Collider puts £150k up for grabs to MadTech startups. It's kind of a big deal.

Unilever's Global SVP of Marketing and SVP of Global Media talk with Mike Schwede, founder of Collider startup, Cooala Are you a marketing or advertising tech (MadTech) startup? Then listen up. Now entering the second half of our third year, Collider is at it again. Applications are now open for the Class of 2016 programme, and we're putting £150k of equity investment up for grabs to the hottest MadTech startups out there. But it’s not just the money that’s worth getting excited about, we also deliver an awesome programme to help you make that money go further. What makes the programme a winner for MadTech startups? Brands & Agencies. Some of the biggest and the best. Collider partners with the likes of Unilever, Havas Media, Ogilvy & Mather Group UK, The National Lottery, BBC Worldwide and many more. All of these brands and agencies commit their time to meeting and mentoring Collider’s startups.

We all know how important customer development is, right? Well, our startups get invaluable, early and in-depth access to leading brands and agencies across a range of industries. Startups spend time with Brand Managers, SVPs of Digital and everyone in between to really get to the bottom of customer problems. By better understanding their customers, Collider startups refine their proposition and tech with the confidence that they’re building something brands actually want.

It’s not just the brands that make this the best place for MadTech startups, it’s the investors too. Collider investors are the smartest money out there – be it industry stalwarts who have risen to the top of global brands like Pepsico and Unilever or entrepreneurs who have set up and sold agencies; these investors offer golden advice and a contact book to die for.

And what does it all add up to? Deals and plenty of them. After 7 months of the Class of 2014 cohort, nine Collider startups had signed £560k worth of deals with 28 brands. This is how the team here judge ourselves – we believe the way to fuel your business is revenue not investment. But if you do want the stats on that, 70% of our first cohort of startups went on to raise follow-on money.

So, what’s the deal I hear you say?

  • Collider is offering up to 10 startups £50k cash for 11% equity. We charge £10k for the Collision phase programme – four months of brand interactions, intensive one-on-one coaching, workshops and support from the likes of Taylor Wessing and Deloitte.
  • After four months Collider will then invest a further £100k cash for 11% equity in up to five of the startups, as decided by our investors. No need to spend six months fundraising; the investment is decided on immediately and paid into accounts within one week. Collider will charge £10k for a further 8 months’ support getting the founders ready for their Series A, including monthly board meetings, fundraising work etc.

What is Collider looking for?

  • Startups which provide tools to help brands identify, understand, engage with or sell to consumers
  • Collider is particularly excited about the possibilities of tools for video, online to offline, dynamic and native advertising, automated marketing, marketing analytics, e-commerce and m-commerce and offline digital retail. And much, much more.
  • Startups with a minimum of two founders
  • Startups which are at or near MVP stage
  • Startups which are willing to travel to London on a weekly basis, but can be based anywhere

Finally, what do the alumni have to say about it? Here’s Carl Wong, co-founder of Collider startup LivingLens:

“I can say that the value we have received has been incredible - the brilliance of the advisor pool, the top quality & seniority of the brand side people, and the real opportunities to work with these brands, has made the experience so great that in retrospect, I would have GIVEN our shares away for free to be part of this. It has been without question, the best decision and most rewarding experience of my career, and I would wholeheartedly recommend Collider to any start-up.”

Oh What a Night!

A massive thank you to all 200 of you who came to our event last night at DigitasLBi, we hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did. It was fantastic to see so many friends in the room as well as new faces, and we can't wait to see you again at our next event. To relive all the action, you can watch the highlights of the evening made by Seenit:

We’d love to hear your feedback about Demo Day.  And what better way to get feedback than through one our startups! Just click onto this Sumo Insight smartphone optimised survey  http://bit.ly/su-mo2,  and tell us what you thought.  If you register your email address, Sumo will even put your name into a free champagne prize draw once you’ve completed it.

What's next? Well, we're already hungry for the next round and so watch this space for more details. In the mean time, make sure to keep in touch: https://twitter.com/ColliderGB


Guest Post: How to Be a Good Listener by StashMetrics

_MG_5098At StashMetrics we talk a lot about how to be a good listener. Our company is set up to help brands listen to social media data, to understand the value of what they can hear and to turn that in to valuable insight - and so it was fascinating turning this on ourselves during the collision phase. Each startup will be writing a guest blog to share the highs and lows that come with being an early stage startup. This is your chance to get a sneaky peek into what it is like to be part of Collider and even grab a chunk of wisdom on the way.

