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Founder Spotlight: Meet Audrey Limery

Audrey is the CEO & Founder of Kweevo, a seasoned Data and AI expert and an award-winning entrepreneur. She is an alumnus of our Barclays Black Founder programme, and as a Data Strategist and a Data Scientist, helps businesses get more value from their data, to drive innovation & value, boost revenue, and transform companies into data-driven organisations.

After observing many businesses struggling to use their data effectively, I wanted to build an innovative solution allowing businesses to quickly generate insights without the need to have any tech skills or write a single line of code. Consequently, in January 2020, I founded my tech start-up, Kweevo.

Kweevo is a SaaS analytics platform (launched in June 2021), offering pre-built and automated innovative dashboards/apps designed to help businesses generate insights quickly, unlock more value from their data, and make informed decisions. Kweevo makes analytics easier for businesses and helps them become data-driven organisations.

I have thought and designed Kweevo from scratch and assembled a team of developers and experts to build the concept from my vision, and the result is an innovative and scalable tech product.

Kweevo is industry-agnostic and currently provides solutions across four verticals: Supply Chain, Retail, Finance, and Marketing. Kweevo has three core missions:

  1. Driving digital transformation through data and AI
  2. Boosting the tech ecosystem
  3. Supporting decarbonisation and waste reduction with their Supply Chain & Cleantech solutions

The Barclays & Foundervine Black Founder Accelerator (BFA) 2.0 was a very enriching and valuable experience. As a solo Black Female Founder in the UK, I often felt isolated, particularly while building a tech start-up during the pandemic. The accelerator was precisely what I needed and provided excellent support, allowing me to focus and drive growth.

I had access to powerful insights and expert-led masterclasses, which allowed me to: refine my value proposition and product-market fit; identify key financial drivers to track my business performance; define and implement a solid digital marketing strategy; understand how to manage my cash flow; and much more.

Additionally, one intangible and invaluable benefit I received from BFA was the access to an incredible community of founders, leaders, experts, mentors and coaches. As an entrepreneur, growing your network is essential, and BFA has been instrumental in helping me extend mine.

I must say that it is genuinely the best programme I have been on so far! Being on this journey with other Black Founders who understand what I’m going through and can relate has been extremely helpful. I must credit the fantastic Programme Managers from Barclays and Foundervine: they did an incredible job delivering the programme and supporting us at every step. For me, the cherry on the cake was attending Demo Day, where only 16 Founders were selected to introduce their business: pitching Kweevo in front of a public audience and investors such as Nick Jenkins was remarkable and rewarding experience.

Isolation: I founded Kweevo at the beginning of the pandemic, so the isolation was particularly challenging. As soon as the government lockdown measures started to ease off, I knew that I needed to extend my network and join the right communities to allow me to thrive.

Funding & Resources: Another massive challenge I have encountered and am still experiencing (along with many other founders) is limited funding and resources. It is extremely difficult running a business in a lean manner and having to juggle so many tasks all at once. However, through this, I have learned to develop my resilience and how to optimise my cash flow. Access to funding for Black Founders is very limited, so I had to be resourceful to run and grow my business.

It would have been incredibly useful to have more insights into navigating the fundraising landscape, as fundraising is a very challenging process. For example, questions such as “how much equity to give away? What key deal terms should I set for my business? How much money should I raise and when? Am I at a pre-seed/seed stage?” These can be pretty complex and subjective to answer. These answers are not always “black and white”; opinions often differ on the matter, and it is still a bit blurry for many founders. Therefore, it can take quite some time to fully comprehend the process and make the right moves.

As there is no definite blueprint, I had to do my own research, get access to resources, talk to the right people, and join the right networks /communities /programmes to find the fundraising answers I needed.

I would encourage all founders to do so as soon as possible to avoid making fatal fundraising mistakes in their business journey.

As an entrepreneur, growing your network is essential, and the Black Founder Accelerator (BFA) has been instrumental in helping me extend mine.

Another brilliant milestone was our nomination at the Black Tech Achievement Awards 2022, where Kweevo ended as a finalist in the “App of the Year” category, and I won the “Innovation Champion” category with Kweevo.

In April 2022, Kweevo joined the Microsoft for Startups ecosystem, granting us access to essential Microsoft resources and insights.

In August 2022, we launched Kweevo API, a new feature allowing users to connect external applications (e.g. Shopify, Stripe, etc.) to our platform for easy data retrieval. Our users can now PLUG & PLAY by simply connecting the relevant API and using the corresponding dashboard(s) to see valuable insights being instantly generated!

We also had another significant milestone as Kweevo was selected as a finalist for the MSDUK Innovation Challenge 2022. I will be pitching our sustainable solutions in front of a panel of judges at the MSDUK Conference & Awards in September 2022 in London for the chance to win a £20,000 cash prize.

The amount of traction we are getting since BFA is truly amazing, and we intend to continue to grow and scale as much as possible. We currently have some exciting things on our roadmap, and we cannot wait to share them with everyone!

First, I’d suggest seeking advice and support as early as possible in your entrepreneurial journey. A vast amount of information is available to founders, so do your research early on. Set some milestones and strive to move forward, one step at a time: having some milestones in place can make a big difference and help make the workload more manageable.

Find and join accelerators, programmes, networks and communities as early as possible, and if you don’t get in straight away, learn from your failures and try again. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, and put yourself out there; build your own personal brand as much as your business brand: when I started as an entrepreneur, they often told me that people buy from whom they know, so you should be ready to showcase yourself, grow your brand and always be authentic!

If you develop a tech product, I suggest having a digital and data strategy in place as soon as possible. I see many founders “neglecting” their data when they start because they think they will “have the time later”, but then it becomes unmanageable; so make data your ally from the start. Create a cash flow forecast to help you determine your runway and understand the different scenarios at hand: this can strongly support your decision-making process. If data is not your strong suit, don’t hesitate to seek advice from data experts. Also, ensure you are digitally compliant (e.g. register with the ICO; have data privacy processes in place).

Finally, find a couple of good advisors for your business (e.g. business/tech/product/legal advisors): having the right advisors by your side as you grow your business can be invaluable.

Picture Source: Black Tech Achievement Awards 2022

At Kweevo, we would like to help as many businesses as possible to become more profitable and sustainable using the power of data. We are therefore very keen to hear from organisations (i.e. retailers, manufacturers) using apps such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Stripe, Square, Xero, and Salesforce, aiming to improve operational efficiencies, financial performance and long-term sustainability. We would love to collaborate with organisations in the supply chain tech and net zero space. Also, we are currently fundraising, and we would be grateful for any warm intros to investors.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who continues to support us on our journey! It truly means a lot!

As we’ve recently launched Kweevo API, we now aim to increase our user base and generate more revenue. One of our core missions is to support decarbonisation and sustainability by providing Supply Chain & CleanTech solutions. One of our primary goals is to integrate the supply chain tech market and help corporate customers drive more sustainable supply chains. We also aim to access international markets (i.e. Europe, USA, Canada, Africa) in the future to broaden our reach and enable business growth.

Be bold and just do it! Launch that idea, build that business, and move forward one step at a time. Being a founder is extremely hard, so ensure you do something you love and is sustainable in the long run. Build your brand and enlarge your network: do not underestimate the power of connections (as they say, your network is your net worth).

Finally, embrace who you are and learn to leverage your differences and unique skillset to demark yourself: always remain authentic and genuine. Also, do not let other people’s opinions lessen your value: it’s always good to take advice but always assess the advice you receive (good and sound advice may not necessarily be the right one for you). Finally, enjoy the journey and celebrate the milestones!

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