Happy Anniversary DMG

1 Today

Today I started getting the generic, “Congrat’s on your work anniversary!” notifications on LinkedIn so it must be around a year since I updated LinkedIn properly and put DMG on there. It’s been an interesting year - lots of learnings and achievements, some frustrations, periods of intense activity and a couple of lulls, steps forwards, steps back - all in amongst investing in five terrific startups.

Here’s a review of some things we’ve done and a bit about how we think about founders and startups. If you’d like to get in touch please do here.

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Things we’ve done

Some Observations

Relevant for entrepreneurs - from the best founders I’ve seen that:

  • There is no such thing as being on time - you’re either early or you’re late. An hour early is better than a minute late. 
  • There is still a lot of investment money available but it still takes longer to raise it than you think/hope.
  • Regular updates (ideally monthly) are essential for investors and entrepreneurs alike. Founders should also have a 'potential investors to update' list - investors invest in ‘lines not dots’.
  • Pace of execution is key. The default deadline for replying to emails should be 24 hours.
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Things we look for in founders

  • Something we can all be proud of building.
  • A startup that can return lots of money to its shareholders.
  • Good execution - please scare us with your genuine resourcefulness, discipline and determination.
  • Things we can help with - we want to be very active in helping startups.
  • Aligned vision & values (with the product, and us).
  • Frugality - great things take a long time so save money. "A penny saved is a penny earned".

 

By Matthew

DMG invests in Coconut

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Dot Matrix Group has invested in Coconut, a bank account serving freelancers and independent workers. Coconut is a business bank account that works out freelancers’ tax, expenses and invoicing.

Sam O’Connor, Co-founder and CEO, said “It’s great to have DMG invest in us at this stage - really good to have them alongside Techstars, Capella Star and others. I know DMG will challenge and stretch us too - Adam and I have already had a bit of this and (I think!) are looking forward to more”.

Matthew, Co-founder of DMG said, “I’ve known Sam and Adam for a couple of years now, since the successfully exited their last business together. London is the centre of the world for FinTech and with the growing (and to-date underserved) freelancer community in the UK there’s a great opportunity to help simplify finances, reduce the anxiety of a looming tax bill and a lot more”.

To find out more about Coconut, click here.

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DMG invests in CENTURY

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Dot Matrix Group has invested in CENTURY, an education tech platform that provides a personalised learning environment that improves learning outcomes and saves teachers time. CENTURY’s technology provides teachers with detailed insights into each student’s learning so they spend less time is on marking, reporting and data entry. This enables the teachers, department heads and headteachers to make better decisions about their students educational journey.

Priya Lakhani, Founder and CEO said, “We’re really happy to have DMG invest - as with all our investors we will work them hard to help as we continue to grow CENTURY and help the education of all the people who use the platform”.

Kash, Co-founder of Dot Matrix Group said, “We’re delighted to be able to invest in CENTURY - there is going to be a lot of disruption in the education sector and Priya and her team are very focused on improving learning outcomes with AI and Machine Learning - very exciting”.

To find out more about CENTURY click here.

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All good things come to those who wait

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In August 2014 I was introduced over email to Richard Koch, the 'K' of LEK Consulting and the author of (amongst other best selling business books) The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less.

We emailed a few times but Richard rarely spends anytime in (rainy) London. However when a friend said he had recently bought and couldn't put down The 80/20 Principle I bought it from the book shop in St Pancras on my way home. I emailed Richard that evening and said after far too long I'd bought his book. He replied enthusiastically and said he'd love to meet up sometime but was still rarely in London as he much preferred the sunshine.

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Then I remembered that I'd read somewhere that he had a place in Portugal (as well as Spain, Gibraltar and Cape Town). I said I was spending the summer in London except 10 days in Portugal...

That lead to a terrific lunch with Richard a couple of weeks ago. I was very excited to meet him, to talk business, judging entrepreneurs, investment strategies and the weather.

There's nothing quite like sitting down and sharing a meal with good company and interesting conversation. Even if it did take 3 years (or perhaps especially because it did) I'm glad we made it happen.

