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Tell me a bit about your background?

Prior to ‘Capsuling’, I worked as a theater and film director for 15 years. Born in Jerusalem, I grew up in Tel Aviv. I moved to London at the age of 24 to study directing. Later, I founded the Conflict Zone Arts Asylum, a worldwide network of artists from Conflict Zones. I moved to Berlin in 2007 where I worked at Ballhaus Naunynstr, a theatre dealing with Post-Migrant political and social issues.

How did you come up with the idea for ‘Capsuling’?

As a theater director, I worked with artists from conflict zones. I was looking for ways to investigate multi-layered historical narratives and confront the taboos behind conflicts with an element of playfulness.This brought me to explore the idea of the actual ‘places’ remembering people. I believe that if we became more aware of the different perspectives people held in our direct surroundings, we could be more sensitive, open, and have less prejudices of our neighbours. The idea of places being able to tell stories of people who visited them was very interesting to me.

Connected to that was my frustration with traditional theater, and my need to look for a new frame of storytelling which would be more suitable to how people communicate, consume and share information worldwide today. So I decided to integrate people more by using their Smartphones.

What is ‘Capsuling’ all about? What is your vision?

‘Capsuling’ is a discovery focused mobile app using time location specific “capsules.”

We enable moment-sharing in context, without losing the element of surprise.

I am dedicating the next years to finding solutions for the overflow of information that takes us away from the here and now. I’m also integrating human values learnt from the theatre with the online culture. The following link explains in short what ‘Capsuling’ is all about:

Tell me about your team?

A great team! Each one of us brings a variety of very important competencies to the table enabling us execute our grand plan together and make it happen.

Our CFO and is an INSEAD MBA graduate with experience in sales, management and a wide international network of powerful individuals in every region of the world. Our CTO is a super developer for the front and back end mobile and internet software architecture. Our community and partnerships developer is a musician and a performing artist with exceptional creative thinking and human relations charm. Our server programmer, has a degree in computer science and an irregularly high IQ! Our Graphic designer Maurice Redmond is a branding genius who built the website for Early Bird VC in Berlin and many more. We also have Mr Cedric Naintre from Paris on our team as the advisor for the business strategy.

What stage are you at with your business and what comes next?

We are currently in private beta. We are entering public beta in Berlin this November with some high profile partnerships. You can register here:

What are the main challenges that you face? 

We are currently looking into Angel Investment, after Bootstrapping (Crowd-Funding and public funding) for the past year. We are also looking for a talented front end developer, Angluar JS & Phonegap, to work with us on the next stages of the beta, with a prospect of taking on a lead role in the company.

Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.

 I give ActorPrenuer workshops, where I teach peers how to perform better in the business world.


Twitter: @CapsulingApp

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress. Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.



The mistakes an angel and accelerator-backed startup made and what we learned along the way.

Tab (previously Subscrib) was a web-based prepaid loyalty app that started in the basement of Campus London in late September 2012 byShawn ZvinisChristoph Sassenberg and Gary Luce.

The idea was simple: customers would open prepaid accounts at local shops and earn bonus credit by doing so. We would eliminate payment fragmentation and use the transactional data to automate retention and marketing for these shops. Best of all, customers did not need a smartphone, as we used their mobile number to create their account.

We raised seed money from a local angel investor early on, joined an accelerator and started to grow the team. We encountered a lot of issues that on their own we could have tackled, but together set us on a path to failure that we struggled with.

Read more…

Dreamstake provides end-to-end support for entrepreneurs wishing to get a startup funded in the shortest possible time. The startup rating system allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor progress. Dreamstake Academy provides guidance on how to create a successful startup. Dreamstake will link startups with suitable mentors and professional advisors.
Startups that have successfully achieved an acceptable rating will be given the opportunity to feature at monthly demo days and investor pitching events.

Dear Readers,

Join our event on 28.08 at London’s hottest startup venue – Google Campus, to bang the drum for all location-based startups and support them in their exciting and challenging journey. During the event some amazing startup founders and co-founders will share their secrets of success and failure with us. In preparation for this we decided to have an small insight into their businesses and took interviews with directors from Loyakk and Sorted. Read it bellow and find out why their startups are so hot and what’s their future roadmap.

