We were excited to win the Nat West Boost Award for Start Up Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2016 Great British Entrepreneur Awards. This was a great way to round off our third year trading.
Business Insider have recently reported on Silicon Valley executives reaction to the Trump presidency and we shared some of our recent experiences from conversations with Tech Execs on the West Coast. Please click on the image below for full article.
A week before the UK voted Leave, Gordon & Eden hosted In Demand: London Tech Talent and the EU. Key members of the digital community were invited to Bloomberg HQ to share their perspectives on what the referendum result will mean for them, including Steve Hilton former director of strategy to the Prime Minister, Eric Van der Kleij from Entiq, Harry Briggs from BGF Ventures; Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates and Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK.
We have recently contributed opinion editorial for the latest Tech City News which has recently hit the streets. Only available in the print edition so article text below in case you missed it!
HEADHUNTING HACKS: MAKING THE TALENT SHORTAGE WORK FOR YOU
One of the biggest headaches for the London technology community is hiring. Survey after survey show that firms think talent is the biggest issue impacting on growth. This not only affects the start-up and scale-up markets but also established businesses who are increasingly hunting in the same candidate pool.
Nowhere is this issue more critical than at an executive level where the right leadership team, or key appointment to round out an existing team can make the difference between success or failure.
While nobody doubts that the market for digital talent is ever more competitive, that does not mean there are no solutions - you just need to know how to adapt your search for the market dynamics. Recruitment is no different from any other area of your business: if you hunt in the same terrain as your competitors and don’t have a stand-out opportunity, expect slim pickings.
There may be a talent war in the tech industry, but that doesn’t mean you have to fight the battle every time.
Don’t get hung up on the poster child
From nimble tech startups to corporate giants, one trend we have seen time and time again has been the nervousness to look outside of the usual “poster hires” and go-to companies when hunting for executive talent.
We encourage businesses to think more strategically about talent to avoid simply going to the top ten obvious candidates who, trust us, will be receiving similar approaches from prospective new employers on a daily basis.
A high profile hire can make for an easy narrative when securing funding or corporate investment, so by no means avoid these big names. However, nobody represents a panacea and it is important to think about where else talented leaders can be found who might keep a slightly lower public profile despite being equally qualified and experienced. Success should be calibrated by landing an outstanding individual, not just by securing one of the big names or brands.
Consider the step-up candidate
While taking the time to consider executives who keep a lower profile, we also encourage organisations to think about “step-up” candidates. While it is clearly important to find somebody who can perform at the level expected, people who might fall short on tenure or lack a specific field of experience can still prove to be credible candidates.
In fact, our experience has found that by considering these step-up candidates, organisations often find that they are hungrier for the opportunity than somebody who has already been through this journey. Every C-level executive was once appointed to their first Board role and all too often that move initially happens as an internal promotion rather than in an external move.
Move quickly and decisively
It is bad business to hold job openings vacant – not only due to the impact it has on your bottom line but because it will also deter potential candidates from engaging, wondering why it has sat on the shelf for such a long time. In a small and well-networked market, it is very easy for a role to become unfairly tarnished. The best people will usually have many options and the longer your process, the greater the risk they will take another role, or lose interest altogether and decide to stay put. Inertia is critical.
We recommend that, once you have clearly defined your strategy for sourcing the talent, you work to defined timescales. Any search, however exhaustive, will only ever be a window on the available talent at that point in time.
If you are confident you have a robust strategy for getting to a strong shortlist, then you should move through your assessment, referencing and get to offer as quickly as possible.
Choose the right partner
Often firms will manage to hire executive positions through their own network or direct sourcing. If you do choose to work with an executive search firm then make sure you always ask the following questions when deciding on who to partner with:
What track record do you have in hiring this profile role and which of those clients can we speak to for a reference on that work?
How long have you worked in the digital market?
Are the pitch team the ones who will actually be doing the work?
What is your “off-limits” list of clients you can’t search into?
