This March, Club Workspace Kennington members, SHAREIGHT, broke records! They raised £600,000 in 24 hours from over 240 investors through the equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs. That’s the fastest time in which that amount of money has been raised in London. We talked to their CEO Grant Slatter about his passion for making things, his advice for raising funds on Seedrs and why Richard Branson would be the ideal new member of the SHAREIGHT team.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’ve had a passion for making things as far back as I can remember. After school I spent five years in the Royal Marines, then 15 years developing property, then five years authoring and publishing a series of children's books. Two years ago I created a fitness app, which has topped the charts in 39 countries and now SHAREIGHT is taking up all my time.
Tell us about your business
SHAREIGHT aims to take the pain out of shopping on smartphone. We've bought together more than a million products from 80 of the biggest high street stores and made it possible to reach the top 500 retail search terms in just three taps. Now we are working on a super easy checkout. Our vision is to give users one checkout method for the entire high street.
How did you start SHAREIGHT? How did Club Workspace play a part?
I started SHAREIGHT by designing a prototype to prove the concept. I needed somewhere to work and connect with people who could help me. I attended all the events that Club Workspace put on and met my business partner at one. I have since met many key people through Club Workspace. It has been a huge part of our story.
Business-wise, what are you most proud of?
My current team at SHAREIGHT. They are young but mature, new to business but ambitious, keen to get it right but willing to get it wrong, fun but hardworking. Every one of them volunteered to put up to half their salaries into our recent crowd funding raise. That says everything to me.
Why did you decide on Seedrs and crowd funding? Can you tell us about the process? What advice would you give businesses doing the same?
Seedrs came and pitched at Club Workspace Kennington earlier in the year. They were interested in us and totally got our product. In my view their platform and model is the best. SHAREIGHT is a portal that anyone would find useful so it seemed sensible to enable anyone to invest. I also wanted to offer our first users and team the chance to invest early on.
The process is simple. You make a video, write a brief and supply pictures and evidence to support your pitch.
Treat it as a competition. Make your pitch compelling enough for investors to conclude that yours is the best business on the site to invest in. Do as much work as possible to attract angel investors willing to put in £25,000 or more. We pitched face to face for months before listing.
What have been your biggest business challenges?
Delivering on our promises between funding rounds. You never quite have enough money and have to be extremely resourceful in the early stages. But whatever happens you have to demonstrate that you can execute successfully with the available resources.
Where do you see SHAREIGHT in a year's time? In three years’ time? How is this going to be reflected in your choice of office space?
In one year we will be the go-to place for shopping on mobile for more than 100,000 users and growing. Retailers will view us as a social channel set in a retail context; the ideal place to promote their products and gain insights on their relative performance.
In three years SHAREIGHT will be an internationally recognised brand, partnered with the biggest retailers worldwide and gaining more users daily than ever before.
We will eventually grow out of Club Workspace but I hope it will not be the end of our relationship with Workspace. I would love to work with them in creating a modern office space that sets the standard. The Club Workspace team have treated us as a partner rather than a tenant and I hope this mind-set crosses over to the Workspace group - it can only serve them well.
What are the most important trends in retail and mobile?
They are both linked. Retailers are facing a pent-up demand on mobile armed with a business model built for PCs. The trend is for still greater smartphone penetration and greater use of that device for shopping. We're providing a way for retailers to service that demand and for shoppers to access everything via a single interface - an ultimate retail browser.
Who would you ask (dead or alive) to be a dream member on your board of directors?
Richard Branson – he’s a consumer product man like me and people understand that he drives his vision to delivery with passion. Our team are similarly minded. He’d fit in really well!
What are the most important things for you in an office space? What's your office luxury?
An energetic atmosphere. Club Workspace has this huge advantage that everyone in that space is working hard to get their business off the ground. Being able to chat at the coffee machine with someone who is experiencing exactly what you are, albeit with their own problems and successes, is both calming and energising at the same time. Personally I’d like Club Workspace Kennington to look as cool as the new Club Workspace locations such as London Bridge and Chancery Lane!
Find out more about SHAREIGHT
Follow Grant on Twitter.
If you're a Club Workspace member and would like to promote your business by completeing the Club Q&A, please get in touch by tweeting out to us @clubworkspace. Club Workspace is London's most innovative and exciting network of startups and SMEs. Come and join us.