James Pursey – CMO Sorted

Tell a little bit about your background and why you founded Sorted

Sure, so I’m a fairly recent graduate having completed my BEng in Electronic Engineering at Southampton 2 years ago. But I never really focused much of my time on my degree, instead choosing to spend it all trying to make money through starting localized student businesses (listing site, discount card and a cheap international calls service). One thing was very apparent to me, I wanted to run a tech company at some stage.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great well-balanced team, when I became involved in fleshing out a business concept for a friend. We all noticed quite quickly that the team of myself, Anthony & Jade was perfectly balanced and that we wanted to create something together – the initial concept wasn’t viable so we set about coming up with something that was.

After a lot of meetings, and having thought we had cracked it a couple of times, Jade asked the question “How could I make 500 pounds by the end of this week”. What was very obvious was that people could do with a way to make money from their time, not from being an expert in a specific field, or requiring multiple references. So Sorted was born.

What is Sorted all about? What is your vision?

Sorted is a mobile marketplace application where users can get anything they want, from people local to them.

A user simply states what they want, how much they’re willing to pay, and where they are! Users can also earn money from their time – just by doing odd jobs nearby!

We see the app being used over 3 core areas, here’s some examples:

Products: Furniture, Games Consoles, The Kitchen Sink

Services: Cleaning, Dog Walking, Tutoring

Experiences: Concert Tickets, Activity Days, Sporting Events

So that’s what it enables a user to do, I mention core categories but at the end of the day, we are providing a platform, I think we will all be very surprised by what people use it for.

The vision for Sorted is quite a complex thing to really pin down. Due to the diversity of the product it doesn’t take a genius to realize that it will have massive benefits to the unemployed population, and thus a handy knock on effect to the economy (which could do with some help at the minute). I guess what we really want to do, is revolutionize how people buy and well on a day-to-day basis, making peoples lives easier and more efficient.

How do you monetise? What is the business model?

Every single way the app could make money isn’t set in stone yet, we are following the lean startup approach so I am sure the revenue streams could completely change with future iterations.

We are currently building in an e-commerce layer (we skim X %), where users will transact via the app as opposed to simply using cash. This achieves a number of things for the user, mainly instilling trust, but also allowing remote transactions to occur.

Tell me about your team

Okay, so our core team consists of 3 people, all co-founders. I am the CMO, so am responsible for all strategy and implementation regarding marketing.

Next up we have Anthony, he’s our COO, so he handles all the operations for Sorted, as well as customer engagement, product design and product development. Like me Anthony was involved heavily within the student enterprise scene, he started a tech company when he was at University called Weavar, which did pretty well!

Finally we have Jade, he’s our CEO so keeps control of the ever evolving beast that is Sorted, as well as keeping a handle on progress and ensuring we are always moving in the right direction. Jade has a lot of business experience, spanning more than a decade in a number of different industries.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

We also have our Android app currently available, you can check it out at It’s a very early stage version of where we see the product being, so will change dramatically over the coming months.

We are about to push our iOS application to Apple for approval, which takes a couple of weeks. During this time we are private beta testing the iOS platform. When the main version goes live we will be marketing it to people in London.

What is the main challenge you face?

We have been pretty fortunate with the amount of support we have received since floating the idea of Sorted out to our networks. So we have been lucky in not facing too many hiccups thus far (touch wood).

I guess what with being a marketplace, that our biggest issue will be marketing, so getting people on the platform to both post stuff, but also fulfill stuff. We have a few tricks up our sleeves for making this happen without blowing millions of pounds, so watch this space.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

Enterprising or personal? Lets do both!

Enterprising – When at university, I developed and ran a university wide enterprise competition called The Southampton Apprentice, it was my take on the BBC TV Show, anyway it went down really well, had over 5000 views and this coming academic year they are doing it again, the 3rd year in a row!

Personal – I broke my foot 6 times in 10 months, leaving me 1 break shy of the most frequently broken foot in the UK, or so the doctor told me!

Thanks Dreamstake, it was a pleasure!

Sadiq Quasim – Director Loyakk

Sadiq’s innovative efforts to bring technology to ‘people’ requirements have been applied in initiatives across major central government organizations like the Cabinet Office and The DWP, as well as blue chip companies EDS, CSC and Bupa. In his role as Director of Marketing, Sadiq has been challenged to look at the world through the lens of temporal networks, strangers and relevant – but fleeting – connections.

LoYakk was founded by a bunch of close friends in different continents mulling over an idea regarding the need forcasual conversation with peopleat the same placeorshared experience.

We were playing social anthropologists trying understanding how our real-life social behaviour mapped to our online social behaviour and we came away with an interesting finding: our real-life interactions with people around (who are not our “friends” or known to us) were way more prolific and frequent than with our friends. These interactions were driven by 2 attributes:

– the location where we were

– the context around the location i.e. shared experience

This could be at a game, music festival, college, town, conference, store etc.