Are your shortlist fees charged on presentation or our actual agreement that the shortlist is acceptable?
What kind of data do you provide during the process to help us understand how you have arrived at the shortlist?
What do you do to innovate in candidate sourcing?
How would you pitch this opportunity to a potential candidate and what reaction do you expect to get from the market?
How long do you guarantee appointments for? If the person doesn’t pass their probation will you be contractually obliged to find a replacement?
If you are not happy with the responses then it may be wise to speak with another firm.
Focus on the candidate experience at every step
Anyone who has recently had to fill an executive position will know that companies are fighting hard to land the best candidates. While you may think you have an incredible proposition to take to market, it is likely there are others that are just as compelling, also vying to land that person.
The candidate experience is essential at every step of the process: from the initial approach call to the warmth of the greeting when they turn up at reception. Try and place yourself in the candidate's shoes; ensure the selling is bi-directional and, even if you decide not to hire the person, make sure their experience is positive and they would still advocate your brand. It is important to feed back promptly and ensure that responses to unsuccessful candidates are measured, objective and constructive.
Winning the war
There is little doubt that hiring leadership talent in the tech industry is more challenging than ever. The UK’s digital economy is thriving, attracting entrepreneurs from across the world; there have never been so many opportunities for our most talented minds. While some of these points may seem simple and obvious, all it takes is a slight edge to make all the difference in landing an outstanding executive team.
In a market that moves incredibly quickly, an aversion to risk should apply just as much to hiring strategy as the rest of your business. For example, today’s step-up candidate is often next year’s poster child - so think about securing ‘talent’ in the broadest sense of the word.
Barclays Life Skills is an initiative to help young people find the skills they need to succeed in the digital economy. We have contributed to their content and led round table discussions with new entrants to the workforce on how they can maximise their chances of landing their dream job. Franky Harrington appeared in feature in The Telegraph last Sunday and further video content to follow shortly.
We recently hosted an evening with TechCrunch's Mike Butcher who entertained a room of 180 digital executives with his views on what's next for tech. It was great to see so many UK startup, scaleup and corporate digital leaders braving the biblical weather. Some photos from the event below. #gordoneden
The secret’s finally out: Financial technology (fintech) is a London thing. The British capital is fast becoming the global capital for the fintech industry and we believe London is uniquely placed to dominate this market, with significant advantages over other major tech hubs -- including Silicon Valley. Recent news of the record-breaking amount of venture capital in 2014, and the projection of an additional £12bn of economic activity and 46,000 new jobs in the next decade, has only strengthened the momentum.
Just eighteen months ago, this was a nascent sector and a term most associated with IT systems for banks. Now, we’re talking about truly disruptive, homegrown companies such as peer-to-peer foreign exchange service Transferwise becoming £1 billion ventures. Canary Wharf Group’s Level 39 is now a three-level coworking establishment housing 166 fintech businesses: a hub of innovation seeded from within London’s corporate towers. Promising companies such as Digital Shadows have sprung out of consulting giant Accenture’s London Fintech Innovation Lab. Half of the dozen startups on Tech City UK’s government-backed programme Future Fifty are finance-oriented, including Transferwise, GoCardless and Ratesetter.
With Europe at our doorstep, a pool of diverse talent and an well-established financial infrastructure, London bypasses other world-class finance and tech hubs as an incubation spot. Where once promising talent would have endeavored to enter the world of investment banking, more and more are aiming to disrupt the traditional banking world. It’s within this space that corporate and startup worlds are colliding at a much earlier stage, as big institutions and early-stage businesses begin to work together to create incredible opportunity.
The prospects for London’s financial innovation are looking peachy - but who are the individuals spearheading this future and what do they have to say on the subject? Many of these came together in last month’s Fintech 2015, an inspiration-filled event organized by Seven Hills, Level39 and Tech London Advocates. As attendees, we were exhilarated by the calibre and content shared by the speakers. Here, we round up some of the highlights as shared by top talent writing London’s fintech success story.
