Here’s a guest post from Shilpa Bhandarkar, one of this year’s Entrepreneur Academe cohort and founder of Coo.

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If you google “technology for parents” or “parenting technology”, you are likely to find one of two categories of products: baby tech (eg hi-tech video monitors and baby gadgets) or EduTech (eg apps to teach your children maths and literacy). And that’s pretty much it.

Technology for parents as you would normally define it — technology to make the act of parenting easier — doesn’t exist in any meaningful way. And so millennials are entering parenthood to find that parenting technology today, made specifically for parents, is no different from that of the 1990s.

Educational institutions still use paper and email to communicate important dates and information, interaction with other parents is largely limited to school gates, and school trip payments are still paid with cash or cheque in an envelope. In direct contrast, we are used to a host of technology to assist our everyday lives — Uber, TripAdvisor, Slack, Task Rabbit, LinkedIn, Trello. But none of these are particularly helpful to parenting.

ParentTech is a new wave in app technology, designed largely by parents, for parents, specifically aimed at making parenting easier, quicker and less stressful. The range of services is broad — from communication apps and activity directories, to online doctor’s appointments and ‘Uber for kids’. Millennials invented the modern tech industry from their parents’ garages and basements. Now they are doing it from their kids’ nurseries and playgrounds!

Coo is reinventing how communities of parents communicate and collaborate with each other. After all, when communities collaborate, things get easier. Coo allows groups of parents to come together, share information and calendars in private groups organised around their children’s activities. A group for school, a group for tennis class, another for dance class — each with a news feed and a shared calendar. All that information consolidated into a single place and accessible on the go (handy given parents are rarely known to be allowed to sit still for longer than 10 seconds at a stretch — and that’s on a good day). Think WhatsApp meets Google Calendar, to simplify parenting.

Ship Bhandarkar, Co-founder and Chief Parent Officer

Most London school and nursery calendars are now available in Coo — so just use your school or nursery’s postcode as the group code to download calendar dates to your phone. Never forget a term date again! More at www.letscoo.com.

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On August 10th we held the latest of our expert mentoring sessions as part of Entrepreneur Academe 2016. In previous sessions we’ve looked at launching and scaling a business and at everything related to sales and marketing. This month we looked at issues related to technology, from building tech to hiring tech talent and taking advantage of tech hacks.

As ever, we kicked off the session with a panel discussion: a fascinating Q&A with a great panel: tech entrepreneur Lauren Hine; UK Broadband COO Ros Singleton; tech investor Man-Sze Li, Andrew Fletcher, Director TR Labs; Consultant Matt Mower and Sarah Drinkwater, Head of Google Campus. We then followed up with topic-specific breakouts looking at four key areas: aligning tech with business objectives; hiring and managing tech; tech hacks; tech trends.

We covered a huge amount of ground in three hours, so it’s impossible to relate the entire afternoon, but here are some of themes that came through strongly:

  • The technology must address real problems for the customer – never lose sight of this!
  • Identify the opportunity and then the way to test it. Paper prototyping can be a good way to do this, and in general, iterative testing of your service/product when you still have a small user base is vital. Google for Entrepreneurs has an excellent series of videos on prototyping. Look up the hashtag #begintoday.
  • Technology problems are very often in fact human problems: a misunderstanding of the value proposition, a lack of customer focus, a lack of validation and so on.
  • Impact Mapping is a great way to ensure alignment between technology function and business aims. See also Rob Fitzpatrick’s The Mum Test.
  • Connecting tech teams with customers can be tricky, but it can have real value. All too often techies are brought into a project once it’s already been agreed and even scoped.
  • As companies scale, the lean and agile principles that made the company a successful startup begin to wither: they should be refreshed over over and over (for more on this see Eric Reis’ The Lean Startup).
  • As companies grow, they almost inevitably develop silos – one of these of course being a tech silo. Try to build projects that work across these.
  • The issue of remote dev teams is of course a thorny one and we had some disagreement here. Some felt that they’d had excellent work delivered by offshore tech teams, but others were having difficulty in coordinating them. In general it’s good to track what your devs are delivering on a daily basis and to have at least weekly progress reviews with all the team; tools to help with this include Trello, Slack and Basecamp. Nonetheless, there was a consensus that at its heart, every project needs a developer that really cares – about their reputation, the intellectual challenge and about the product itself.
  • If you’re working with and collecting data, it’s advisable to start a project with a clear schema.
  • Other resources: Udacity provides free access to dev talent, among other things, and Foundrs has a scheme for sharing spare developer talent.
  • Finally, tech trends to look out for included Internet of Things, wearables, data visualisation and of course AI.

