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The Tippy Top

The Tippy Top

By The Tippy Top

The podcast that helps entrepreneurs succeed by sharing best practice and creating alignment with both customers and investors. Featuring seasoned entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry professionals. The Tippy Top helps you learn vicariously - because you simply don't have the time to learn each lesson through the school of hard knocks.
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3.5 Annette Petchey on the role of the chair

The Tippy TopJul 05, 2023

3.5 Annette Petchey on the role of the chair

3.5 Annette Petchey on the role of the chair

The chair role is rarely understood yet is so critical to performance of Boards.

Annette Petchey is my long-standing shining example of what an outstanding chair looks like.

To help improve start-up outcomes and corporate governance across the UK and globe, Annette kindly agreed to share her wisdom.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Don't chair a business as a good career move or path into retirement:

1.1. Being a chair is not about you, it's about what you can do for the business.

1.2. You'll only be a good chair if you're focused on others not your own career.

1.3. Nobody remembers who the chair was of a successful business and that's the way it should be.

2. Bad chairs try run the business:

2.1. Your job is to listen and collate rather than call the shots. Quite different to many director-level corporate roles.

2.2. The chair's job is to be a critical friend to the CEO, a sounding board and a voice of reason.

2.3. The chairs role is to represent the interests of the shareholders. This stops your own ego driving unhelpful behaviour.

2.4. The chair role is demanding enough (4x what the job advert says) without you trying to be CEO.

3. The boring stuff is important:

3.1. Everyone loves focusing on the strategy and customer engagement but neglecting the basics could lead to the business' demise.

3.2. The management accounts and the board pack are the early warnings.

3.3. Document everything - minutes, actions and especially the outputs from a risk workshop. Those risks could kill the business.

3.4. Develop an annual board calendar to ensure the board is performing a holistic role with all bases covered.

X.Bonus chair tips

X.1. Know when to step down - particularly when you lose enthusiasm or the business needs a different skill-set.

X.2. Always part as friends.

You can follow Annette on LinkedIn here

See you soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#chair #boards #NED #NXC #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

Annette Petchey Bio"My executive career is mostly in financial services, starting in underwriting – which is all about risk assessment - but quickly becoming very commercially-oriented as I was one of the founders of Virgin’s life insurance company. I learned that start-ups have no respect for defined roles: everyone does whatever is needed to get things done, as efficiently as possible, preferably without letting anyone outside know how much effort is going into making everything seem effortless. That, and being able to take a “Ready… Fire!...Aim” approach.By this, I mean: know where you want to go, roughly what you need to do to get there, know and mitigate the significant risks that might stop you; set off; refine as you go along. After that, most of my exec roles have mostly been around businesses that either needed to be turned around, or that had lots of under-developed opportunity. These businesses also involved a lot of stakeholder engagement, so I also became adept at learning what people’s drivers were, and navigating a way to helping them meet their objectives.I have had a non-exec director roles with a variety of organisations across multiple sectors, which I continue to do alongside my executive career. I currently chair a fast-growing Funeral Planning start-up called Distinct and a charity supporting art in the North of England called New Light."

Jul 05, 202334:01
3.4 Jess Ratty on PR & branding, crowdfunding, and social media

3.4 Jess Ratty on PR & branding, crowdfunding, and social media

PR, social media and crowdfunding finally explained!

We all know that PR and social media are important.

But do we really know what good looks like?

And what can go wrong if we take our eye off the ball?

Whether you're using it to promote a crowdfunding campaign or drive new business, a proper communications strategy is essential to success.

If you're looking for pointers, tune into this episode featuring the amazing Jess Ratty a.k.a. Jessification.

Jess is the Founder and leader of Halo PR and Comms; a creative, bold, future-focused communications agency. Halo works with leaders in technology, deep tech, AI, Low Earth Orbit, deep space, fashion tech, out-of-home, fin tech, entertainment and social transformation industries globally and for the betterment of societies across the world.

Jess is named BBC Expert Woman & LinkedIn Story of Success. Previously Jess was a key player in the build and development of the UK's largest rewards-based platform, Crowdfunder. Jess' communications trade was learned and honed from a decade of working at The Eden Project in Cornwall. Born social. Jess has worked in the media and communications industry for the last 18 years - inspiring conversations to create widespread transformations.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. PR and branding - What great looks like:

1.1. PR adds trust and credibility. Far more than paid adverts.

1.2. PR helps you get in front of your customers so they can buy.

1.3. With PR, think about the overall journey, especially in the context of the ecosystem.

1.4. PR is one part of your comms strategy - videos, blogs, social.

1.5. Bad PR - journalists will get to know you. Manage it carefully.

1.6. PR is about selling you and your reputation, not just selling your product.

2. Crowdfunding - How to actually bring the crowd:

2.1. Bringing the crowd is about being human and storytelling. It's not about money, it's about marketing.

2.2. Crowdfunding done wrong - celebrities and influencers aren't a guarantee of success. Be wary.

2.3. Crowdfunding is tough work and you need a solid plan. Think about logistics. Do it with passion and gusto!

2.4. The best crowdfunding campaigns are done by you.

3. Social media - Learnings from managing 25+ social media accounts:

3.1. Don't do social for the sake of it! Must have value, must be interesting.

3.2. Better to have no account than a badly managed account.

3.3. Knowing your audience really matters.

3.4. Leverage your employees, they are a big fan base.

Get in touch with Jess via her Twitter handle @_Jessification_ or Insta or Jess Ratty on LinkedIn.

See you for the next one soon!

Alex @thetippytopblog

#pr #socialmedia #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

Oct 30, 202249:57
3.3 Prateek Sanjay from Foundraisr on investor/customer outreach, drafting amazing copy and documentation best practice

3.3 Prateek Sanjay from Foundraisr on investor/customer outreach, drafting amazing copy and documentation best practice

"We have 4 weeks until cash-out, can you invest?"

There's a fine line between distressed investing and venture capital.

In both scenarios, the cash may only land 4 weeks before the business runs out of money.

The fundamental difference with VC is that the conversations probably started 18-24 months prior.

With distressed, it may have only been 1-2 weeks ago and businesses pay dearly for this.

If you're looking for solid fundraising advice listen to LinkedIn influencer and founder of Foundraisr, Prateek Sanjay.

Prateek specialises in helping make people understood in a way that is relevant to people other than them.

