At Seedcamp we focus on enabling our founders. One of the ways we do this is through our Academy program which delivers great mentors and speakers across all areas of business, from product to marketing to operations. This month we organized our inaugural CTO Summit, the first in a series of deep dive events focused on specific functional areas of a startup, and part of our ongoing efforts in supporting the technical side of our founders’ needs.
We were thrilled to have the event hosted by our long-standing partners Amazon, at the Amazon Development Center in London — what a great space. The day consisted of a full program of interactive workshops and informal talks about multiple tech-related startup challenges. Mainly focused on technical issues and best practices, our CTO’s had the chance to learn and exchange ideas on topics like: new trends, security, hiring and keeping your team motivated, microservices and auto scaling.
There were some good lessons learned. For example on the technical side our teams gained some great insights on new trends and best practices, not only when it comes to web services but also on how Amazon manages AWS projects internally. The Amazon team shared with us how they organize their teams in “Two Pizza teams” structure – meaning that they are small autonomous teams which own their roadmap and have decoupled launch schedules – making these small teams both independent and fast.
Despite being a very technical agenda, the biggest takeaway from the summit was that it’s often the decidedly non-technical topics that our CTO’s appreciate hearing about the most. One of the highlights of the talks was the hiring panel, which is such a critical issue for any startup. Hiring and keeping talent is hard work. There were great discussions on how to find and motivate people. We’ll definitely be doing more to support this specific need at Seedcamp in the future.
The other key takeaway was that a lot of the value of an event like this is not just about the details of the talks themselves but also about the connections forged between the people in the room. Most attendees were facing similar issues and one of the great benefits of being a Seedcamp coming is the network support you get when you join the family. As Matthew Wardle (CTO at Kasko.io) commented: “The unexpected value of the day turned out to be the networking with the fellow CTO’s. Some great discussions were had and it was good to learn that a lot of people were having similar problems.”
We look forward to further engineering focused events at Seedcamp Academy. By building these sorts of support programs Seedcamp can help minimise the time our CTO’s have to spend re-inventing the wheel and allows them more time to focus on the unique problems core to their business.
Finally we’d like to thank Amazon for making it possible and send a special thank you for all the Amazon team members that were present – we really appreciate it.
We are very happy to announce that Pronto, the London based, Seedcamp-backed foodtech startup has just raised £1 million from Playfair Capital, London Co-Investment Fund, Ballpark Ventures (run by Russell Buckley), Patrick de Laive (co-founder of The Next Web) and several other undisclosed strategic angel investors from EU VCs and food businesses.
Pronto is London’s favourite food delivery service, their bowtie-wearing drivers bringing lunch, dinner and soon breakfast to their customers’ desks or doors in under 20 minutes on average. Their vision is to provide healthy on-demand food and to reduce food waste. Thanks to their tech-driven approach to the supply chain, Pronto are able to get food from farm to fork faster than any other food infrastructures, meaning their freshly cooked meals are not only tastier, they’re also more nutritious.
With this investment, they will focus on growing their customer base and delivery area in London over the next coming months. Pronto are also planning to officially launch their business product by the end of the month. This ‘Seamless for SMEs’ will give small businesses the ability to let their employees order a healthy dinner if they’re working late, with a set of parameters companies can control to avoid any abuse.
CEO James Roy Poulter says: “We’re excited to be bringing restaurant-quality meals to many more Londoners. It’s not just about convenience anymore – it’s about quality. And working long hours should not get in the way of health. Get in touch if your company may be interested.”
Pronto became a Seedcamp-backed company in May 2015. Seedcamp Partner, Carlos Espinal says, “James and his team are trying to revolutionize the way we consume delivered food. By focusing on a core set of healthy meals of high quality, and delivered in a timely fashion, we believe he’ll be able to capture a broad range of time-starved but health conscious individuals during their working day.”
Give Pronto and their healthy meals a go!
In the ‘Seedcamp Podcast Series’ we talk with key people in the tech startup industry to hear their stories and gleam key advice and learnings from their experiences.
In this episode we were joined by Chris Morton, Founder and CEO of Lyst. He discussed his background, the story behind Lyst, how to generate the foundations for marketplace growth and the importance of protecting the company culture when growing your team.
Chris Morton is the CEO and cofounder of Lyst (www.lyst.com), a social curation platform for online fashion. Prior to founding Lyst, Chris was an investor at Balderton Capital and Benchmark Capital, focussing on consumer internet; specifically ecommerce, music and games. Chris was also Business Development Manager of the Energy and Materials division at QinetiQ, one of Europe’s leading technology R&D organisations. Chris earned his M.A. in Natural Sciences (Physics and Philosophy) from Cambridge University, 2003, and he is a DERA Scholar.
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