Dom Povey

Social Entrepreneur, London

Currently looking at projects in the tech-social enterprise space.

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Social Entrepreneur with a passion for technology. Founder of the Bath Soup Company (sold), Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Bath and former Product Marketing Manager at a Google Enterprise Partner.

Currently looking at projects in the tech-social enterprise space.

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3 tips for finding your perfect fit in a startup

As you’ll know by now, I moved to London a few months ago to search for startups that had brought together tech and social enterprise, areas that I am equally passionate about having previously worked in tech and set up my own social enterprise. I’ve since found a number of amazing startups but one in particular stood out for me, Insane logic. I’m now very happy (and proud) to say that I’m joining their fantastic team.

It hasn’t been a quick process but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be. I was advised early on that I shouldn’t rush into the first thing that came along but take the time to “explore the landscape” first (see my previous post on "Delving into the London tech and Socent scenes in London".

Whilst taking my time, “exploring the landscape” and checking out different startups I came up with three criteria that I realised I needed to meet. I wanted to share these in case they help others to find the perfect fit as they’ve helped me.

1. The team.

Nothing is more important when appraising a start up than looking at the existing team or founders. Not only will you be spending HUGE amounts of hours with them, you need to be comfortable enough to work with them to hash out solutions to problems. This will involve creative thinking, experimentation and learning from mistakes. Are you inspired by them, challenged and excited?

A face to face meeting should give you all you need to know on this front. Of course, it’s up to you to then make a judgement call but you should’t have to think too hard about it. Trust your gut, it is what it is there for ;)

You may also want to look into the public profiles of the team and founders. Are they respected in their sector, do they have the public profile or connections needed to influence it? This is not essential but it is worth considering as it will increase the company’s chance of success.

2. The commercial model (and social impact)

They may have an interesting product but try to be realistic about the prospects of the company. Startups do not typically have deep pockets and you are going to need a decent runway to make a difference before money gets too tight. Do you genuinely believe this company can go all the way? What needs to chance if not? Discussing these with the founder early doors will tell you an awful lot about the company and them.

Personally, the social model is just as important, not only does the company have to offer a tangible social benefit, I’d like to see that the commercial model is not hindered by it, or even benefits from it.

Your enthusiasm for the startup will no doubt effect your view of this so speak to your friends/family/mentors for a more levelled opinion!

3. Your value

Are you confident that you can add value to this startup? Both the team and the commercial model may have checked out but can you really add value to the business or do you just want to be involved? Failing to identify a good fit could lead to an unhappy time, a shorter time in post than you had hoped, or worse, the start up going under. If you don’t think you can offer value in the short term then do the right thing and say so. Stay in touch and you never know what might happen in the future.

If you can instantly offer value, don’t hold it back. As Anton Chernikov from Good People says in his related Ted talk, "Give before you Take". If this startup really is the right fit for you then giving will not feel like working for free but an exciting opportunity to show what you can do, while gaining an insight into a company you are keen to know more about.

I hope this offers some help to you if you’re currently looking for a role in a startup, I’d love to hear about similar experiences. I officially start at Insane Logic on Monday, expect an update soon!

London (from Ireland)

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I moved to London just over 2 months ago to pursue my passion for Social Enterprise and tech startups. As I’m currently on holiday in rural Ireland, I have the time to stop and consider what’s happened since and where I’m up to now in the search for my dream tech-social project…

1st things first

A bit of good news - I recently found I’ve won a competition to design a Social Enterprise. Like many other charitable organisations, Bath and North East Somerset’s Volunteer Centre is looking to modify its business model to include a sustainable source of income. It ran this competition earlier in the year to generate ideas. It’s great to win but also excited to see my idea come to life!


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Number 10

My visit to 10 Downing Street to take part in a roundtable discussion about small business remains a major highlight, not bad going after only being in town for 4 weeks! :)  

Tech makes giving easy

A lot of Social Entrepreneurs working with technology seem to be utilising a similar concept: that is, people are generally motivated to help a charitable cause, as long as it’s quick, easy and convenient. Something that technology can help to achieve.

Playmob is working within the booming mobile game space, incentivising in-app purchases with a donation to charity. This produces a win/ win (win) situation in which charities receive additional revenue, game developers encourage more players to become paying customers and Playmob receives a small cut. Donating to charity while playing a mobile game. Talk about easy!

The FAME agency is a digital branding agency, looking to apply this concept in a different way by bringing big brands together with charities to develop joint marketing activities. The charity receive revenue from the brand, the brand position themselves alongside a charitable cause and the public is presented with a fun, engaging way to connect with a charity online.

Learning to communicate

I was particularly excited to discover how Insane Logic is using an iPad app, to help people with learning disabilities or acquired communication difficulties to communicate using a highly effective language called Makaton. Not only that but MyChoicePad also helps the development of communication skills in any pre school child, helping them to communicate, even before they can talk! I was impressed by the concept immediately but really became excited when I discussed the potential for growth with the founders. Definitely one to watch over the next year!

So far, so good!

It’s certainly been an interesting start to London life, I’m glad of the chance to take stock of it all. This post doesn’t even touch on all the sights, coffee shops, gigs and festivals I’ve been to but I’ll keep that to Facebook! It is safe to say that the move to London has been a good one.

