Podcast

Above the Parapet: Jenny James & Greg Watts, Findr

In today's episode of Above the Parapet, we speak with Jenny James and Greg Watts, co-founders of business partnership platform Findr.

In the third episode of Above the Parapet, Jenny James and Greg Watts discuss founding Findr, growing their start-up through the pandemic, and managing a remote team.

In each episode of Above the Parapet, we sit down with company founders who are bringing new ideas to market. The podcast shines a spotlight on innovators and disruptors who aren't afraid to swim against the tide in their industry – and challenge conventional wisdom.

Greg Watts & Jenny James

Greg Watts and Jenny James are both co-founders at Findr. Having both worked in corporate careers – Jenny at Dixons Carphone and Greg at Visa – the pair founded Findr in 2020 and scaled their business through the pandemic.

Focused on simplifying the corporate partnership process, Findr is the world's first smart-matching platform for businesses, providing direct access to live partnership opportunities for vetted decision-makers.

Since founding, the start-up has featured in the like of Forbes, Fintech Futures, and The Banker – and, according to their data, Findr members secure 9 times more meetings with target businesses compared to traditional methods of cold prospecting.

Transcript

Jordan Greenaway (JG): Welcome to Above the Parapet, where we talk to entrepreneurs who aren't afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, within and outside of their industries.

Today we're joined by two people, in fact: Jenny James and Greg Watts, who are co-founders of Findr, the world's first smart matching platform for businesses, providing direct access to vetted decision-makers and hundreds of live partnership opportunities.

Welcome to the podcast.

Jenny (J): Thank you very much for having us. Really great to be here. 

Greg (G): Thanks for having us. 

JG: Before we kick-off and talk about Findr, which I'm sure everyone's really interested in, I'd love to talk about you, individually, first as well. I think actually your careers are fascinating.

So I know Jenny, you were a Dixon Carphone for, about, 12 years? 

J: Yeah, with all the different brands, about 17 in total. I started off at Carphone Warehouse, working through all the different iterations. So yes, the bulk of my career in retail.

JG: Then Greg, you're worked at a blend of different companies, but Head of Partnerships at Visa as well.

So the first question I'm keen to ask is: how did you two meet? And, given that, obviously, a startup is very different to working in a big company, what persuaded you both to make the jump? 

J: So, we actually met at a start-up within Dixons Carphone.

So, as you mentioned, I spent the bulk of my career at Carphone Warehouse. I was responsible for program delivery across all of our channels.

Anything that needs to be delivered under a year came through the portfolio I looked after, which was great because it was across retail, online, operational restructure, and contact centers. It was a nice blend.

And, we actually launched a product within Carphone Warehouse, which was a great success as an existing selling tool in the stores. It was such a success, there was a decision to go ahead and white label that and start to offer it to other businesses. So a business within a business was created to do that.

After I had been heading up that space for a little while, I was looking at how could I find another challenge? Love the business. I didn't want to stray too far away from where I was, but actually the opportunity to lead client delivery within this new start-up within an organisation came up.

Jenny James speaking at Money20/20. Source: Findr

I went over to take up that opportunity and Greg was there leading on business development and marketing.

We partnered up on some POCs of the new software with a few clients. We bonded on some very glamorous trips, such as Loughborough and all these wonderful places, grabbing whatever we could from the drinks cart as it came through after a long day.

Really enjoyed working together, but then became friends, stayed friends and I'll let Greg tell the story of where the idea of Findr came from, because that's his baby.

But he called me up one day and said: "I'm going to do it. Are you ready to do it with me?" And I said: "Yes", and that's how we're here three and a half years later.

So I'll let Greg talk a little bit more about his brainchild, but that's how we found each other.

G: Well, Jen, that was all absolutely accurate. But what Jen has failed to share is that while I absolutely called and asked her, it was more like I was begging her actually to join. 

But yeah, it was an idea that I had, and I'll tell a bit more about it in a bit, but I think for us, it's been really interesting kind of as a start-up and now we scale-up co-founders in that we obviously we meet lots of other start-ups and scale-ups ourselves. 

