Our Kick-off Strategy Session
Typically the first meeting we have with you will be a detailed strategy session to agree the milestones we need to hit by Series A with a particular focus on an initial 100 day plan. Your E1 director will work with you on how and when that strategy session will happen.
Announcing the Round
It is important to agree with your E1 Director on the plan for how and when to announce (or not) the round of financing.
Our Events & Communications Manager, email@example.com, will be your point person to assist on creating press materials and on execution of the plan. She is also in charge of our newsletter, social media, blogs and PR. Anything you want to share with our community, please let her know.
Simon’s blog describes how to best prepare for and run a Board Meeting. Please take the time to read through it all as the Board Meeting will be our primary interface with you. When run well, they achieve a lot, when run poorly they are frustrating.
During Board Meetings we will encourage the in depth discussion (“deep dives”) of certain topics, some of which may be generated from the findings in DD.
We will promise to prepare well for the Board by reading through all materials (if sent at least 48 hours ahead of the meeting) and coming up with key areas of discussion. This means that at the Board we can get through the materials efficiently so we can dig into the deep dives and other areas of particular interest for more time.
The best way to go from Seed to Series A is to achieve sales traction – it becomes a lot easier to raise a big round if your MRR is over £100k per month and you are growing at 100% per year or more.
The first step on that journey is to achieve product market fit. We find that for most start ups one of the founders needs to make the first 3-5 sales. Often they only come after an extensive period of iterations in the product and the sales proposition, sometimes also with iterations in the specific customer segment, sometimes in pricing.
We have developed a program of support for our founders, working with a number of specialist advisors and training programs to accelerate your sales traction. Shortly after our investment, your board member will work with you to identify your Go-To-Market needs.
A critical element of an effective relationship with us and effective Board reporting is our (and your) proper understanding of the financial health of the business. The management accounts are one part of this and agreed KPIs another. Steph, our CFO, will lead on this with you if your Director feels it necessary
It is important to find good bookkeepers from the start – ask us for tips if you like. Xero is useful software for running your books and most book keepers will be familiar with it. We can also recommend book keeping firms that have worked well for companies at your stage.
Most startups can get extra cash from the government. You are very likely to be eligible for cash for “R&D tax credits” and if you are doing sophisticated innovative technical development you may well be able to win grants from Innovate UK. Both can be complex to win and we suggest you get external support for both.
Now you have institutional funding, it is important to get the right insurance in place. By law you must have employers liability insurance as soon as you have even one employee. You may also want to have directors and officers insurance (D&O). We have used the brokers Marsh in the past though there are many providers out there.
For D&O, employers liability and other insurance products: James.X.Convey@marsh.com
One of our CEOs used Brownhill Insurance Group successfully:
Boring but important, you must comply with the Bribery Act – detailed instructions below:
*It is your and our (as Directors) responsibility to comply with the 2010 Bribery Act. The steps to compliance are simple and the fines and risk for not complying are severe.
You will need to add a compliance policy to your company “manual”. We have written a draft version for you: anti-bribery policy template
And you will need to confirm at every Board meeting and in the Minutes that you are complying
All companies are now required to provide pensions for their employees.
What you have to do – pensions regulator – employer responsibilities
Template letters for compliance – employer template letters
NEST – Dedicated, new, government sponsored auto-enrolment provider. Therefore (hopefully) a good default selection: NEST workplace pensions
You will be added to our Portfolio Slack groups where you can chat or ask for advice and share hiring or anything else you’d like that may be relevant to your E1 peers.
We also host a group for each of the CEOs and CTOs via Google Groups where you can ask questions of each other and of course look through previous Q&As. If you haven’t received an invitation to the group please email firstname.lastname@example.org or your Director.
For a full list of the tools and services our other Portfolio companies use: portfolio software survey
We read a lot and feel confident in recommending the following blogs and books. These blogs are consistently useful, rather than occasionally. We also suggest you subscribe to our blog posts of course! https://episodeone.wpengine.com/subscribe/
Mark Suster – Both Sides of the Table
Tunguz – Redpoint Ventures
A16Z – podcast series
Sequoia has lots of useful stuff on things like hiring, pricing etc
www.avc.com Union Square Ventures
Great on on HR here: http://avc.com/2017/02/getting-human-resources-right/
These really are essential reading so do buy them and do read them
Start with Why by Simon Sinek. Essential on leadership.
Drive by Daniel Pink. Essential on motivation of yourself and others.
The Challenger Sale – Matthew Dixon – a VIP read for anyone selling enterprise software. The definitive guide to doing it (very) well
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is crammed full of wisdom and helpful insights from A16Z Founder, Ben Horowitz
Here’s a link to Running Lean
The Mom Test
Brilliant and short guide to asking the right questions to get honest answers about your business and new initiatives. You may be beyond this, but it’s a quick and easy read.
Thinking, Fast & Slow
Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman gives the definitive guide to good (and what is the much more common bad) decision making. Will really make you think and hopefully change many bad habits into good
Verne Harnish – a rich framework to scaling a tech company. Adrian (and Global App Testing) particularly like the One Page Strategic Plan approach – see the Strategy chapter. Not for everyone, but very powerful for the right CEO and team
Below you can find information for existing agreed Episode 1 partnerships and benefits for our portfolio companies from Amazon, Microsoft and Hubspot. For any further information, please contact Hector at email@example.com
GCP – Contact firstname.lastname@example.org who should be able to secure credits.
Coming soon! Microsoft Power Platform: In the coming months, startups will receive access to Microsoft Power Platform which empowers organizations to analyse data, build solutions, automate processes, and create virtual agents. All new and existing members in the program will get access to 10 seats of development and testing licenses for 1 year.
Stripe – Waived fees on your next £50k processing, first year free on Connect, Radar, and Sigma, and a custom pricing structure. https://go.stripe.global/