In September we’ll be looking at funding options for startups and what investors look for. In the meantime, thanks to all our panellists and other mentors who attended the session.

 

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We’re grateful to Robert Mollen of law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver  & Jacobson for this excellent guest post: advice to startups looking to expand into the US.

If you intend to do business in the US, whether remotely from the UK or by establishing a presence on the ground in the US, there are a number of steps that you need to take.   None of these is rocket science, and with a few exceptions they shouldn’t be very expensive.  However, getting this wrong at the beginning can cost a lot more to fix.

Intellectual Property (IP)

My first three key tips relate to intellectual property, and apply whether or not you set up a US subsidiary:

1. Get advice on your trademarks, and get your key trademarks registered in the US. Keep in mind that trademark users can get rights in the US through unregistered use in the US, so it is not enough to check the trademark register and file a registration – a search is required. And get your key trademarks protected in the EU and any other key markets as well. It makes no sense to spend a lot developing a brand and then find that you can’t use it in all of your key markets.

2. Understand your US IP/patent risk (from non-practicing entities, known as patent trolls, as well as from competitors), and decide whether to seek your own US patents. This doesn’t require a full patent search, and indeed that may not be advisable. But you do need to understand the general landscape.

3. Protect your trade secrets and other key IP through appropriate confidentiality agreements, contractor arrangements (that assign the IP to you) and the like.

My next four tips also apply whether or not you actually put people on the ground in the US:

4. Understand your liability exposure, in respect of both commercial risk and government enforcement risk, and get some cross-border insurance advice. The US is a more litigious market, and the threat of litigation is commonly used as a means of negotiation – don’t go in blind. Make sure your contracts properly protect you, and that you have appropriate compliance systems in place. If you are in a business that is regulated in the US, be sure you understand how those regulations apply to your business.

5. Get some basic US as well as UK tax advice – especially important if you are setting up operations in the US, but you should also understand your tax position if you are, e.g., providing software as a service (SAAS) through the cloud (which may give rise to tax issues in the US).

6. Immigration. If you are going to be travelling back and forth a lot to the US, make sure you understand your US immigration position – visa waiver (ESTA) is great for occasional business visits, but at some point you will get hassled at the border if they think you may be working there.

7. Convert your terms and conditions and commercial contract forms to US law (this is the law of a particular state, like New York), and understand which provisions really matter. Some counterparties are not going to sign up to English law forms. Large counterparties will insist on their forms in any case, but you will still need US provisions for the points that really matter to you.

Additionally, if you do intend to set up operations on the ground:

8. Sort out your corporate and tax structure – operate through a US subsidiary (probably a Delaware corporation that is qualified to do business in the states where you have offices or employees), not a branch of the UK company, and put in place arm’s length intra-group agreements between the US sub and the UK parent that work for tax purposes.

9. Get outsourced back office support – sort out your corporate tax returns, annual corporate filings, other compliance, payroll, employee withholding and employment-related charges, benefits etc.

10. Consider what kinds of agreements to put in place with your employees – unlike the UK, you aren’t required to have employment agreements with your employees, but you will have offer letters with all employees and will want to have confidentiality and IP agreements with all employees (which can include restrictive covenants – but not in California). Be careful not to treat workers as contractors when they are really employees. If you intend to transfer founders or employees from the UK to work in the US, get immigration advice early – it is likely to be your long lead-time item.

Our Coming to America booklet covers these points in more detail – it is available as a pdf and an e-book. I am happy to do free 1-2-1 reviews in person or by phone.

Robert Mollen, Fried Frank Technology

 

Former Controller of BBC 1, Lorraine Heggessey, joins board of Data Science company Pivigo as part of funding round

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Pivigo, the go-to platform for the data science community, has announced that one of the UK’s leading media executives, Lorraine Heggessey, is joining their board. This follows a successful funding round in which the company has secured the investment they need to take the business to the next stage. With financial backing from a powerful consortium of investors including Angel Academe, Craigie Capital, Dunamis Ventures and the London Co-Investment Fund, giving Pivigo further opportunities for their European growth.  

