Kick-off Strategy

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

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,, 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.


Board Meetings

Board Meetings

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.

Go-To-Market Workstream

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.

Financing Hacks

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.

  1. For R&D tax credits, your accountant may be your best help in applying, or we can recommend specific experts.
  2. We recommend Martin Wilkinson for Innovate UK applications, and he has a high rate of success in past applications. Martin runs Brocksmoor Projects Limited and charges 10% of the award.  Web: Contact:
  3. We also highly recommend Claimer. Claimer’s platform makes it easy for businesses to reliably complete their R&D relief claims without any tax knowledge, guided by qualified advisors. After submission on the platform, their in-house tax and tech specialists produce every claim before it goes to HMRC. All Episode 1 portfolio companies get a 20% discount on fees for life. Sign-up using this link to claim your discount. Or contact and he can walk you through the service.


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:

One of our CEOs used Brownhill Insurance Group successfully:

Bribery Act

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

Pensions - auto-enrolment

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

CEO Slack & CTO Slack and Google Group

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 or your Director.

For a full list of the tools and services our other Portfolio companies use:  portfolio software survey

Recommended Reading

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!

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 Union Square Ventures

Great on on HR here:

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

Play Bigger – Ramadan, Peterson, Lochhead and Maney.  All about becoming a Category King, succinctly distilled into this blog by our friend Ben Wright

The Hard Thing About Hard Things is crammed full of wisdom and helpful insights from A16Z Founder, Ben Horowitz

Lean – Simon’s list of essential Lean books

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

Scaling Up
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

E1 Partnerships and benefits

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


  1. $25,000 in AWS Promotional Credit valid for 2 years or $100,000 for 1 year
  2. 1 year of AWS Business Support (up to $10,000).
  3. 80 credits for self-paced labs
  4. Visit and use code 15WRv to sign up. You must already have an AWS account

GCP – Contact who should be able to secure credits.

  1. $25K or $120K Azure credits to explore Azure services for 1 or 2 years ($120K usually offered in two tranches based on Azure consumption) benefit
  2. 1 year access to a selection of Microsoft products including Office 365 Business Premium – 10 seats, valid for 1 year, and Visual Studio Enterprise (Microsoft for Startups) cloud subscription – 5 seats valid for the duration of your members.
  3. Access to GitHub Enterprise. Startups receive up to $1,000 of GitHub Enterprise usage per month for the duration of their time in the startup program.
  4. Support to list and sell on the Azure marketplace, with a Startup Engagement Manager assigned to all companies
  5. For suitable companies, support to access Microsoft co-sell opportunities
  6. Technical support through Azure technical helpdesk and other Microsoft subject matter experts

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.

  1. Startups with up to $2m funding get up to 90% off HubSpot software in their first year, 50% off in their second, and 25% off ongoing.
  2. Startups with over $2 million funding up to and including Series A get up to 50% off in their first year, and 25% off ongoing.
  3. link to sign up 
  4. Email questions to:
Prodsight Startup Program
As startups scale, it becomes harder to stay close to customers and truly understand their most important issues and requests. Prodsight makes this easy by analyzing your customer feedback and communications across all your channels. It plugs into popular tools like Intercom, Zendesk and Zapier and automatically turns your data into real-time actionable insights around customer issues and requests.
As an Episode 1 portfolio company, you can access Prodsight at a 50% discount for the first 12 months. To learn more about Prodsight and to access the discount, click here.

Series A readiness

About six months after we invest, your Director and Hector will introduce you to our 12 month long Series A readiness program. This consists of the following:
  1. Strategy day with the Episode 1 team – this is not a pitch, it’s a session to work on the optimal strategy for the business with a focus on what’s required for your next round
  2. Building a list of funds to target – we can do a lot of this for you. Usually it builds on the relationships and preferences you already have, overlaid with our knowledge and relationships. This will be managed in a process tracker using Notion
  3. Mock IC pitch to Episode 1 with feedback session immediately afterwards
  4. Introductions to the funds you’re targeting


Our newsletter is only for the people that want to be seen. If you want to get all the latest tips, tricks, news and updates from Episode 1 then this is the newsletter to be subscribed to. See you in your inbox.

* indicates required

Marketing Permissions

Episode 1 will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please confirm you are happy for us to contact you by email:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.


    0 / 1100 characters

      Are you raising £2million or less?


      Sorry we only invest in this stage, so please do not send us a deck if you do not meet this requirement.

      Are you a UK based business?


      Sorry, we only invest in UK business, please do not send us a deck if you're outside the UK.

      Are you B2B focused?


      Sorry, we only invest in B2B focused businesses, please do not send us a deck if this isn't you.

      Are you software focused?


      We only invest in software driven startups, please do not send us a deck if this is not you.

      Please send your pitch deck (max 10mb) to and we'll come back to you!
      We appreciate your interest in working with us.


      Contact us

      Our address

      4th floor, 112-116 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1HH