Reshma, Partner & Co-founder of Seedcamp
In the words of Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, London’s fintech potential is not about building $1bn businesses: rather, it’s about the potential to create $10bn businesses. As partner of Pan-European accelerator Seedcamp, she helps early stage companies (such as Elliptic and Transferwise) with business development and fundraising. “At Seedcamp, we take companies from zero to IPO. We have investors from California to China involved in London fintech,” she shared with the crowd at Fintech 2015. “(This sector) is making its own paradigm.”
ANIL STOCKER, CEO & CO-FOUNDER OF MARKETINVOICE
Anil Stocker says London’s fintech is at the beginning of a very optimistic journey: graduates making more entrepreneurial choices, consumers are crying out for more competition and diversity, and companies are beginning to change financial services for the better on an international scale. Stocker is doing his part as well: In 2011 he co-founded MarketInvoice, the UK’s first “eBay for invoices” that lets you trade invoices for your finance needs, and has been CEO since. According to Stocker, the obstacles for further international expansion of the sector lie in the complex legal and regulatory frameworks.
HIROKI TAKEUCHI, CEO & FOUNDER OF GOCARDLESS
Want to see what high growth looks like? Take a look at GoCardless’ blog, where they recently posted an animation that visualises the companies’ national growth over the last 3 years. Initially aiming to make group payments between groups of friends and small organisations easier, the company has since become the UK’s leading direct debit provider.
“Don’t think of it as fintech, think of it as good ideas”, Hiroki Takeuchi said during his talk at Fintech 2015. Takeuchi’s venture is part of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty Programme and backed by some of the world’s leading investors, including Passion Capital and Y Combinator.
Alex Letts, CEO & Founder of Ffrees
“Bill Gates said banking is essential, banks are not”, said Alex Letts, who founded his own fintech company Ffrees in 2012. As the UK’s first truly digital alternative to traditional retail banking, Ffrees offers its customers a current account that lets them earn as they spend though competitive rewards and bonuses. “65% of banking customers are unprofitable,” Letts explained of state of the current accounts market. “In this day and age, banks make most of their money applying penalties". Letts’ venture tackles this by providing families with a sustainable and profitable alternative by giving them control of their savings in a digital realm.
vLaurence Aderemi, CEO & Founder of Moni
Laurence Aderemi’s own experience of being a Western Union customer was what initially led him to believe there was a better way of doing it. Moni, the Western Union for the digital economy, is a peer-to-peer money transfer app that innovates how people send money to their friends and family abroad. Aderemi joined London’s fintech superstars from an impressive background in mobile innovation. Previously, he led business development for EMEA under AdMob. When it was acquired by Google, he joined as Head of Mobile Strategic Partnerships.
Alick Varma, CEO & Founder of Osper
"One in seven children uses their parents’ bank card without permission,” Alick Varma shared with the crowd at Fintech 2015. To him, building the future of fintech is about much more than number crunching: it’s about education. Osper aims to empower young people to manage their money responsibly and build great habits for finances at an early age. Investors (including Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Venture, tech investment firm Index Ventures, Lastminute.com’s co-founder and several notable venture capital backers) rushed to get a piece of Varma’s “digital pocket money” startup after being seeded through London’s TechStars programme.
Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK
London’s unique positioning as a tech hub is largely a result of its government-backed institutions such as Tech City UK. As CEO of the entity, Gerard Grech is leading initiatives such as the FutureFifty programme, which assists growth-stage digital businesses with governmental access and fosters an environment for growth by stimulating the institutional investor base and capital markets. “In 2013, UK and Ireland represented more than half of Europe’s fintech deals and 69% of Europe’s fintech funding”, Grech shared at the conference. FutureFifty welcomed a dozen new fintech companies in late 2014, half of which were dedicated to financial technology-- which in itself is a signal for the sector’s ongoing growth.