Heggessey was introduced to the company through her membership of Angel Academe, a group that encourages women to get involved in angel investing and backs female-led tech companies. As the first woman to run BBC 1, Heggessey is a champion for women in business and has supported women in senior roles.

Heggessey said, “After learning how few women are angel investing and that it’s more difficult for women to raise start-up capital, particularly in the tech space, I decided to actively support female entrepreneurs through Angel Academe. Dr Nilsson impressed me with her vision and drive. I have seen the increasing importance to mainstream broadcasters and to new platforms of understanding data, particularly as more people are viewing on demand on mobile devices. Pivigo is an impressive business that has great potential and I look forward to working with them to grow the company and to help expand their work with media clients.”

Pivigo was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur and CEO, Dr Kim Nilsson, who could see the growing demand for data scientists and knew there was a pool of talent that was as yet untapped. Dr Nilsson set up a programme called S2DS (Science to Data Science) to give highly qualified academic scientists the skills they needed to operate in this commercial field.

 

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Over the last three years Pivigo has worked with over 70 organisations; from large multi-nationals such as KPMG, Marks and Spencer, British Gas, Youview and Barclays to two-person start-ups, to help them harness the value of their data. Dr Nilsson believes that broadcasters and media businesses could be significantly enhanced by better use of data.

Dr Nilsson said, “I’m thrilled to have Lorraine join us on our board. Her experience and knowledge of the media world could open doors for Pivigo and grow the brand internationally. Lorraine understands the importance of Data Science and how access to a wide range of data can help improve the performance of broadcasters. They can use data science to not only have a deeper understanding of their viewers, but to tailor adverts for optimal effect and to predict the success of a programme idea with their target audiences. It will also aid broadcasters by optimising engagement and building loyalty through operating across different platforms and incorporating social media.”

Sarah Turner from Angel Academe said, “Our investment in Pivigo and appointing Lorraine to the board couldn’t have come at a better time. Only last week The BBC told Broadcast magazine that it’s beginning to use data from its MyBBC project to influence commissioning decisions. And research has just been published which shows that women are way better than men at picking successful women-led startups. We look forward to supporting Kim and her team with the resources of our mainly female angel syndicate.”

To find out more about Pivigo please visit www.pivigo.com

About Pivigo

Pivigo, the Data Science Hub, is a data science online marketplace and training provider based in London. Pivigo runs Europe’s largest data science training programme S2DS (Science to Data Science, www.s2ds.org). Pivigo connect people who live and breathe data science to businesses across the world using data to revolutionise the way we work, live and stay healthy.
Media contact: Emma Sampayo, 0207 788 4710, media@pivigo.com
WebsiteTwitter Linkedin

About Lorraine Heggessey

Heggessey has wide ranging experience of broadcasting and production in the commercial and public sector. She was the first woman to run BBC 1 which she led to become the most-watched channel in the UK, launching shows including Strictly Come Dancing, Spooks and bringing back the revamped Dr Who. As CEO of the independent production company, talkbackThames she was responsible for 600 hours of programming including X Factor, The Apprentice and Britain’s Got Talent. She also launched a new independent production group, Boom Pictures, with private equity backing from Lloyds Development Capital, which she grew to become the seventh largest producer in the UK in under two years. Heggessey joined Angel Academe in 2015.

About Angel Academe

Angel Academe is the UK’s leading angel investment network for women. Most (but not all) Angel Academe members are women and they invest in ambitious tech startups with at least one woman on the founding team.

Angel Academe was founded to address the under-representation of women in the angel investment community, despite the wealth, experience and budget responsibility of so many women today. They are committed to investing in and supporting early stage businesses like Pivigo, while providing investors with a female friendly (rather than women only) environment in which to tap into a wide network of industry and specialist expertise. For more information please visit http://angelacade.me.

 

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On July 21st we held our latest Entrepreneur Academe expert session. This one was called SELL and we covered sales, PR, growth hacking and social media. As ever, the afternoon began with a panel Q&A, this month featuring Anjali Ramachandran, Meganne Houghton-Berry, Candace Kuss, Lauren Hine and Garry Felgate.

We kicked off with a brief discussion about growth hacking, which one panellist described as “hitting scale without spending much” or, more succinctly, “what we used to call marketing”. Some tips that emerged:

  • Try different landing pages and compare responses.
  • Elsewhere on you website, iterate/analyse constantly.
  • Follow your competitors on Twitter – what are they up to?
  • Try dropping all formatting on your email newsletter – this my convince users that they’re getting a personal email – although expect a lot of email back!

