Marketplace Startups and Phone Hacking

When I say phone hacking I don't mean the scandal that's hit the UK tabloid press in the last few years, tapping celebrity phones. Although there's probably a great startup opportunity for someone who can stop phone spam. So what has the telephone got to do with online marketplaces? At…

What They Didn't Teach Me In School

I consider myself lucky. I went to a decent school and had a good education. As I look now at how I see the world versus how it was explained to me - there's a big difference. In a secondary comprehensive school in Sheffield in the 1980's, I was ignorant…

The Candidate

How a job role is defined The job description: what the hiring manager thinks they want. The candidate sees it, says, "I could do that". The candidate manages to get an interview. The interviews go well. The hiring manager says, "I want to hire this person (even…

Would I Invest? One Question I Ask Myself To Be Sure...

Any new investment that we make at Forward Partners needs to go through an approval process. No matter who first met the entrepreneur or who did the subsequent analysis and due diligence, any investment decision requires the consideration of our Investment Committee. Investing at Forward Partners is team work. Before…

3 Inflection Points for Startup Teams

It all changes when you get to 50 people said Alicia Navarro, CEO of Skimlinks at the #FPlive event that we held last week. She's right - what you do to manage a team of 30 people is very different to what you do when you manage a team of…

What Is Your Problem?

(The importance of entrepreneurs understanding the problem before defining the solution). If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution. Albert Einstein (allegedly) Advice to entrepreneurs when pitching investors: In meetings where an entrepreneur…

3 Things I Learned From Customers

Unlike most VC firms, we invest in companies at the idea stage. One of the first things we encourage idea stage entrepreneurs to do is to talk with customers to explore the assumptions around their business model. This process of customer discovery can yield great insights and provide a strong…

Priority is a Decision

At a traffic junction, traffic rules give one vehicle priority over the other. It's black and white. You either have priority or you don't. If you have priority, it's your turn to go first. Priority, not priorities When people talk about their "priorities" my brain waves a red…

Unicorns vs. Race Horses

Valfredo Pareto in 1895 observed that distribution of income showed a lot of poor people, very few super rich and a wide range in the middle. I hope that since 1895 the range in the middle has become larger but we still do see extremes, as highlighted by some of…

And The Purpose of a Startup Is?

I play a little guitar. (Not very well). Why do I play? It's not to entertain others. It's not to be part of a band. Maybe it's because it's a way to relax. It's can be a sense of achievement. It's about enjoying learning something new. I used not to…