6 July 2018 Courier Weekly

Creating an A-team

PLUS: Venture funding in China – Food delivery fightback – Pricing strategies – Property marketing

How to build a team.

Founder of company builder Entrepreneur First, Alice Bentinck, discussed how to pull together a stellar team at the AllBright festival this week. Three top takeaways from Bentinck and other founders in the room:

  1. Avoid polar opposites. It’s good for co-founders with complementary skill sets and preferences to team up, but being too dissimilar can be troublesome. A degree of homogeneity is necessary to get decisions made.
  2. Hire ‘get shit done’ people early. Often the best first hires in a growing business are all-rounders; people prepared to get stuck in to a number of tasks. As the team grows, hire more specialists – and help all-rounders become experts in their own areas too.
  3. Recruit by yourself. Bentinck found that sending personal messages to potential hires on LinkedIn had a far higher success rate than using a professional recruiter. It’s much easier for a founder to talk passionately about a company’s mission and vision than anyone else.

China outstrips the US in venture funding.

Venture capital cash flows made a significant shift to the east in Q2 2018, with Chinese startups receiving 47% of all VC funding. The US and Canada, meanwhile, received 35%.

One significant raise pushed this percentage up: Ant Financial, a payments company which launched in 2014, raised £10.5bn in the world’s biggest ever single fundraising round.

Other noteworthy Chinese deals include facial recognition tech developer Sense Time’s £450m raise, which makes it the world’s most valuable AI startup. Meanwhile, ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing and Beijing-based learning app VIPKid raised £200m and £378m respectively.

A big brand’s answer to Deliveroo and Just Eat.

It’s often discussed how delivery upstarts are causing headaches for restaurants, but the same applies (albeit on a much smaller scale) to supermarket and grocery brands, too.

Noodle giant Nissin this week said it’s noticed demand for its instant noodles has dipped since delivery apps have become more popular.

Its plan to claw back market share is to collaborate with noodle restaurants which offer home delivery. Whether this materialises or not, Nissin is unlikely to be the only grocery brand that wants to get a share of the wider £73m food delivery market.

According to McKinsey, food delivery currently accounts for just 1% of the global food market and 4% of food sold through restaurants, meaning there’s plenty of room for companies like Deliveroo and Just Eat to keep growing.

How to stop and start charging.

This week social marketing company Captiv8 announced it’s going to stop charging for part of its service.

It might sound like an illogical move, but Captiv8’s founders reckon that if brands understand influencer marketing a bit more – using Capitv8’s platform to get their information – they’ll be more willing to pay for the company’s services.

Figuring out the right pricing strategy is a tightrope all startups face. Transitioning from a digital hobby to a money-making business can be particularly flummoxing.

We previously spoke to Jack Sheldon, founder of the Jack’s Flight Club email newsletter, which distributes flight deals and mistake fares, about how he started charging £30 for something readers were previously getting for free.

Interiors inspo (plus, a marketing lesson).

The latest story in the online-only estate agent Modern House’s Open House series is not only an interesting snoop inside ceramicist Kate Griffin’s home, but also a much more in-depth, considered property brochure. The home is for sale on the Modern House for £1.8m.

It’s an interesting example of how brands can employ a more honest form of storytelling to create intrigue around products, particularly as ‘origin stories’ become more regularly used in marketing.