specific patient groups and things like that what does what that.
SPEAKER: M4
Yes. The first one I mentioned was partnering with patient groups. So there are often loose loose or tight collections of individuals that organize online on Facebook. So by putting those groups in closer touch to clinical trials and research you can solve the problem both sides. The third the third one that I mentioned was partnering with health national health service or national sequencing project. My meta instincts will be that starting small and immediate I would be thinking right there is have some people running some clinical trials they want some.
SPEAKER: F4
Patient data and it’s like this and then working with those patient groups and just start maybe small really so big focus about on a particular condition or genetic condition and then build out from that and get really successful at that build up. So that would be my instinct as the first one. Great worry about going straight to being with the big NHS things. Is that will take a very very long time. And at this point right now it needs to be quick and immediate. That’s your bigger vision is you’re going to have these 20000 customers it’s going to say badly that next level of research. But today you want to get from 2000 customers 2000 users to 2001 which means you have to get that extra person you need to very clearly articulate the benefit to that user today of them giving you your data. I also think when did they get DHS sequenced. So. Could you have a point at which doesn’t give you the information is when they just had the test they’re not going to rummage back through and go Oh I did this three months ago.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah will do actually I had some of the other day go back nine years into their medical records and allow testimony right yes and wait when it’s fresh in their memory and they’ve just let you done it and that’s what they’re thinking about that would be the point where they’re most likely to give it over.
SPEAKER: F4
So if that data once they’ve got themselves through trying to remain which case how do you get part of that thought process of them collecting information. This is the next step thing. If I write when I hear it I’m going to store a sensible or is it something that’s they’ve been medically received from the NHS in which point where would you catch them and then making sure that you’re.
SPEAKER: F7
Working with the relevant patient groups working their and here’s what Monica had to say.
SPEAKER: F5
In addition to what Poppy said once you have some stories that you can tell publicly maybe some success stories or some examples of how individuals you know signed up with the data and then found out about something or or benefited in some way. I wonder whether it’s worth going almost all public marketing because your problem is you need a large amount of data and a large amount of patience and there is not necessarily something immediately in it for the individual because they might not know immediately but you you have kind of it’s almost like answers to. Well if you want to know who you’re you know who your great great great great grand parents were you are benefiting from a lot of other people putting the data in as well. And I wonder whether it’s almost worth doing a public marketing campaign around the benefits of signing up and being part of a big community that will help almost you know each other. And that way you may get some additional momentum once you have some stories you can share.
SPEAKER: F3
The second business that pitched on the day was them Tony Blair D from capital I owe Tony had a very interesting pitch because he he has this technology that he’s able to recognize voice and create distractions instead of you tap tap tap tapping on your phone or on clicking on them on your laptop screen. And he had created a pilot project with a big online food ordering service who allegedly had been blown away. And there were actual wows in the room where Tony and his team presented back to them what that technology could do for their platform. And despite all of these wows and despite all of this success and and the the fact that people kept saying They’re blown away and they love it and love it love it. They didn’t bite his hand off to buy the product and Tony was wondering why why is this happening why are they biting our hands off to buy this product from us why isn’t our technology snapped up by this customer that seemed completely wild and impressed by us.
SPEAKER: M7
I mean this really brings us back I think to one of our very early episodes with Ellie and then he gets some great tips about seeing the signals across the other side of the table. I mean one thing that immediately jumped into my mind listening to you describe that is I guess the assumption on behalf of the startup is reducing the time to order is a good thing. And intuitively that kind of feels right. But have they actually asked the prospective client if that’s one of their key objectives. Because if it’s an employee because if it isn’t. That might be one of the reasons why they were polite in the room and go Oh my God that’s amazing. But then don’t follow up. So and again I’m completely making this up. But just for the point of the example you know that company might have data that says you know what the longer that our customers spend browsing menus the more they buy. So actually speeding the order up is not necessarily a good thing.
SPEAKER: F3
Yes because Tony was saying they were shaving something like three minutes off each order.