Claire Cockerton, CEO of Pivotal Innovations, Head of Innovation Programmes at Level39
"Businesses now have the opportunity and right to compete in a sector that has been traditionally very difficult to enter,” said Claire Cockerton, who has co-led Level39 as Head of Innovation to become Europe’s largest technology accelerator for fintech and smart cities. As a serial entrepreneur, she has founded and chaired accelerator Pivotal Innovations and is currently CEO of Innovative Finance.
RHYDIAN LEWIS, CEO & FOUNDER OF RATESETTER
According to Rhydian Lewis, the emergence of the fintech industry should be equated to the big picture: “Finance never had its industrial revolution,” he shared with the crowd. “Finance is 90% technology anyway”. Launching peer-to-peer lending site RateSetter.com in 2010, he is fueling the revolution of lending and borrowing in the share economy with one of the UK’s fastest growing P2P platforms.
EILEEN BURBIDGE, PARTNER AT PASSION CAPITAL
The Telegraph has described Eileen Burbidge as “Silicon Roundabout’s real reigning queen” for good reason. As partner of early stage venture capital fund Passion Capital she holds investments in GoCardless and DueDil (20% of their portfolio is in fintech), and has invested in the likes of Yahoo!, Skype and Apple. As a speaker at Fintech 2015, Burbidge emphasised that London’s fintech sector is unique in that corporate and startup businesses are coming together here in a big way. She claims London’s fintech sector is “recession proof”, as the more depression in the macro market, the more talent will move toward small business innovation. The biggest challenges for these companies to reach the public market, she says, lie in regulation and talent.
London is often praised for being at the forefront of diverse global industries, and now it seems it can rightfully add “technology” to the list. We’ve introduced just a handful of the individuals that have sowed the seeds for success. They are highly optimistic about the future of the financial landscape being built here, and it is clear that it is just the beginning of the story.
In the spirit of entering the new year with a fresh start, we asked some our favourite Movers and Shakers from across the digital and tech industries to write down and share their resolutions with us.
Throughout January, our Twitter feed @Gordon_Eden came alive with daily doses of inspiration from top entrepreneurs, investors and executives on what they had learned in 2014 and hoped to achieve in the next 365 days. Last but not least, we shared our number one resolution at Gordon & Eden:
In the spirit of entering the new year with a fresh start, we asked some our favourite Movers and Shakers from across the digital and tech industries to write down and share their resolutions with us.
What were their biggest lessons of 2014, and what will they focus on for the next 365 days? We’ve been sharing their thoughts throughout the month of January (on our Twitter feed @Gordon_Eden) in hopes of inspiring the tech and digital industries to make 2015 the most innovative yet.
here's what they shared with us:
In the world of tech, Courtney Boyd Myers (known to the internet as ‘CBM’) is everywhere: she’s the founder of audience.io, a transatlantic studio helping startups with their international marketing and business development activities, who have worked with companies such as Transferwise, Percolate, Fueled, Summit and yours truly. A former tech journalist and avid traveller, she has conquered the New York and London tech scenes by launching several newsletters (see 3460 Miles and The World is Global, Baby), being a health enthusiast (see her latest venture Hustle & Kale), acting as an advisor and curator (see Summit and Second Home) and befriending many. This year, she'll focus on shifting toward the health & wellness space.
Starting from a young age, Oli Barrett has grown his entrepreneurial career on the premise of solving problems that make a difference: he is Co-founder of Cospa, a multi award-winning agency working with brands and charities and also started Tenner (now run by Young Enterprise), a scheme which has challenged tens of thousands of pupils to see what they can achieve with £10 in a single month. He is also Co-founder of Startup Britain, an advisor to the Centre for Entrepreneurs and the individual who first brought speed-networking to the UK. This year however, Oli will focus on slowing things down and making time for the people he appreciates, the old school way.
Serial entrepreneur, investor and share economy expert Debbie Wosskow is the CEO and Founder of LoveHomeSwap, an international homeswapping site launched in 2009. Debbie has also co-founded several other ventures including online resource tool Collaborative Consumption Europe, advisory firm Maidthorn Partners and boutique agency Mantra Public Relations. and is a working mum. This year, Debbie told us her biggest lesson was to be patient - perhaps not everyone can juggle quite as much and move as quickly as she can.