And, we find people that kind of on this journey by themselves, we find that other people have actually met as founders, and we sometimes hear about some of the kind of challenges with those journeys in that they could be lonely if you're by yourself, or if you've just met another co-founder just to do this particular business.

But what Jen has failed to share is that while I absolutely called and asked her, it was more like I was begging her actually to join. 

Greg Watts

And, if you haven't got any history that can, you know, be challenging. But with us, because we started off working together, then became friends and then did this together.

The trust was there from the very beginning. And we've also got very complimentary skills. So Jen is about delivery. Jen runs the operation.

That's not something I could do or can do. It's just something that I would be atrocious at, frankly. I'm kind of marketing and business development. So, we do cover all the bases really well together. But I would say kind of, at a psychological level, you know, the trust is there.

We're all about partnerships and I guess for us, we live and breathe that number one value, which is trust, because this is a very challenging journey to be on when you launch a start-up, particularly when you go to becoming a scale-up. If you don't have complete and utter trust in your team members and your co-founder, then you just simply couldn't do it. 

So, I have to say, I begged Jen to join and she did.

But the idea came about from my time at Visa. So as you said, Jordan, my last kind of corporate role was Head of Partnerships at Visa Europe, the card people.

So, I was responsible for creating partnerships between banks, between retailers to get everyone to promote cards. Because a little unknown fact is across Europe, 70 percent of transactions are still actually cash. And, so we wanted to move that cash onto a digital payment, so a card or a digital wallet.

So, even at Visa with the brand that Visa is, with the resources that I had – I mean, I had multi-million budgets, I had team members all across Europe – so I wasn't without resources, but we still had a big challenge. 

It still took us a long time to identify and, then, secure a meeting with a person or with a decision-maker at a business we wanted to create a partnership in.

So, there were many companies that we created partnerships with, like BP, Carrefour, Auchan, Tesco, all around the world, but quite a few of them took years to meet that right person within that business. 

And it didn't make a difference that we had Visa behind us. It didn't make a difference that we had millions of budgets. We dug a little more into this problem and we call it the 'partnership discovery problem'.

And if you haven't met someone before you actually have less than a 3 percent chance of securing a meeting with them. And at Visa, we still went out on LinkedIn. We hired consultants, but we still suffered from that 3 percent problem.

And I just thought: This is ridiculous. There must be a more efficient way to get a meeting with the decision-maker at a business I want to speak to.

Greg Watts

And I just thought: This is ridiculous. You know, surely, there must be a more efficient way to get a meeting with the decision-maker at a business I want to speak to, which could be game-changing for my business.

And so I had the idea for Findr and it was bubbling away for a few years. I think I was actually in a lift in Belsize Park when the idea for Findr popped into my head and then called Jen up and said: "I've got this idea. I think we'd call it Findr. What'd you reckon?"

And she said: "Yeah, I think it's great." And then we said we launched it. So, we incorporated a week before the first UK lockdown in March 2020, which obviously wasn't planned and we can talk more about our experiences of raising money virtually.

And we actually started off with, I think, a Google search: "How do you raise money?"

And then we grew from there, but six months after incorporating in March, in October that year, we then launched our first MVP. So, we launched our first MVP very quickly.

And one of the things that we learned was one of the founding principles of running a start-up is when you launch an MVP, make a minimum viable product, do the basic things that you want it to do to prove that there is product-market fit.

And we've since had a number of new releases. It's now packed with a lot more features. We are used from start-ups and scale-ups through to enterprises around the world to help them get that first meeting with the decision-maker. So, crucially, our platform provides direct access to vetted decision-makers.

So we've got hundreds of decision makers on the platform now. So when you spot a business on there, you know that behind that profile there is a vetted decision-maker who can help, who can make those decisions to help make those decisions a lot faster. 

JG: That first year, you must have been talking to lots of potential partners, talking to developers, talking to other people who are working within the business, and talking to people who were old colleagues who were saying: "What are you doing next?"

Was it a a hard sell? Did they say, look, this is not a problem that needs to be solved? Or was there kind of skepticism? Because I think whenever you're bringing a new solution to the market, there's a degree of inherent skepticism.