Prateek's journey started in the Wealth Management division at UBS in New York where his role was to ensure client concerns were understood.  Later on it was explaining new M&A department projects to the Board of a EUR 4bn telecoms company. Then at a start-up fundraising consulting firm, Prateek's job was to convert founder notes into something that investors understood. In his subsequent freelance career, Prateek would convert Deeptech language into 'English.' Prateek also spent a considerable amount of time writing grant applications where he translated what scientists and engineers said into normal words that people understood. Finally, working as a sales person at an app development agency, Prateek had to understand what the actual idea was so that the technical and product team could actually build it. Based on his messaging superpowers, Prateek was then asked to write short cold emails to investors to get meetings. No surprises his conversion rates were high and this service is very much in demand so Prateek created Foundraisr to do it full time.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Researching and finding customer or investor names:

1.1. Need a process to find the financial stability of each customer.

1.2. Check customer willingness and ability to pay - what have they raised and what for?

1.3. Investors - check what their convictions are.

1.4. Use a sniper rifle approach, never a shotgun!

1.5. Specify the relevance of your offering in the first 2 lines.

1.6. Beware of niche sectors. Sometimes there's just not enough potential leads.

1.7. First impressions count - don't reach out too early.

1.8. Build your contact list 12 months before you need them. Trying to close things quickly sends out a negative signal.

2. Drafting amazing copy:

2.1. Prateek's most popular social media posts are time and money saving hacks.

2.2. Create content that is instantly actionable, insightful and deliver instant results.

2.3. Deliver value in the first 4 lines, don't wait until later in the post.

2.4. Best format - half lines of text using bullets and nothing that wraps onto two lines. Must look like classroom notes

2.5. Content guide:

2.5.1. 'Desired outcome you will get if you read this.'

2.5.2. Instructions on what to do.

2.5.3. Summary.

2.5.4. Call to conversion - e.g. "let me know in the comments."

2.6. When doing prospecting, look for buying signals using social listening tools.

2.7. Social selling is by far the best way to prospect.

3. Document access and navigation:

3.1. Use asynchronous communications to save you and investors time. E.g. Place videos, documents, how-to-guide on / Google Drive / Trumpet / Sharepoint / Dropbox.

3.2. Calendly is helpful but meeting time is finite and not everyone can remember every meeting they've had.

3.3. Make sure your projections are realistic if you're committing them to writing.

3.4. Stay away from judgemental investors.

Book a phone call with Prateek via the link on his LinkedIn.

Aug 29, 202249:48
3.2 Luke Smith from Forward Partners on getting to market in B2B SaaS, extracting value from your board and fundraising 101

3.2 Luke Smith from Forward Partners on getting to market in B2B SaaS, extracting value from your board and fundraising 101

Are you extracting the maximum value from your Board? Do you know how to efficiently go-to-market in B2B SaaS? Are you approaching investors in the best possible manner?

In Episode 3.2, Luke Smith pulls back the curtain on early stage venture capital and start-ups.

Luke Smith joined Forward Partners from REV Venture Partners, a corporate VC, where he was responsible for deal origination, investment due diligence and portfolio reporting. He was previously a consultant with the strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman, where he worked across the retail, aviation, healthcare and FMCG sectors. Luke originally planned a career in science and he holds a PhD in biochemistry. His focus at Forward Partners is on sourcing and executing new investments.

Forward Partners is a UK-focused pre-Seed and Seed fund with cheques from £200k up to c. £2m. They focus on Applied AI, e-commerce and marketplaces, with growing interest in Web3. One of their USPs is their "studio" (operational support) team including developers, product, design, growth and PR experts - almost like a non-profit agency that work on the portfolio. They are publicly listed so there's less pressure on exit timelines.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Getting to market in B2B SaaS:

1.1. Tier 1 customers take all your time and resources. Perhaps focus your efforts on tier 2s.

1.2.  When selling to enterprise, understand the stakeholders and what they want. Find the biggest user pain possible because then the internal champion inside the company will move mountains to onboard you.

1.3. Expect to wait 6 months for a signature and a further 3-6 months for your cash.

2. Extracting the most from your Board:

2.1. The Board is there to hold management to account and set the strategic direction. Board meetings are not a reporting session but rather 80% forward looking.

2.2. Boards should be small at 5-7 people. Find sector experts.

2.3. Get your Board pack out a week early and cover off initial questions via email. Use the Chair the liaison between management and the Board to keep things optimised.

2.4. In time, your Seed investors may roll off your Board and cap table. This is normal and healthy.

3. Fundraising 101:

3.1. Have a great deck to start with (VCs are quite lazy!). You can start without a deck but that's risky. Do the work and be targeted. Either do good cold inbounds or look for intros. Avoid automated emails.

3.2. Treat Q&A as an opportunity to build credibility and trust. Make sure you understand who is covering what question.

3.3. Red flags for investors:

3.3.1. Worrying inter-founder dynamics.

3.3.2. Founders with ego or who appear untrustworthy.

3.3.3. Wildly optimistic forecasts.

I certainly learned loads from Luke and hope you did too.

If you'd like to get in touch with Luke, email him on or find him on Twitter @LukeSmith402 and Medium with LukeSmith402.

Speak soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#boards #b2bsaas #podcast #fundraising #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing #founders #redflags

May 22, 202253:35
3.1 Raja Skogland from The Visionary Company on investor readiness, building marketplaces and materialising your dreams and ideas

3.1 Raja Skogland from The Visionary Company on investor readiness, building marketplaces and materialising your dreams and ideas

...and we're back with Season 3 of the Tippy Top Podcast!

If you're an entrepreneur and looking to raise - are you investor ready?

Do you know what being investor ready actually means?

This exciting episode features the multi-talented Raja Skogland, founder of The Visionary Company in Norway and investor in 50+ start-ups. Investment banking, community building, creating start-ups, running incubators/accelerators, investing in start-ups and exiting a few, Raja really has done it all. You'll learn that there is little that Raja doesn't know about start-ups.

Since 2015, Raja has been helping 1,000s of entrepreneurs build their network, gain knowledge, and access capital, to be able to start and successfully grow their company. From 2016 to 2018, she launched and managed growing the platform to over 1,200 start-ups and 100,000 unique visitors per year. In 2019, her company launched the first online accelerator for start-ups in the Nordics, which was acquired by Later Raja became CEO at TheFactory - awarded best accelerator in the Nordics in 2019, where she was helping founders grow their business and get Investor Ready. Recently Raja started The Visionary Company, where she helps startups gain traction and get Investor Ready, while also helping aspiring angel investors build a portfolio of start-ups.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Investor readiness - what investors want to see:

1.1. Investor readiness means you have a solid business. It has nothing to do with paperwork.

1.2. Investors are looking for a solid, sustainable, scalable business that could be profitable one day.

1.3. Investors want to see traction, a product roadmap, go-to-market strategy, strong team, previous exits, good entrepreneurship Universities, passion, vision, a numbers orientation and a superpower in something like branding or fundraising.