Part of the Storey

British Land (LON: BLND) launched their new flexible working offering yesterday and DMG are proud to share that we were part of the process. Our work and contributions have resulted in Storey (press release here).

Beginning in January DMG hosted a series of our executive briefings to connect British Land with key influencers and decision makers in this space - people we know well who have grown (and shrunk) businesses around the 20-70 employee mark.

During these briefings a small team from British Land were able to build relationships, gain insights, be challenged and really get stuck into a discussion with the most appropriate people - those who are making decisions, suffering the pains and aware of the hidden gems gained through experience only when growing a company.

Some big questions to answer

  • What's the biggest pain point when searching for a new office?
  • How much time do you spend on this?
  • Should there be free beer and ping-pong?
  • What's the dream scenario?

The need for flexible working has greatly increased in recent years and just one example of this was given by the founder of a startup that had gone from three friends in their spare room to 40+ staff and a multi-million pound exit in the space of three years. Companies, and in particular startups, don't need and don't want long leases of whole floors in buildings. And nor do they want free beer! So what does good look like?

Entrepreneurial feedback

  • Why isn't onboarding as easy as plugging into 'Stripe'?
  • Why can't there be a two-page agreement with no jargon?
  • Why can't we deal with just one person who takes responsibility for services like WiFi, coffee machines, kitchens, onboarding and leaving?

To request a briefing please contact Matthew on matthew@dotmatrixgroup.com 

Joining dots in San Francisco

The first DMG trip to San Francisco had one overall aim - to learn. What’s the buzz in coffee shops like compared to London? What do people think of London, Europe and Brexit? How do startups get the best investors and vice versa? Will the outliers always come from SF? How can DMG be helpful to our portfolio and our network?

Some things we learned

  • Coffeeshop buzz is the same as London - this is different to 5 years ago of course when Londoners were still slightly embarrassed about starting a startup. Now though SF coffeeshops seemed just ordinary - part of me thought there would be huddles of hackers coding away but the people hunched over laptops seemed to be blogging, not hacking.
  • London is well thought of - particularly by angel investors - valuations are still much, much lower. VCs tend to think that all the best startups are still in SF but things are starting to change. Both kinds of investors want to be 'smart' and add value, which makes it more difficult if the distances and time zones are very different.
  • Getting the best investors (as everywhere) is incredibly important. Things can happen quickly in SF but the best deals go to the more established investors so it's as important for the angel investors to bed themselves into the community as it is for entrepreneurs.
  • The outlying 'decacorns' are still SF startups - Ubers showing up in 2 minutes, being cheaper than a London bus and AirBnB key boxes on every other house remind you that SF is the place of the mega-startup.
  • SF for us is about building relationships - we'll be back again early next year and will always have this recent trip in mind when thinking about how DMG can add value to our portfolio and our network.

If you're going to San Francisco...

  • Let us know so we can help connect you if you need it.
  • However don’t arrange to meet people until the week before - a few days before we went there was no accommodation booked and no meetings in the diary.
  • Meetings will lead to other meetings - keep plenty of space in the days ahead once you arrive.
  • Talk to everyone - bar staff, Uber drivers, receptionists - they all have a view on startups, whether Uber is a good thing and how Trump is performing. It's a great pulse to check.
  • It's an expensive place - Uber Pool is incredibly cheap but SF is more expensive than London for dinner and drinks.

Springtime in London

AK arrived for a packed week of meetings, brainstorming and DMG strategy - only 6 months in and we have completed 3 investments, worked with a FTSE listed company on their strategy and hosted dinners and other events to make some terrific connections. Good progress but there's much to do.

Meetings with potential investments dominated the week - we want to be involved in businesses that are executing well and that we can help with our experience and connections, particularly at the right time for international expansion.

We met up with Desmond & Dempsey (who kindly took the photo, above) and talked fabric, funding and furniture over lunch at the terrific Dishoom, King's Cross. Molly had just come back from a successful trip to New York and were travelling again the very next day so we were pleased to be able to catch up in amongst it.

If you would like to meet up please get in touch here - we're always keen to meet entrepreneurs, investors and large organisations.

DMG invests in NoblyPOS

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Dot Matrix Group has invested in NoblyPOS, a cloud-based point of sale technology company for the hospitality sector.

