Part 1 – The Early Days

It all started with a SMS.

“G, it’s time 2 start our own dotcom. Let’s do for ourselves what we have been doing for others for the past 10 years.”

Seems Alex M had had an idea brewing in the back of his mind for the last couple of years. A moment of clarity on a recent holiday brought it crashing to the front where he could no longer ignore it. Since work for both of us was “Tim Canterbury” bad, the time seemed ripe. And, it appears, so was the idea (you want to know more right? Watch this space…).

Once he filled me in, things quickly snowballed. We needed to flesh out the idea. Phil was between roles so we talked him flying out to Bangkok (actually we didn’t really have to talk him into this) to meet me. Alex M whipped together the business plan and soon we had a story that developer Paul simply couldn’t resist. Suddenly things started to get pretty serious.

And serious times called for serious money. So Alex M and Phil entered the dark world of venture capital to attempt the dark art of securing investment. I’ll let the two of them take over the story from here…

Yes, fortunately we had at our sides some old hands. Not ours but those of Jack Edmondson (actually he has lovely smooth hands) and Rich Robinson (him, not so much). These chaps have been amazing throughout the last few months. And sometimes they helped us as well (we learnt that a cap table wasn’t a hat-stand by another name!). Thank you guys.

Seeking funding was a fascinating learning experience. At first we went for the big bucks and a high valuation. Fortunately, we failed at this. Enter our first lesson in raising capital: If you want to ultimately hang on to more equity then only raise as much as you need to get proof of concept. You might give away equity at a lower valuation at first but once you’ve proved your idea works the next time you raise money you’ll get a lot more bucks for your bang (thanks Monu!).

We’re probably getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. We raised enough to keep us going for 6-8 months and are working like crazy to prove ourselves right! But enough with the lessons, on a less serious note, to finish this post we’ll leave you with our first list.

8 great reasons to quit the cubicle and set up on your own:

1. You can sign your own leave requests.
2. You can expense EVERYTHING.
3. You get to choose your dress. I’m wearing a lovely two-toned scalloped gown with a matching satin wrap.
4. Flexible working hours. You can work as late as you want!
5. Variety of work. You get to test out new skills. Like filing the annual tax returns.
6. Its offers you an opportunity to fully experience the rich service Companies House offers. The only website we know of that keeps official office hours online.
7. You are no longer making someone else rich. Disclaimer: the corollary isn’t necessarily true!
8. You get to make up imaginary titles for yourself like Chief Imagineer.

Til next week!

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4 Responses to Part 1 – The Early Days

  1. John Kelly says:

    Wanted to give you a heads up that I mention Snagsta on my blog today: http://www.voxford.blogspot.com. Good luck with the project!

  2. Nils Flaatten says:

    Phil!!! What have you gotten yourself involved with???

    PS. Where can I buy shares for this amazing venture?

  3. David M says:

    Best of luck chaps!

  4. Lanre says:

    Good luck guys – if you need a tech-savvy guru to help with user testing, drop me a line!

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