SPEAKER: M7
I mean I don’t know if that you know Lux I’m making this up just as a point of illustration. But you know the longer that you’re looking at a menu and the more likely you are mode of thought is to buy stuff you don’t actually need. You know you’re just browsing and you get greedy right. So I think I think they’re I guess that the question is did anyone take the time to ask them what their business challenges were before assuming that the thing they went into the room with is their big sell was that thing.
SPEAKER: F8
I think you hit the nail in the head there. Absolutely and this is interesting that this is actually the question that I think I’m paraphrasing here as much as I can but this the question I think that Jamie work hard asked on the panel itself how does.
SPEAKER: F3
I can say to you three minutes translate into a problem that they have and you you just absolutely nailed that point James because you’re if you’re solving non-existent problems or it’s just a nice to have rather than a must have.
SPEAKER: M7
I mean the problem might be a real one right. I can imagine in a fast food restaurant like a McDonald’s then every second counts in terms of shifting through orders and getting the next person in the line. Right.
SPEAKER: F9
But if you’re at home browsing on a sofa watching a movie is the difference between two minutes and two minutes 30 a real killer. I don’t know.
SPEAKER: F8
I’m so glad you raised that because Poppy mentioned something similar and I’m not sure that that in the room that really that message got across all the day. But actually when I read listen to the recordings of the event Poppy said that very very similar thing that what about automating this customer variable all day instead of having the person repeating back. Oh so you want one burger in once one schnitzel and one shake and two ice creams or whatever instead of having that in this way also there’s less chance of getting the order wrong. Yeah. The person said it it’s already translated into. Yeah. Well in order for the team at the back in the kitchen I mean.
SPEAKER: M8
And again you know I think there’s always that danger that you know trying to bring new technologies into solve edge case problems. That’s not a great combination because you have to take on the risk of new technology implementing it. Training your people bedding in you know dealing with the customer service issues that new technology brings and if you’re not solving a core problem why would you want that asshole. So for example I’m not suggesting this is the case in this example but I’ve got a lot of things in my life that are now voice enabled. You know my car my phone my games console my TV. The accuracy doesn’t work. I don’t I don’t use any of those interfaces because they’re super frustrating. So there’s a difference between going in and pitching something in a good test environment where there’s no background noise and you’re enunciation is good and all those kinds of things and showing people that oh my God what a great user experience. But you know my experience these things actually out in the wild when you’re trying to drive along them say cool you know so-and-so on the phone and it doesn’t work. It’s so infuriating but I’m not suggesting that technology doesn’t work but I’m just trying to put myself in the shoes of the people around the table. Yeah. That again might have been polite and said Oh my God that’s incredible. But we’re actually thinking Oh that’s gonna be a real pain to implement. And what happens if it doesn’t work or you know you go from shaving two minutes off in order to actually making an order cost another 20 quid because they’re going to have to call customer service and actually talk to a human because the order didn’t go through correctly right. Yeah. That I’m just trying to think put myself in the the person listening to the pitch issues. And again it’s all about understanding who you’re pitching to and you know their problems that they have to deal with because you know the worst possible outcome for any of those businesses is someone calling customer service because that cost a fortune.
SPEAKER: F10
Absolutely. I think you really make a very good point there actually.
SPEAKER: F8
And one of the things that Andy Hardwick said in the on the panel as well on the day was that have the confidence to have that bold conversation and ask a direct question that you are terrified of hearing the answer. What exactly needs to happen for you to buy this product. What are the steps needed to make this happen.
SPEAKER: F9
That’s such brilliant advice. I think that’s one of the best things we’ve heard I think and I’m guilty of that. I’ve probably got half a dozen situations where you walk out thinking oh my god that was amazing. I went really well. Yeah. And then nothing happens because you didn’t ask that question as you say because you don’t hear the negative side. So OK so you’ve all really impressed. So what what what’s going to happen on Tuesday. You know. What’s the follow up. What’s the action. Who. Who am I going to. You know who am I going to start working with to get this. You know try auto piloted or who do I work with to sign the contract. Then you’ll get the real reaction right.