George Urdea, Co-founder of NoblyPOS said, “We’re really pleased to have DMG onboard as part of this latest round – we’ve had strong growth over the past year and are keen to leverage DMG in order to continue accelerating.”

Sebastiaan Bruinsma, Co-founder, also commented, “DMG have already provided some relevant connections and have involved us in innovation work with a major prospect – so we’re making good use of them already!”

Speaking of this latest investment AK was keen to emphasise DMG’s ASEAN connections. “What we want to do with DMG is make investments that we can be proud of and really help – George, Seb, Royce and the team are executing well, working really hard in the UK and I want us to be able to help them expand to new markets when the time is right”.

To find out more about NoblyPOS click here.

The NoblyPOS Team

The NoblyPOS Team

DMG invests in Desmond & Dempsey

Dot Matrix Group has invested in Desmond & Dempsey, a luxury pyjama company in London.

This funding comes 2 years after Molly and Joel launched Desmond & Dempsey to give women luxurious pyjamas that don't cost the earth and are perfect for lounging around all Sunday in (and not least so that Joel could reclaim some shirts...).

Recent highlights for the business include being featured in The New York Times , being named a 'Best Buy' in the Independent and being stocked in Merci Merci in Paris (see here).

Kash, co-founder of Dot Matrix Group commented, "We're delighted to be investing in D&D for the next phase of their journey - we love what Molly, Joel and the team are doing and can't wait to be as useful as possible to grow the business. We look for clear focus and strong execution skills and D&D have proven they have a great deal of both".

Joel, co-founder of Desmond & Dempsey said, "It's great to have Dot Matrix on board - we're really excited about the expertise and network they bring - this funding and their network will help us boost UK sales and begin to expand overseas"

In the meantime read The Sunday Papers.

DMG invests in FanBytes

Dot Matrix Group has invested in FanBytes, a technology platform and influencer network that enables brands to connect with market influencers via YouTube and Snapchat.

The company was started by Tim Armoo and Ambrose Cooke whilst they were still students and has grown to be the UK's largest network of influencers attracting clients such as Disney, Adidas, GoPro and New Look.

Matthew, co-founder of Dot Matrix Group said, "I first met Tim and Ambrose when they were just starting out - I helped with their very first investment round so I'm really pleased that I can continue to support them and the growing team via Dot Matrix".

Tim, co-founder of FanBytes said, "It's great to have the DMG guys on board - there are some cool opportunities for us all so it's going to be an exciting year".

Agony Ent: What will the humans do?

When all delivery trucks are 'driverless'; what will the human drivers do? What will happen to truck stops and motels?

'Agony Ent' is a regular DMG column for which an entrepreneur from the DMG network answers an anonymous challenge from a leading corporate.

We’re already seeing the social and political instability that comes from ignoring the effects of jobs lost to automation. Delivery truck drivers can’t just be cut loose without a safety net, and solutions need to come from both business and government. Logistics companies should capitalise on drivers’ industry knowledge, retraining and upskilling them for other jobs in the business that still require a human touch. Government revenues collected from industries moving toward automation need to be focused on helping those people affected by it. This means providing education to build the skills needed in growing industries where jobs are more plentiful. A guaranteed basic income might be another way to support workers whose earning power is permanently lowered by advances in technology.

Some service jobs, like those at truck stops and motels, will suffer second-order effects. But those skills are more easily transferred to the restaurant across town or the hotel in the next city. In these cases, we need incentives both persuading people to move to where the jobs are and encouraging companies that need staff to move to where there are willing workers.

Above all, we need to acknowledge that some jobs are never coming back, and rather than treating that as a threat, we must turn it into an opportunity for greater prosperity for all.

Daianna Karaian is the founder of Thoughtful, a social enterprise helping creative people learn from and collaborate with each other to make things that make a difference.

