CEW Loves A Podcast, Pt 1. 

So Cathy, a podcast fan-girl, and I started a conversation in the office to see what people listened to! After many discussions, we’re now bringing you a mini-series to round up the faves of the office for you to see where we invest our precious earbud time. Starting with mine. 

99 Percent Invisible (99PI) is my go-to recommendation when people want new audio delights. Through 99 Percent Invisible I have increased my knowledge of all things, from an obsession with a phone box in the Mojave Desert, hearing about an airport in Newfoundland, all the way through to an interest in areas of America that suffer from drought whilst actually putting people behind bars if their lawn is too brown or badly maintained. Lawn Order - say it in a slow American voice... 

99PI has expanded my knowledge - its Moto “always read the plaque” is a great life rule. I went as far as being a donor to the team behind it for a while. 

Through 99PI, you’ll then discover Roman Mars - he not only has the most soothing voice since the M&S ‘this is not just food’ adverts, he is creating a new ‘label’ for audio journalism. Broadening the radio landscape (Wired’s words, not mine). In Radiotopia he has created a platform for some amazing indie podcasters to share their works. Keep doing you, Mr Mars! 

Song Exploder is an independent podcast whilst also being a member of Roman Mars’ Radiotopia. Famous musicians take apart their songs and describe the journey they took in creating that particular track. The very first episode was one of the tracks I grew up to, The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights”

A few of my favourite episodes are:

☐ 35: Toro Y Moi - a really good listen. 
☐ 62: Time to Pretend by MGTM (First year heading into second year - “a modern day banger” - I am almost certain I said that at some point). 
☐ 79: Band of Horses’s Solemn Oath, and number 
☐ 98: my all time fave episode: Bonobo: Break Apart. Such an entertaining and insightful listen if you are of the Simon Green persuasion. 

To give you an idea of the artists featured, the pod has also played host to Metallica, Iggy Pop, Björk, Garbage, KT Tunstall, Deathcab, Fleetwood Mac, Mumford and Sons and Solange! 

If you are reading this Hrishikesh (the awesome producer of the show and general badass), Song Exploder will not be complete without Hanson (our colleague Renata here can’t give a five star without her boyz).

Hmmmm (bop), what next? 

The Football Ramble is a gem, you don’t need to be a football fan to enjoy it, but as one myself it certainly helps. Three very entertaining chaps, and Pete, chat about what’s going on in the game and the wider world around it. 

From ever so unfriendly abuse of Mike Ashley (deserved) to crying at the rise of Spurs, right down to the terraces of lower league football - it is well worth a listen. 

Others: 

My pod-listening doesn’t stop there though. Here are a few highlights: 

Unfiltered with James O’Brien - his chats with Cantona and the poet, rapper, scholar and general inspiration, Akala, were particular favourites for me. 

Tomorrow with Joshua Topolsky - what’s happening right now - and next - in the world of culture, tech, internet, music and more. 

Recode Decode - Kara Swisher chats to some big names in the world of tech, politics and more on the future they are creating. 

Longform: The show that interviews filmmakers, writers, journos and podcasters about how and what they do. 

Harry’s Last Stand: Just listen to it for tales and insight from a man that has seen it all. A man that fought in the war telling his tales, the sadness of his sister being lost to TB and a running theme of Brexit being a shit idea (my words). 

Cortex:  I just don’t know how to describe this, but there is something so familiar with the nerd level in it - and I say it purely in a good way. CGP Grey and Mike Hurley are great - my intro to this was from a host on the MWW Podcast (good listen too, from two tech stalwarts both here in Shoreditch and Stateside) with an episode discussing the layout of apps on a phone and how they handle the nightmare, hooked. 

So there you have it, I got carried away, and from one blog about my favourite podcast we have a mini-series. Keep an eye on the blog for some great content from my colleagues as well as my interview with Cathy on her favourite podcasts. As a podcast producer and fan-girl herself, it is going to have some crackers, of that I am sure. 