This week’s is written by Sam Oakley, the co-founder at StashMetrics.

In this case it wasn’t listing to social data but the same principles apply, in the context of Collider this trying to understand the value of listening to all the advice and support we’ve been offered, to prioritize.

The truth is that, just as not all insight is good insight, not all advice is good advice (my Collider mentors excluded of course). As a startup, learning to “listen well” is so fundamentally important - I cannot overstate it – because you sure as hell can’t listen to everyone. In the three-month collision phase I’ve had advice of one sort or the other from at least 60 people, there’s gold in there, stuff that has fundamentally changed our business but there’s also a huge amount of potential distractions.

If I had any advice to startups considering Collider I’d say three things when it comes to listening:

1.     Work out what your assumptions you’ve made in your business model early on - test these and these alone. Test them in a way that is repeatable so that you can compare the answers you get later on in the programme with those from early on. We were late working this out and spent at least three weeks in Jan asking people questions to which we already knew the answers. (And keep a log of you spoke to, when and what they said).

2.     Don’t listen to the first person who questions your business model, (listen to the 3rd if all 3 agree). You were picked from god-knows-how-many entrants so you probably have an idea that’s sound enough. The Collider coaches are smart and experienced, if it’s clear that you need to pivot they’ll make you listen.

3.     The feedback you get early-on is incredibly valuable but you have to “listen smart.” We worked this out late on in month one and started a spreadsheet combining the advice given with the competencies of the person giving it. You get patterns pretty quickly and once you have a pattern you have insight. I reckon ours has shaved weeks off our tech development plan, valuable weeks.

In the end it comes down to the same mantra we use with brands, listening is brilliant, you can (and will) learn things that change your business but you need to know why you’re doing it and you need keep tabs on the context, otherwise things can get very noisy very quickly.

Guest Post: Ad Venture


Each startup will be writing a guest blog to share the highs and lows that come with being an early stage startup. This is your chance to get a sneaky peek into what it is like to be part of Collider and even grab a chunk of wisdom on the way.

This week’s is written by Bob Haynes, the Director of Ad Venture.

Looking back through the 9 week programme, it is amazing to see how Ad Venture has changed, and that’s not just in reference to the name change!

As a team, prioritizing has never been one of our strongest points, and this has become even more evident during the Collider programme. It seems as if as soon as we believe things are under control, a client decides to throw in an obstacle which completely throws our weeks plans! Trying to fit in an important meeting in with a customer and an equally as important Collider day is virtually impossible. This was the case during the Unilever Brand day in week 5, but luckily it turned out not to be too much of a problem in the end.

The day at Unilever was probably the most valuable to date in terms of networking and giving us a brilliant opportunity to refine our pitch and analyse our strengths and weaknesses. Each 15 minute slot we were faced with a different point of view, and with that a different critique, some of which were completely foreign to us. One point, which was really interesting, was how targeting may not be as important as we thought. Head of strategy for Surf pointed this out to us and after so much positivity from other department heads, his comments brought us back down to earth. After delivering our elevator pitch he pretty much dismissed our product straight away explaining how his KPI was purely to reach as many people as possible, this made us really struggle for the next 14 minutes…

The rest of the ‘speed dates’ were great, and it was brilliant to hear other suggestions to how we can adapt out service for different brands. After the last round we were well and truly exhausted, but we came out with many follow up meetings and even a Unilever mentor!


LivingLens Win the Future of Tech

6 of our startups pitched at TFM&A, battling over who could be crowned 'The Future of Tech'. The panel comprised marketing experts were judging them on their pitch style, clarity of explanation, and the potential of the product to change a market. The six startups were:

Our panel was made up of ex-SVP of Unilever Andy Porteous, Janine Hawkins who was previously Global CEO of WPP, and Dan Thwaites from iris ventures.

It was a tough call but the judges decided that LivingLens was the winner! The judges described how " they were able to present the problem they are solving in a clear way. It is true that brands keep repeating research, and at great expense, when they may have the answer already. The LivingLens product came across as new and innovative, and Carl was able to deal with the questions from the audience in a professional way."