Music & Media dinner with Adam & Co

In a discreet town house just off St James’s Square in amongst hedge funds, antique dealers and art galleries is a bank. This bank has no ATM and no posters in the windows shouting about their current accounts. It’s a modern, private bank, with traditional values. Established in 1983 and now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Adam & Company is a private bank that discreetly goes about looking after its clients. Part of these traditional values is a focus on developing good business relationships for the long term, something we very much share at Dot Matrix Group. Only in patiently getting to know people do we go on to build the best and most trusted business relationships. And there’s no better way to begin than a good meal in the right setting…

Bringing startups including MixCloud, FanBytes and Headliner together with larger organisations including Havas MediaUniversal Music< and The Future Laboratory we curated a dinner and discussion for leading people in the media and music sector. Conversations ranged from influencer marketing through Snapchat, the future of music investing and if eSports are the next generation’s football clubs, what other fringe sports should we be watching.

We all want great things to happen as quickly as possible but we also know that developing trust takes a long time - so why do we still try to rush it? Patience is indeed a virtue and having the confidence to bring good people together for the potential long term is a rare and increasingly valuable endeavour. Thankfully it’s a virtue DMG, Adam & Company and our guests share and we look forward to meeting again and doing business in the immediate or distant future - we’re in this for the long run.

To get inspiration, insight and innovation by working with us please email: matthew@dotmatrixgroup.com 

Sales dinner with UKTI GEP

The GEP is part of the Government’s Department for International Trade and includes assistance relocating to the UK, guidance on how to grow internationally and mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs. More information on the GEP.

On 18th October Dot Matrix Group hosted the latest dinner for entrepreneurs who are alumni of the Department for International Trade’s Global Entrepreneurs Programme to learn from successful entrepreneurs especially curated from the DMG network.

The theme for this dinner was sales and customer development - often we expect to be able to find a magic wand for sales or we think that if we can just shove more in the top of the sales funnel more will come out at the end. But what’s the reality that the more experienced entrepreneurs have found?

After introductions and as the food arrived and the wine flowed the conversations, tips and shared experiences ranged from how to make use of wide networks such as the other GEP companies to handing out posters and talking to dog walkers on Hampstead Heath...!

Sales can be a challenging subject - entrepreneurs instinctively want to find something that works at scale but the greatest ‘intel’ is found by talking to customers and potential customers one-to-one.

The benefits to sitting down to a good meal in the right setting are endless - all the guests took away new connections, solid insight and too much cheesecake.

If you would like partner on an event like this please email: matthew@dotmatrixgroup.com 

ONTY. A new medium

Guest post written by Simon Jones, Co-founder of ONTY.

The extent of communications today, mediated between now-uncountable connected devices, is so impossible to appreciate that awe has given over to banal. The possibilities created by such largely costless technological advances as instant global publishing (from text to photo to video) are so large and their rate of accretion is so high that acknowledging what is happening is not really possible. There’s just been so much in such a short time. Just a cat’s lifetime. Perhaps it explains the millennial blasé.

So, a new, giant machine is with us. Impossible to know, truly know, and certainly difficult to recognise. Yet undeniably powerful. But it’s got to be paid for. Something else which is, or perhaps was, associated with blasé is the notion of selling yourself to fund this machine; selling the picture of ourselves that we sketch, resketch, touch-up and embellish every day, every time we interact with any recording, measuring, probing connected device, and that includes such input-passive processes as just having a phone in your pocket or driving a modern car.
This appropriated user data monetisation model, exploiting the picture of you gathered explicitly or, less palatably, often by stealth, has plenty issues in itself, ones that have been deeply discussed elsewhere. Be those as they may be; there are other, less instantly obvious consequences. One important, less considered effect is that the economic framework of prostituting your user data to pay for your communication services has defined the nature of the services themselves. By and large, it has prevented alternative media and tools from coming online as the current dogma (aka business model) doesn’t allow for them.

Some very basic and long fought-for human rights do not sit well with user data monetisation. Such concepts as privacy, control, autonomy and hence freedom. I include the latter as it requires the first three. It is increasingly becoming clear that freedom is now incongruous with respect to the internet business status quo. Very significant ethical / moral arguments are now ensuing. Renata Sampson of Big Brother Watch, on the recent BBC radio doc ‘The Online Identity Crisis’, commented “there is no way now that you can pretend you haven’t had a thought process if you’ve typed it in online.” Once cogitated, once terrified.