Ben Jones, Global Chief Technology Officer of AKQA, one of the world’s most awarded digital agencies that focuses on “the imaginative application of art and science to create the future”. He has built a global reputation as a technology innovator by creating a culture at AKQA that fuses creativity with technology, ideas with innovation, to create groundbreaking experiences and work with global brands. What did he learn in the past year? Listen to your gut more - it will almost always take your further.
Ed Bussey is the Founder and CEO of Quill Content, a fast-growth content marketing company specialising in writing for the web across all languages and topics. Previously, he was part of the founding team and Global Marketing Director for Balderton Capital and has served in various NED, Chairman and internet advisory positions, including Mr. & Mrs. Smith Boutique Hotels (see our last roundup for Mrs. Smith’s resolution!). This year will be booming one for the content marketing world, and Ed is focusing on growth!
Entrepreneur and evangelist Jess Butcher is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of London-born Blippar, the world’s first mobile augmented reality platform that has been adopted by many global brands. Jess has over 13 years of experience in marketing and senior partnership roles within fast-growth environments. Besides continuing her efforts to make the word “blipp” happen, this year she’ll focus on doing fewer things at once, better.
In the world of Tech, this man needs no introduction. Mike Butcher, Editor at Large of Techcrunch, is the guy that every startup Founder wants to have on their good side. He knows the ins and outs of what’s moving and shaking the tech landscape, so it’s no wonder he’d like to see one thing realized in 2015: Keep disrupting, and he will keep reporting!
Nicole Yershon is the Director of Innovation Solutions at Ogilvy London, which just might be the coolest corporate title we’ve ever come across. Beginning her career in advertising 23 years ago, she now oversees the ‘laboratory’ driving innovation within Ogilvy UK. Nicole shared with us her secret to success in the last year, which was to say ‘yes’ more often than ‘no’!
London-based and with American roots, entrepreneur and angel investor Alex Hoye has played a significant part in encouraging a wave of entrepreneurial inspiration across Europe. He is Co-founder and CEO of Faction Skis and CEO of Latitude Group, one of Europe’s largest independent digital marketing agencies. He’s also invested in Seedcamp and is chairman of Skimlinks and BraveNewTalent. Other than hitting the slopes in his company’s cutting edge gear, he’ll be making sure he embraces the moment and stays present in each moment this year.
Feeling inspired yet? We sure are. May these #NewYearNewBeginnings ring in a year of innovation and positive change across the digital and tech universe!
Follow us at @Gordon_Eden where we champion #MoverShakers across the digital and tech industries.
In the spirit of entering the new year with a fresh start, we’ve asked some our favourite Movers and Shakers from across the digital and tech industries to write down and share their resolutions with us.
What were their biggest lessons of 2014, and what will they focus on for the next 365 days? We’ll share their thoughts and goals throughout the month of January (on our Twitter feed @Gordon_Eden) in hopes of inspiring the tech and digital industries to make 2015 the most innovative yet.
Here’s what we’ve seen so far:
Kate Unsworth is co-founder and CEO of Kovert Designs, a London-based startup that fuses elegant design with wearable technology. In keeping with their first collection of connected jewellery that empowers the wearer to step away from their smartphone, Kate tells us her biggest lesson of the year has been ‘prioritization’. Beyond creating beautiful innovative products, her company is fueling a movement toward a more mindful use of technology.
Volker Breuer is co-founder and CEO of peer-to-peer payment service Payfriendz, an app that lets you send and request money for free and in real time. Previously CEO of German pre-paid debit card service PayandGo and an experienced management consultant, Volker launched the London-based social payments venture in 2013. This year, he’ll focus on team building - though by the looks of, it seems he’s already doing a pretty great job.