1.4. Your business must always solve a strong problem!

1.5. The best resource to get investor ready is an online accelerator.

2. How to grow a marketplace start-up:

2.1. Marketplaces are hold to monetise and usually not attractive to most investors.

2.2. It's much easier to build an offline community first than try build an online market place from scratch.

2.3. Go niche at first and build loyal customers. Then build the next product iterations alongside them. You don't need to think of everything yourself!

2.4. Zebra-unicorn 'Head of Growth' people do exist but they cannot solve all of your start-up's problems. Timing is also everything when looking for a resource to help you scale quickly.

3. Materialising your dreams and ideas - insights from a seasoned coach:

3.1. Start entrepreneurship as early as possible. Failure is part of the learning process so you need time.

3.2. You can always go back to your job. Life is short. You will learn loads from your start-up and probably come back at the same position or higher in the company. There's no good reason to not pursue your start-up dream.

3.3. Coaching helps you step back and get a reality check. Much like a start-up Board.

3.4. Leave your ego at the door when building your start-up. Keep hungry, keep humble.

At the end of the day, being investor ready isn't all about investors. It's about being ready as an entrepreneur/team, being ready for your customers, and last but not least, being ready for your investors (because they really just want you to succeed!).

Thanks for tuning in,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#investorready #growth #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups

May 15, 202248:03
2.10 Joel Palathinkal from Sutton Capital and Alexander Leigh on pitch decks, DEI, and relationships - two-way interview

2.10 Joel Palathinkal from Sutton Capital and Alexander Leigh on pitch decks, DEI, and relationships - two-way interview

Why do start-ups fail?

#1 CB Insights reason: They fail to raise follow-on funding.

But why? Why do they fail to raise follow-on funding?

A brilliant engineering interrogative technique taught to me to establish the root cause of problems is the '5 whys.'

Essentially ask why 5 times, going deeper and deeper until you uncover the real reason.

So, back to start-ups:

1. Why do they fail?

Because they fail to raise follow-on funding?

2. Why?

Because they fail to convince investors.

3. Why?

Because they usually haven't performed.

4. Why?

Because the team is not motivated.

5. Why?

Because there is team conflict and the relationships are not working.

That's of course a hypothetical example but I bet its quite a common one.

Keen to find out more?

Tune into this inaugural two-way interview podcast exclusive with Joel and myself to learn how the VC / Start-up industry really works.

Dr. Joel Palathinkal is a seasoned investor and entrepreneur affiliated with a global network of Single Family Offices, High Net Worth Investors, Endowments, and Venture Capitalists. He's the CEO of Sutton Capital and an LP / Mentor to emerging investment managers. Sutton Capital invests in opportunities focused on Fintech, Real Estate, B2B SaaS, Deep Tech, Space Exploration, Impact Investing, Cleantech, & Climate Change. Early in Joel’s career, he ran technology product innovation in Fintech, Artificial Intelligence, & for the Dept. of Defense. He completed his Ph.D in Modeling & Simulation while he was building flight simulators for the Defense Industry.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. What reviewing 100,000+ pitch decks teaches you:

1.1. First impressions are everything.

1.2. Use Canva is you don't have a designer.

1.3. TAM, Team, Traction. In that order.

1.4. Interview your customers before your VCs do!

1.5. Solve customer problems now AND look 5-10 years ahead.

1.6. Less is more. Use infographics.

1.7. Don't be too creative with the truth.

1.8. Contact information on page 1!

1.9. The pitch deck's job is just to pique interest.

1.10. Don't try sell a piece of old rope. Focus on getting the business right first.

2. Serving the under-served:

2.1. All disruptive companies focused on strong customer pains.

2.2. Under-served markets are untapped markets.

2.3. Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) - don't focus negative energy on it. 'Stay on mission.'

3. Start-ups are built on solid relationships:

3.1. VC/start-up is a long-term relationship. Your behaviour comes full circle.

3.2. Post-covid: Don't be transactional. Add value first. Be truly philanthropic.

3.3. Take time to pick co-founders. Pick people who are different and better than you.

It's been said that VC / start-up would be loads easier if we didn't have to work with people.

But it would also be really boring.

[Good] people are what make the sector so exciting and dynamic.

So surround yourself with great people and let the good times roll!

Hit 'like' if you agree.

Alex @thetippytopblog

#pitchdecks #relationships #disruption #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing #cofounders #diversity #dei #inclusion

Mar 13, 202259:12
2.9 Anthony Rose on building start-ups, founder-friendly funding and the art of the pitch

2.9 Anthony Rose on building start-ups, founder-friendly funding and the art of the pitch

Are you fundraising for your start-up?

Hopefully you already know the difference between equity, a CLN and an ASA.

If not, fear not, Anthony Rose from SeedLegals explains all in this podcast exclusive.

Anthony kindly explains everything from validating your idea, to pitching, to fundraising, and even start-up strategy.

Anthony Rose bio: Founder & CEO SeedLegals, insight-driven automated legals for startups.  Founder Beamly, 6Tribes, QJAM. Investor in Papped. Director Vizrt. The man behind the BBC iPlayer.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Building a product people want:

1.1. Most founders don't properly validate their idea. Ask "have you ever looked for this," not "would you use this product."

1.2. Listen to your customers, not your team. Or get your team to listen to your customers.

1.3. Use your mission statement as the yardstick when doing customer-driven development. Fix usability issues right away though.

1.4. Don't try do B2B and B2C at the same time. You'll end up being schizophrenic and not satisfying either.

2. Empowering founders:

2.1. We're seeing the rise of agile funding rounds with rolling closes.

2.2. Rounds are moving quicker (from 4 months to 2 weeks). Investors that don't adapt may lose out.

2.3. Get data on what is 'market' for deal terms, don't leave it to chance.

2.4. Consider using an Advanced Subscription Agreement ("ASA") as it is perhaps the best instrument for founders.

3. The art of the pitch:

3.1. Pitching is telling a story to persuade an investor to do something.

3.2. On stage, be a showperson, that's what people want.

3.3. When pitching online, get your tech perfect.

3.4. Do your audience research first by mingling.

3.5. Before you pitch to investors, pitch to your customers through content marketing. It's free and still very underrated. It makes you a thought-leader and drives sustainable web traffic.

No matter what advice you were looking for, I'm sure you'll agree that this episode puts the power firmly in the hands of founders.

Chat soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#asa #product #pitch #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing #advancedsubscriptionagreement #empowerment #founders

Mar 06, 202252:24
2.8 Alex Packham on entrepreneurship, building a solid business and exiting

2.8 Alex Packham on entrepreneurship, building a solid business and exiting

The day you take on venture capital is the day you agree to sell your business.

Before you do that though, you'll need to build something someone wants to buy.

The best way to do that is not to focus on disrupting a market, but rather to solve a strong customer pain for millions of people.

