This guest post is written by James Swanston, Founder & CEO of Voyage Control – the platform for businesses to manage, optimise and track their freight deliveries. Voyage Control joined Seedcamp in September 2014 and like all Seedcamp companies, participated in Onboarding Week. In this article, James shares his experience…
In time for the next lot of teams to start Onboarding, I thought it would be good to write about the experience. At face value, Seedcamp’s Onboarding Week is all about mentoring sessions with some amazing individuals – a veritable list of Europe’s finest entrepreneurial brains.
It was almost like cramming a course on how to set up the world’s best startup into a few days (and thus highlighting all the mistakes that many of us had made thus far). There is a dawning reality that you’ve been picked for the 1st XV (to use a rugby analogy), and hopefully all the hot girls will like you (or in this case, all the VCs will like you).
But to be honest, it is more like when Neo picks the red pill in the Matrix (or is it the blue pill).
Still somewhat ebullient from getting into Seedcamp, the reality is that there is still a huge amount of work to do for each of the teams; Is the product/market fit right?; Does your messaging work?; What is needed to get investors really interested?
I think that we realised early on that while our product was working (thankfully), our messaging was teetering dangerously between abysmal and appalling. But for the grace of God, we were still getting a lot of businesses registering every day – though it was clear we needed to do something.
For me, the big thing was that at the end of Day One I realised that we had not been explicitly stating perhaps the biggest benefit to a client (or now that I know the correct terminology, the DMU or Decision Making Unit)!
Having laboured over branding for weeks, it took about a day to realise that all that effort was sadly misplaced – and a discussion with Carlos, courtesy of beers sponsored by PWC, resulted in us very quickly searching Godaddy for options. Fortunately, our product name in the end was cool enough, so we are transitioning over to Voyage Control.
The weeks that have followed have again meant more great mentoring and sessions with many fantastic people from highly successful companies. And of course, a few trips to Meat Mission (which new founders will grow to love).
Postscript – the first rule of Seedcamp is still key. Trying to do normal work while taking on all this knowledge during Onboarding Week is a pretty tough ask!