SPEAKER: F8
Yeah but I think we all shy away from that and that’s where super hard edged salespeople because I know you worked in innovation at 0 2 and one of the things that Ali mentioned as well which I thought was really interesting was that map out the structure of the organization and ensuring that you’re talking to the right people. Yeah. Because heads of innovation I hear you saying that they’re often sent things and buy things I think she means technology technology that people don’t know which area of the business would apply.
SPEAKER: F3
And unless they have a specific demand in the business that the driver for meeting them is just oh well this sounds interesting let’s have a meet instead of actually. This is a problem that we’re hoping to solve with your technology.
SPEAKER: M9
This could take half an hour or so. All right but I mean I’ve been on the other side of the table I’ve been in that buying position for large companies. Yeah. And it’s so nuanced and it’s there’s no one reason why it happens. You know. You could come out of a meeting with a potential supplier. Yeah. With every intention of the world to go ahead and do something with them then the next week there’s a reorganization or the next yes is the next week your budget gets cut or you know the next week something else you know that throws a spanner in the works and even though you weren’t lying to the person I say Oh my God that’s amazing. We’ve got to have things outside of your control in the wider organization just happen. That’s the reality right. However. That kind of stuff that Ellie was talking about also happens. You want to be polite.
SPEAKER: F11
No one wants to be an arson that comes into the building to pitch and you send them out into the street crying. You know no one no one does that do they. Oh me I would do that. I like to see people cry about it.
SPEAKER: F9
But you’re right about making the point about the organization chart knowing where to pitch him because and again that’s really nuanced as well. And we have we’ve had a couple of good conversations around that it’s worth going back and listening to those I thing. But I always felt like in a in that certainly the telecoms organizations I worked in going into the kind of senior product management level was always the right way to go because that’s the layer of the organization that has access to budget has the ability to get stuff done. And they’re also ambitious because they’re not too senior. Yes. So they’re actually always motivated by the need to show that they can bring innovation into the business whereas the higher you get you tend to see more delegation. Yeah. And I think Monica talked about that. You know she well I trust my person to make the right decision. Don’t come to me. Yes. What they’re therefore right. Yeah. So I think I think that’s really true. You know if you there’s that temptation to think by going senior they’re going to tell everyone no one in the organization what to do. Cause they know they’re too busy. Yeah it’s time to do that. Yeah. You know they hire all of these people and run an organization because they delegate and trust in most organizations. Yes. So I think it is finding that sweet spot and not just falling into that trap of thinking you have to go senior. You know I think that middle layer that I’m empowered middle layer that’s not only there to be an interface out into the industry for that company but also has a career trajectory that they’re kind of trying to build. So I want to do well they’re motivated to bring new products and innovation and do good things in the company. Right. That that was always the sweet spot. From what why.
SPEAKER: F7
So I agree. And if you think about all decisions to make something happen are emotional and nobody wants to be the one that’s guilty for bringing the wrong technology into the company this time making people lose money the end of the day again.
SPEAKER: F9
You know we talked about knowing the motivations of the company but know the motivations of the human being you’re talking to as you say no one wants to lose their job. No one wants to look an idiot. You know everyone’s got their personal credibility on the line with everything they do every day of the week. It’s like the old cliche in the 90s. No one gets fired for buying IBM because there’s no risk. You’re not taking any risks. Yes. You know no one’s going to fire you for buying an IBM service but do you. Is your company going to innovate if you never take any risks.
SPEAKER: F2
And that’s that’s a really interesting point because Gary I remember during the conversation on the day Poppy mentioned about creating a sense of missing out in the sense of start talking to their competition. Yeah and see what the competition says. And then when you speak to them start telling them what their competition said about your product because then it’s it creates a sense of urgency that the other guys are doing it and we’re not.
SPEAKER: M9
I think there’s some truth to that but again it’s about honesty. So you absolutely need to make sure that you have had those back absolutely.
SPEAKER: M2
And also secondly that’s only going to work if the problem that you’re trying to solve is a core problem for the company. If it’s completely you know a nice to have it’s going to be well great. Go have at it you know because it’s still not going to be. It’s still not going to bump it up their priority order. If it’s not a core problem for that company.