Alongside the undeniable moral can of worms we’ve typed, clicked, tapped and swiped our way into, the neglect of rights such as privacy means that, despite the huge potential reach of our communication today, the types of that communication available to us are actually stymied. To communicate without the ability to be private in that communication is to restrict your degree of control of that communication. Communication, and all its bedfellows like research, networking, learning, bonding, matching, connecting, teaching, assisting, contributing… loving can be profoundly influenced by or be dependent upon all these rights. We are stripped of confidence when we cannot contact in confidence. We are intimidated when each and every one of our probes is recorded and stored beyond our control. Many questions then go unasked when we know everyone hears the question. We have, in fact, accidentally built a form of digital-data-totalitarianism. The GDPR is no pre-emption.

Social media’s what have you got to hide?-ism prefers a basic broadcast function on the communication / publishing platforms we now depend on. Targeting, filtering and selection are difficult or impossible using these tools. Exhibiting ONTY on a stand at Thinking Digital recently, someone said something so profound to me which exemplifies this perfectly: “We had a miscarriage last year, it was very difficult. I couldn’t go to my Facebook profile with that, that’s too much, too many people. With ONTY I would have been able to contact anyone on my street who’d experienced this, in confidence.” So that’s the first point of our work, ONTY. It’s to enable the opening up of communication channels on a basis of privacy and confidence. Match yourself with what you want to know, do, offer, give or receive. Make yourself matchable in the process. And to do this to the fullest extent possible, this time you have to be private. You have to be autonomous. You have to be in control. You might imagine specialist rose growers trying to find each other on the web, Facebook springs to mind, but also other excellent services like MeetUp or specialised forums. But what if you were bipolar and had discovered rose growing to be particularly beneficial; you’d be less likely to use the web tools we have today to try and connect. It doesn’t have to be so personal. Imagine the effect of being empowered at work by being able to ask a question privately.

So this is a very serious consequence of how our digital communication platforms have evolved; they don’t allow you to ask a question of only those who know the answer; they don’t allow for selective search/match; they don’t allow you to control your own selective matchability. You have a single moulded digital identity and you may not express the true plurality of self. It doesn’t sit well with user data monetisation. But of course that is not why this data disenfranchisement exists. It’s there so you transfer all your data exploitation rights over to the platform owner. We’ve got big plans for that too.

Simon Jones, Co-founder of ONTY

Simon is a co-founder at KnoGno – a collaborative research company in web development and product design. KnoGno researches and develops web service and product solutions across diverse fields.

KnoGno is the developer of ONTY, a versatile and anonymous matching engine – put simply, ONTY is an online, private, but searchable, notebook for users to tell their own stories then anonymously match with other users to communicate in private.

Follow-up – how to make the most of a 25 minute meeting

After posting that I like meeting entrepreneurs on Tuesdays and only for 25 minutes, someone asked me to write a follow up on how they could make the most of those 25 minutes.

Here are some thoughts on how to make 25 minutes work best:

  • Know the 3 things you want to get across – are you there to learn something, to ask for specific advice, for money? A short meeting makes it OK to ask a bold question straight away.
  • State the following at the beginning of the meeting, “OK, we have 25 minutes – here’s what I’d like to talk about…”
  • The 5 minutes between meetings can be used to email any initial links/thoughts/feedback. Keeping to time or even finishing early will allow whoever you’re meeting to follow up immediately with anything they promised – don’t stop them from doing this by going over 25.

The 25 minute meeting serves a number of purposes:

  • It forces both sides to focus – if you’re 5 minutes late and talk about the weather for another 5 then there’s on 15 minutes left to get down to business.
  • Both sides become more selective of who they meet – it’s easy to justify crossing town for an hour’s meeting, but 25 minutes? Do you really want to do that? (Although the thing is it’s better to cross town for a 25 minute meeting either way).
  • You will rarely forget a rapid, 25 minute meeting – we’re all encouraged to build our networks and rightly so, but the more unusual meeting times, places and people will stand out.

The truth is that the length of the meeting is not the critical thing here, we just seem to have been drawn into the convention of holding meetings for 1 hour. What’s important is the success, however it’s measured, is a result of how both sides handle themselves before, during and afterwards.