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We then delved into a lengthy discussion about social media, as we have in previous years. Here are some of the headlines:

  • Remember that on Instagram, it’s all about the hashtag.
  • Beware constant algorithm changes on the part of the big social media players.
  • Social and content are now indistinguishable; so your social and content strategies should be too.
  • Always be strategic and benchmark your social activity against your core activity.
  • Chat apps are an entirely new space to explore (The Economist now has 300k on Line).
  • Beware of “invading” a social, conversational space.
  • Build a personal brand around the company’s founders (remember: Companies Don’t Tweet, People Do.)
  • (Entrepreneur and investor Gary Vaynerchuck is a great example.)
  • Talk about your vertical or sector – acquire a reputation as a thought leader in this area.
  • But… be personal, and build human relationships.
  • Be everywhere and own your name online – get every URL and social/web account you can, including yourownname.com.
  • Oh, and have a rock solid and thorough LinkedIn profile.
  • Building this personal brand – and that of the wider team – will be particularly important when you’re fundraising.
  • Never be coy about awards nominations, press coverage etc – tell everyone!

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We chatted briefly about celebrity endorsement, and there was general agreement that it’s very tricky. Even if you trawl your network – and network of networks – to find an appropriate celeb, remember that a lot of other people are doing the very same thing. If you can find a way to genuinely help a celeb then this might be a way in, but in general, celebrities have agents for a reason!

The final subject of discussion was all about sales, more specifically B2B sales. Again, some headlines:

  • Whenever you’re in a sales conversation, you have to close. This may not mean making a sale, but you have to move the conversation on for the next time at the very least.
  • This may not be easy; often, closing involves asking the very question you least want to ask.
  • Craft different messages for different audiences.
  • Ask how you proposition fits their need – and demonstrate this.
  • Identify people in an organisation who will benefit from your offering and let them be an internal advocate.
  • Do not sell your services too cheaply – and never give them away. (Investor and software engineer Marc Andreessen recently told Tim Ferriss that most tech startups should raise their prices.)
  • Don’t threaten to unsettle the status quo inside your customer’s organisation – or at least not too early.

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The second half of the afternoon comprised group discussion around four specific topics. We asked the chair of each for the headlines from their talk, and here’s what came back:

Sales

  • Follow the money!
  • Use your data wisely.
  • Have a sales hierarchy and go for easy sales first.
  • When it comes to monetisation, you don’t have to get it right the first time.

Marketing

  • Define and prioritise your audience.
  • Capture data as you go along – and know why you’re doing so.
  • Use third parties; be lateral in your thinking about routes to market.

Social media

  • Differentiate between your personal and social brand.
  • Think about what might motivate someone to be your ambassador.
  • Segment your audiences.
  • And note the differences between a B2C and B2B approach.

Growth hacking

  • Exploit your networks.
  • Keep things simple.
  • Have a great minimum viable product.

A truly fascinating afternoon then; thanks to our partners at Thomson Reuters for hosting and to all our mentors for their time. Next month is our technology session: BUILD.

Here’s a nice piece from The Times last weekend about AA portfolio company and Entrepreneur Academe graduates Frugl – the site for discovering events and offers under £10.

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We had a fun night on Tuesday at the annual UK Business Angels Association Awards at the Dorchester in London, where we were joined by friends, supporters and investors from our network.

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We’re especially delighted that Angel Academe board member, investor and mentor (and all round great guy) Simon Thorpe deservedly won Lead Angel of the Year. In his rousing acceptance speech, Simon re-stated his commitment to increasing the number of women angel investors and supporting women-led businesses. He went so far as to pledge that his successor as Lead Angel next year should be a woman. Quite!

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In other news, Entrepreneur Academe graduate Julie Walters from portfolio company Raremark won Best Investment in a High Growth Woman Founder in recognition of their pioneering work to transform one million lives in rare disease.

Also shortlisted were The Dots (the professional networking platform for creative professionals and Mush (the new, free way for mums to meet local mums with kids the same age). Raremark was also short-listed for Best Investment in MedTech. See the full list of winners.

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Well done again to Simon, Julie, Pip, Sarah and Katie… and to the UKBAA – not only for organising such a great evening, but for finding a new venue at 2 days’ notice!