SPEAKER: F3
But imagine if you you spoke to every company who’s in the competition of this company you’re trying to sell to you when you ask them what problems or you talk about with them about the potential problems at its core solve could be internal. Perhaps you can speed up their internal processes or it could be something that’s external like increasing the number of customers they can process per minute. And if if if all of the competition start talking about the same sort of challenges then you can start identifying and see the patterns of the potential problem if they don’t. If if they don’t spell it out.
SPEAKER: M2
One thing you’re pointing out is you never lose by going to meetings because you’re going to gather intelligence back from these perspective. Absolutely. And you don’t always have to actually apply that to your product roadmap. You can apply that to your sales and marketing. And the way that you talk to people. Yeah you can just drop things in that you’ve picked up into these conversations and see if it lands. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M9
And then do something about it if you can start to see a reaction because then I think I think Ed talked about working with with hedge funds. Yeah. And actually one thing we didn’t pick it up on. But he said I’m going to New York and I know about 60 percent of what I need to know about hedge funds. Yeah. So Ed is learning about that industry. Yes it’s going to sell a product. Yes.
SPEAKER: M7
He actually is trying to understand what motivates them whether challenges are and I think this is a great example of applying that so you know before you walk into a food delivery company yes I’ve got this great product and it’s going to. It’s going to speed up your order process. Yeah learn what our industry is going through where its natural challenges are before you walk into that room. So it’s an educated conversation.
SPEAKER: F2
Absolutely. And you know what I’m going to be very honest here the first five or six years of my business essentially I feel I was doing market research either if I was talking to a customer or I was just talking to someone who vaguely had a connection to the industry I was in. And that helped me immensely figure out where the gaps are in the market and what I can offer. That’s very different than other people. Yeah yeah. It was really really helpful to me.
SPEAKER: M7
And again you know just playing devil’s advocate don’t over play your cards right. So don’t get that degree of arrogance that you can walk into a meeting and go Oh but I’ve just come out of the meeting with your competitor and they loved it because you know one I’m probably going to know my competitors these days. Yeah. Like I could more than I pick up the phone to my counterpart and told them yeah I’ve done that before. Yeah you know don’t don’t think that competitors these days have got walls between them. Absolutely not. You know you bump into each other events and all these kinds of things and actually just a couple of weeks ago I’m not gonna name names. The company came into pitch to me. I looked on their Web site. They had a bunch of logos on there as you typically would see on companies using their services. I picked up the phone and said what you think of them. We don’t use them what you mean. Oh your logos on their Web site really shouldn’t be. I say don’t fall into that trap.
SPEAKER: F2
Absolutely. This is really interesting because lots of people have picked on my own Web site and said You don’t have the logos of all the companies that you worked with you should put him on there and I kind of felt well I don’t have time to ask permission from each company to do that. What if they do they’re so big they might go to the wrong person and discover that I hadn’t worked that one person. So it might sound like I’m lying and I’d be very cautious about that so I’m glad that you verified some assumptions.
SPEAKER: M2
You know again it’s a it’s a truism these industries all of them are tiny. Everyone knows everyone. So don’t sell thinking that you’re having isolated conversations. It’s crucial.
SPEAKER: F3
No absolutely not. I’d like to have you guys listen to poppy gut Ferson saying her feedback as well on creating this sense of missing out and what James and I were talking just now because I think is much better than just us and me paraphrasing feels like a sovereign.
SPEAKER: F13
It’s good for me. I keep thinking about that going through a drive through restaurant when you press the button. If you just caught that and then you take out the human being has to say Okay yeah I’ll press that button than that and based on what you’re saying you can completely remove that stuff from the paper. Theoretically I do it in eliminating high friction things you know searching for stuff on a mobile device.
SPEAKER: M6
Things like ordering food take a look you know as I say we measured it for just 10 prioritizes and it’s over three minutes to do that doing touch and swap. And we will go to.
