Startup Financing and SEIS plus Changing Lunchtime Food

Paul Rawlings and Rikki Unger at Lean Startup YorkshireAt the April Lean Startup Yorkshire meeting Simon Palmer and Rob Durrant-Walker from sponsor Garbutt and Elliott provided the insight into the financing options of early stage business followed by Paul Rawlings and Rikki Unger, founders of and currently part of the dotForge Impact accelerator in Sheffield, talking about their startup and how they managed to take seven hundred pounds within three days of beginning trading and have been growing day by day ever since.

Simon Palmer at Lean Startup YorkshireRob and Simon kicked off explaining some of the finance options available to startup founders. Without accumulated value in the business borrowing is pretty hard, that leaves a straight bootstrapping approach or giving away equity in exchange for investment. However equity investment can be all the more attractive to investors and valuable to founders by taking advantage of government tax saving schemes like EIS or ESIS. Simon Palmer and Rob Durant-Walker are two of Garbutt and Elliott experts in this area and explained how the schemes worked and the importance of setting up a company correctly to be able to best take advantage of these schemes. They also covered the government’s Growth Accelerator program that can provide grant subsidised business advice for growing businesses through a network of coaches Garbutt and Elliott also work with. Together with their access to the Access to Finance list, published by Leeds City Council, this can all be a great help and time saver when searching for early stage assistance.

The main billing for the evening came from Paul Rawlings and Rikki Unger. After a brief exploration of their history including Paul’s previous super successful startup ScreachTV and a failed escapade with Tweebay they launched into explaining Deliverd, their social impacting lunchtime food delivery service. Currently just operating in Sheffield while part of the dotForge accelerator they were up and running almost immediately with healthy, lunchtime food, served in box and delivered to office workers in the city centre. But with hardly a line of code written except a simple one page website and a logo.

Rob Durrant-Walker at Lean Startup YorkshireThey explain this lean approach allowed them to test their business model immediately and get feedback on their food and iterate on the menu. Now with the basic idea proven a website and on-line ordering system are in the pipeline they continue to grow and build “raving fans” by taking the food to the people every lunchtime and collect data and customer feedback as they do it.

Digging into the details Paul and Rikki described their strategy based on creating a “win, win, win” between their customers getting a healthy lunch, the kitchen owners they partner with who get some income from the downtime their facilities experience in the mornings and Deliverd themselves who are able to grow and expand quickly without the need to invest in catering facilities of their own. With focus on their one key metric of reorder rate they have a finger on the pulse of customer delight as they continue to refine their food and grow geographically.

Leave a Reply