On Tuesday we held the first of of our Entrepreneur Academe expert sessions at the Tech City offices of our partners Thomson Reuters. It was attended by our entrepreneur cohort as well as about 20 of our mentors. In this session we looked at all the basics that need to be in place in order to scale a business: legal/regulatory/compliance, finance/governance, HR/culture/leadership and boards/reporting/KPIs.

The afternoon kicked off with a panel discussion with Roberta Draper from City law firm Kingsley Napley, Mark Pattenden and Mel Pittas from accountancy firm haysmacintyre, and recruitment expert Lauren Hine, founder of Zealify and an alumnus of the first Entrepreneur Academe.

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Questions came thick and fast from our entrepreneurs, the first was on using options to incentivise staff. The Enterprise Management Scheme (EMI) is by far the most efficient and flexible way to do this for a small company and there’s a detailed explanation of how it works on the Gov.uk website. A couple of notes of caution. As with any share issue, when a staff member converts an option to a share, this will dilute existing shareholders. And remember that this applies only to staff members – not to freelancers or consultants. Finally, expect it to cost around £6,000 to set up an EMI scheme.

On a related note, we briefly touched on HMRC’s valuation of companies. There’s a general consensus that, as with company valuation from the point of view of investors, this is “more art than science”.  Some of the same factors will be taken into account – assets, IP, current and future revenues, potential growth, your sector – but HMRC assessments of price per share are in general lower (sometimes considerably) than a funding-based valuation. It’s probably best to get help from an accountant with this and expect the process to take around six weeks.

Governance is an area many startup businesses gloss over. Areas to nail as early as possible include Companies House filings, roles and responsibilities, lines of reporting, cash flow and terms and conditions. The Companies House Life of a Company document is hugely useful and you can also find good governance and legal advice as well as templates of legal documents at Lexoo, iHorizon and Taylor Wessing.

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Having Terms and Conditions from the get-go is also essential but this need not be onerous or expensive. Look at similar companies’ T&Cs and adapt them when bootstrapping, although you may want to get a lawyer to draft your own as you grow. In general, T&Cs should cover payment, termination, liability, data protection and contain indemnities. And use clear language; if you can’t decipher them, it’s unlikely your customers will be able to either, which could make the T&Cs invalid.

On the topic of data collection, always ask: “Why am I collecting this data?” If nothing else, this will inform decisions about the what kinds of data you collect and in what format. Certainly, never collect data just because you can.

We also discussed insurance. The main takeout here was to shop around. Go to several brokers, as their prices will vary (sometimes widely), and be prepared to haggle. It will certainly help if you can show the efforts to limit liability, for instance through background checks on staff and customers (again, this needn’t be expensive – check out Veridoo, Onfido and Yoti for cheap or even free background checks).

On the subject of ownership of IP, the best practice where possible is to own it entirely. However, the default legal status of anything created by a contractor is that it is owned by them. So if you want to retain the IP – or some of it – you’ll need to agree that contractually upfront. Clear documentation is essential here. Weigh up the risks and rewards of shared ownership and ask yourself why you need to go down this route.

Unsurprisingly, the subject of hiring and on-boarding took us deep into the weeds. Some headlines included:

  • Wherever possible, take your time hiring – avoid rushing in and rushing the process
  • Don’t delegate hiring to a junior employee. The process needs to be “owned” by a senior member of the team, so you think about using someone for whom “people are a passion”.
  • Think carefully about the balance of freelancers and staffers. In particular avoid running foul of IR35 rules by being clear that contractors are not working for you alone, in your office and on your equipment for long stretches of time.
  • Be wary of hiring friends – if things go wrong then, well, you can imagine how that pans out. And in any case it’s best to avoid building a monoculture.
  • Ask: “What is our company culture?”
  • Consider recruiting from your user/customer base where possible as these people will be passionate about your product. Citymapper did this very effectively.
  • We’ve said this already, but again: be clear about roles and responsibilities from the get-go – and get them in writing!
  • Don’t create “shopping list” job descriptions when hiring – rather, think about what you specifically need this recruit to do.
  • Remember that all employees need to be paid at least the national minimum wage – the only exemptions are company directors. And as well as fining, HMRC will name and shame anyone breaking this rule!
  • If anyone is moonlighting in your business, they may be in breach of contract with their employer.
  • Famously it’s difficult to recruit tech talent, but finding good salespeople is also notoriously difficult for startups. When doing so you might want to consider whether you’re looking for a hunter or a farmer.
  • LinkedIn is of course an excellent resource all round. Think about using their showcase pages alongside your company profiles.
  • If you’re looking for creative talent, use The Dots for profiling your business and recruitment.
  • Workable and Zenefits are other excellent online resources.

