About Stuart G. Hall

Making a positive difference one day at a time. #London #Leicester

How far has crowdsourcing finance come in five years?

After watching this BBC report on crowdfunding I started wondering how the piece I wrote for ICAEW’s community in December 2008 on the power of crowdsourcing ‘Is web 2.0 enabling a new kind of financing?’ looks now in July 2014?

Certainly crowdfunding startups through investment (equity) has come along way, first with Crowdcube and more recently Seedrs, which was inspired by Zopa.

Screenshot 2014-07-11 17.10.23

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From one startup to another, via Chicago and Leicester

A short anecdotal story linking one innovative global startup which launched in Chicago to my own mini startup which launched in Leicester last year?

Back in 2006 I joined MedicExchange to launch a click-to-use software product designed to disrupt the medical imaging market that tied manufacturer’s machinery to their software. When I left the company in 2007 after two trips to RSNA in Chicago (staying at the famous Ambassador East Hotel) I’d also got interested in the property market, thanks to our CEO, who’d also invested in bricks and mortar.


I did an unusual thing though and instead of buying in London where I worked, I bought a converted factory apartment in the centre of Leicester. Crazy huh? I know, luckily my entrepreneurial drive didn’t completely fail me, and eventually after finishing a contract with Sony in 2012 I got the startup bug again.  Continue reading

One way I’ve used to growth hack a business to create social ROI


There’s nothing complicated about this method. It simply involves the following elements:

  1. A copy of your latest business plan, or a similar document.
  2. A day or half day according to your availability.
  3. The desire to align your marketing and overall business aims and objectives.

In the successful example working with curry snack food retailer Mindi’s I created a half day workshop using the business model canvas approach, and focused on a social model canvas version, which aligned with their business objectives. To note they hadn’t got a detailed business plan to work with, even though their business was already up and running.

Anyhow the results speak for themselves. Since the June 2013 workshop PR coverage rocketed, and the business has gone from strength to strength. I don’t claim credit for their hard work or product innovation, simply for the approach in aligning their marketing and business model canvas, to create a simple shared understanding between the co-founders of what needed to be done.

And as I observed following discussions at the excellent Socialbakers’ Engage 2014 event yesterday where they launched a new social ad analytics tool, there is a powerful added value to this approach to setting up your social media marketing. Going forward by aligning activity to business objectives going forward it will be much simpler to measure your social ROI, as demonstrated by Oliver Blanchard:

Six surprising facts about potential startup founders

Party Time

Party Time

Teaming up with Bloomberg Beta, the ‘startup signals tracker’ Mattermark studied 1.5m budding entrepreneurs in the US to see who was likely to be a startup founder.

Below are the six surprising facts they discovered – I have to confess pretty much all six surprised me. I wonder what Berlin Startup Ranking will find out about London startups, when it launches in the capital in the next few weeks?

  • 38% of venture-backed founders are over 40 years old

  • Only 15% of venture-backed founders have a Computer Science degree

  • Management consultants are more than 2x more likely to be venture-backed founders than engineers

  • 43% of venture backed founders worked at a venture-backed company immediately before founding

  • Two thirds of venture-backed founders were not in a senior leadership position prior to founding

  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, being “stuck” in the same company or position for a long time (even a decade) does not diminish your likelihood of becoming a founder

ECE Startup Campus launches in Rotterdam

The ECE Startup Campus, an initiative of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, launched on 2nd March in the city of Rotterdam: “Got the entreprenuerial spirit, join our community.”

It holds flexspaces, meeting rooms, a lecture-room and a workout facility. It is already providing place for these startups, with some pretty interesting and impressive business models:

  • Symbid – Global leader in online equity financing that helped fund other ECE startups (Gambitous, Equidam and Declaree). “Symbid is the only platform in the Netherlands where investors become shareholders via a cooperative. Via financial partner InterSolve, the invested money is under supervision of the Dutch Authority Financial Markets and the Dutch Central Bank,” Eric Recter, Founder Kidswatcher.
  • Gambitious – Global leader in gaming crowdfunding: “The first managed crowd finance platform dedicated to the games industry! Connecting international investors with innovative companies and promising entertainment projects.”
  • Equidam – Valuation of SMEs and Startups: “supports information transparency for the growing sector of online investments in high growth startups by offering a cloud system for financial and accounting services.”
  • EnWake – World’s first Smart, Personal & Portable circadian rhythm solution: “EnWake is an innovative solution presenting an intelligent “pair of glasses”  (incorporating sophisticated light system) connected to your Smartphone, which helps you optimize your sleep/wake cycle and adjust your  energy levels to match your lifestyle.”
  • Declaree – Online expense reporting: “Take a photograph of your expense using the mobile app and it will automatically be stored online.”
  • Intigames, developers of the game Helix (one of the finalists of the ISPO sports business trade show in Munich and available in 10 countries this summer): “We believe that anyone can play passionately, anywhere, anytime! Our goal is: worldwide, playfully encouraging people to move!”
  • Effortless-Housing – Student to student housing provider – that’s it!