Posted: May 14th, 2012 | View Comments
After five fantastic years at GroupSpaces, this month I’m letting go of my operational involvement to start a new company.
There’s another idea I’m extremely passionate about that’s been burning inside of me for a while now and the time has come to take it forwards. GroupSpaces will be continuing in very good hands with my co-founder Andy Young taking over as CEO and I am confident that the company will continue to grow from strength to strength under his management. Moving forwards, I’ll be remaining on the Board of Directors to continue supporting the company in a strategic capacity.
Andy and I founded GroupSpaces from our dorm rooms at Oxford in 2007 to create a better way of organising the world’s groups. Five years later I’m exceptionally proud of what we’ve achieved. We have an amazingly talented team based in Shoreditch at the center of Europe’s Internet industry. We’ve been fortunate to bring on board a long list of great investors. And GroupSpaces is now the world’s leading group management product, currently hosting over 3 million group memberships across over 100 countries. A massive thanks to our users, team, investors and everyone else who has helped us get here.
My new startup is currently in stealth. To be one of the first to find out what I’m building, you can sign up here.
Posted: July 4th, 2010 | View Comments
We are very pleased to announce a new $1.3 million round of funding for GroupSpaces this week.
Mike Volpi (left), celebrating with the GroupSpaces team
We raised this investment to enable us to expand our engineering team and build many more features into our product to meet all the needs of our diverse and growing user-base of sports clubs, university societies, local interest groups and associations. We will also be using the money to expand our marketing teams in the UK and US, enabling us to bring GroupSpaces to a much wider audience.
The investment round was led by European Venture Capital firm Index Ventures, who has previously invested in Skype, Last.fm, MySQL and Betfair, amongst many other successful technology companies. We are glad to work with Index as they have a fantastic track record in helping early-stage Internet companies develop into global leaders. Index Ventures Partner, Mike Volpi (former Chief Strategy Officer for Cisco and above on the left, with the GroupSpaces team), joins us as a Director and you can read about why he led the investment in GroupSpaces on the Index Ventures blog.
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Posted: February 8th, 2010 | View Comments
Following my recent guide to Angel Investors, this is the second of three articles exploring ways for UK-based start-ups to obtain funding.
“Seed Accelerators” are investment funds that supply small sums of capital (typically up to £50,000) to extremely early-stage start-ups in return for small amounts of equity (typically up to 10%) and provide an organised support program for a limited time period following their investment.
Launching in the summer of 2005, Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator (YC) is the pioneer of the Seed Accelerator model. Following in YC’s footsteps, there have been more than a dozen other such programs created since 2005, all of which have focused on the Internet, software and mobile industries due to the low capital requirements and short amount of time needed to launch a product. In the future, I expect the model will be adapted to fit other industries, but for now these funds are likely only to be relevant if you are starting an Internet, software or mobile company.
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Posted: January 21st, 2010 | View Comments
You’ve got an ambitious business idea, done your initial research, started developing your product and you need some investment to finish building it and take it to market. This is a common situation for young entrepreneurs to find themselves in.
In this article, we’ll explore one potential solution: Angel Investors. These are usually wealthy entrepreneurs who are looking to invest their own money in early-stage businesses. In addition to offering your business money, they can also offer their advice, experience and knowledge.
[Note: my advice throughout this article is tailored towards raising money from UK-based Angel Investors, however many of the principles apply elsewhere]
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Posted: January 9th, 2010 | View Comments
Last week Joseph Ajilore (Founder, Your Hidden Potential) interviewed me for his young entrepreneur blog. He asked me about how to be a successful entrepreneur, why I rejected multiple corporate job offers in favour of pursuing GroupSpaces full-time and who I find inspiring. Following a lot of great feedback we’ve both received on the interview, Joseph’s kindly allowed me to re-publish it for the readers of Freed From the Matrix.
Can you quickly give us some background information about yourself?
I’m a 24 year-old Internet entrepreneur, born and bred in Wimbledon, currently based in Oxford having completed a Mathematics degree at Oxford University in 2007. In addition to working on my startup GroupSpaces, I also write for The Gateway newspaper as their Entrepreneurship Columnist and train for my current sporting passion: triathlons.