During the second part of the afternoon we ran breakout groups to discuss the main themes in more detail:  Legal/Regulatory/Compliance, Finance/Governance, HR/Culture/Leadership and Boards/Reporting/KPIs. These were co-chaired by our panellists and mentors, including lawyers, accountants, advisors startup investors and angel investors.

Thank you to everyone who gave their up their valuable time to join us.

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Our mentors include experienced entrepreneurs, angel investors and business leaders from the Angel Academe community and partner organisations. As well as extensive experience of starting, running and growing businesses, they bring specific expertise in finance and fund-raising; sales, marketing and PR; technology; law, accountancy and people management.

We provide them with an opportunity to get to know some exciting women-led businesses over a period of time. If you would like to join our amazing pool of mentors, we would love to hear from you. Please tell us a little more about yourself.

 

 

This is part of a series of guest posts from each of this year’s Entrepreneur Academe cohort. We’ve already heard from Chime Advisors and Mush. This month, it’s the turn of Kim Nilsson, CEO of Pivigo.

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At Pivigo, we support companies who want to become more data driven, and make better use of their data, as well as analytical PhDs and graduates in their quests to become data scientists. As CEO, I get asked for advice a lot. Advice on how to best do data science. This is not an easy topic to advise on, especially given the few precedents and limited sharing of best practice in a young industry. Hence, I thought I would share the top three dilemmas that I get approached with by tech executives, and the best practice solutions that I have come across

  1. Build a warehouse and then start, or start immediately?

One of the first questions a tech executive is faced with is whether to spend umph millions of dollars on building out a Hadoop cluster/data warehouse/data lake (or similar expensive piece of kit) first, and then try to get value from the neat data pool, or to get their hands dirty straight away. As with all of my points here, I have seen both cases in roughly equal measures.

Whereas it is tempting to want to have all the technology in place before letting analysts lose on the data – after all it is makes sense to, for example, make sure you have all the ingredients for a recipe before starting to cook a dish – it may not be the best idea in this case. Why? Well, for one, you are wasting time. Building a warehouse solution can take months, if not years, and in the meantime your competitors are optimising their businesses and launching new products and services. Furthermore, the optimal technology solution may not be clear from the start. Your first, small projects will already deliver value, and give you guidance on whether you are heading in the right direction.

Tip 1: Don’t wait! Get started straight away, even if it is just with proof-of-concepts, exploratory analysis or prototypes

     2. Hire one, or hire a team?

So you want to get started, but now you need to decide, do I hire one experienced, talented, expensive superstar data scientist (aka unicorn) or do I spend my budget on a team of junior data scientists that can work together? Well, the advantage with an experienced hire is that you have lots of precedent of their work, and they can possibly get up to speed a little bit faster with your business needs. The disadvantage is that they can be set in their ways, i.e. try to fit your problem into their solution, that they come with one skillset and that they are incredibly hard to find and thus expensive.

The best solution in my book is thus to go for a small team of less experienced, but talented and motivated individuals with diverse skill and fresh mindsets. A team of three already allows for a good coverage of all necessary skillsets, eg a person more focused on coding and databases, a person focused on stats and analytics, and a third person with visualisation and reporting skills. Taking people younger in their careers typically means they will work that bit harder to prove themselves and learn, and they will strive to quickly become productive team members.

Tip 2: Hire a team of three younger data scientists with diverse skillsets.

  1. Centralised, or integrated teams?

Congratulations! You are now the proud manager of a data science team. Next big question:  where to put them? Do we keep them close together, in one “data taskforce unit”, or do we send them out on secondments to different business units?

Keeping the team together ensures that learning and best practice quickly spreads, incentivises collaboration and increases motivation. It will also allow you to manage the team’s resources better, and combine skills on projects. On the other hand, it can certainly complicate communication with stakeholders outside the team and there is a risk of resentment towards a perceived “ivory tower” of knowledge and power. Placing team members in different business units risks lowered motivation and shared learning, but can facilitate the learning of domain knowledge and result in better communication. There is no one solution to this question that will work for all, but it is important to be aware of the challenges around team placements, and to put structures in place that counteract them.