The idea was born to enable – and more importantly – scale this need for casual conversation with people at the same place or shared experience i.e. if you are at a game then don’t just chat up with the fan next to you, converse with the fan 1000 meters away across the stadium or if you are at an airport, don’t limit your “going to Barcelona?” query to the person right next to you in Terminal 1 but say it someone sitting in Terminal 3.

What is LoYakk is all about and what is your vision?

LoYakk essentially wants to enable Conversations for Places – anywhere in the world. (in order to group related conversations, we have introduced the notion of Channels which average around 5 per venue and are customized based on the type of place/venue)

Think of LoYakk as providing a virtualPostitfor any placefor folks to ask,answer,rant,rave or help others out.

Our needs vary based on where we are and the experience we are indulging in at that moment, at that location. The people around us at the place/venue are best suited to help us with this local need of ours. For example – we may want very specific and contextual information in real-time, make connections with people around us much more seamlessly, ask for help in the context of a need that we may have. LoYakk wants to enable this local engagement & conversation in a frictionless manner without the constraints of prior relationships or friendships.

The big vision is simple: Don’t search. Ask a local.

How do you monetise and what is your business model?

This is a critical component of our secret sauce. In a nutshell, LoYakk wants to enable enterprises (companies and brands) to deliver micro-local services like never before. We can host conversations for places or venues that a brand would care about e.g. conference / festival / stores etc. Our business model is based on enabling conversations for enterprise-relevant “places” on a flat + subscription fee basis. The service is free for the average end user / consumer and monetization is via the offering (platform + services) delivered to enterprises.

Tell us about your team?

Salim Ali (CEO and Co-founder, LoYakk). Salim was Global Vice President, Marketing at SAP (one of the largest software companies in the world) when he left to co-found and lead LoYakk. Salim has 16 years of experience working for blue-chip companies such as SAP, Symantec, McKenna Group and start-ups such as DoDots and FusionOne. During his tenure at SAP, Salim built and ran SAP’s Community Marketing organization, created SAP’s Social Expert Finder offering, and orchestrated social media marketing efforts across the globe leading led organisations spread across US, Europe and India. Salim has an MBA from The Kellogg School at Northwestern and a Masters in Computer Science from Louisiana State University.

Jitu Telang, Co-founder and CTO. Jitu has an M.S in Computer Science and has built products that handle multi-million dollar trading volumes in a day. Jitu’s experience includes IBM and Trilogy where he has built a wide variety of enterprise applications.

Sadiq Quasim – Director of Marketing & Operations (Europe). Sadiq’s innovative efforts to bridge technology to ‘people’ requirements have been applied in initiatives across major central government organizations like the Cabinet Office and The DWP, as well as blue chip companies EDS, CSC and Bupa. In his role as Director of Marketing, Sadiq has been challenged to look at the world through the lens of temporal networks, strangers and relevant – but fleeting – connections

Harry Brady, VP, Partnerships. Harry was the Founder, Global Logic Solutions and Co-founder of E-Systems. Harry has significant Sales and Business Development leadership experience at Derlan (currently GE) and Precision Products.

Scott Wilder, VP, Marketing (US). Scott is very accomplished marketer with his most recent stint as Chief Marketing Officer at Human1. Scott was Senior Vice President, Silicon Valley Technology Business at Edelman Digital, GM, eCommerce, Online Community and Social Media @ Intuit, Inc. 2002-2009 and VP of Marketing at eToys and KBtoys.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

On the Product front, we have built the platform and product on iPhone + Android + Blackberry + desktop. The platform has been architected to be super scalable, our mobile apps have been designed to cutting edge and our “venue” database has close to 400,000 places across US (high schools, colleges, towns, airports), UK (towns, stadiums and conference centres in London), India (towns, colleges) and all major airports and capital cities across the globe. We will continue to expand our offerings for the Enterprise market.

On the Launch and Go-to-Market front, we have just launched in 3 key markets: London, Silicon Valley and Mumbai. We already have thousands of conversations happening across all corners of the world. Our expanded launch plans are in place for Boston, New York College, Mumbai and London.

On the Sales front, we already have a paying customer and have a pipeline that includes major brands. It is important to note that revenue is NOT our strategic focus in Year 1 and we are using our Sales efforts to ensure market coverage leveraging the marketing muscle of major brands.

Accolades: We have already won 2 awards in London – GoldMedalWinner in the Race for Apps contest organized by the Hackney City Council and Digital Shoreditch + MostUseableApp by UTest, including a £5000 cash prize.