Did you feel that and how did you kind of overcome it? How did you convince people to say, look, we can actually do this. You know, you're going to see this in 12 months, we're going to have a product up and there's going to be customers on the platform. 

Just talk me through that kind of persuasion process and laying out the vision.

G: Yeah, of course. Great question. Well, the first way to show someone that you can do something is by doing it. So that's the very first thing. 

So, rather than just talking about it, actually doing it. But I guess taking a step back, the problem that we're fixing is that partnership discovery problem – the 3 percent problem – and anyone that works in partnerships, business development, sales roles, commercial roles, procurement, even innovation, knows that problem.

Greg Watts at 'Meet the UK Fintech' event in Singapore. Source: Findr

Everyone's tried to reach out to someone on LinkedIn, everyone's got a list of people they'd really love to speak to, but anyone that's in a commercial role, which requires them meeting prospective partners and clients, has experienced that problem acutely. So, we've never had a problem with people understanding the problem that we're trying to fix.

So, that's not been a challenge for us. The challenge for us has been that we've sounded too good to be true. So, journalists often describe us as a dating platform for businesses. Whenever we describe ourselves like they do, people immediately understand what we do.

So, we are a dating platform for businesses: where one business comes on, creates a profile, tells us about who they are, and then what they're looking for, and then gets matched with prospective partners, hence the swipe left, swipe right algorithm. 

Although Jen and I met our husbands before any of that, so that's how we're told it works. But the dating analogy people get.

So people get the problem, they get the analogy, they understand everything, kind of at a high level, what we were doing. 

The challenge that we had, and we still have to some degree, is some people think that we could sound too good to be true.

Greg Watts

The challenge that we had, and we still have to some degree, is some people think that we could sound too good to be true. So some people have said: "Really, so I can really just come onto the platform, and if I spot MasterCard on there, or if I spot Uber, if I spot Deliveroo, all I have to do is click a button and they get a request? And that could potentially be a 'yes'. And I could potentially have a meeting with them in seconds?"

"Yes, yes, that's true."

"And so it only costs 470 pounds a year? No, now. surely that's too cheap."

"No, no, it's all true."

So sometimes we've sounded too good to be true, too cheap, ad we've often had people say, you should be charging double, triple, quadruple, because if I can get a partnership with Deliveroo, that's worth, whatever that's worth.

But, no, I mean we're socialists at heart, and we believe that everyone should be charged the same.

And actually, at a kind of a higher level, we passionately believe that if we can help businesses to create partnerships with other businesses more effectively, how good is that going to be for those businesses, for people's lives, for economies, for society?

So, you know, that's why we actually priced it as we did, but going back: so the challenge has been not proving, but people experiencing what we do.

And we actually have a statistic, which is once you come onto the platform, as long as you have one call on the platform within the first 30 days, you get it, and then you just keep going.

And to help us reinforce what we're doing, we focus a lot on case studies. So we've now got approaching 40 case studies with businesses telling us that we're helping them to save huge amounts of time and money getting that first meeting, and we have businesses of all sizes telling us that we have.

So, case studies have been the most important way to prove what we're doing. And now what's really exciting is we've been live for three years in a couple of weeks time with the platform, and what's really exciting now is we're getting lots of people coming to us and asking us how could Findr be incorporated into their business propositions.

So, for example, a bank: one of the features you might get as a business banking customer is unlimited access to Findr, which provides direct access to better decision-makers, which is nine times more effective than other methods of getting that first meeting. 

Greg Watts, co-founder at Findr. Source: Findr

So, we're in the process of speaking to quite a few banks around the world actually about how they can incorporate us within their propositions.

We're being approached by insurance companies in a similar way. We're being approached by accelerators in a similar way, all of whom word has got out to that we're fixing this problem. So we're really excited. 

We're traveling to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks time to Money20/20 and then next month we're going to Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney on a road trip.

We're part of the London Mayor's Accelerator program for scale-ups. So yeah, it's been an exciting journey. 

JG: And, Jenny, given how far you've come over the last three years, I imagine, especially as you were iterative with the development process, you maybe went in different directions to where you first thought?

