How many years have you been a Founder and been in your current role?
Are you a first-time or serial Founder?
What's your backstory. How did you come to be where you are today?
I started my first business in my 20s, producing a series for Channel 4 television about astrology and co-wrote astrology columns for newspapers and magazines for a year or so.
Upon becoming pregnant and not being able to find a baby sling I liked, I coopted and modified a design I'd seen, launched as The Better Baby Sling. I sold the business to one of my clients. For the next 20+ years, I worked in PR, running a top 150 PR home entertainment agency until my kids left home and I moved into tech.
My father had worked on one of the early Apollo missions, and I'd been taking apart and putting together small electrical appliances since I was young. I've always been curious about how things work. When the internet arrived in my life around the mid-90s, I took a course in Dreamweaver and was the go-to person in my PR agency when software stopped working or when our HTML website required editing.
I launched Frugl in 2014, an app to help Londoners on a budget find affordable things to do. We won a few awards, had tens of thousands of downloads and a small amount of investment. It's still going and making money as an aggregator of daily deals.
nestful sprung out of my own experience of sharing my flat with someone of my age. We rebranded from Silver Sharers in February 2021 and were part of Bethnal Green Ventures S20 cohort.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
We had a feature in the Evening Standard a couple of months after we launched (as Silver Sharers) and that really set the business in motion. Within days we added hundreds to our weekly newsletter of property listings, acquiring more interest from both homeowners and renters.
What has been the lowlight of your career so far?
The pandemic has been particularly hard on us. Many of our customers identify as vulnerable and, understandably, were not keen on having strangers move in with them. We’ve had to wait it out but are finally seeing signs of recovery.
How did you come across Landscape?
I believe I was at a networking event just over a year ago with Joe Perkins and joined the original community being hosted on Circle. No doubt I had a good ole moan about being an older founder. :)
Biggest challenge right now/thing you need help on?
Acquiring customers. We always knew it was going to be a pain point but underestimated the impact of the pandemic on the business. I was hosting meetup events back in December/January 2020 that our customers enjoyed attending but I know there’s still caution about real-life get-togethers.
What's the biggest mistake you’ve made so far and what did you learn from it?
The original brand name, Silver Sharers, was a bit Marmite. Some of our customers were turned off by being thought of as ‘silver,’ others didn’t mind as much. I didn’t realise just how much of a turn off it might be for some!
What piece of advice would you give to others who are in a similar role as to you?
Know your customers and understand the problem you’re solving for them. How many Laundry apps do we need?
What is the most frustrating thing you find about the startup fundraising ecosystem?
It’s very time consuming, confusing and unfulfilling. It tends to recognise and favour those who come from a finance background which doesn’t benefit those of a more creative disposition.
What you would like to see change in the startup fundraising ecosystem within the next 5 years?
I’d like to see more diversity in the ecosystem overall - more investors of all colours, genders, social class and more founders that fall outside of the typical white, pale and male stereotype. Working on making organisations more diverse and inclusive doesn’t just benefit those to whom opportunities are being given, but society as a whole.
Her email address is also firstname.lastname@example.org and she is happy to be contacted.