Q&A WITH BECCA BRIGHTY, CO-FOUNDER OF WE LOVE WORK
Becca Brighty is Co-Founder of We Love Work, a new recruitment tool to help match candidate values to company culture to reduce staff turnover. The company needs to raise £150,000 to get to market and has just returned from an event in London where she pitched the business idea to 75 heavyweight investors.
Here she describes her journey from preparing her business plan to pitching it in the dragons’ den …
Q. Tell us a little about the business Becca. What stage of development are you at?
A. We’ve been in operation for a year and have big ambitions for the future. We know there is a demand for our product and to get to the next stage of development we need to raise finance to develop an API (application programming interface). This will allow us to integrate our product with our clients’ current systems.
Q. How have you gone about trying to find an investor?
A. We attended FinanceCamp during VentureFest North East in the autumn and had the chance to introduce our business to lots of North East investors in a series of one-to-one meetings. We also took part in a pitching event on the day called Pitch Black where we were challenged to pitch our idea to an audience of investors and judges against the clock and before the lights went out. It was fun and scary in equal measures!
Q. Your pitch must have been impressive as you were voted the best by the judges! What happened next?
A. Part of the prize was the chance to pitch the business to a huge gathering of London investors that we wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to meet. I was invited to join a delegation of North East businesses that descended on London to showcase our companies to try to raise investment at the event, which was called Entrepreneurs of the North and was organised by the Innovation SuperNetwork – the people behind VentureFest and FinanceCamp.
Q. How did you prepare for this once-in-a-career opportunity?
A. One of the Pitch Black judges, Bill Hartshorne of TEDCO, provided me with some valuable one-to-one support through the Start and Grow programme. Bill helped me to refine our business plan to make it more succinct and the data clearer for potential investors. Bill also suggested I apply for Entrepreneurial Spark, an accelerator programme that’s led by NatWest. I got a place on the programme and I’m about to have my first group session. FinanceCamp also organised expert Dan Bond to help me polish my presentation skills and this was amazing! It really helped with defining our pitch and building confidence.
Q. How did you feel before the big event?
A. I felt well prepared for the pitch so I was excited about the opportunity to speak to investors who already knew what my business was about.
Q. And how did you find the experience of pitching to/talking to the investors on the day?
A. I was a lot more nervous than I thought I would be. The fact that we had been taken to London because we were “great companies” added an extra bit of pressure but this was useful pressure! It was nerve-wracking doing the pitch but great talking to the investors before and afterwards.
Q. Having gone through this experience, what words of advice would you give to anyone preparing to pitch for investment?
A. I would tell them to practice, practice, practice and then practice again. Take up any offers of support made available. There are plenty of free programmes and events running such as TEDCO’s Start and Grow, Entrepreneurial Spark, FinanceCamp and VentureFest North East. Also, if you can, get some professional pitch training. Having the pitch training really helped me refine my pitch and gave me confidence that I was doing it right.
Q. And finally, have you raised the money you were looking for?
A. We made some really useful connections and have made arrangements to continue the conversations we began. We are hopeful this will lead to a deal so watch this space!