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Posted: January 3rd, 2010 | View Comments
Over the Christmas break I spent a couple of days giving my blog a makeover. Previously I’d been using a pretty generic theme hosted on WordPress.com but had been getting frustrated by its lack of flexibility. So I signed up for my own hosting account with DreamHost who offer a 1-click install of WordPress’s self-hosted software. This now gives me far more flexibility as I can use whatever themes, plugins and widgets I like, as well as customise any of these. Below you can see the old vs new blog layout:
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Posted: October 1st, 2009 | View Comments
Have you started your own company or are you thinking of starting one in the future? If so, then taking advantage of NACUE (which stands for National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs) should be high up on your list for the 2009/10 academic year! NACUE is an exciting new national student-led organisation that helps student (and recently graduated) entrepreneurs to access resources, support and funding to develop and grow sustainable ventures. Having initially launched in May 2009, this is the first academic year in which NACUE is fully operational.
The NACUE concept was conceived in late 2008 by Victoria Lennox (right), a former President of Oxford Entrepreneurs society. Last week I caught up with Victoria to get the lowdown on what NACUE can offer student entrepreneurs and where the organisation is headed in the future.
How can budding student entrepreneurs benefit from NACUE over the coming year?
From participating in enterprise societies and accessing our online directory to attending inspirational and informative events and pitching for funding in front of interested investors, NACUE provides a one-stop-shop for budding student entrepreneurs to get inspired, develop skills, gain experience and start a venture.
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Posted: July 9th, 2009 | View Comments
I would like to thank Anjool’s parents Bharat and Naina, friend Irra K and Richard Powell of Presswire for their assistance in writing and distributing this press release. I will write a more personal tribute to Anjool, one of my closest friends and mentors, once all the media hype has died down.
On Wednesday, it was announced that 24-year old stockbroker, nightclub entrepreneur and former BBC journalist Anjool “Jools” Malde died after leaping off the eighth floor of up-market London restaurant Coq d’Argent near the Bank of England at 12:10 on Sunday 5th July.
Two days previously, on Friday 3rd July, it is alleged that Anjool was suspended from Deutsche Bank while an investigation was made into a matter allegedly related to comments made on a financial website. He was expected by colleagues to be promoted to Vice President at the firm in 2010 which would have made him one of the youngest in the industry. At the age of 25, this would have been a significant achievement. Less than a month ago, Anjool was ranked 7th out of 239 salespeople in his sector (Pan-European Small & Mid Caps) across all Investment Banks in Europe.
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Posted: May 17th, 2009 | View Comments
So you’ve got a business idea, you want to get your first company off the ground and you need to balance this with getting the degree you want. It’s a tough position to be in – particularly if you don’t have much business experience. The good news is that there are a wealth of easily accessible people, resources and organisations which can help you out!
I was in exactly this position a few years ago. I had a business idea during my second year at university and started with the student society for entrepreneurship (Oxford Entrepreneurs). I also found great value in the resources below and these helped me develop my company GroupSpaces to where it is today.
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Posted: May 10th, 2009 | View Comments
Nick House is the fourth and final interviewee for The Year That Made Me series. He follows other successful entrepreneurs Michael Smith, Jamie Murray Wells and Kulveer Taggar.
After organising parties and events while studying at Leeds University, Nick started working at Citibank upon graduation. However, this new life was neither as much fun nor as satisfying as the old, and in 1999, shortly after starting at Citibank, he left to establish Nick House Entertainment (NHE group), which would offer consultancy on all areas within the bar, restaurant and nightclub industry.
Since then, the company has expanded from consulting and promotions to also owning and operating some of the top venues in London, such as Mahiki, Whisky Mist, Tini and The Punch Bowl.
Mahiki, arguably the most well-known of these is now frequented by celebrity clientele such as Paris Hilton, Girls Aloud and Princes William and Harry.
Which was the year that made you?
No year has actually made me but in terms of stepping stones 2001 was when I made my commitment to working in the bar and club business and that commitment meant a night and day, 7 days a week focus.
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