The Journey to Scale
This event during London Tech Week brings together Home Grown, London & Partners and Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) community to hear from entrepreneurs who have successfully scaled their businesses in the UK and internationally.
Discussions focused on successfully scaling a business and growing teams (even when most employees have been remote), and feature a first-hand account of scaling through to exit. It will also be a long-awaited opportunity to bring the community together for in-person networking and connections.
This event, hosted at Home Grown Club brought together
Pip Jamieson, Founder & CEO – The Dots
Olivier Buffon, Head of International – Faire
Zara Nanu, CEO & Co-Founder – Gapsquare
Janet Coyle, Managing Director Business Growth, London & Partners
Janet Coyle started the busy evening off by saying “We are absolutely thrilled to have so many of you here this evening” – it was an incredibly robust audience, full of Home Grown members, guests and associates.
London & Partners is the business growth and destination agency for London.
“Our mission is to create economic growth that is resilient, sustainable and inclusive.”
And that’s what this event really did encompass – Mission driven businesses.
Mission as well as profit > Purpose as well as profit.
The panel event kicked off with Anna o’brien – HSBC UK – being introduced to the stage as our interviewer and after some introductions, she ask cour first speakers – Pip Jamieson, Founder & CEO – The Dots and Olivier Buffon, Head of International – Faire this;
How have you managed to source talent? Equally, how have you managed to retain the talent within your business, and alleviation
Pip – “In terms of finding the talent for us there were no shortcuts, and we had to invest a lot of time building a team, which obviously requires a lot of effort.
We need real people who are very aligned with the vision and who are often passionate brands or shops very often hire that personal story,
We have a weekly all hands meeting with the whole company. And we always have friends from somewhere in the world show up and then share the stories. So through those techniques we’ve managed to keep together.
I am blessed, I run a professional network, finding people isn’t so hard but it wasn’t so easy when the pandemic hits, I think, to manage expectations now though, there is a massive talent shortage in an army we are at the lowest levels since the 60s or 70s, which is quite phenomenal.”
Olivier “Clear values are key, Faire is now international, since joining Faire, it’s been incredible to witness the impact of the platform on small businesses across the globe, but with this comes obvious language and cultural barriers – that’s why we do invest a lot of time in the hiring process. It takes time but it also pays off.”
We then invited Dr. Zara Nanu, CEO & Co-Founder of Gapsquare – which offers expansive diversity and equality data intelligence & report generation, to the stage.
Can you share with us your background?
“I didn’t have any background in tech andI have no background in business, the one thing I was passionate about is looking at workplace equality, and looking at women’s empowerment.
I was looking at this word empowerment thinking about the word power, where does power come from and actually, power comes from money, and yet when we talk about women’s empowerment, we talk about giving women voices, we talk about women’s rights and voting, which is very true there are rights, but there’s very little concept about women having access to higher pay. So that’s where I really felt like I wanted to focus my attention, how to really leverage technology to ensure that we have access to that.”
I could have done consultancy but the reason we focused on tech is because it was scalable, and also it was something everyone was doing and I thought everyone’s doing it must be really cool.”
“If someone would have told me that, by the time I’m 40 I’ll be looking into statistical regression models and looking into how they shape pay in a company, I would have laughed in their face!”
At the beginning of your journey, what was it like?
“We joined an accelerator, and the first thing they wanted to see was a business plan, of course, no. I have no idea what this is about, so I googled what the business plan is and it gave me the idea that nowadays people do business plan canvases because it’s easier and it’s shorter!
All I had on there was:
‘Gapsquare is going to do tech around creating fair pay, and we’re gonna exit in 2020 at around 3 million pounds.’
We went to the interview and they looked at the paper and they laughed at us! But they still took us on board, and fast forward to today, we’ve grown the company and exited in July 2021 to ftse 100 And I’m really excited about the next stage of our journey.”
One nugget of advice Zara shared that really resonated with out audience was this:
“Failing a lot of times has made us a stronger company
I thrive on failure, failure makes us want to come back stronger.”
The event ended with some classic Home Grown nibbles, drinks and networking. It was truly a great celebration of London Tech Week, which we can’t wait to celebrate again next year.
It was a pleasure to co-host the London Tech Week/ SVC2UK/ London & Partners.
If you’d like to find out more about events at Home Grown, just click here > https://homegrownclub.co.uk/events-page/
A one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs and investors. What really sets Home Grown apart is their members’ events which provide access to valuable insights and support scaling founders on their growth journey.Richard Farleigh, Entrepreneur and Former BBC Dragon's Den
It’s always a delight to meet, network and entertain amidst the generally relaxed vibes that radiates throughout Home GrownGladstone Small
Home Grown is immersed with an overflowing energy, unrivalled facilities yet the club has a certain uniqueness.Luke Reed
What a special delight and home from home! I stay here whenever I come to London and their Scale-up events are on the money.John Courtney
We are all crying out for opportunities to bump into other people, to spark ideas off them that make us happier, more fulfilled and more imaginative: Home Grown is a forum for just this creative serendipity.Tas Tasgal
Home Grown is more to me than just my office in London. It’s a community. It’s a place to network with other business people. But most of all it’s got that super friendly and positive vibe that you just can’t wait to get there each time.Neil Thompson