EdTech Insights

We asked leading disruptors in the space to give some insights on how they see the sector now and in the future.

Andy Parker Students Success & Careers, Udacity

Andy Parker
Students Success & Careers, Udacity

Richard Oki CEO & Co-founder, LearnerLane

Richard Oki
CEO & Co-founder, LearnerLane

Vivi Freidgut CEO & Founder, Blackbullion

Vivi Freidgut
CEO & Founder, Blackbullion

Here are their answers:

What will the education sector look like in 25 years?

Andy: Education needs to become more accessible, more affordable, and more relevant. I believe we’ll see greater choice and flexibility in how and when people learn (think virtual reality) and the content and method of delivery will be highly tailored to the individual. The best educators will be teaching content that has a tangible impact on the life and careers of their students.

Richard: Globalisation. Language learning will be accessible online, for every student from native speakers. I believe that cultures across the world will become interconnected and there will be a real focus on cultural collaboration in education. Just imagine a student from inner London had the ability to learn French from a native student or tutor with the click of his finger – that’s the future.

Vivi: I don’t know what the system will look like but I can only hope teachers are better respected, better paid and better supported to experiment with different technologies, tools, devices and pedagogical theories in order to help shape future proof minds.

What has to be changed in the education sector right now?

Andy: I feel too many people find themselves in education without understanding WHY they are doing it. This needs to change. In my opinion, learning needs to be either a form of entertainment or for a specific purpose; most likely life/career related. Currently, I observe too many situations where people are taking education because it’s what’s expected of them or due to societal norms. This is a waste of time and talent and there needs to be more awareness of the alternatives.

Richard: Access is still a major problem. As long as good education isn’t accessible for every student this will always be the big issue. At LearnerLane we aim to increase the supply of quality online tutors in the world thus reducing the cost overtime and making this scarce resource more accessible for the masses.

Vivi: We need an education sector that better prepares students for a lifetime of uncertainty and lifelong learning because that only thing that is certain about what comes next is that we have no idea what comes next.

Which entrepreneur from a different sector do you most admire? Why?

Andy: Brian Chesky of AirBnB is someone who fascinates me. His relentless pursuit of the vision despite huge debts, countless rejection, regulations and other setbacks is beyond what would be considered reasonable by most people. His leadership and growth as a person alongside the growth of his company is truly impressive.

Richard: In all honesty I’m not a fan of any one particular entrepreneur, I have multiple entrepreneurs who I admire for different reasons. I’m not sure if this is allowed, but I’d say the Paypal Mafia. The team showed hustle, determination and endurance (the Paypal mafia went on to create Youtube, Linkedin, SpaceX/Tesla, 500Startups, Yelp, Yammer and more). These dudes made a big impact on the world today.

Vivi: I am a fan of the founders of Atlassian; Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar – they built something new, against the grain, against the rules, revenue first, no arseholes allowed… top blokes who built a world-class business through self belief and sheer determination.

Meet Tim Armoo, FanBytes co-founder

With more than 6,000 influencers, FanBytes is the largest video influencer network in the UK with customers such as GoPro, Disney and Adidas. Dot Matrix Group met Co-founder, Tim Armoo, who gave us his insights about what he has already learned during his entrepreneurial journey.

1. What is one thing you find to be true that most people would disagree with?

Ahh a Peter Thiel one, I’ve thought about this before. I’d say I believe there is a process behind everything. I believe that in life you can obtain anything you want just by reverse engineering the outcome and doing the exact thing. I believe most people attribute a lot to luck but also them having to figure it out themselves.

2. What were some of the biggest lessons that has impacted the way that you work? What was the lesson, and what was it like before and after?

The moment you’re more than a few people your role as CEO becomes Chief Empathy Officer and your value becomes making sure other people are doing their best work. I used to think that growth meant that you then grew your actual output however I actually now do less “actual work” and just spend that time focusing on helping others do theirs better. Our productivity has increased drastically due to that.

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3. If you were to do again, what would you do differently?

