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Xero – not an overnight success

These days, if you are a small business and looking for that vital accountancy software to help with your growth, Xero would most likely be in your shopping list, if not on the top of it. Those in the industry like myself, have been amazed at the growth of Xero, as they march towards their first million subscribers. Just like most companies, Xero’s success has not been an overnight success. Years of hard work fuelled with large sums of venture capital and public listings are now beginning to pay. Xero was founded in November 2006 with founder investment of NZ$1.5 million and listed…

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My Kick-Ass Ninja Team with Permission Kick My Arse

I like to think I am the king of crowdsourcing (if not the king, at least good at it). edocr.com remained a going concern thanks to the help I received from many individuals from Andy Yelland to Alex Goldstone and Stuart Scott-Goldstone. This time I want to take this to another level. I’ve appointed a kick-ass Ninja team with permission to kick my butt. I could have called them advisors. In my book, advisors are those who are excellent at preaching (from their experience of course), but not always ready to fold their shirt sleeves and get into nitty gritty of…

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How to turn a simple idea into a technology company

My next gig is at Manchester Business School on 2nd September 2016. Areas covered: The journey from post MBA to today – failures and wins. How UnifiedVU started, and the thinking behind it. Starting place: Will power + Framework + Vision. Turning the idea into a product, business,  attract customers, partners and continuous validation. Frameworks: Five stages of a startup The ten segments Bit about me: After spending well over a decade in engineering consultancy working for two global businesses, both in the UK and the Middle East, Manoj completed his Executive MBA at MBS in 2004, joining a tech startup as…

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Scaling pre-maturely is a killer for startups

Scaling pre-maturely is a killer for startups. So why am I doing it? 1. Its about planting seeds for the long run 2. Get me to think about scaling On the negative side, its a big distraction to immediate revenues Two weeks ago, we started our distribution channel, with Xero Accountants and in future with Google Apps Resellers This week we started our developer channel, limiting to product vendors only. We thought we had 3 interested parties. Just now, one of them want to take us in a different direction that we are not quite ready for. But it makes…

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UnifiedVU Progress Update

Just a quick update on progress of my latest tech startup, UnifiedVU (this is more of a note to myself than anything else): The Pre-Start: 2014 Nov – Idea agreed with Phil Brown and left Causeway/Livestax 2014 Dec – Company incorporated Break 2015 Jan – Approached by Accusoft to acquire edocr. Focus shift to edocr 2015 Mar – Deal done. Only team member seconded to edocr/Accusoft. Development comes to a stop immediately Re-Start 2015 July – re-grouped and extend the team to 3 2015 Q4 – Customer development, both SMBs and enterprise, whilst product development is progressing. 2016 Jan –…

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Knowing when to stop selling – not Mr. NP

NP is known as a clever chap who has helped a number of tech companies grow. So I was eager to listen to his webinar yesterday to learn few marketing tips. He didn’t disappoint me. He came up with 5 points with new jargon, only an American would, but putting the terminology aside, they were good. Here goes: Lead magnate, e.g give them a white paper Trip wire, e.g. micro commitments Core offer Profit maximiser, e.g. upsell, cross sell, etc Automation All makes perfect sense. He sent a pre-video before the event, which spoke of the same, but during the webinar, the…

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Our road to investment – From Pitch 1

I hope this becomes a journal and I can keep sharing various experiences as I pitch my new company to investors. Pitching is such a private affair. I will try to share my experience without bringing any negativity to those who I interact. It took Doug Richard 48 pitches to get funding. It took a friend about 80 times. These are good benchmarks to have. My strategy is simple: Speak to as many as possible Don’t discount West Coast and London to bring sanity Pitch 0 – Dow Schofield Watts A corporate finance house, but we are too small for them right…

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#NorthernStars – A celebration of Tech Entrepreneurship

I was late attending the finals of NorthernStars pitch event last night at UKFast organised by TechNorth missing all the 23 pitches, as a result of attending CommissioningLive, a healthcare event, but the feedback I got suggested that the quality of pitching in the North is now in par with London. This was perhaps the strongest criticism I had (other than called a talking shop, which was exactly the point of Techcelerate at the time) from numerous VCs who took part in Techcelerate’s Dragons’ Lair pitching events for investment.   Out of the 100 or so applications received, according to Matt…

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Alternative perspective on developing the tech ecosystem of Manchester

Today, we are obsessed with turning Manchester into a thriving tech city, whether its adoption of technology or creating new technology startups. We even have folks who are championing Manchester to become the 5th largest tech city in Europe #MCRTop5. This is all credit to Doug Ward (worthy of a dedicated blog post) and his merry men. But this aspiration is not unique to Manchester. As tech has become so sexy, every major city aspires to become the next Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, they all fail as Silicon Valley is unique and cannot be replicated for many reasons. During the heyday of…

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Night out with DotForge Accelerator

I was invited to dine with the DotForge team, their friends and the new cohort of 8 companies last night in China Town, Manchester. The most striking aspect of what I learned about DotForge last night was not that DotForge had come to Manchester, Colin Tan’s passion for helping startups nor how great the 8 companies are but their open invitation for others, who are not connected with DotForge to attend selected workshops. As far as I know, what goes inside a typical accelerator pretty much remains a secret, unless you are one of the Up Accelerator startups. Outsiders don’t even get…

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