LoYakk was also invited for tea to No.10Downing Street as part of winning the Race for Apps competition.

Overall,our next major objective is to scaleour outbound marketingefforts.

What is the main challenge you face?

The main challenge is to ensure that we continue to innovate better than the market and execute better than anyone else. The social market is still very much evolving and we want to ensure that we have the pulse of the evolution and emerging consumer needs.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I enjoy outdoor activities, being an Aussie…and once the aeroplane I used for my first 12,000 ft solo sky dive crashed a week later due to a technical fault.

You can also find an interview with Streetpin bellow in one of our previous blogs. 

“Location, Location, Location – Mapping your Route to Success” event is kindly being sponsored by Ordnance Survey and Qube and we can look forward to enjoying some beers and pizza.


We are uber-excited, because on 25th September we will have our first event in California! It will take place  in downtown San Fran at the offices of the one of the most hottest startups – Twilio.

If you have a great startup story, this is your chance – we can help you to get the word in the Silicon Valley. Our great intention is to bang the drums about the great startups on the platform, like Foodity, Circalit, Shopitize etc. and we are happy to take as many examples of success stories as possible.

We have arranged several meetings with August Capital, Google Ventures and various other key figures in the Valley.  We are kindly invited by Mozilla’s chief scientist Pascal Finette to the graduation day of  WebFWD. The diary is keeping on filling with investor meetings and events and we appreciate any help from our members, who may have contacts or make introductions.

The goal is to showcase European startups on Dreamstake and encourage investor interest in using the platform for the potential investments. We believe in the bridge between Silicon Valley and Europe and would like to make it happen!

Become Dreamstake a member and we will keep you updated!

Dreamstake is an online accelerator for startups.  We combine data from Linkedin and Crunchbase with other startup related details to provide a startup launch platform. A key feature is advanced profile search which allows entrepreneurs to find resources from across the 6000 members. We also connect entrepreneurs at our regular events and in the workspaces we partner with The Workspace Group.


Our September Silicon Valley trip has been booked up and we are getting ready to go! Now we are at the detailed planning stage and would welcome ideas on accommodation around San Francisco. Watch out the detailed itinerary for our visit soon with the help of  UKTI and other friends and  contacts on the ground – any assistance/introductions are highly appreciated.

Here is the number of goals for SV trip:

Inform investors about the quality of European startups

We would like to increase awareness of the amazing European startup talent on the Dreamstake platform by exposing it to a cross section of  VCs and angels.  This is all part of our strategy to use the power of the web to build a Europe/Silicon Valley bridge where there is greater transparency and increased deal flow. We will go to The Valley armed with some amazing examples from our portfolio and plan to have an event at one of the leading co-working spaces during the first week of arrival. This will give us early exposure to the scene and a chance to present any investment ready Dreamstake startups during the event. If you would like to be considered please email me at

We believe that there is strong potential both for Silicon Valley investors to invest in startups based here or to move a smaller number of startups to The Valley.  In either case the platform will provide investors with the visibility they need.

Build our knowledge of the unique Silicon Valley infrastructure

We want to understand how European startups can benefit from being linked with Silicon Valley. We would also like to identify the success factors of The Valley that are most relevant to the European scene. We want to experience, first-hand, the networking and openness of the eco-system and figure out how much we can replicate using the Dreamstake platform.

Identify possible investors for Dreamstake

We are now ready to scale and monetise the Dreamstake platform and are looking for investment to make this happen. Therefore, part of our trip will be to present our business plan to potential investors.

Stay with us – the ‘Dreamstake comes to Silicon Valley’ Blog will be updated regularly in the run-up and during the trip.  We believe that there is an amazing opportunity to learn from the most sophisticated startup environment.

Dreamstake is an online accelerator for startups.  We combine data from Linkedin and Crunchbase with other startup related details to provide a startup launch platform. A key feature is advanced profile search which allows entrepreneurs to find resources from across the 6000 members. We also connect entrepreneurs at our regular events and in the workspaces we partner with The Workspace Group.

This week we spoke to Andrus Purde, co-founder of the innovative startup Achoo. It was interesting to see how he is embracing lean techniques and clearly learning a lot along the way. We admire his candid comments which we publish below;

Tell me a little bit about your background and why you founded Achoo

I’m a lifelong marketer, after a career of selling various things people didn’t need via mass media, I made a leap to web/tech side of things, where product, marketing and users are much better connected. I started out at Skype where I spent 5 years, and have been building and consulting startups for a couple of years now.