Learn more from Alex Packham's inspiring story.

Alex started his social media career at ODEON and NOW TV. In 2014 he then started his own digital agency ASTP and content marketing SaaS platform, ContentCal. The agency quickly grew to a team of 20 with +£1m revenue. Using those profits to fund ContentCal development, ASTP merged into ContentCal to focus on a B2B SaaS model.

Alex raised over £10m for ContentCal, built the business to 3,000+ customers globally, a team of 50 and growing 150% year on year. His main focus as Founder & CEO is defining their vision, helping build their incredible team, product strategy and business development. In Dec 2021 ContentCal was acquired by Adobe.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. How to build a solid business:

1.1. A business is about generating revenue from day 1, with a focus on the bottom-line. This keeps you disciplined. Make sure people part with their cash as early as possible.

1.2. As a leader, you should only do c. 3 things a week. Delegate the rest to people who are smarter than you. Then give them space.

1.3. Before you begin a start-up, just prepare mentally because you'll learn the rest on the job. After you begin, get regular feedback and use mentors.

2. Why you should be an entrepreneur:

2.1. Starting a business is so fulfilling (while also being challenging) so 'have a go' because 'life is too short' not to!

2.2. To attract venture investors, you need to reverse engineer a big outcome. Usually this means setting out to dominate a market segment.

2.3. Solve a strong pain for a specific person. Then do this 1 million times. Beating another a business is not a 'vision.'

2.4. Networking is critical to success. As an entrepreneur, the network you'll build is incredible.

3. How to exit like a ninja:

3.1. Before you think about exiting, focus on building a solid business because that's what people are actually buying.

3.2. Negotiating an exit should not be underestimated otherwise you'll lose money throughout the process.

3.3. You'll maximise your exit value and make the transition as easy as possible if you start delegating early.

3.4. The CEO's role is building teams, and setting and cementing the vision. The leader is the glue that sticks everything together. It's a very unique job that does not have a traditional job spec.

Sound like something that might interest you?

Why not have a go? It doesn't have to be venture-backed. In fact, most businesses aren't suitable for VC.

It may take 10 years as a side hustle but it will almost certainly be an incredible journey.

Chat soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#exits #entrepreneurship #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

Keep up to date with Alex Packham here:

Referenced book:

Feb 27, 202248:04
2.7 Toby Lywood from Oxx on approaching investors, go-to-market-fit, and internationalisation

2.7 Toby Lywood from Oxx on approaching investors, go-to-market-fit, and internationalisation

Thinking about expanding your start-up into the US?

It's probably one of the hardest things that a company will ever do.

Akin to building a new start-up from scratch while still running the old one.

The timing is also very important. Get it wrong and you'll end up in the US graveyard like many others.

Rather learn from people who know what works and what doesn't, like Toby.

Toby Lywood is an investor at Oxx, a B2B SaaS focused fund investing at the scale up stage in companies across Europe and Israel. Based in London, Toby joined the Oxx team around two and a half years ago.

Prior to working at Oxx, Toby worked in the TMT transactions team at EY in London for three and a half years where he performed financial due diligence on a mix of buy-side, sell-side and IPO transactions. Toby holds an BA in History from Trinity College Dublin and is a Charted Accountant.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. The art and science of how to approach investors:

1.1. Tailor your deck to the sector and stage of VC you're targeting e.g. B2B SaaS - Series A.

1.2. VCs are backing people, not just ideas. Errors in decks give a very bad first impression.

1.3. Be passionate and transparent when pitching. Sell the vision.

1.4. Make data clear and fit it to your strategy.

2. Product-Market-Fit ("PMF"), Go-To-Market-Fit ("GTMF"), Growth & Moat ("G&M") stages explained:

2.1. PMF = the business value proposition aligns with customer needs. $0m - $3m ARR but typically $1m. Series A.

2.2. GTMF = Predictable growth engine with good unit economics. Look at CAC payback period, and LTV to CAC ratio.  $2m - $20m ARR. Late Series A to Series B. Early majority of customers.

2.3. G&M = GTM playbook is working. Continuously recruiting at pace. Building a distinctive brand. Sustainable revenue growth. Geographic expansion. $15m+ ARR. Series B++.

2.4. Look for leading indicators e.g. customer engagement and NPS scores. Not lagging indicators like churn.

2.5. Don't try scale too quickly as you'll burn too much cash.

3. How to internationalise your business without ending up in a graveyard:

3.1. UK companies are moving to the US increasingly later.

3.2. Moving to the US is the hardest thing a company will ever do. Timing is very important.

3.3. There are 5 models of internationalisation:

3.3.1. Straight to the US e.g. Zendesk, Stripe, Datadog.

3.3.2. Adjacent first - geographically nearby countries e.g. Unity, UI Path, Mimecast.

3.3.3. Team and business model - non-obvious locations where your team are e.g. Personio, Oudin.

3.3.4. Globally distributed - software businesses that are globally applicable e.g. Hubspot, Typeform, Pipedrive.

3.3.5. Inorganic via M&A e.g. Insurtech companies.

3.4. Expanding to the US involves moving there. Hiring and retention is hard. Need to look like a US business. Might have to do GTMF again.

If after this, you still want to expand into the US, perhaps it is the right decision for you.

If you're done the move before (successfully or not), keen to share your thoughts?

Alex @thetippytopblog

Book referenced in the podcast: The sales acceleration formula by Mark Roberge

#internationlisation #productmarketfit #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

Feb 11, 202247:06
2.6 AMG from Practical CFO on investment strategy, start-up realities and mistakes

2.6 AMG from Practical CFO on investment strategy, start-up realities and mistakes

The majority of start-ups fail because they run out of cash.

A good financial model can serve as a health barometer and predict issues.

Don't leave business planning to chance.

Hire a strong CFO at the outset, even if it's part-time.

Angela-Marie Graham ("AMG") is an SME CFO with an eclectic career, that started with a work placement in an art supply company that wouldn’t use a computer because a catastrophic failure a year early! "But I used a spreadsheet because even as a junior I knew how important they were.  Since then, I have worked in the book publishing, telecoms, energy and retail businesses, amongst others and now work for a practice where most of our clients are start ups including software developers, and those aiming to make world changing biomedical advances.  And I love what I do and consider myself fortunate that I actually found accountancy!"

