Written by Raphael Scemama, Co-founder and CEO of Hiroes.
Salomé and I met in 2015 and both had a common goal; to help people organise and host cheaper events. By events, we originally meant house parties, birthdays and private events. However, we quickly found ourselves expanding the scope to business events, as many start-ups we met in London needed to organise launch parties, networking events and so on. We took it as a great opportunity to get our first clients.
What is the current situation?
Organising an event can be a real hassle sometimes. Finding a great venue, a good photographer, DJ and such is already tough, but when you are on a tight budget it becomes mission impossible. Prices can skyrocket really quickly as soon as you want to host a minimum of a nice event. Salomé and I decided to fix that.
Salomé is the more passionate one about organising events and I am more of the “artist” of the duo: I used to DJ in clubs when I was a student, doing photoshoots as well. Music and photography are my two big passions. Thinking about our different assets and profiles, we started thinking about a way in which we could help people organise better and cheaper events. This is how we found the solution – we would give the chance to passionate artists to work for events. Meanwhile, event planners will enjoy an all-in-one platform where they could hire amazing talents and venues securely, at very affordable rates.
The first thing we did was to find developers who believed in the idea as much as we did. They had to accept to work for almost no remuneration, which was quite a challenge, as you can imagine.
When starting up a business, you need two things – hard workers and a good team. After finding our two highly motivated programmers and having our business plan written down, we were very excited about being accepted onto a famous incubator programme in London. The programme was highly rewarding and allowed us to shape our idea more accurately. With a solid business plan in place and some confidence acquired throughout the programme, we were ready to get funded to finally get our project off the ground.
Preparing for crowdfunding
Financial forecasting was a must before reaching out to any investor. Having acquired experience in banking and being used to that task, I handled this part. Forecasting for existing companies with existing turnover is usually quite easy. However, pulling numbers out of a magic hat for a company that hasn’t even launched yet, was much more challenging.
Then, came the exciting deck. Pretty, pretty, PowerPoint, how many hours have we spent working on you, carefully choosing the perfect icon most likely noticed by no one, justifying the text to perfection, constantly rewording our phrases to get the best understanding out of it. Creating a deck is not as easy as we thought it was. And no, using PowerPoint templates cannot be a solution, it would be committing an entrepreneurial crime. (Tip: We used this to help us decide on pitch page orders). You can get a good idea of the structure you should adopt by looking at those. But in all fairness, the deck really depends on your type of business and what you want to prioritise.
Our last step before going live was pitching… in front of a camera! Crowdcube advised us to create a short video where we explain our idea, what we were looking for and how funds will be used. Salome and I are not really used to talking in front of a camera, let me tell you it was much more of a hilarious experience, which we kept some souvenirs of.
Having passed all these steps, we went live in May last year. We had to follow a clear completion strategy. The first phase was to get the investors we discussed and agreed with prior to the campaign to invest at the right beginning. We also reached out to our friends & family circle trying to convince them to make the first move to encourage others to do the same. This step was crucial.
The second step was about reaching out to our outer circle. We emailed everyone we could about the campaign. We followed them up six times if necessary. Our goal was to get a YES from them or a clear NO. However, we never took no for an answer!
This strategy worked well for us, as we reached our goal, and got even overfunded. £170,000 were collected in a month time, instead of the original target of £150,000.
It’s been six months now that we’ve raised this amount. The fundraise allowed us to get proper offices, as we were working remotely until now. We decided to get a private office at WeWork, as we always dreamed about before the fundraise. However, we quickly realized it was maybe not the best move as of the high price, but you know… learn by doing!
We are now in a much cooler start-up working place called Camden Collective – and we spend way less money 😉
Building a solid and cool team was our second step after that. Being an online platform, it was crucial for us to find a great developer, which was a bit of a nightmare. Throughout our journey, we have been working with seven different guys before finding the rare gem. Best tool to find them: AngelList.
Later on, we decided to hire a Business Developer. We are now four in the office, and let me tell you, it’s a real pleasure for all of us coming to work every morning.
We launched our product end of September. Right now, our focus is on improving the product based on users’ feedback, implementing partnerships, and of course getting users!
Do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or if you just want to say hi and you’re always more than welcome to visit us – find out more details here.