Since quitting my last “proper” job more than 2 years ago my LinkedIn profile has become unimpressive at best. If you consult, freelance and work on multiple projects, and that’s is where the job market is headed, the traditional resúmé, and services built around that, simply fall flat. Achoo is meant for people like this, so we are just scratching our own itch.

What is Achoo all about? What is your vision?

Achoo is a place for “socially accepted bragging”. It’s a great way to showcase what you’re achieved and accomplished career-wise, and who you’ve really worked with. It lets others peek behind fancy job titles and impressive company names. This is the crux of professional networking, online and offline, and it’s almost comical LinkedIn and other networking sites are still using the traditional CV format.

How do you monetise? What is the business model?

Professional networking is great because there are multiple sources of revenue: profile owners might want to pay for highlighted listing and customisation, recruiters for access to more data. That said, none of the premium features are live now, we’re really focused on building the user base first.

Tell me about your team

We’re three people with skills that complement each other very well. I’m a marketer and not the worst customer development person (I guess time will tell). Veiko ( designs the product and he can also write front-end code. And ShyCTO ( is a proper hacker, he just likes to code.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

We launched publicly back in April and can’t claim to have found product-market fit right away. That said, we have some happy users and we’ve learned what we need to change, so now we’re busy getting the next version out.

Money-wise we’ve decided to bootstrap as long as possible. We might be able to try more things faster with external funding, but this would have meant sacrificing some time for fundraising. You win some, you lose some kind of thing and because we’ve seen a couple of startups suffer from raising too early, we wanted to avoid making this mistake.

What is the main challenge you face?

We’ve struggled with focusing on the right thing. You can work on countless features, improvements and use cases, and sometimes it’s been really hard agreeing what’s the one things that needs to ship fast. Because we’re bootstrapping, we haven’t been able to dedicate all of our time to Achoo, and this hasn’t helped either. On the positive side, we’ve gotten better and better at overcoming challenges in the process.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I fell in love with British stand-up during my four years living in London, so I started my own comedy night after moving back to Estonia. So every couple of months I invite someone like Patrick Monahan, Zoe Lyons, Paul Foot or Mitch Benn to Tallinn and have a blast. I think doing a bit of something that is not tech related at all helps to keep life balanced.

This week we have an interview with MoRally founder and Berlin Startup Weekend winner Juma Al-JouJou. It is interesting to see how grass-roots entrepreneurialism is emerging through bootcamps and weekend hackathons in Europe. Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about your background and why you founded MoRally?

I graduated in philosophy & economics for my Bachelor degree in Bavaria. Then I worked as SAP consultant for a while before starting a master degree in Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship in Berlin and the Netherlands. Right now I am writing my master thesis about the commercialization of MoRally, and (hopefully  graduate this summer).

I founded MoRally because 1. entrepreneurship is my thing where I can apply my multidisciplinary background and 2. via MoRally I can feel I can make real impact while having fun along the way

What is MoRally all about? What is your vision?

MoRally started as a classical strategy board game. By adding the theme of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability it got a slightly educational touch, but it firstly is an excellent strategy board game.

However, the main idea is to develop MoRally as an online board game, just as one can play Monopoly online, too nowadays.

In the online game, companies can advertise their real sustainability projects (eg. their hybrid car or their environmental project) on the action cards. Players can play it for free. The coolest thing, though, is that the corporate sponsors commit to pay 1 cent for every victory point of the online players to charity projects. The players can pick the respective charity project to be donated to on a online charity platform. Thus, the player invests time instead of money to realize a donation. The player donates and companies pay his donation.

This way, even kids, or people with little financial resources can donate by playing. And the more a player plays, the more he can donate. This model links people’s genuine motivation to donate with companies’ big financial resources.
“Donate by playing instead of paying!”

How do you monetise? What is the business model?

Companies pay for the In-Game Advertising. Since these ads are actually content of the actions cards, they don’t distract but enhance the game play.

Furthermore, players can share on their facebook wall a post telling their friends that they made a company donate to a charity project by playing MoRally. This gives companies further publicity, so for these share companies pay additionally.

Finally, some online players will love to play the classical physical board game with their friends, and hence order the board game.

Tell us about your team.

So far, I am all on my own. I created and tested the game (more than 100 times with more than 100 different people in 9 months) and also came up with the business model. However, I need a developer/CTO and a web designer to make the online project happen. Finally, support in marketing, finance, and legal matters is welcome, too!

