Lifts the lid on some of the most successful UK tech companies of the last decade
Features David Buttress (ex-Just Eat), Brent Hoberman (Lastminute.com), Saul Klein (LocalGlobe), Neil Rimer (Index Ventures), Sarah Wood (Unruly), Wendy Tan White (Moonfruit, BGF) & Suranga Chandratillake (Balderton)
Reveals how David Buttress and his co-founder spent their first month’s revenue from takeaway food giant Just Eat down the pub – it was only £36
Features Onefinestay founder, Greg Marsh, on hiring and firing mistakes
Features Cherry Freeman, co-founder of LoveCrafts, on how to recognise investors who are wasting your time
Features Toby Moore, co-founder of Space Ape Games, on why you can’t assume your best engineer will make a good manager
Upscale: what it takes to scale a startup, by the people who’ve done it is an in-depth guide to every aspect of growing a tech company, including interviews with many of the UK’s best known tech entrepreneurs and investors who have between them built or backed companies valued at billions of pounds.
At a time when more people than ever are starting companies – over 2,000 new businesses of all kinds are launched in Britain every working day – Upscale zeroes in on the difficult scale-up period. This is the period of rapid growth when a company moves from being a small group of founders and early hires in a cramped office or co-working space to suddenly having scores or even hundreds of employees, sometimes scattered around the world.
Tech Nation kicked off the first Upscale programme in 2014 to fill a perceived gap in the market between accelerators, who work with startups in their very early days and programmes like Tech Nation’s Future Fifty, for more mature businesses. Since it was launched the Upscale programme has been completed by fast-growing tech companies including Pockit, Trussle, Bloom & Wild, Paddle and Signal.
With only a strictly limited number of places available to founders on the programme each year, Tech Nation decided a book would be the most effective way of bringing the many valuable insights from the heavyweight industry figures who front Upscale’s coaching sessions to a far wider audience.
“We were acutely aware that the number of startups invited onto Upscale each year will always, by necessity, be just a tiny fraction of the new digital companies out there,” Tech Nation’s Chief Executive Gerard Grech explains. “However, because one of Tech Nation’s core purposes is to help and support as many new companies as possible, the team came up with the idea of having an Upscale ‘writer-in-residence’ attend the sessions, hear about the topics that most preoccupied founders on the programme, and turn the results into a book.”
The goal of the book
“If the goal of this book is to capture the insights and experiences of some of Britain’s best-known technology entrepreneurs and investors, there is another underlying objective too,” says Gerard Grech. “We want the role models featured in Upscale’s pages to inspire the next wave of founders – whether they’re working on a prototype or a business plan or have already launched their startup —to start building the company of their dreams.
Journalist James Silver sat in on many of Upscale’s 2017 sessions as an observer and later interviewed most of the programme’s ‘scale coaches’ about their own businesses and scaling experience. As the book progressed over the course of the ensuing 14 months, the list of interviewees grew beyond the Upscale programme and even the wider Tech Nation family.
Who’s in it?
The book features insight from 25 of the UK’s leading tech entrepreneurs and industry veterans including:
Greg Marsh, co-founder of onefinestay, on hiring and firing
Sarah Wood, co-founder and chair of Unruly, on the changing role of leadership
Toby Moore, co-founder and CTO of Space Ape Games and now venture partner at Entrepreneur First, on scaling a tech team
Skyscanner’s VP of growth Shane Corstophine on overseas expansion
Lastminute.com and Founder’s Factory co-founder Brent Hoberman on startups partnering with corporates
Seedcamp co-founder Reshma Sohoni on scaling brand
Atomico partner and head of growth Benjamin Grol on scaling growth
Nadia Kelly, founder of tech PR consultancy Burlington and former Director of Communications at Index Ventures, on scaling comms and coping with crises
Carlos Gonzales-Cadenas, chief product technology officer at GoCardless, on scaling product
Partnerize CEO Malcolm Cowley on scaling an enterprise startup
Cherry Freeman, co-founder of LoveCrafts, on raising finance
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