Monthly Archives

August 2015

Startups

3 startups I love – All about the sharing economy

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3 startups I love

I remember my grandma and a lot of friends stating: “August is holiday time“. Well, since when I moved to London I really appreciate the fact I can take holiday whenever I want, so, August has been turning into the busiest month ever.
A lot of work, projects, amazing people I met and incredible things I learnt. I stab the accelerator, just a little bit and BUM! I didn’t even realise how my life has been full of everything, in just a few weeks.
But yeah, sorry, this is the post where I’m talking about the best projects I came across in August. 😛

amazing-sunset-greece-Kos-april-2015So, let’s talk about your holiday. ‘Cause I guess the majority of you is still thinking of incredible sunsets and beach parties.
If you’re a girl looking for exclusive trips and events, you need to check out Pinktrotters an exclusive female community for travels, lifestyle and events. They’re just about launching in the UK, so if you’re interested in joining unique travelling experiences & events around the world, have a look.
If you’re a boy, keep reading.

boat-sailing-rent-a-boat-summer0sharing-economyI came across a few sharing economy projects that could be really cool in terms of experiencing something new but also saving YOU a bit of money.
Do you know you can rent a boat, skippers/captains included and travel around highlands without worrying about anything? Yeah, I’m not joking, you can enjoy an amazing on-board-holiday just in a few finger taps.  Check out the Italian Antlos and join the incredible suggestions all around the Mediterranean.
Join the several sea skippers and be ready for your next adventure.
If you don’t like Italians (buuuhhh!) you can also check the Greek version, Incrediblue.

I don’t know if I already tell you, maybe not, but I DO love sharing economy, especially the fact you’re renting, maximising the utility of a car/boat/house/tool without an intermediary. It’s very sad to say but you already know that the intermediaries as we know will die? And millennials much prefer renting than buying? If you still love buying, it’s because you’re not a millenieal, don’t worry. 😛

Rentecarlo-Car-Hire-London-sharing-economy-startupsThat’s why the last project I’m in love is also a sharing economy one, called Rentecarlo, an online marketplace to rent cars from people nearby. Say you have a car and this weekend you’re thinking of staying at home planting seeds and relax. Why not earning money renting out your car? And if you’re planning a weekend away, why not renting a car directly from owners, saving time and money?
I think it’s brilliant. Just in the UK for the moment, but soon all around Europe.
Ah, just wantin’ to tell you. I was so in love with Rentecarlo that I joined the team! Wish me luck!! I did tell you it’s been a busy month, didn’t I?
Share my love for the sharing economy startups and join this Sharing Economy FB group to be up to date with all the latest news!

 

Startups Women in Startups

London Startup Talks #1: Social Belly

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London Startup Talks: Social Belly

Hello everyone, are you enjoying your Friday? I know Friday is not the most amazing day to read a blog post, but, no worries, it’s a simple, interesting and really nice one! 😉
This is the first of a new series of articles sharing the experience of early stage startups, especially when they’re run by women.
For this very first post, I’m glad to introduce you Dimple Lalwani, founder of Social Belly, a platform to let people host, take part and share amazing dinner parties.
If you have more questions for her, feel free to add them in your comments below! 😉

1) How did you come up with the idea of Social Belly?
I first came up with the idea of Social Belly towards the end of 2013. This was after I started hosting multiple dinner parties with friends of friends as a means to get to know new people. I was new to London and soon realised that my life was revolving around long hours at work and commuting from home to work. Most networking events I attended were a combination of drinks at pubs and/or work related events. But what I really wanted is to have a good meal with a few people I had common interests with. This is basically how it all started…social-belly-platform-screenshot

2) Being an expat, is it difficult to set up your own business in London?
Not at all. Actually, I felt it was easier to set up a company here than anywhere else. The procedures are really well explained plus there are lots of events for entrepreneurs to find out the first steps into starting a business. I definitely think that you need to be extremely passionate about what you’re doing. There’s a lot of research you should do and always try get the best deals out there. 

3) What are the main things you need to do at the start?
First, it’s important to validate your concept through an MVP. Make sure you don’t spend too much money on this, remember it’s a product with the highest return on investment versus risk. Second, really narrow down who exactly is your target market. It’s easy to say that everyone would use your product however it’s important to be very specific, it will be helpful when you start your marketing campaigns. Finally, listen to your users. Keep talking to them and ask them the key questions; why are they using your product?  Why did they sign up? Why would they visit your website again? 

social-belly-logo4) You’re based at Google Campus, which is the co-working space you’d suggest to people aiming to open a business in London?
Yes, and it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made so far. I’m based at TechHub and the networking and community here is excellent. I had no background in startups before and I feel I’ve learnt so much in the past six months due to the community here. If you’re working on an idea, I’d recommend you work in either a co-working space or coffee shops within the tech city. It’s amazing how many people you’ll meet and build relationships with. For me, that’s been one of the biggest advantages since I started Social Belly.

5) Who’s the first person you would hire (or you have hired) at Social Belly?
It really depends on the business you’re in. I remember that one of the first things I needed for Social Belly was a prototype, therefore, I hired a Graphic Designer. After this, we won a startup competition worth £50,000 from Simpleweb and from that we got some tech support as well. After that, we’ve hired a CTO and now on the lookout for a COO. 