Tip 3: Look for a hybrid team organisation, with a good mix of internal support and mentoring within the data science team and open communication lines with the rest of the organisation.

To summarise, if your organisation is not making good use of its data today, you will be in trouble tomorrow. Sooner or later all organisations will need to become more data driven, and those that start earlier will have the advantage. It is not easy to get started, but there are tools and services available for those with the right level of commitment. Start now, build a team of diverse skills, get advice on how to manage teams of data rockstars and join the data revolution.

Pivigo runs Europe’s largest data science training programme S2DS (www.s2ds.org) and is building a data science marketplace, giving companies access to global, outsourced data science talent. For more info, check www.pivigo.com or get in touch at info@pivigo.com

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Mentors and entrepreneurs in the audience at the EA16 launch

Last week we launched this year’s Entrepreneur Academe to a full house at the City of London’s City Centre suite. This is the third instalment of EA, and once again we’re delighted to have the City of London as our partners. We’re mentoring 10 women-led tech startups this year and the calibre is clearly very high. Wednesday was the opportunity for the businesses to introduce themselves to our network of mentors, investors and partners and lay out what they’re looking to get out of the next 9 months with EA.

David Pack, Partnerships Manager at the City of London kicked off the afternoon with a brief talk outlining why they support the programme and how important this kind of collaboration is to them.

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Sarah outlines EA’s success to date

He was followed by our own Sarah Turner, who talked about what had been achieved by the programme to this point, in terms of growth and funds raised. Headlines for last year’s cohort include an average 100% in turnover with 6 companies achieving  a 200% increase, and £1.5m so far raised in investment.

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Raremark’s Julie Walters tells the entrepreneurs what to expect from the programme

Raremark, a community platform for sufferers of rare disease and their families is one of those companies that raised, and took the opportunity on Wednesday to announce a successfully closed round of £680k. The company’s CEO and founder Julie Walters talked about her experience of the 2015 programme and told this year’s cohort how to get the most of the sessions and mentors.

Anjali Ramanchandran, a great friend to Angel Academe has been one of our EA mentors since the get-go. She talked about how to ‘hook up’ with the mentors either in person or through LinkedIn, and what kinds of mentoring relationship they could look for, from a simple chat over a coffee through to a more sustained relationship – and all points in between.

We then got down to the meat and potatoes of the afternoon, with each company giving us a 5 minute presentation, outlining the company’s history to this point, their ambitions over the coming year and their specific asks.

Chime Advisors, co-founded by Angela Bradbury, is “reinventing the expert network” and provides answers to research questions on niche topics for consulting and PE firms through phone calls and surveys with experts via sophisticated tech.

Coo, co-founded by Shilpa Bhandarkar, is a new kind of parenting platform whose first product is a group communication & calendar app that helps build parent communities.

Grub Club, founded by Olivia Sibony, is a discovery platform for unique dining experiences. Chefs set up restaurants in underused spaces & sell tickets to their dinners via the website.

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Headliner’s Maria Hayden

Headliner, co-founded bye Maria Hayden, connects live musicians, bands and DJs directly with event planners to book for corporate events and private parties.

MeeTwo, co-founded by Kerstyn Comley, is a webapp offering moderated peer support and expert advice to help teenagers deal with everyday anxieties.

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Metafused founder Madhuban Kumar

Metafused, founded by Madhuban Kumar, uses artificial intelligence with real time data to enhance marketing decision-making and driving automated proactive intelligence.

Pilio, founded by Catherine Bottrill, provides energy analytics to businesses and households seeking to make energy and cost savings.

Pivigo, co-founded by Kim Nilsson is building the trusted marketplace for data science projects, disrupting the data consultancy market, and democratising data science.

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Mush founder Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz

Mush, founded by Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz, is a web-based platform that connects mums with other mums in their locality, and was described on Wednesday, only half tongue-in-cheek, as “Tinder-meets-NCT”.

We’re hugely excited about working with this year’s cohort, and look forward to to first of this year’s expert sessions – SCALE (getting the basics right to grow).

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We provide them with an opportunity to get to know some exciting women-led businesses over a period of time. If you would like to join our amazing pool of mentors, we would love to hear from you. Please tell us a little about yourself.

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