S&S x Disruption
We had a lot of fun hosting our first event last week and it was a real pleasure to see the Suits & Startups community start to come to life – with a group of around 50 entrepreneurs and professionals making connections, starting conversations and sharing ideas (just what we were hoping for!) – so here’s a brief rundown of what went on when Suits & Startups took over the cutting edge ‘Frontier Data Lab’ and the new Benugo collaboration space at PwC’s More London offices, and invited a load of entrepreneurs and professionals to join us...
For anyone yet to join the Suits & Startups community, or unfamiliar with our grand plans, our main goal is simple: To build a community where the individuals driving the City’s biggest corporates and the entrepreneurs behind the ‘next big things’ can interact, collaborate and learn from each other.
We’ve had a great time over the past year or two, getting out and about in London, meeting founders, sharing their startup stories with our readers via the S&S website, testing out products, and attending all sorts of events. BUT – In order to bring the S&S community together and get those direct interactions happening, we decided it was time to host our first event – and that ‘Disruption’ would be the key theme.
“Digital Disruption”, “Disruptive Innovation”, “Disruptive Technologies”… they’re in the news a lot and – to some of us – may sound very exciting, or just a bit scary, but what does “Disruption” really mean to startup founders? …do digital disruptors even know they’re disrupting? …and what should more established businesses be thinking about to make sure they stay ahead of the curve? It was with this sort of question in mind that we invited along our all-star panel (from L to R): Jas Sidhu, co-founder of PwC’s Disruption team; Joanna Dai, founder of performance womenswear brand Dai; Richard Chambers, founder of IV-drip business Get A Drip; and Joel Burgess, founder of nutrition app Nutrifix. Oh, and that’s Mills and Foong on the end, both City pros and the co-founders of S&S.
After a brief ‘introduction to disruption’ (just as pleasant as it sounds!) from PwC specialist Jas, our three founders told us the story behind their startups – what had triggered the initial idea, how they’d got to where they are now and what they were ultimately hoping to achieve. From the number of hands raised during the Q&A session and the feedback we’ve received from attendees since, we have to say that each of them did a fantastic job – engaging the audience, provoking some very interesting questions and leaving us all quite inspired!
One of our favourite takeaways from the session has to be that the idea behind each of the three businesses initially came about from a problem encountered personally by the respective founder – with each one leaving us thinking “why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?!”. It was only after-the-event that they considered they might be disrupting some pretty big industries and marketplaces.
That said, it’s clear that a tremendous amount of work has gone into each of the businesses to get them to where they currently stand and it was interesting having each of the founders speak in turn about their problems, approaches and results – whether it be the benefits of free publicity gained through the press or social media; collaborations with other startups or more established brands; or the basic issues you might face from sharing a co-working space that’s run on a tight budget! Thanks again to all of our panel, who were all key to our first event working out so well.
It wasn’t all about the evening session though… As we’d managed to bag exclusive use of the Frontier Data Lab for the whole afternoon, we decided to make the most of it and invited Jas (accompanied by the PwC Virtual Reality team) and our startup founders to set up shop for the afternoon, and then invited PwC staff to drop-in and find out more about the products and services. This session proved to be a worthwhile exercise in itself, and meant that 40-50 of the PwC staff were able to speak to our guests and try out their products first-hand, with a couple of PwC Partners even getting hooked up for IV drips during the afternoon. We used the same set-up during the evening session, so that our guests could switch rooms at the break and see close-up the products they’d just been hearing about (definitely an aspect we’ll be looking to build into our future events!).
That’s probably enough from us for now (we once read an article that said blog posts should be capped at 800 words!), but drop us a message if you’d like to hear more, or arrange a catch-up with us in person. Otherwise, we hope to see you at S&S Event #2.
Remember that you can sign up to the S&S newsletter to be first to hear about the next event, all our founder interviews and exclusive discounts.
Thanks for reading,
Foong & Mills