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

I am negotiating with investors who might financially complement the sum that MoRally will be able to raise via crowdfunding. So far, it went very well with investors, I didn’t even have to formally apply to any investor. Some contacted me directly and some were connected to key partners of mine.
Furthermore, first cooperation partners have been found for the corporate customer acquisition (sustainability communication consultancies) and I am approaching charity platforms.

After winning 3rd Rank in Startup Weekend Enschede February 2012 (see Pitch: and the prize for “The most innovative Business Idea” in Startup Weekend Berlin May 2012, MoRally was awarded the Social Impact Lab scholarship in June 2012 (see Pitch: This means 4 months intensive coaching and co-working space for free. Furthermore, the social business incubator RallyPad ( offered free co-working space to MoRally for several months, too.

The Fraunhofer Institute, the biggest applied Research Institute of Europe, is already official partner of MoRally. They help MoRally to contact companies in sustainability conferences, sustainability summer schools, or present the board game to a broader public at “Lange Nacht der Wissenschaft” at Leipzig on June 29th (

The business model itself is 95 % complete, only minor things are still unclear.

What is the main challenge you face?

It is not that easy to find the right co-founders. Apart from the necessary competencies, co-founders should be interested in gaming (and board games in particular), and in sustainability/education. I’d consider myself as a social entrepreneur who is balancing idealism and pragmatism. Many people are either social or entrepreneur, but few are social entrepreneurs in that sense.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

My hobbies are pretty diverse and include playing chess, singing in choirs, climbing/mountaineering, and dancing Lindy Hop/Swing (20ies dance style).

Tell us a bit about the Berlin Startup Weekend experience and being a winner.

Well, I had the privilege to win twice. Both times, it started difficult. In Enschede/Netherlands, I could not get enough votes after my initial pitch, so according to the agenda I was supposed to work on other people’s project. However, I could convince a whole team around another business idea to follow my idea instead, including the other business idea owner. In the end we won 3rd rank, although we were a very small team and lacked developers and designers. This experience taught me in the nicest possible way, that entrepreneurship is creating opportunities that don’t seem to exist.

Similarly, in Berlin we were a super small three-man-team, lacking any designers. Furthermore, we competed against 19 other teams with 10 team members on average! However, we managed to find two designers to help us online to make some nice designs. Both of them, we hardly knew. They were friends of friends and their contribution was crucial for the prize “The most innovative Business Idea” that we won. Again, the odds were against us. If you don’t try, you won’t win!

Find MoRally on or

In the old days you had a business idea and kept it secret until you were ready to release it to the world in a blaze of publicity. Before the product hit the streets you would have tried to protect your Intellectual Property (IP) to make it as hard as possible for others to copy.

This is all changing, particularly for high growth, low capital intensive, internet startups. The key here is speed to market and customer feedback, which you need as rapidly as possible. It’s all about getting that minimum viable product out there and receiving as much input as possible. The channel for this is often social media with traditional PR playing a supporting role.

We see the change at our networking events. A few years ago, entrepreneurs were reticent about sharing their early stage ideas in public. Now they feel confident about receiving reaction. It’s all part of the PR strategy.

We have also seen increased focus on UX.  Great product design creates significant barriers to entry. When this is coupled with early product release and great PR it is difficult for competitors to make up ground.

A great PR strategy runs alongside product development. The use of Twitter and Facebook creates a buzz about the developing proposition and helps the founders gauge reaction to product features. This avoids the situation where a technical team work in isolation for months only to discover that no-one wants what they are building.

We will be covering some of this topic at this weeks Dreamstake Academy session on Agile Marketing.

Dreamstake is an online accelerator for startups.  We combine data from Linkedin and Crunchbase with other startup related details to provide a startup launch platform. A key feature is advanced profile search which allows entrepreneurs to find resources from across the 6000 members. We also connect entrepreneurs at our regular events and in the workspaces we partner with The Workspace Group. We are also organising #startupprevolution across Europe on 14 July 2012

Mailjet is another great Dreamstake startup that we would like to tell you about.

We interviewed Julien Tartarin, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Mailjet (,

This is what he told us;

Tell me a little bit about your background and why you founded Mailjet?

I am the co-founder and CTO of Mailjet, a cloud emailing platform. I have several years experience as a web developer, especially for ecommerce platforms. Mailjet is my first business as founder and to date, it has been a real success. At the end of 2010, I met Wilfried Durand in Nantes (France), our city of origin. We chatted over drinks and I had an idea in mind: mutualise email sending. Our competences are complementary: we promised each other to do something together. We pulled all-nighters and the product took shape. A bêta version was launched after Le Web 2010. The first version went live in February 2011.