SPEAKER: F13
I think the problem that you’ve got is one there in the sales cycle which is you are a young new business you haven’t gotten you can’t validate that this is really what you need to do is go in and speak to the company saying hey yeah I know you really enjoyed seeing this by the river by the way we are going to go speak to insert name drop of the next biggest competitor. They’re really interested in adopting it. And I think not intending to roll out like that. They need that validation of this is where the industry is headed. Like at the moment you’re stuck in that sort of sort of curiously interesting and wouldn’t that be lovely. And you need to create that compelling event that makes you think like well we’ve got to get out there and do it quickly. And it’s what the market is doing it’s where it’s heading and they need that validation that the decision that they’re going to be making isn’t a high risk and not necessarily give me the fast ones who haven’t done this. But it’s a validated decision that people from similar businesses are doing. And I think that’s the sort of hump that every business has in its early days of proving that what you do is really good and getting those first people to make that decision to actually go ahead and get it. So I would be going to all of their competitors as you possibly can even just so that you can then name drop when you say well when we spoke to Sam say you know they will find this really useful or whatever it is but you need to be creating a bit of a buzz.
SPEAKER: F3
That a last but not least we have the the event. Dan Kowal from silo mix pitching his business challenge should he go to market via the NHS and face a long and tedious sales cycle. Or should he go directly to the consumer. In his case this would be potential mental health patients people suffer mental health challenges and through his platform. It sounds like they would be diagnosed about what sort of mental health condition they might have. So when they go to their doctor instead of having the conversation of the doctor asking them what’s wrong with them they would have the conversation of right. As a doctor your doctor I’ve been fed the information by the platform already I know that you’ve been diagnosed already with this. And I think you were saying yourself that especially younger people prefer to take a few boxes or fill in something online rather than speaking to a person anyway. Yeah yeah absolutely. And that the doctor would have the conversation of here’s what solutions I could put forward considering what you’ve told us.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah but you can see why this is a massive issue for them because you can imagine how long or how daunting it must be to try and sell into an organisation like the NHS. Yeah. I mean you can imagine a startup burning through a lot of money without actually winning any contracts trying to do that. I think I mean this is a great example why going to these events is a good idea right because you know we’ve we’ve chatted about this before we started recording and by being at the event and being in the centre and having this conversation you know I can connect him to an organisation that can help. The first takeaway there is sharing a problem you know is a really important thing right which is you know while your event is so popular because there’s a bunch of people out there that can help you want to help you as well. So the organization I’m talking about is a HSN the eastern academic health science network and really their role is to facilitate innovation and new technology into the NHS. But if you don’t know they exist then obviously that’s not on your radar. So get out there you know we talk about networking and how that might be difficult for some people. But you know sometimes it might not lead to anything tangible but so often it does. And you know if we can help these guys out we will. And then you know in terms of what you should do. I mean who knows right. I mean I’m not an expert in selling into the NHS or health care. I mean my observation would be though if we’re talking specifically about the UK market my my perception would be if it’s not officially endorsed by the NHS I think no one. There would be questions around its quality or you know the trust you could place in it. And that might be right or wrong but if it doesn’t have that official seal of approval that that might be an issue then I think the second thing is like I totally buy into the fact that increasingly people want to have a if they don’t want to have a personal you know face to face conversation with people about tough subjects or awkward awkward issues. So I can see the need for these kinds of digital services. Yeah could you walk into a GP surgery with effectively a some evidence that you’ve been through this filter to short cut the GP having to diagnose you himself or herself if if it’s not officially supported by or recognised by the NHS. Yeah you could be walking with in with anything. Yeah. You know you could have hacked it together yourself on Photoshop you know. But you know it’s just having that official seal of approval if the objective is to speed up the point of delivery of services through the NHS. Otherwise the GP is just going to sit there and go Well okay. I don’t know what this website this website is you use. That’s tell me you how you’re feeling I don’t understand how it shortcuts anything.
SPEAKER: F2
Yes. So I think that the short answer to that question should we go to market to the NHS or directly to the consumer. I think the short answer is well considering we have the NHS and they would need that seal of approval probably you still have to go through the NHS to get that.
SPEAKER: M9
Well I mean I think the answer really depends on what outcome you’re trying to achieve. Yeah. So if the outcome is tied to the GP are you saving time you know having not to have to go through that diagnostic loop when you meet them face to face then it seems like you would have to go through the NHS to get that kind of yeah that. Was the word I’m looking for that kind of validation or what I guess.