I’d write a business plan haha. I don’t mean one of those 90 page documents outlining a bunch of stuff which no one will read but about 2/3 pages which outlines exactly what we’re trying to do, how we’re going to do, how we’d get customers. We felt our way into where we are right now and I feel like proper planning would have helped even further than we are now.

4. How did you make your first sale?

Bluffed it, we mentioned to them that we had a product which we didn’t. They called our bluff, took us 3 sleepless nights but we did it. Built the software and got the right influencers for the campaign.

5. How did you get credibility quickly?

We hustled . We have a product that people want. Plus we treat our customers brilliantly offering them the best in class support to get the best out of their campaigns.

6. How did you get funded or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?

We’ve raised two angel rounds so far. No creative strategy at all, we just took less salary at the beginning – easy to do when you start the company when you were at university.

7. What habits/mindsets helped make you successful?

An insatiable attitude to learning, I think everything can be learnt and so I read about how to become better in any department. Its easy to become arrogant as CEO to think you know everything. You don’t. Learn from others.

8. How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

We’re a tech platform others are manual. We have processes in place which help us to deliver results over and over. These are proprietary processes guided by technology and also tons of data points.

9. What was your biggest mistake?

Not asking for help at the beginning, not expanding my network rapidly at the beginning. No one became successful on their own and I think I didn’t consider that early on in the journey.

10. How did you deal with failure?

I hate it. I know people say failure is good and you can learn from it which is true. I have a notebook which details exactly when we had a failure, what we did to mess up and how we can stop that happening.

If you want to talk to Tim about video influencers go here and contact him.

Introducing Dot Matrix Group – working with entrepreneurs, corporates and investors

“Stop looking for someone with a rulebook” – Seth Godin.

Dot Matrix Group has been established to work with a small number of entrepreneurs, corporates and investors and give them the connections and confidence to solve challenges and grasp opportunities at precisely the right time.

With years of experience the founding team of Dot Matrix Group have seen that startups, corporates and investors can suffer from information overload and from being ‘too connected’. We can reach out to thousands, mentor and be mentored by hundreds and anyone can email you to ask you to do something for them. People get lost doing this thinking that activity is achievement but that’s not the same thing.

Entrepreneurs are here to lead through the challenges faced and Dot Matrix Group works with entrepreneurs to identify and understand their challenges and then construct and execute a plan to achieve those objectives. This includes the right connections in our networks, business planning, identifying talent, investment and governance.

For our corporate partners Dot Matrix Group provides inspiration, insight and learnings from high quality entrepreneurs in briefings on the innovation and disruption relevant to their industry. This includes interactive workshops, customised reports, roundtable discussions and dinners, internal socialisation and identifying talent acquisitions.

And for investors Dot Matrix Group can help share off-market investment opportunities, connections to other investors and opportunities to be an advisor/board member. For the investors’ portfolio companies we can also help those founders with finding talent and executing better.

Running through all this is a quality and global network of good people driving business forward. Dot Matrix Group works with people who aren’t afraid of a challenge and who will challenge us – there is no one, right answer after all. We will only do work we can be proud of with those who have the courage and confidence to drive change within themselves and their businesses.
The aim of DMG is to bring quality insight from entrepreneurs, corporates and investors in order to help the most determined individuals and organisations succeed.

The Founding Team – deep relationships, commercial know-how and international deal-making.

As well as DMG Matthew is also a co-founder of the global network of entrepreneurs 9others. Matthew has been working with and helping startups since 2010, persuaded Y Combinator to come to London for YCLDN in 2011, set up two accelerator programme and has a number of investments in startups at 99others. Matthew has a BSc (Hons) in Software Engineering from Durham University and an MBA from Imperial College Business School.

Kash brings a wealth of commercial experience having been deeply involved in dozens of business plans, investments and acquisitions whilst at Citi Group, Blackstone, Anglo American and BT. Kash is also an angel investor in a number of startups personally. Kash has a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and Economics from UCL and an MBA from INSEAD.

AK is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Based in Malaysia, AK’s experiences as a self-made businessman across the steel and commodities trading, agriculture and high end restaurants sectors. AK chose to team up with DMG to work closely with high quality startups, share his business insights and connections, and provide a base to access the Asian market.