Have there been roads that you've taken that are somewhat unexpected? And is the product a little different to how you first expected from hearing feedback from customers?

J: The product itself is pretty aligned to where we wanted it to be. But we did very much change the order of our product roadmap. When we launched the product, we launched with just a 'pay as you go' model, where you paid per call a set fee. 

And we had a subscription coming in year two. Once we built up a base and we proved the concept, but we actually had requests for our subscription-based pricing come in, and we actually bought it nearly a year early.

So, that was something where, actually, because there was a desire and the features were functioning, that was actually what we did first. But what we also could do quicker, which was great, was more around the matching. So, with the matching, obviously the more data you have, the more effective your matching can be.

So, as our base has grown quicker than anticipated, what we call our 'Findr Matches', where we look at all the data points that you're looking for and then match you with who's best for you, has evolved at a quicker rate. 

We were able to introduce our smart matching capability last year, which was also originally on the roadmap for this year. So, it's been more of a reshuffle.

Being a bit of a geek and going back to my earlier points about learning where things can go horribly wrong, we've done quite a lot of work on automated testing. That's more around, obviously, you're still going to still do testing, but from an efficiencies point of view, what technologies out there to help optimise our testing to make it as cost effective as possible to release new features.

We want to put in new features as frequently as possible. We've done 21 feature releases since we launched.

Jenny James

We want to put in new features as frequently as possible. We've done 21 feature releases since we launched. So, to make that cost effective, we've automated a lot of the testing, working with our partner on that. We've also done a lot of the groundwork on security. As you can imagine, and just making sure that actually we're meeting kind of best in class, even in scenarios where we don't need it, to cover eventualities.

As Greg says, you know, as we're progressing, we're starting to talk to different organisations who can see a fit for Findr maybe being embedded into their organisation. It just allows us to go in confidently knowing that we won't have to kind of backtrack and unpick any parts of our platform that may no be compliant with regulations that whilst may not apply to us, will apply to people we could potentially partner with.

So, what's been nice is bringing forward the subscription models, bringing forward the 'Findr Matching' has allowed us to do some of the more kind of less glamorous, but equally quite commercially, door-opening activities that would have probably, quite frankly, not hit the roadmap this early, if we hadn't been able to bring forward those key features.

So, more of a reshuffle than a different path, but all very positive. 

JG: And that's prompted a different question, actually. There's lots of stuff around the operational side, developing the platform, and developing the business. There's also the softer side, such as marketing, HR, hiring, and raising investment. All of these things, maybe from Day One you might not have kind of fully expected to be wearing 70,000 different hats.

So, among all of that, one for you Jenny, but also one for you Greg: What has been the biggest unexpected challenge? 

J: I think, around getting the right fit in the team. I, mean, something I really enjoy doing is building and nurturing teams.

So, running the portfolio office, I've brought through people who didn't have program or project management experience. I love bringing someone with the raw skills and then getting them into a space. 

So, that's something I've already always enjoyed doing. I think working in a start-up is a very different scenario, and I think the role that you take in a start-up, you know, you have a very defined role, but how you work and the pace you work at, quite frankly, is pretty punchy.

And, also you have to be someone who can deal with the fact that things will change in a good way because as opportunities come up, you want to seize them immediately. So, this afternoon, you might have planned to do X because that needs to get done, but actually this opportunity has come up and we want to jump on it, take advantage of it, and actually we need to start scoping and start doing something.

Jenny James featuring on a podcast. Source: Findr

So, it's really around, getting the right personalities of people who can work in an environment where you've got a very clear direction of what you need to achieve, but you have to balance that with all these ad hoc things that are going to pop up.

Some people like to just be very focused: "I know what I'm doing across the next month". Some people work well in: "Actually, I don't need structure. I like all the bits". But we need people who can do both because you need to have that structure and make sure consistently all the things we need to keep the business going and happening, but equally we need to jump on these new opportunities.

I think just building out a team of people who like working in that environment, quite frankly, because we want people to enjoy it. And people who really understand what they can bring to the platform.