SPEAKER: F2
But if you outcome something different then you know if you’re not going if it’s not rooted in the NHS then maybe not because you’re one of the things that a GP will can’t actually mention in the on the panel was that at the moment that the person is seen by their GP for about seven to 10 minutes.
SPEAKER: F10
Yeah and if this makes the GP life easier yeah because it’s a miserable miserable life to keep having depressed people coming to you as well with problems all the time. And if that 10 minutes can be actually about the solutions you can give them rather than just having a download of challenges that you only have seven minutes to hear them. Lose the challenge.
SPEAKER: M8
Yeah I mean you. I won’t go into why but I’ve spent a bit of time in GP surgeries recently and I’ve kind of watched it from a user experience perspective. And it is exactly how you describe it. The GP is sitting there and every 15 minutes a stranger walks in the door and complains of them. Well yeah I mean not so much that but they’re a stranger. Yeah. So they’ve got to you know get the basic questions out in terms of trying to establish a rapport. Yeah they’re probably pulling out their patient records. And you know we all we’ve been in this situation where the GP ask you what your medical history is because they don’t seem to know yet.
SPEAKER: M9
Blows my mind anyway. Yes. Yeah. You know the classic is Are you allergic to penicillin. What don’t you know. What it’s like you know. Yeah but anyway. So you’ve already burnt as you say you’ve already burned you know maybe half of the 15 minutes you’ve got just by doing the pleasantries. Yeah. Now how can the doctor then make an informed judgment about what’s wrong with you. Yes. So there’s not only the kind of quality of the diagnostics and then there’s the kind of then the implications if it’s not the right diet. And I think you were quite open about your situation while you’ve been in this city. I was gonna say yes. I mean so you know the problem just snowballs doesn’t it.
SPEAKER: F2
Absolutely snowballed insanely badly for me because in 2014 I am I had such a terrible depression and I was suicidal and I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor unless my ex-husband were still very very close friends and he actually came to the house and took me to the doctor when I texted him and I said I wanted to kill myself because he asked me to tell him if I ever get to that stage he would come and help me. So I texted him and I said I’ve been thinking about killing myself all morning and I’ll be searching will google how to kill myself.
SPEAKER: F10
And he took me to the doctor and they said oh life gets hard sometimes doesn’t it. Asked me twenty seven questions which later on I found out there were questions that the pharma company had given the NHS to help them identify. These are the sort of types of people could could be put on their medication. So it wasn’t even a questionnaire designed by the NHS I got 26 out of 27 points on that questionnaire and then they gave me this medication which now made me have insomnia which which then also meant that they had to give me sleeping pills which then also meant that I had problems my stomach and mind they had to give me stomach repairing pills had all of this had been created. Talk about the lack of knowledge of your medical history by some medication I was taking for something completely differently which the side effect for that medication was depression. And I didn’t have a history of depression nobody really looked at it and kind of gone what is this woman who’s never had depression has depression all of a sudden what medication is she’s been on been on recently nobody asked that question and I discovered myself by chance reading an article that this medication side if it could be depression and I noticed the timeline myself so I stopped it and when I stopped it then I started getting better. I was absolutely insane. I mean the doctors could have if they had seen looked at the signs but I can’t blame them. They only have 10 minutes. Well this is the problem right platform to come in and what we’re saying. Yeah exactly.
SPEAKER: M9
In theory yeah in theory and I think I think you know organizations like the one we’ve mentioned are there to look for innovations in the NHS. Yeah because I know it’s unsustainable. They have to reinvent I guess not only the front end of the NHS but how they support patients through into aftercare as well as I think is that the statistic now one in four people who’ve got mental health. Yes issues. Yeah. Sixteen million people. Yeah I’m sure frankly it’s higher than that probably is. Yeah. Because people that I’m talking to never been to a doctor about it. Absolutely. And the mental health is is one issue. Right. Wanting to get cancer you know all the excess aging population everything’s off the chart. Yes everything is off the charts so intuitively it feels like these kinds of services are the right things that you know the NHS is going to need but it’s just finding those kind of entry points into those organisations to have the sales conversation.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah.