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Your investment strategy is as important as your business strategy:

1.1. Keep your cap table clean both in terms of employees and investors.

1.2. Follow-on funding is a reality. Plan for it and link it to your value inflection points.

1.3. Fundraise 25% more than you think you'll need.

1.4. A good financial model helps you plan, refine your thinking and convey your business idea.

1.5. Keep your financial model very simple. It just needs to tell a story. No macros please.

1.6. As the CEO, you must own the financial model.

2. What it really means to run a company:

2.1. Be prepared for banks and find your zen place before you start.

2.2. There is lots of admin. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.

2.3. Use an accounts@email for future-proofing. Use a password manager.

2.4. You will have sleepless nights. Take time out, it is incredibly important.

2.5. Hire for your weaknesses, find trusted suppliers and then 'let go.'

2.6. Find a mentor who is also an entrepreneur.

3. Silly mistakes that may cost you your business:

3.1. When hiring, stop looking for 'Jesus in a skirt.' Hire for attitude & passion.

3.2. Diversity is not about ethnic origin. Look for diversity of thinking.

3.3. Don't be too cheap. Invest your business. Always respect the cash though.

If the above doesn't sound all that exciting, get help. There are people who specialise and love doing these types of things.

Chat soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#financialmodel #captable #CFO #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

Feb 06, 202249:38
2.5 Edward Reid from PWC Raise | Ventures on picking investors, fundraising strategy and process management

2.5 Edward Reid from PWC Raise | Ventures on picking investors, fundraising strategy and process management

So you've finally reached the magical £1m ARR and you're ready for your Series A raise.

The hard bit is done right?

Unlikely. The reality is that the rules of the game change at Series A.

The fundraising time commitment, rigour, due diligence, process and stakeholder management effort goes up significantly from what you may have experienced during your Seed raise.

To add to the complexity, choosing the wrong investor at this point could be a catastrophic decision.

Want to know more?

Watch or listen to The Tippy Top Podcast Episode 2.5 Edward Reid from PWC Raise | Ventures on picking investors, fundraising strategy and process management.

Edward has wide and varied experience, working across multiple industries and sectors prior to joining the PWC Raise | Ventures team in January 2020. He first joined PwC in September 2012 and completed his ACA in the Banking and Capital Markets Assurance practice in 2015. In September 2016, he joined the Business Recovery Services team where he focused on turnaround and transformation programmes for large corporates and public sector institutions.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Picking the best type of investor for your business:

1.1. Spend time with them to build a good rapport. Find out what they're like by asking their portfolio companies.

1.2. Look for credentials and track record. Also, are they empathic to the needs of entrepreneurs?

1.3. Scrutinise the underlying deal structure, not just valuation.

1.4. Red flag: When investors drag their heels on the deal. It may be annoying now but on round 2, it may be the difference between success and failure.

2. Fundraising - how much and when?

2.1. Raise enough for an 18-24 month runway because this is a realistic time-frame to achieve your goals. Fundraising takes lots of mental capacity and time. Having cash in the bank will help you sleep better and help keep all decisions strategic.

2.2. A good ratio is raising 3 parts capital to 1 part revenue e.g. £1m annual recurring revenue (ARR)  = £3m raise.

2.3. Be wary of benchmarks on valuations. The rules of the game are changing constantly.

3. Managing the investment process:

3.1. Set a strategy at the start. Fundraising can take 6 - 12 months from start to finish.

3.2. Three core stages. 1. Getting investor ready & all materials sorted. 2. Actually engaging with investors. 3. Completion.

3.3. Stage 1 takes at least 6 weeks and is crucial to getting your fundraise right: Pitch deck, FAQs, and 3-statement financial model.

3.4. Use a corporate finance house for advice, material preparation, document management and bandwidth.

See, there's quite a bit to it. At least you're that much more prepared than before you read this though.

So, what do you want to learn more about next?

Let me know in the comments or send me a DM.

Alex @thetippytopblog

Link to PwC Raise | Ventures valuations webinar.

#seriesa #fundraising #podcast #seriesb #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investors #investing #healthtech

Jan 30, 202236:00
2.4 Joshua Western from Space Forge on investors, service providers and team

2.4 Joshua Western from Space Forge on investors, service providers and team

Joshua Western from Space Forge recently raised the largest Seed-stage Space-sector round in the EU at $10.2m. He kindly shared his experience with us.

Joshua is the CEO & Co-Founder of Space Forge, an in-space manufacturing company, building the world's first returnable and re-launchable satellite platform. They are doing this to unlock scalable manufacturing on-orbit of materials impossible to create on Earth. These materials returned to our planet lower energy consumption by over 60%. Joshua previously worked for major European aerospace and space companies and the UK Space Agency on space exploration, national security, strategy and sustainability.

Main topics and learnings:-

1. Pick your investors carefully:

1.1. UK venture capital is led by finance. US venture capital is led by entrepreneurs.

1.2. Leverage EIS in the UK to get smart money ASAP. There's lots of dumb money in the UK.

1.3. Entrepreneurship and fundraising is a steep learning curve, but a great thing to do!

1.4. Get a strong mentor and chair.

1.5. Everyone around the table needs to be incentivised by equity. Founders, team, Board, investors.

2. How to deal with investors and service providers:

2.1. A quick "no" is sometimes better than a long "yes."  Definitely better than a long "no" and a long "maybe."

2.2. Build relationships, don't be so transactional.

2.3. Watch out for ratchets (8x anti-dilution!) and high fees. Be careful out there. Some deal introducers will ask for 8%!

2.4. Pay for good quality advice.

2.5. Be careful of investors who ask you to use their service providers. There's usually a reason.

2.6. Do due diligence on lawyers. Ask other entrepreneurs for experiences and pricing.

3. The importance of team and why dilution doesn't matter:

3.1. Being an entrepreneur involves an incredible amount of stress and it's not that glamorous (a bit fun too!). Get a trusted co-founder to share the burden. Think Frodo and Samwise. "Who cares" about the dilution.

3.2. Look for different people who are smarter than you.

3.3. Codify your values-->use them for the basis of your first interview stage gate-->then culture interview-->then skills interview last.

Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn (with covering note please)

Find Joshua on Twitter 

Chat soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#spacetech #climatetech #podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing

Jan 23, 202258:12
2.3. Peter Cowley - The Invested Investor on lessons after 12+ start-ups & 75 angel investments

2.3. Peter Cowley - The Invested Investor on lessons after 12+ start-ups & 75 angel investments

Peter Cowley, a Cambridge University technology graduate, founded and ran  over a dozen businesses in technology and property over the last 40  years.  He has built up a portfolio of 75 angel investments with  11 positive exits (including one that is 107X his investment and  returned all the cash he has invested) and 17 failures.  He is a board  member of the Global Business Angel Network (GBAN), President Emeritus  of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), former  chair of the Cambridge Business Angels and was UK Angel of the Year  2014.  He has reviewed thousands of business plans, mentored hundreds of  entrepreneurs and is on the board of eight startups.

He is a fellow in  Entrepreneurship at the Cambridge Judge Business School and is on the  investment committee of the UK Angel Co-fund.  He has also had 16 years’  experience as chair, treasurer and trustee of  the boards of seven charities.