6) Do you really think people will change their schedule to attend a dinner with strangers?
Absolutely. This trend has been going on for several years around the whole world. I think there is a definite market for people to meet like-minded people without the pressure of going on a date or a double date. When you’ve got a new job or when you’re new to a city, it becomes hard to meet new people outside of your circle and that’s where Social Belly comes in. We match Londoners based on common interests and let them bond over an authentic meal. 

7) Is friendship possible in the startup world?
In my opinion, your success as an entrepreneur will be strongly impacted by your ability to build new business relationships. It really depends on what you consider to be a friendship. For example, I’m based at TechHub in Google Campus and I feel that we’ve become more than friends. When you’re working long hours and continuously supporting each other through difficult times, you become more like a family. Trust and support is key when you’re running a business and that’s probably the best thing about having your own startup. 

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Growth Hacking

Online tools for startups: Charlie, I love you!

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Do you know Charlie?

Hello everyone! Nope, I won’t talk about my boyfriend. Remember? Here I promised I wouldn’t write about cheesy stuff.

Charlie is my new super-amazing virtual personal assistant.
If you work with startups, you know that time and organisation are two super important factors.
Charlie is great, so, if you do, like me, have problems remembering names and you’d love saving hours and avoid researching the people you have to meet with you..well, you should give it a try!

So, first of all, you need to be skilled and use Calendar, as Charlie imports its data. Then you can sign up here (VIP access) and sync your calendar. And you’re done! You’ll start receiving reminders for your daily meetings and insights of the people you’re going to meet, saving you tons of time and silly questions. ‘Cause you’ll know what does matter to ask and what it doesn’t.

Also, you won’t only receive really important researches but also really hilarious emails, like this one:

charlie-personal-assistant-hilarius-email

Or really sad ones (but quite effective CRM campaigns though), like:

charlie-personal-assistant-sad-email2

charlie-personal-assistant-sad-email
So, are you ready to hire your first virtual personal assistant?
If you have an iPhone, you can use the app, if not…help me & chase them to release an Android version! 😀

 

 

Digital strategy

The UK is now a “smartphone society”

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UK smartphones are winning over desktops: the UK smartphone society

I know it’s Saturday, but today I’d like to share with you a really interesting fact.  I had the chance of looking at the Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report and it was really surprising having the confirmation that in the UK smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online. 

Smartphones are now in the pockets of two-thirds (66%) of UK adults, up from 39% in 2012 and a great jump since 2014, when just 22% turned to their phone first, and 40% still preferred their laptop.
Who’s using the mobile device? Youngsters (16-24) for the 90% but also 55-64-year-olds are joining the revolutions passing in three years from 19% to 50%.

UK Smartphones are most used to connect for the first time ever

uk smartphone societyFor the first time in years, the smartphone has overtaken the laptop as the device internet users say it is the most important for connecting to the internet.
Isn’t it a big revolution we are facing right now? Isn’t it just the confirmation of a “mobile” economy we’re already experiencing?

You can check out all the stats here and the full report here

What does it mean? I think it’s a clear signal that from a business point of view you should improve your mobile experience and this is the most important thing you can do to drive conversions and sales.
Only after having designed a great mobile experience, you can think of online marketing, strategies and social media. 😉

Startups

3 startups I love: Kano, Transferwise and Yeldify – July 2015

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Hello everyone! So July passed over and I’m ready to share with you all my new thoughts about interesting projects and startups. June’s thoughts are here. And July? What did I like the most this month?

Startups I love

Kano is a computer everyone can make, even your children. So, are those guys just willing to build a computer and ship around, again in 2015? Nope.
Using Kano children are not only assembling their own computer but also learn to code. Isn’t it awesome? Read the Greyson’s story here, well, just to tell you that Greyson is only 6 years old though.
Children can also enter the summer camp here even without the Kano kit and start learning everything from scratch. And if you’re thinking your little girl will not be fascinated by coding as she’s a girl…well..why don’t you give her a chance to know what coding is about?

Them I needed to send money to Italy and I gave a try to Transferwise. Do you know what is it?
With Transferwise you can transfer money abroad without using banks, in a terrific cheaper and faster way. When you transfer money abroad, especially between different currencies, with banks you have to pay a really high bill. With this P2P service, instead, you’re getting an amazing exchanging rate but also an extremely reliable and cheaper service. I was extremely delighted! You should give it a try, I was also a bit worried at the beginning, I think it’ normal. How long have we been using banks to transfer money? Changing is scaring!

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The last one is a B2B project called Yieldify providing a service to improve conversions, retention and sales for thousands of e-commerce businesses around the world. Say you’re a company and you have a web store, wouldn’t you be delighted to have a company helping out understanding your customers and boost sales? That’s what they’re doing and a 400% growth in 2 years can tell they’re great. If you want to learn more about them you should get in touch here, but I promise, they’re nice, don’t be scared! 😀

Now it’s your turn and you can share your thoughts with me, which is the project you like the most?
Also, if you’re in love with other projects, don’t be shy, share them! 😉