SPEAKER: F2
And this is actually out why I was delighted that the event several people from the audience as well came forward and offered introductions various companies and potential partners that will of health help get to that point gal of your office go to events.
SPEAKER: M9
It might seem like you’re wasting time but you’re not.
SPEAKER: F10
Because every company needs connections to to grow the right events and actually the next billion pound event is on the 3rd of October 2019. Nice plug. Of course it is James but it’s it’s I think this sort of event.
SPEAKER: F2
I mean I organised because I wanted to see something like this happen. Yeah. And I was fed up of events where everybody was was either aggressively working the business idea of a startup instead of being helpful about it or talking very general terms I didn’t understand what stuff meant. And I wanted to see real exchanges real connections real people getting real help. And what are the aspects of Dan’s business that I think he didn’t really have too much of a chance to pitch or talk about. The event was I believe they have a biomarker that helps them identify the difference between bipolar patients and depression patients. And this is one of the hardest things for GP is to diagnose because you imagine you have seven minutes to diagnose someone who says they are depressed and they feel down and they have no energy and all the rest of it. But that’s also so they are diagnosed as as depressive but actually that’s only one flip side of bipolar disorder and because they don’t see them when they’re hyper when they’re on the on the upper side of it they just see the downside. So I think what is depression and that’s why a lot of bipolar disorder people including some people that I’ve known have been diagnosed as having depression when in fact was bipolar disorder and I think this biomarker if it works it would be amazing to help GP’s be able to identify and differentiate between those two things in the seven minutes they have with the person.
SPEAKER: M2
Is it real time results back then.
SPEAKER: F2
I believe I think it’s actually quite quick I think to pin blood blood people have to go back to lab or I do know all the details about it I’m afraid but I believe I think I think Dan was was actually working on something that could be a pin prick when you go to the to see the GP that the online platform says this is what’s what you are but let’s double check that with a biomarker and tell for sure. Yeah. So I think there’s lots of really good good good things about whole mix there actually and it’s a Cambridge University spin out and I was having a conversation somewhat Cambridge Enterprise about this and which is the business launching arm of Cambridge University and we were saying that anything that comes out of Cambridge we know it’s scientifically or technically robust. The question is only about the applicability and how we can make it commercially viable. And I think there’s no doubt about the the superb technology that they have coming out of the university and of that particular company as well. One of the things that came out of the conversations on on this topic was the fact that this product at the end of the Day Should platform should make the GP life easier as well not just the patient’s life. Because this way. Jamie I believe mention that just this way local GP practices could sign up or be interested in it and then you would have that snowballing effect instead of trying to treat the NHS as this huge monolithic organisation that in fact is not quite as bad when you start breaking it down into the bits and pieces that make up the NHS. And I think that those are some really great ideas from gaming and perhaps would be good for you to hear what Jamie had to say directly I think if I were you I would actually build what I would call a market map.
SPEAKER: M11
But that doesn’t mean to say everybody has to pay you money because it seems there are multiple ways of getting there. Then I would look at the pros and cons of each route. You’ve got to build a profile and I know that’s your too slightly too early to suddenly unleash the gates but all of those are possibilities and it’s worth just rationally saying and I’m not saying build a 300 page spreadsheet but if you could get onto one page A3. These are where we’re going. These are the things that might happen if we go in these directions and then make a considered decision might not be right but it is. And don’t take forever doing it either. You’ve just got to do it right. Now we move on and get to the next stage because it seems to me I am a cynic GP still aren’t really responding to the need and it’s probably they just don’t have the time. And I would even argue that they’re probably not even interested in efficiency. They’re thinking I’m going to take early retirement soon because it’s just an awful job I’m doing. That’s the other thing to think about. Can you make it actually. Are you making their jobs more pleasant because they make much better use of their 10 minutes but I have been in too many situations just recently where you sit down to talk to the doctor and the first thing they do is bring up your notes and sort of read them and then are so so and so and it just strikes me as an incredibly once you’re doing it inefficiently it just gets worse and worse. So one of the other if you did this market map one of the other places to be would be Who do you talk to in government that also create some pull because it meets their needs. It gives you some profile but I don’t know enough about the situation but I would definitely think that building a map of what your possible routes are what the pros and cons are and then make a logical set of decisions based on that. What I also wouldn’t do is just say Well let’s pick one route but I wouldn’t pick 10 routes I’d pick you know one or two or three.
