Gordon & Eden is committed to ensuring London’s tech community has access to the top global talent. This week, we joined Kathryn Parsons of Decoded and spoke to the Financial Times about how temporary uncertainty is causing EU applicants to hold off taking up new jobs. Click here for the full article.
Watch Sophie Eden interviewed by BBC Business Live- a profile on our journey so far, growth story and how we connect the startup and corporate worlds.
Check out or interview with resident presenter on Monocle 24- Danny Giacopelli. Sam Gordon & Sophie Eden talk about the vision for Gordon & Eden, how we are supporting the growth of the UK tech economy and disrupting the Executive Search industry. Full interview can be found here
We were delighted to host an event for CEOs, Founders & investors of high-growth startups and corporate businesses on May 4th at The Trampery in Shoreditch. The evening saw Mike Butcher, Tech Crunch Editor, reveal some of his provocative predictions for the next wave of digital disruption.
Check out some photos below.
We were delighted to represent the Leap 100 cohort on Share Radio yesterday; an interview with Georgie Frost sharing our views on the UK tech industry, Brexit, investor sentiment, talent, diversity and a bit about us. Full interview (10 minutes) here:
Sophie Eden was recently featured on London Live news, discussing the potential impact of Brexit on the tech sector. Please see video below.. note mistake on name, Sophie is definitely an Eden and not a Gordon!
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.