And we actually took part in the Kickstart Scheme that the Government put on where there were 16-to-24-year-olds, helping them get into work, obviously during the COVID era where there was more challenges and actually it was a great way of us getting some grads who had graduated, were looking at an opportunity, wanting to get into something, and able to join us. 

Actually a couple of our early grads are now the product and brand managers of the business having been with us for coming up to over two years.

Jenny James

And actually a couple of our early grads are now the product and brand managers of the business having been with us for coming up to over two years, two and a half years now, and really kind of built up their profile and built up their skill set. 

But I think trying to find the right fit and, equally, people won't know and you won't know until you try it. And what's difficult is you don't have as long in a start-up for someone to really hit the ground running – where you have a little bit more of a luxury in a larger organisation.

So, that's the bit that is challenging and can be difficult because you need people to come in, really pick things up quickly, be able to execute and be a good fit and a good fit for them. And if it's not, you have to move it on.

So, we're a team of 10 now, a great team, but equally, across the course of the period of us being around for three and a half years, there's been probably 30 to 35 people within the business at some time. All added some great value in that instance, but it's just that right fit.

Start-ups can be, I found it a little trickier to place people in. 

JG: And, Greg, do you think that's the biggest and most surprising challenge for you as well or do you have a different take?

G: No, as always, Jen and I are 100 percent aligned. But, I would add to that though that we're also both wired, even in our corporate careers, as people who get stuff done.

We both naturally have curiosity, we both naturally have hustle, we both naturally want to deliver. We both get very frustrated and, frankly, bored if that isn't the case with others and so those characteristics of curiosity coupled with passionate delivery are ones that we both have naturally.

And our culture is built on those principles that if something doesn't exist, then the expectation is that you create it.

Now, we would probably say that we've got nothing against former corporate people because we're from corporations ourselves – two of the largest brands in the world – but we have found that a lot of people who want to join a start-up or scale-up, there's a perception that there's a sexiness to it: that there's a real kind of excitement to it; that it's lots of coffees in Shoreditch; there's lots of table tennis and ping pong.

And yeah, sure, you can have all those things, but actually when about 90 to 95 percent of people that come from a corporate will struggle in a start-up or a scale-up because you paint the picture of how it's really high energy and high pace; if something doesn't exist, you create it; sleeves rolled up; it's hustle, hustle, hustle. 

You paint a very, very accurate picture of it, but the reality, often, when someone lands in a start-up or a scale-up and they have to do that, there's a disconnect – and actually a lot of them with that.

And that's fine – that's absolutely fine. And so I think Jen was saying that a lot of our team are made up from younger people who have just entered the workplace for the first time, so we've had the privilege of those people not having preconceived ideas of what it's like to work in a business.

So, we've been able to shape them, help them grow, and they've now got very strong skills, which they will take forward throughout their careers of delivery.

And we also, important for us as well, we emphasise multiple times a day that you never settle, so there's not an end point. It's constant growth. So, once something's done, it's on to the next thing. It's not stopping or pausing. 

We obviously celebrate successes constantly, but you have to keep doing things. It's really hustle, hustle, hustle. It is a numbers game.

Greg Watts

We obviously celebrate successes constantly, but you have to keep doing things. It's really hustle, hustle, hustle. It is a numbers game. You have to have a hundred conversations for two or three of them to turn into something really amazing.

If something doesn't work, you have to try other things, but you've got to keep going, but there's never going to be an end point. And so again, for some people, they might struggle with that because for some people, they like things to be linear or rigid and that's not what it's like in a start-up or a scale-up or any high-growth company and there's one of never settling; you're always growing. 

JG: And how would you, especially as a smaller business, create that culture internally? 

G: Well, it's led from us. It's led from the two of us from the start. Cultures are set and a vision is set from the people that run the companies from the leaders that run them.

And then the values are articulated, they're discussed, and then the ground rules are set and everyone's clear on expectations. As long as you're clear with expectations with people, and that's how it works. When there's ambiguity, for whatever reason, then it doesn't work.

So, we give feedback immediately. We say when things aren't working immediately. So, and sometimes people can bristle from that, but you have to because we don't have the luxury of time.