Tamara Lohan is co-founder of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and one-half of the the couple famous for their taste in travel. Having grown into a globally-recognized brand since first publishing their travel books in 2003, the online boutique hotel booking service curates reviews by anonymous tastemaker couples. This year, Tamara is committing some of her extra hours to learning a new language, assisted by technology: she’ll be using ShaoLan’s innovative method Chineasy (another London-based startup) to brush up on her Chinese.
This year, Nick Bell made headlines by joining the Snapchat team as Head of Product from his previous position as Senior Vice President at News Corp. Known for his entrepreneurial ventures during the dot com boom of the nineties, he’s a young veteran of the industry at just 31 years of age. What has he learned this year while jumping from corporate executive to startup executive? Get comfortable being uncomfortable!
Sherry Coutu CBE- A serial entrepreneur and angel investor serving on the boards of well-known tech companies, charities and universities - knows a thing or two about ‘scaling up’: she has made direct investments in almost 50 startups, invested in three venture capital firms, founded several financial technology companies and held a number of corporate executive roles. By the end of the year, Sherry aims to report a massive surge of UK companies scaling up the UK prime minister.
London born and bred entrepreneur Tom Adeyoola is the CEO of Metail, a startup aiming to create and empower everyone’s online body identity. Coming from an eclectic background in management consultancy and the gaming industry, his current venture aims to solve the online clothing fit problem by giving you an accurate representation of how you’ll look in the clothes you buy online. What’s Tom focusing on this year? Well, just being better all-round.
Alice Bentinck left her consulting career at McKinsey to become co-founder of Entrepreneur First (EF), a European pre-accelerator focusing on growing ideas into fully-fledged startups. Over the last years, the investment programme has brought together 60 individuals to become co-founders of 20 different tech startups and raise a $20 million in funding collectively. She’s also inspiring more women to enter the tech world with her Codefirst: Girls initiative. This year, she won’t be held mercy to her inbox.
Want to get involved? Tweet a photo of your 2015 business resolution with @Gordon_Eden #NewYearNewBeginnings
We have recently written an article for the Urban Times on 20 tech executives in their twenties including better known as well as some unsung heroes from the UK and US markets. Please see full article here
We are proud to support the Start-up Manifesto which sets out recommendations for the next government and has been backed by over 175 leading startups and investors, including founders and partners from: King,TransferWise, SwiftKey, Lovestruck, Funding Circle, MOO, Index Ventures, Passion Capital, Seedcamp and Accel Partners.
To add your support, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Huge thank you to Guy Levin from Coadec for leading this hugely important initiative.
Full details can be found here:
We are pleased to be involved in a comprehensive salary survey for the Technology & Digital market.
Please take the survey here: http://bit.ly/1ko0FJ7
The data collected in this survey will be highly relevant for: Start-ups, Fast growing tech/digital firms, Investors, Corporates looking to attract talent from this market
To ensure the widest possible coverage please can you share with your organisation and any contacts you have in other businesses who are relevant to participate.
ALL INFORMATION WILL BE COMPLETELEY CONFIDENTIAL: No company names, personal names or other sources of identification will be asked for or collected. The results of this survey will be published widely and available for all participants to benefit from.
The survey, only takes 5 mins max to complete and the deadline is August 10th.
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Who has arranged this survey?
Produced by Michal Bohanes and supported by the following partners:
1. ICE – An ecosystem of founders, investors and leading figures in the technology & digital industry.
2. Seedcamp – Leading Pan-European Accelerator providing start-ups with seed money, mentorship, office space and support.
3. Enternships - Internships & entry level jobs in start-ups and small businesses. Where remarkable people start remarkable careers.
4. Gordon & Eden – a boutique Executive Search & Interim Management firm, focused on the Digital & Technology industries.
Thanks to everyone who braved the scorching July sun for our Summer Drinks last week. It was great to have so many of the UK's digital leaders join us - or as our guest speaker WIRED Editor David Rowan put it "the future GDP of the UK is standing together in one Shoreditch back yard".