With his son, Alan, Peter is sharing his and others’ experience and anecdotes in order to educate angels and entrepreneurs via  The  Invested Investor which publishes two books and 75+ podcasts.  Peter is a public speaker on entrepreneurship and angel investing throughout the world. Find out more at and via

Key topics and learnings:-

1. Crafting the perfect start-up team:

1.1. Early-stage investors invest in people with a plan. Mention the team early in the deck.

1.2. You get dumb cash, smart cash, toxic cash - take references on your investors.

1.3. Good investors will find out the truth so be transparent from the outset.

1.4. Most start-ups fail because of poor founder decisions. Whether that's not having product-market fit or failing to raise cash.

1.5. Two co-founders is best. Three is second best. Four never works.

2. Your start-up is more likely to fail with investors, than without:

2.1. Ensure you keep the confidence of your investors at all costs.

2.2. Angels won't usually follow-on if things are not going well. It's not about track-record for them.

2.3. Bootstrap or raise equity? Do what's right for you. It depends on you and the business model.

3. Bad behaviour at all stages by funders (and to a lesser extent, founders):

3.1. Investors and Board members will do strange things, even sophisticated ones.

3.2. Always reference everyone you bring into your start-up.

3.3. Be truthful with yourself as that's the best moral compass.

Chat soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #angels #angelinvesting #investors #investing #team #investordd #startupfailure #exits

Jan 16, 202250:44
2.2. James Newell from Clear Sales Message on how to sell

2.2. James Newell from Clear Sales Message on how to sell

We're delighted to be joined by James Newell from Clear Sales Message.

If you're still leaving your sales to chance, this episode is for you. James has a noteworthy career in sales with organisations such as Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, BMW and Alfa Romeo. James now licenses his sales methodology to UCL & London & Partners for their entrepreneur programmes.

Key topics and learnings:-

1. Sell the destination, not the journey:

1.1. To become a better seller, think how you'd like to be treated as a buyer.

1.2. You're probably not selling what you think you are. Find out what your clients/customers are really buying. It's usually something quite human.

1.3. Remember that people don't care about features.

2. The Trigger Point: It drives the client to need your offering at the moment that you are pitching it, not just some time in the future.

2.1. To find the trigger point for new customers, ask existing customers.

2.2. Potential buyers ask specific questions when they're really interested.

2.3. A good question to ask potential buyers is: "what makes you say that?" As it helps you understand their underlying motivations.

2.4. Selling via Zoom isn't much of a barrier because it all comes down to energy and trust in the person on the other side.

3. The Named Process Effect: Adding a name to your process gives it weight.

3.1. It gives buyers confidence and leaves them with something memorable.

3.2. Make it easy to read, write, speak and spell.

3.3. Focus on the end result and that will give you insight into good potential names.

3.4. Give things a name because people will probably do it themselves anyway.

You can find all of James' many YouTube videos here:

Chat soon,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #selling #sales #customers #buyers #saas #season2

Jan 09, 202241:39
2.1. Matthew Holding on navigating the VC world

2.1. Matthew Holding on navigating the VC world

Matthew Holding from Systema VC leads us into 2022 with the start of Season 2 of the Tippy Top Podcast.

Matthew shares some unique insights about leadership and how the investment world really works!

Matthew is the Chief Operating Officer & investor at and has held numerous investment roles since 2015. He's also currently a British Army Officer and training to be Troop Commander of 30+ soldiers. Matthew is ACA qualified and holds a Bachelor of Medical Science  in Biomaterials.

Key topics and learnings:-

1. How to navigate the VC world:

1.1. Get out there and don't be afraid.

1.2. Be hungry and network like crazy.

1.3. If you get a "no," it's not always about you, there's lots of other factors at stake.

1.4. Always be transparent and concise with your communication.

2. Dos and don'ts of pitching:

2.1. The pitch is all about capturing the attention of the VC.

2.2. Being able to stand up to scrutiny is more important than a polished pitch deck.

2.3. The pitch is the start of a conversation. If you expect or get offered money straight away, alarm bells should be going off.

3. A new world order - Nice people finish first:

3.1. Serve to lead.

3.2. Be your authentic self. Be transparent.

3.3. Be responsive, it conveys trust.

Find Matthew on Twitter: @holdingmatthew

Email Matt with:

Next week we're learning about the art and science of selling in episode 2.2.

Chat then,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #equity #networking #pitching #nicepeople #season2

Jan 03, 202259:42
1.10. Nic Pillow on equity funding, customers and success in start-ups

1.10. Nic Pillow on equity funding, customers and success in start-ups

A warm welcome to Nic Pillow on this final episode of season 1 of the Tippy Top Podcast.

Nic is currently a VC investor at Blackfinch Ventures. Prior to that Nic completed a doctorate in AI at the University of Oxford, founded a start-up, worked in many other start-ups and also did his time in corporate, including 7 years at Nokia.

Nic brought a balanced perspective to the show, including being very candid about what taking equity funding is really like.

Key topics and learnings:-

1. Do you really want equity funding?:

1.1. Remember you are agreeing to sell your business on day 1. Make sure you detach emotionally from the outset. The umbilical cord might get cut sooner than you expect.

1.2. You may be disappointed with your investors. Find out if they really have what you need and whether they will challenge you effectively.

1.3. Valuations can go down. Not only the post-money but the pre-money = loads of additional dilution. Spend your investment money wisely.

2. How to measure the value you deliver to your customers:

2.1. Find out who is paying and what they really want. It's not always obvious.

2.2. People generally want to save time or money. Which one do you help with?

2.3. Understand what calculations your customers are doing before they choose you. This helps with your long-term source of competitive advantage.

3. How to succeed in start-ups and entrepreneurship:

3.1. All start-ups are experiments. Keep experimenting!

3.2. Truly under-promise and over-deliver, while still leaving room to experiment per the above.

3.3. ESG starts from the beginning and is a huge opportunity to create value.

See you in 2022 for the start of Season 2!

Until then, have a great New Year,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #equity #success #value #customerfocus #customers #premoney #postmoney #valuations

Dec 29, 202144:39
1.9. Jonathan Sun on re-inventing the VC model

1.9. Jonathan Sun on re-inventing the VC model

A massive welcome to Jonathan Sun, founder of Horizan VC. Jonathan is a VC who is passionate about making the ecosystem work. A breath of fresh air in what can sometimes be a very opaque industry.

Jonathan has incredible enthusiasm and doesn't waste time maintaining the status quo. If you're thinking about building a start-up, you'll definitely first want to listen to the section on pretotyping!

Three main topics and key learnings:

1. Validate ideas with pretend prototyping (pretotyping):-

1.1. Before you build an MVP, first setup a landing page and get customers to enter their credit card details. Rather get this wrong 15 times than building the wrong product.