Now for some more surfing, Happy Friday!!…

An Incredible day at Downing Street!
I was lucky enough to be included in this visit to 10 Downing Street for a round table discussion about the needs of small business owners. The discussion was hosted by top Government advisor Daniel Korski and MP Matthew Hancock.
Matthew Hancock told the gathering: “We want to hear the things that we should do more of, as well as the things we should do less of.”
I spoke about the need for a new category of casual employment to be set up, removing some of the red tape around employment for Social Enterprises that are looking to create employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed.
More information on the outcome of the debate can be found here.
Zoom Info
An Incredible day at Downing Street!
I was lucky enough to be included in this visit to 10 Downing Street for a round table discussion about the needs of small business owners. The discussion was hosted by top Government advisor Daniel Korski and MP Matthew Hancock.
Matthew Hancock told the gathering: “We want to hear the things that we should do more of, as well as the things we should do less of.”
I spoke about the need for a new category of casual employment to be set up, removing some of the red tape around employment for Social Enterprises that are looking to create employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed.
More information on the outcome of the debate can be found here.
Zoom Info
An Incredible day at Downing Street!
I was lucky enough to be included in this visit to 10 Downing Street for a round table discussion about the needs of small business owners. The discussion was hosted by top Government advisor Daniel Korski and MP Matthew Hancock.
Matthew Hancock told the gathering: “We want to hear the things that we should do more of, as well as the things we should do less of.”
I spoke about the need for a new category of casual employment to be set up, removing some of the red tape around employment for Social Enterprises that are looking to create employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed.
More information on the outcome of the debate can be found here.
Zoom Info
An Incredible day at Downing Street!
I was lucky enough to be included in this visit to 10 Downing Street for a round table discussion about the needs of small business owners. The discussion was hosted by top Government advisor Daniel Korski and MP Matthew Hancock.
Matthew Hancock told the gathering: “We want to hear the things that we should do more of, as well as the things we should do less of.”
I spoke about the need for a new category of casual employment to be set up, removing some of the red tape around employment for Social Enterprises that are looking to create employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed.
More information on the outcome of the debate can be found here.
Zoom Info

An Incredible day at Downing Street!

I was lucky enough to be included in this visit to 10 Downing Street for a round table discussion about the needs of small business owners. The discussion was hosted by top Government advisor Daniel Korski and MP Matthew Hancock.

Matthew Hancock told the gathering: “We want to hear the things that we should do more of, as well as the things we should do less of.”

I spoke about the need for a new category of casual employment to be set up, removing some of the red tape around employment for Social Enterprises that are looking to create employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed.

More information on the outcome of the debate can be found here.

Make Sense Hold Up!
Another inspirational session last night helping Future First, a social enterprise that’s encouraging alumni to go back to their old school to tell their story and inspire existing students.
A great concept, and maybe even a great slogan too ;)
Go back. Give back. Inspire.
Find out more about Future First on Facebook and Twitter (@futurefirstorg)
Zoom Info
Make Sense Hold Up!
Another inspirational session last night helping Future First, a social enterprise that’s encouraging alumni to go back to their old school to tell their story and inspire existing students.
A great concept, and maybe even a great slogan too ;)
Go back. Give back. Inspire.
Find out more about Future First on Facebook and Twitter (@futurefirstorg)
Zoom Info
Make Sense Hold Up!
Another inspirational session last night helping Future First, a social enterprise that’s encouraging alumni to go back to their old school to tell their story and inspire existing students.
A great concept, and maybe even a great slogan too ;)
Go back. Give back. Inspire.
Find out more about Future First on Facebook and Twitter (@futurefirstorg)
Zoom Info

Make Sense Hold Up!

Another inspirational session last night helping Future First, a social enterprise that’s encouraging alumni to go back to their old school to tell their story and inspire existing students.

A great concept, and maybe even a great slogan too ;)

Go back. Give back. Inspire.

Find out more about Future First on Facebook and Twitter (@futurefirstorg)

Delving into the Tech and SOCENT scenes in London

It’s 4 weeks after I moved to London from Bath and I’m pleased to say that I’m already seeing the benefit. I have to admit that I was hesitant about moving, Bath is an incredible place to live after all, but in terms of my interests - technology and social enterprise - I couldn’t be in a better place!

Having worked for nearly 3 years as a Product Marketing Manager in a tech startup and then successfully sold the Social Enterprise I founded, I’m now hoping to put the two experiences together and join a Tech-Social startup. Not the run of the mill goal but I plan to delve into both the tech startup and Social Enterprise scenes and hope that at some point, they collide.

I’ve already made good progress on both both fronts, hence my satisfaction with London, so I thought I’d share the key sources that have helped me so far!


Tech

In terms of tech startups, London is competing on a global scale and there is no shortage of networking events and workshops to attend.

My top list for finding tech events so far…

@3beards (http://www.3-beards.com) - Very active network with a range of different styles of events (often includes a drink or two!)

@Meetup (http://www.meetup.com) - Great general directory to events, especially good if you’re new in town.

@eventbright (http://www.eventbright.com) - Like Meetup, a huge directory of events show up for any searches around tech. I’ve already lost count of how many tickets i’ve picked up through it.

@Twitter! - if you’re following the right people you should hear about any events that are happening in good time to bag yourself a ticket. You typically end up clicking through to an Eventbright page but given the high demand for tech events here, it’s good to get in there early!


Social Enterprise

For Social Enterprise events, I’ve had great success with…

@Unltd (http://unltd.org.uk) - Supported me hugely in the past and continue to do amazing work with other Social Entrepreneurs.

@Makesensetwits (http://beta.makesense.org) - See my previous blog post on Sense Camp to find out more about Make Sense. Essentially, they exist to support Social Entrepreneurs and are a really friendly bunch/family.

@hubwestminster ( http://westminster.the-hub.net) - There is a global network of Hubs but I tend to end up the one in Westminster most often.

@Twitter! - Again, following the people you meet at events on Twitter is a great way to hear about other similar events.


Essential Other - Citymapper! (http://citymapper.com) @citymapperlon

An essential tip for anyone looking to get to networking events across London is a mobile app called Citymapper. This is an exciting tech startup itself, which maps out every single travel option to a given destination. As I say, its essential, especially to a London newbie!

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