J: And lots of Slack messages.

G: Lots of Slack messages. Yeah, we have lots.

We're a virtual team who were started in the pandemic and we started the culture and grew out the culture all virtually. But, in order to do that and to have a high-performing and high-growth organisation, we've obviously had to put in structures and processes and tools that allow us to communicate effectively and set priorities effectively.

So, we use Slack, Asana, we have obviously weekly kick-off meetings, we meet in-person with our direct team every quarter as well. But everyone's very clear with how they are contributing to the growth of Findr, and that is the case for absolutely everyone in our business now and will always be in the future in that everyone has to tangibly point to how they're growing the company. 

So, every single day, how have you helped grow the business? How have you individually helped grow tangibly?

J: I think it's the ownership piece as well there, which is everyone's really clear on the part of the puzzle that they own.

So, the clarity is that, you know, we all have our part to play. We'll work together on some things and some things you need to take independently and run with – and people being empowered to do that.

So within the team, we are a small team, you need to be able to own something, pull in the people you need to help you get it done, but having that one clear owner on delivery of that piece really makes a difference.

We have a great Ops Lead as well, who keeps everybody really in check with making sure everyone's where they're at, where they need to be, they've got the resources they need to get things done.

And having someone actually, you know, managing through those activities is really crucial because in any given week, there's maybe, between a hundred to 200 different things happening and having one person centrally ensuring that we're all on track with what we need to do, everyone's aware and when there needs to be some rejigging, reprioritisation, things come in and change, you've got a central owner for that, makes a big difference.

Because there's so many moving parts, the key is really about organising them in a clear way – we use Asana for that – but having someone who oversees that makes a difference, so people can spend the bulk of their time cracking on doing things versus worrying about how to organise what they're doing.

JG: How do you find being a remote company or largely remote company, Jenny? Is that really, really difficult? I'm sure it comes with lots of benefits and advantages. I'm sure there's kind of a balance on how that's managed as well. 

J: It's interesting because I was working for a US-based business before we started Findr.

So, actually the start-up Greg and I met at got purchased by a US business called Synchronoss and I went out to work for them for a few years. So, I was working predominantly with people in the US and Bangalore for a couple of years, and had clients mostly in Asia at that time. So, I was doing a lot of work at home and, then, doing a lot of meetings.

So, I'd experienced that kind of hybrid working before. Some of our team haven't: this is their first foray into full-time work; some have worked fully in offices and had to adjust to being offline. I think the key with it is making sure there's enough points where you are together and that people are picking up the phone or 'picking up the Zoom' to really sort things through.

Because I think the risk with being remote is that people don't communicate enough or rely purely on written communication.

Jenny James

Because I think the risk with being remote is that people don't communicate enough or rely purely on written communication. So, we probably have just as many internal meetings as we do external. And that's not meetings for meetings sake.

That's because: "Okay, we've got this particular topic on this piece, right? We need brands and products to work on this. Let's get Rosie and Ronan to jump on a call and run through that in a half an hour."

So, it avoids kind of overkill of messages as much as it's great for small bits coming back and forth, it means that actually the working sessions happen together.

Now, ironically, we offered club and, actually, got some of the team club memberships, so they could work elsewhere during the week because Greg and I are probably out and about in meetings and events, maybe two to three days a week, and then at home, two of the days, and it wasn't used. So, we're actually launching another program to give people access to different things.

But, quite frankly, the team on the whole quite like, by the nature of a lot of their roles, to be in a quieter place where they can kind of organise and then jump on Zoom when they need to have those meetings.

So, it was interesting because we thought maybe particularly with the younger guys in the team might want to have a space they can get to, so they can have that hub, but the take up was pretty limited. They quite like the balance of working from home.

And, quite frankly, it's allowed some of our team to move out of London, and get themselves to different places. Some of our team don't live in London at all. So, it allowed us to recruit outside. So, as long as we see each other regularly, we help hold our events and we get some face-time, that's important to us.

But I think the key is just don't, don't go Slack and email only in a remote team. I think that can be where the challenge lies, but so far so good for us. 