1.2. No-code is on the rise and will democratise SaaS. If tech businesses want to differentiate, their code will need to exemplary.

1.3. Chief Product Officers may therefore become more valuable than Chief Technical Officers.

Link to Jonathan's pretotyping podcast if you want to hear more:

2. Problems and solutions in Seed-stage VC:-

2.1. Most founders have equity forced upon them. Equity might not be the right instrument for you.

2.2. Blitzscaling might not be good for your business. Some businesses need to build solid foundations first and some businesses are better kept smaller.

2.3. There are increasingly more alternative VC funding options. Think about the student debt model combined with a safe note.

2.4. Former operators make good VCs because they can better identify quality founders, will understand them better and importantly can advise them properly.

3. Peer-selected investment:-

3.1. Village Capital are credited with this method of reviewing start-ups where your existing portfolio companies help make the investment decision. Should more VCs do this? Seems so!

3.2. Portfolio founders can predict success in new investments with accuracy of up to 80%.

3.3. Founders understand other founders better than financiers.

3.4. As a founder, try think like an investor. It will give you an edge in fundraising.

If you're interested in Horizan's innovative funding solution that combines a future earnings agreement loan and a safe note, do reach out to Jonathan via Twitter or on LinkedIn:

Next week we're launching the last podcast of 2021 with episode 1.10 which brings Season 1 to a neat close.

See you there,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #pretotyping #nocode #safenote #altvc #pretendprototyping #peerselectedinvestment #creativefundinginstruments #blockchain

Dec 19, 202145:17
1.8. David Dixon on start-up leadership, success and the future!

1.8. David Dixon on start-up leadership, success and the future!

This week we're delighted to be joined by David Dixon, our first digital business growth coach and NED. You'll come to know David as a true tech visionary and one of the nicest people you'll meet.

This episode has some really profound predictions for the future and how you should prepare!

Three main topics and key learnings:

1.  Leadership is core to scaling:

1.1. You need to find a commercial gap. Tech is merely an enabler. Do the world need your product/service?

1.2. Leadership is about making decisions. Both decisions you make and those that others are empowered to make.

1.3. You need a north star. What are you aiming for?

1.4. Be aware of the power of culture. Culture is everything #peterdrucker

1.5. The UK needs to get better at empowering leaders. The US culture creates a better conditions for start-ups to succeed.

2. Why some ideas fail and some succeed:

2.1. There is definitely an element of luck.

2.2. Hire people better than you and then let go. Easier said than done of course.

2.3. Focus on current customer need but give space for the future.

3. Futurism. Winding back to 1995 and fast forward to 2050:

3.1. The future will still be people-led. Creativity is a very unique skill that isn't easy for machines to replicate.

3.2. To stay relevant, entrepreneurs need to treat everyday life like it's a start-up. 12-month forecasts are thing of the past.

3.3. We'll see 25 years progress in the next 10 years.

Keep tuning in for more exclusive content all carefully curated to help entrepreneurs succeed.

See you next week,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #future #futurism #metaverse #leadership #success

Dec 12, 202148:40
1.7. Xavier and Sam from Angel Investment Network on how to raise

1.7. Xavier and Sam from Angel Investment Network on how to raise

Our first ever dual podcast and what perfect guests to lead the charge! Both Sam and Xavier from Angel Investment Network are about as passionate as they come. Their 'work' is entirely focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed. They've helped build a truly impressive global network of Angel investors and facilitated thousands of investments. They also have a more hands on fundraising service for later rounds which means they're a one-stop shop for pre-Seed to pre-IPO funding rounds. With over 22 years combined experience in start-ups, they've learning a thing or two and kindly shared their wisdom.

Topics and top learnings:

1. Founder conduct:-

1.1. Nice people generally have better fundraising outcomes.

1.2. You need a connection with your investors because it's a long-term relationship.

1.3. Competence and execution are key. Passion is also hugely important. Also, keep your investors regularly updated.

1.4. Be your authentic self. Investors will see through anything else.

2. Start-up valuations:-

2.1. Misalignment often occurs because entrepreneurs are looking far into the future and [some] investors are looking at the past.

2.2. If you can't agree a valuation with your potential investors, either you're not communicating the opportunity properly or your expectations are unrealistic.

2.3. For early stage start-ups, a great way to value your business is asking yourself "what you would take now" for the whole business.

2.4. With high valuations, think about the later rounds and the scrutiny that institutional investors might apply.

2.5. Both investors and entrepreneurs need to feel like they are getting a good deal.

3. Investor readiness:-

3.1. Salaries are not about an absolute number but all about alignment.

3.2. Read Venture Deals and Zero to One to help you prepare for fundraising.

3.3. Remember that fundraising never stops. Think about the whole journey from the beginning.

Resources mentioned during the show:

I've personally recently used the 'how much would you take now' valuation tip so hopefully you're also learning just as much as me.

See you next week with more,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #angelinvestors #pod #fundraising #founders #conduct

Dec 05, 202101:01:08
1.6. Jim Nicholas on passion in entrepreneurship

1.6. Jim Nicholas on passion in entrepreneurship

Podcasters, you're in for a treat today with Jim Nicholas, CEO of Uniphy and Chair at Codeplay. An entrepreneur that walks the talk. Most people only talk about passion. Jim is so inspiring that he has this visceral gravitational pull in every room he enters, so I had to invite him on the show.

If you're thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, now or in the future, this episode is for you!

Topics and learnings:

1. Passion makes the world go around:

1.1. Passion is the fuel for innovation. It is a fundamental ingredient.

1.2. Passion cannot be faked, it's too obvious to everyone.

1.3. Anchor your passion in numbers, otherwise it's just hot air.

1.4. "Start where you are." Don't look for silver bullets to improve your circumstances.

1.5. Consider optimising your career for how much fun you're having.

1.6. Focus on something you're interested in. Invest and apply yourself. That's most of the work.

2. How creating an ecosystem reduces your CAC:

2.1. Take a macro view of how your business' role in the value chain.

2.2. Entrepreneurship is as much about an innovative go-to-market strategy as it is about product.

2.3. Create demand-pull from within your ecosystem.

3. Success all comes down to focusing on your customers:

3.1. Customers need to feel appreciated. They know if you're faking it.

3.2. If you disrespect your customers, you're disrespecting the people who are putting food on your table.

3.3. Customers are fundamental to your existence and a key component of raising finance.

3.4. Don't be disrespectful of other peoples' time and money. This holds true for employees,  customers and investors.

Next week we're featuring our first ever dual interview podcast with one of the most active angel networks in the world!