What is Mailjet all about? What is your vision?

Mailjet is a Cloud-Based service. We send, track and deliver emails. Our service is easy to use and easy to integrate via SMTP or with our API. We focus on real time and deliverability. We’re an all-in-one solution: Mailjet sends all your emails, bulk and transactional.

Sending emails used to be easy, but during these last years, delivering the messages to the inbox has become very complicated. I realised this in my previous jobs, where I needed to configure and optimize email servers.

According to Return Path, more than 25% of legitimate email doesn’t reach the inbox. This can be disastrous: think about apps, online retailers, etc.

For developers, making sure that email is getting delivered represents a huge amount of work. However, they often need to focus on their product rather than on email delivery. I recognised this and therefore came up with the following idea: provide a very simple solution, ensuring that the message is successfully getting delivered to the recipient.

Our ultimate vision is to change the email industry by making it more accessible to everybody, not only to developers: even a rookie can create and send a newsletter with Mailjet.

How do you monetise? What is the business model?

Our business is built on a Freemium model: we provide a free plan where a user can send up to 6,000 emails per month.

The premium plans are payable on a monthly basis and this goes from £4.95 for 30,000 emails to £499.95 for 2.5 million emails (we have bespoke offers over 2.5 million emails). Because of all the other options that come with it, the functions of real-time analytics and tracking, the pricing is very competitive. Our service is more like a pay-as -you go contract, there are no long term commitments. We want people to use Mailjet because they love our service. We have therefore reached scalability on one side with “real” cloud and flexibility on the other side with our pricing model.

Because we are continuously looking for more flexibility, we are currently working on a model where the “credits” will be still bought on a monthly basis, but would remain valid for 60 days. Our philosophy is really to offer a fair service, which is flexible and provides the best value possible. We do not restrict or lock our clients into long term commitments.

It is also important to note that beyond the number of emails that the user can send, the paid plans allow clients to start building a reputation. After a certain volume, our clients benefit from a dedicated IP.

Tell me about your team

There’s me of course 🙂 But if Mailjet is doing so well it’s also because we’ve been able to set up a terrific team. Wilfried Durand was working for but he loved the idea I had. I knew him from college. After I spoke to him about the idea, he did a bit of networking and convinced Thibaud Elzière, Founder of Fotolia, to join the project. Thibaud seed funded the venture, with the help of Quentin Nickmans. Quentin is now Mailjet’s CEO. Nicolas Chaunu, the Founder of also joined as a strategic advisor.

Now Mailjet is made up of 18 collaborators, all very talented, successful and with plenty of great ideas. I believe that we are building the perfect team.

What stage are you at with the business and what comes next?

After only one year, we are now expanding globally. Naturally, our business has no geographical boundaries as we are in the “cloud” but we want to remain close to the customers and locally implanted. Now we have country managers in Spain, Germany, UK and two guys in North America to respond to the demand in these key markets for us. This is why we don’t only make our platform accessible in different languages: we also want to have a local implantation.

What is the main challenge you face?

Mailjet is still a young company and is expanding rapidly. Our biggest challenge at the moment is to manage the high growth of the business. It is definitely a good challenge to face but it is a critical point for our development, which will help us to achieve our vision in the emailing business.

Our team is also working on a number of interesting features that will drive even more growth. We are really looking forward to releasing the new functionalities.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

If there was a dream place on earth for me, it would be Iceland. It is a beautiful and peaceful country. There is so much to visit like volcanos, glaciers, the Grand Circle and it is impossible to get bored. A road trip is definitely the best way to visit Iceland and meet its people.

Dreamstake is an online accelerator for startups.  We combine data from Linkedin and Crunchbase with other startup related details to provide a startup launch platform. A key feature is advanced profile search which allows entrepreneurs to find resources from across the 6000 members. We also connect entrepreneurs at our regular events and in the workspaces we partner with The Workspace Group. We are also organising #startupprevolution across Europe on 14 July 2012

There are lots of good reasons to create a great tech startup right now. It is has never been easier from a financial perspective. The cost of technology has gone down and social media has slashed the marketing budget. The economic climate has cut out many of the other attractive options. Plus it is both exciting and fulfilling.

However, a lot of people just don’t know where to start. So I thought I would write down 12 simple rules to help those looking to become tech founders;

1) Learn from the experts

The theory of creating successful startups is well documented and although it is far from a science there are many obvious things that you can learn to increase your success chances. Attend networking events and workshops and meet entrepreneurs as often as possible. Read books about startups and learn from people who have done it before. Attend Dreamstake Academy if you happen to be in London.