SPEAKER: M3
So that you’re running in parallel experiments if you like experiments and being successful in order to get the feedback and work out what you do so we keep trying to keep this fresh so we’ve tried some a little bit different this time rather than having the guest you know we’ve been reflecting back on your great event back in February and listening to some of the panelists and adding some of our thoughts. How did you think it went.
SPEAKER: F2
I hope it went really well for us for our audience. I hope they didn’t get bored with the with our voices instead of hearing someone fresh onto the show. For me as an extrovert I process information by talking about it.
SPEAKER: F11
You know I’m an introvert after my rant. Now. Yes. This is why this works right. Yes. Inch for extra I should have been the name of the podcast.
SPEAKER: F10
You should have. You should. You come out exhausted after every show. Like what I think of all the worlds. Oh there we are.
SPEAKER: F2
But for me talking about each challenge it’s reminding me how common these are these three startups that pitched their business challenges were not the only ones. And I that’s one of the benefits of the event that I heard from other startups who don’t want to pitch a business problem but they want to be in the audience. Yes. Because they they hear familiar things. Yeah. For any startup hearing and listening to this out there you’re not the only one. If you’re facing this challenge and this is one of the reasons why we wanted to go through them and analyze them ourselves as well as reminding you what the panel said if you weren’t at the event I mean I’m not being paid by you to promote your event.
SPEAKER: M3
Maybe I should be. But I mean there’s two things I really like. I mean no one is as you’ve mentioned is not your classic testosterone pitching thing. We’re so great. We’re amazing. Give me loads of money we’re going to rule the world. You know I think the second thing is like you have to be pretty brave to stand up there and be vulnerable about something you’re struggling with. You know cause you know we are conditioned to pretend everything is going amazingly well. Right yes. And so I think you’ve created something quite unique there and so you know people should definitely get out the office in the tent.
SPEAKER: F3
The other thing I haven’t mentioned at the beginning however you might have noticed from the names of the people that I said were on the panel I tried to keep the panel on this event as mainly women and only one token man to be at odds with the usual pitching or tech events that you would go to where the panel is made of men men men men men Mad Men and just maybe for a lucky one token woman. And I think that also adds to the dynamic of collaboration and actually being being actively helpful instead of trying to compete who gives the best advice.
SPEAKER: M2
Yeah interesting. Did you ever try it with just men. Not yet. No. So you did that but. I.
SPEAKER: M7
Just wondered if you’d like gone down that path because it didn’t go the way you wanted or it’s always been configured that way.
SPEAKER: F6
I did a similar event a few years ago with a panel where it was mainly men and one woman. I can’t say it went particularly badly or anything like that. However I just wanted to also not give the impression the core reason why I wanted the panel full of women actually was because I don’t want to give the impression that only men work in unicorn Corp. good companies or are founders of unicorn companies.
SPEAKER: F2
And that’s I want to change that myth. Only men do that then and it’s not. And once you see a panel full of women who are executives in unicorn companies or founders of unicorn companies I think it starts giving a different kind of message.
SPEAKER: F9
Yeah you can do it too. Everyone should follow your example. I the best.
SPEAKER: F15
Please let us know what you thought of this different kind of format. We will have guests again. However we wanted to try something new this time. The show was produced by Carl Homer and our logo was designed by Tanya’s zeal Ken and Marie Miller of carbon orange.
SPEAKER: M1
We are really pleased to have central working as a sponsor of the show. We record each episode at the Bradford center which is operated by Central working along with 10 other locations around the UK. If you’re looking for flexible workspace wrapped with a vibrant community in the services you need to grow your business. Visit central working dot com to learn more. If you’re enjoying the content please leave us a review on your podcasting platform of choice. It will really help build awareness of what we’re doing. And don’t forget to connect to us on social. To suggest a guest will tell us what you think about some of the topics we’ve discussed on this show. …

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Scaling, Failing & Prevailing Podcast

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