Stay tuned and chat then,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #angelinvestors #pod #fundraising #customers #passion #inspiration #cac #customeracquisition

Nov 28, 202101:02:24
1.5. Part 2 - Mike Morgan on the realities of being an entrepreneur

1.5. Part 2 - Mike Morgan on the realities of being an entrepreneur

We're back with Part 2 with Mike Morgan. If you enjoyed Part 1, I guarantee  you'll be inspired by Part 2.

Part 2 lessons:

1. How to deal with investors:-

1.1. "VCs are for life, not just for Christmas."

1.2. "Keep your friends close and your investors closer."

1.3. Pick up the phone. Don't wait for Boards to speak to your investors.

2. How to avoid mistakes:-

2.1. Speak to other entrepreneurs in your investors' portfolio. They won't be competitors and should be on the same mission.

2.2. Seek counsel from others who have been through what you're going through now. They won't tell you what to do, they will just test your theories and help with decision-making frameworks.

2.3. Keep it simple. Don't over complicate your business before it's necessary. Both in terms of organisational structure and trying to automate everything.

2.4. Do everything you do for your customers.

2.5. Work hard to make yourself operationally redundant.

2.6. When you find someone better than you, hire them!

2.7. Stay on mission at all times.

3. Exits - the end game:-

3.1. Understand the journey that you're signing yourself up for.

3.2. Be ready to roll with the punches because it's probably not going to be easy.

3.3. As the founder, you might not be the person who's there at the exit. Is that okay with you?

Next week we have another super seasoned entrepreneur on the show. If you're looking for inspiration to become a entrepreneur, make sure you subscribe on your favourite channel so you're the first to know when the episode lands!

Chat then,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #angelinvestors #pod #fundraising #seriesA #mentalhealth #strategy #businessstrategy #customers

Nov 21, 202151:13
1.4. Part 1 - Mike Morgan on the realities of being an entrepreneur

1.4. Part 1 - Mike Morgan on the realities of being an entrepreneur

We said we would have seasoned entrepreneurs on the show and true to our word, Mike Morgan from Channelsphere joins us this week to share his incredible entrepreneurial journey. A real account of what it is like being an entrepreneur rather than the glamorous veneer we frequently see in the media.

Mike has been on all sides of table of start-ups, holding all of the following titles: CEO, Managing Director and Founder, Chairman, Interim Executive, Start-up and Scale-up Advisor, NED, Mentor and Angel Investor.

Mike is a seemingly bottomless source of knowledge and inspiration. Accordingly, Mike kindly agreed to split this interview over 2 episodes to give you listeners the maximum possible benefit.

Part 1 lessons:

1. Mental health in entrepreneurship -

1.1. Find someone to talk to and make sure it's a fellow entrepreneur who can really understand what you're going through. A traditional business mentor/coach won't likely be enough.

1.2. Mental health isn't necessarily on the rise, it's perhaps more that we're allowed to talk about it. Also, you must talk about it if you want to get through the journey in one piece.

1.3. The entrepreneurial path is perhaps one of the most stressful career choices you can make. Choose wisely.

2. Why you should focus on your customers-

2.1. Don't get fixated on competitors.

2.2. Don't keep trying to build the next cool feature just because you can.

2.3. Focus on solving the problem for your customers. Find out what they love and don't mess with it. Found out what they don't love and fix or build to solve it.

2.4. Never suggest features to your customers, because it probably means they don't need them.

2.5. Define your MVP. Mission, values and purpose. Then it is imperative to "stay on mission" at all costs. Then do what your customers ask unless they are asking you to veer off course. Don't do it, even if they offer you lots of money.

2.6. Not all customers are created equal. There are bad customers.

3. The importance of outsourcing yourself -

3.1. You need to recruit well, train well to achieve this.

3.2. The goal is to make yourself "operationally redundant yet strategically indispensable." Often easier said than done though.

3.3. "Stay out of the engine room, you need to lead from the bridge."

PART 2 will be released next week. It features the following three key topics:

1. How to deal with investors.

2. How to avoid mistakes.

3. Exits - the end game.

Speak then,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #startups #thetippytop #businessadvice #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #angelinvestors #pod #fundraising #seriesA #mentalhealth #strategy #businessstrategy #customers

Nov 14, 202140:45
1.3. Lucy Rands on navigating venture capital and helping the planet

1.3. Lucy Rands on navigating venture capital and helping the planet

Not all VCs are created equal. Rather aptly in the midst of Cop26, this week we're thrilled to be joined by Lucy Rands from ETF Partners. Lucy's passionate for helping entrepreneurs and the planet really shines through. Lucy also shared some incredible insights about everything from pitch decks to the climate crisis and how we need to be part of the solution.

3 main topics and learnings:

1. Mistakes

1.1. Firstly good investors know that the journey as an entrepreneur is incredibly tough so know that there's a great deal of respect and admiration for what you do.

1.2 The best way to be successful is to stay focused and tell one story.

1.3. Also, spend time understanding yourself, then seek appropriate training or hire for other gaps.

2. Series A

2.1. The investor and entrepreneur relationship is often described as a marriage. It is. The main difference being that it's harder to get divorced in a start-up!

2.2. To attract Series A investors, you need to demonstrate that there is strong market pull for your offering. There are no hard rules though.

2.3. Be mindful about valuations at Seed, the biggest number isn't always the best.

3. Climate Tech

3.1. It is the trillion pound opportunity of our lifetime.

3.2. More entrepreneurs, more innovation and more growth is needed. Get involved.

3.3. Everyone needs to play their part in reversing climate change. We can't simply ask government to sort it.

Enjoy the show,

Alex @thetippytopblog

#podcast #learnwithalex #askalex #investoready #vc #venturecapital #vcs #entrepreneurship #thetippytop #businessadvice #startups #seed #entrepreneurs #tech #investing #investors #angelinvestors #pod #fundraising #seriesA #climatetech #environment #climatecrisis #cop26

Nov 07, 202146:50
1.2. Peter Walsh on the reality of startup fundraising
Oct 31, 202147:52
1.1. JP Luchetti on start-up success

1.1. JP Luchetti on start-up success

This episode features JP Luchetti. JP wears many hats including being a VC, founder, go-to-market expert and product guru.

You'll learn about:

  1. The real reason for start-up failure. Yes, it's that they run out of cash / don't raise follow-on funding, but why?!
  2. The Prove and Promise Framework. Basically how to ensure your VCs keep investing.
  3. PMF & NPS scores, and the North Star Metric.

Overall, you'll have simple and clear takeaways about exactly how to succeed as an entrepreneur. What's not to love?

Big thanks to JP for suggesting the topic, sharing his valuable knowledge and taking the time out of his busy schedule. Find more from JP here: and 

Enjoy the show,

Alex @thetippytopblog 

Oct 24, 202141:40