2) Evaluate the risk before you start

Don’t kid yourself that it won’t be risky. It is much more a question of whether you are prepared to take that risk and how to minimise the effect. Taking on board that you will have lose the material things in life for a few years is a good idea. You may have to sell the car, re-mortgage the house and live in poverty for a while. Make sure you are prepared for this.

3) Focus on the vision not the idea

Visions stay, ideas change! Find something you want to change in the world. Make it easier for people to travel, find a home, deal with their finances. Solve real problems or open up real opportunities. Think big. Tell people about your vision at networking events and online. If people buy-in it is a sign you are on the right track. Don’t obsess about the solution at this stage. It’s going to change anyway. Share your vision with other Dreamstake members

4) Start building your team from the outset

Your team is going to be your secret to success. It is never too early to start looking. If you don’t have funding your team will be the people who most buy into your vision and will help you to achieve it. Network like crazy and tell people what you are planning. Don’t expect anyone to buy-in immediately. Would you work for someone that you have just met for little or no money? Get to know your potential team members over a few months. Let them help you shape your ideas. Use the team finding functions on Dreamstake to find your Dream team. It works!

5) Use professional advisors

There is plenty of free advice available for startup entrepreneurs. Talk to both an accountant and a lawyer about your startup plans. They will give you the basics on setting up your company in the right way and ensure that your don’t fall into any major pitfalls. The professional advisors on the dreamstake platform have been selected because they are prepared to give a lot back to the entrepreneurial community.

6) Be prepared to work like never before

Being an entrepreneur isn’t glamourous. It is hard work. Success is directly relational to the amount of effort you put. It is both mentally and physically exhausting. At times, the only thing that will keep you going is the pursuit of your vision and the desire to make a difference.

7) Build the best possible team

The quality of the team is the key to success. It is good to realise this from day one.  A strong team will enable you to develop ideas quicker, build prototypes and attract investment more readily. Identify your gaps from day one. Even if you are multi-talented don’t contemplate going it alone. Investors don’t like single founder firms. If you are a business person, find a great technical co-founder. If you are technical look for business or marketing support. Find them on Dreamstake.

8) Bootstrap

Don’t get a fancy office. Work from a co-working space. It’s cheap and you will get lots of free advice from other occupants. Cut costs wherever you can. Don’t recruit staff until you really need to. Make sure that your co-founders are happy to work for little or no reward until you receive funding or generate revenues. Don’t pay large amounts to attend events. Many are free or low cost.

9) Watch out for charlatans

The startup world is full of people selling snake oil. Beware of easy solutions to getting funding. It is a difficult process. Do not pay to pitch. Do not pay large upfront fees to financial advisors, angel networks or anyone offering help with funding. Check people out. Most people offering investment dont not have money. They will simply charge to help you find it. Use linkedin to check credentials and then double check with others in your network

10) Enter contests, join accelerators

Entering contests raises your profile and gets you PR. If you are fortunate to win you can often get enough cash to seed your business. Accelerators and other online platforms can also be extremely useful. Some give quick effective access to mentors and investors and speed up your time to get your product launched. Join the dreamstake online accelerator, its totally free.

11) Start marketing from day one

A common mistake is to think of your idea as unique and hide it from the world. It is not unique and you will only find this out when too late unless you share it as widely as possible. You need market feedback from day one. You need to know you are on the right track and get buy-in from potential team members and future clients. You need to test whether there is demand for what you are creating and that people will pay for it.

12) Network like crazy

Your network is probably the single most important thing in the early stages of entrepreneurialism. Before you jump into creating your startup, test ideas with others, get feedback and judge whether people are prepared to join you in your quest. If they are not it maybe that you are on the wrong track and need to change your proposition or that you are not pitching it right. Either way the feedback is invaluable. Join dreamstake, its a network for tech entrepreneurs

I hope that these tips are useful. They are aimed at first time early stage entrepreneurs. The key message is to make sure you are at a stage in your life where you can manage the risk and give it a go. It will be an exciting roller coaster ride like  no other but the rewards can be extremely high both financially and in terms of fulfilment.

Dreamstake is an online accelerator for startups.  We combine data from Linkedin and Crunchbase with other startup related details to provide a startup launch platform. A key feature is advanced profile search which allows entrepreneurs to find resources from across the 6000 members. We also connect entrepreneurs at our regular events and in the workspaces we partner with The Workspace Group. We are also organising #startupprevolution across Europe on 14 July 2012