JG: And, a final question to kind of draw it all together. And I'd love an answer from both of you: To people listening to this, obviously, entrepreneurs in general, but especially people who've had extensive corporate careers, extensive professional and successful careers, working in bigger companies, what would your advice be to them? What would be your biggest bit of advice to them now? 

J: I would say the things you need to consider are: Are you clear on what you're trying to fix? Or what are you trying to serve? What is that?

It sounds really basic, but it's being really confident in what you have.

The other thing I would say is move to your MVP or the equivalent – a small test if it's a consumer good – as soon as possible. You want to really make sure whatever you have has legs. And if you need to iterate it before you put a lot of time, money, resources into it.

So, I think sometimes, particularly when you've had the benefits of being in a large organisation with all this support around you, that you can think about kind of going through different phases. Actually, you want to really go fast and if it is a 'fail fast' or a 'win fast', it doesn't actually matter – you need to get to that view of actually does this idea have legs as quick as possible. 

Don't try and put something out that's perfect. Put something out that is functional and allows you to understand where that can go at a decent-scaled size. 

And the third would be to really look at how you can get the best resources for all the things that you would normally go to another department for.

So, legal, accounting, you know, there's great firms out there that really specialise in working for start-ups, so you're going to have a very cost effective approach to your set-up when it comes to legal aspects.

If you're raising money and you want to apply for EIS or SEIS, and you need that, look at R&D tax credits, really research ahead of time who you can partner with in these areas because there's a lot of set-up that's needed around your accounting, around your legal stance that needs to be done early on in your business, and you can also spend a lot of your cash upfront on these things, if you're not using firms that specialise in working with start-ups, just based on rate cards.

Try whatever you're doing as quickly as possible, so you can really get a feel for if there a market fit for what you're doing.

Jenny James

So, I think it's to be confident that you're fixing a problem or there's an opportunity for something new; try whatever you're doing as quickly as possible, so you can really get a feel for if there a market fit for what you're doing; and make sure you have your support functions around you in a virtual way to replicate all those departments that you're so used to pulling on because you're going to need that expertise, but you need to have it in an efficient and cost-effective way.

And do it! So those would be my three pieces of advice. 

G: Yeah, I would echo all of that. But really, really challenge yourself: Is this really a problem that you're fixing that people are willing to pay for? Is it really a problem? Quantify it.

You need to really quantify how big the problem is because that's the very first thing investors will ask: "What's the problem you're fixing? And then how big is this opportunity?"

And we come across lots of businesses who, I'm pleased to say we help, but it's not always clear what problem they're fixing. It's then not clear what they necessarily do. So also use simple language to describe what you do as well rather than AI-powered X, Y, Z.

Just saying simple language, what you do, and don't be afraid to do that. Also really think about: Are you up for this?

And what I mean by that is that setting up any business is hard and if you've got family, if you've got relationships, it will have an impact on those relationships because the journey is challenging; the journey is hard.

It's highly rewarding. It's the best thing we've ever done, but it's very, very, very hard. 

We will be known as the leading tool when it comes to finding a decision-maker at a business you want to speak to. 

Greg Watts

And so you have to really ask yourself the question: How comfortable do I feel not necessarily having a salary every single month? How do I feel about not having that lovely bonus at the end of the year?

And, hopefully, you'll still get all of those things and a great deal more, but the journey and the path is hard – highly rewarding, but hard and you have to be really up for it and really be prepared because it's the hardest thing we've ever done.

It really is the hardest thing we've ever done – the most rewarding, but you’ve got to buckle up for the journey. 

JG: And with that in mind, Greg, what does Findr look like in 12 months? 

G: Oh, in 12 months, Findr will be incorporated into a number of business bank accounts around the world; it will be incorporated into a number of insurance propositions around the world. We will be known as the leading tool when it comes to finding a decision-maker at a business you want to speak to. 

JG: Greg, Jenny, thank you very much.

J: Thank you very much for having us. It's been a pleasure.

G: It was an absolute pleasure. Take care. 

JG: And thank you all for listening. You can keep up to date with the latest episodes by following the podcast on the usual platforms.

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