BY DOUG HUNTER, ACCOUNT MANAGER AT CEW COMMS

Here are some online digital marketing courses to improve your PR game

When you own a business, having a digital presence is crucial. Especially if you are a tech business, you are expected to be on top of your digital game. To help you boost your marketing strategy, we selected some online courses you can take to learn how to improve your online presence as a business. 

Google’s Digital Garage
Google offers perhaps one of the widest ranges of online courses that you can find. Upon completion of a course, you get to take a test and can become certified, which not only looks great on your CV, but it shows that you really mastered the specific skills that you were learning. 

Google is a known pioneer in helping people obtain the skills necessary to run their business online. Digital Garage offers quite a complex package of skills that each modern business owner can utilise to grow their career and business. You can learn anything from making long term social media plans to managing your time effectively. 

With Google, you can also learn on the go. It has an app called Google Primer, which offers similar content like Digital Garage, but is easily accessible via your phone for learning during your commute or while you wait for a meeting. 

Facebook Blueprint
Facebook remains one of the most used social media networks and as such allows marketers to go through a course that teaches them all about how Facebook works and how you can use its tools to reach your target audience. 

Blueprint is particularly focused on running Facebook pages and ads on them, but there are courses for different levels, both for beginners and advanced users. Upon completion, you can also get certified. 

General Assembly 
General Assembly offers courses both online and offline, and it is a great chance to meet like-minded people and learn from each other too. They also organise one-off events in multiple cities. Besides digital marketing, they cover data, coding, design and career development. 

Hubspot Academy 
Hubspot is another platform where you can learn the ropes of digital marketing. Their courses are taught by industry experts in the form of lessons, videos and quizzes. The courses also differ in length, some take several hours to complete, but some are great as a quick knowledge fix within half an hour. 

Alison
Alison offers a range of digital marketing courses. You can choose to start from the very beginning and learn the fundamentals and build up all the way to web business development and marketing and web analytics. 

Social media advertising with Buffer 
We’ve told you about Buffer before, a platform that enables you to schedule social media posts. If you want to focus on your social media skills from a wider perspective, give a shot to Buffer’s Intro to Social Media Advertising. 

SEO Training Course by Moz
Some people say that SEO is dead, but if you are not one of them, you can definitely check out some of the courses focusing on search engine optimisation. 

The Ultimate Pinterest Guide
An extremely interesting platform in the social media world is Pinterest. While it is not used by many tech companies, it has 291 million monthly active users. If you are a business which could benefit from Pinterest, there are also courses on how to make money over there. 

Email marketing 
Although most people’s inboxes are exploding these days, email marketing is another way for reaching your target audience. Unlike social media, you don’t have to attract people to come to you. Instead, you come their way. 

BY MONIKA BOUDOVA, JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE AT CEW.

#StartupsToWatch: LIV

Recently we had the chance to work with an amazing startup that is changing the way gamers and spectators interact. LIV is a VR live streaming company which has embarked on a journey to make the experience of gaming spectators more fun and relatable. 

Twitch and similar live-streaming platforms have grown immensely over the last few years and the esports industry has seen investment pouring in. With over 2.2 million daily broadcasters and 15 million daily Twitch viewers, this new form of entertainment is experiencing a boom. 

However, VR games, in particular, tend to be difficult to watch as there are two potential viewpoints. Spectators can either watch the game through the eyes of the player or watch the player in the real world. But what if the spectator could see the player in the game? That’s exactly the solution that LIV has come up with. 

The Prague-based startup was founded by AJ Shewki (aka Dr Doom) in 2016. AJ studied mechanical engineering at the King’s College in London before moving to San Francisco where he set up his first startup. On top of that, he also managed to be the number one European competitive gamer of World of Warcraft for two consecutive seasons. 

With VR becoming a thing, his initial business idea was to sell green cubes that gamers could stream from. Unfortunately, that business model was not as sustainable as AJ had hoped. He was well aware that creating content in VR was considerably more difficult than with other computer games, and wanted to find a solution to facilitate creating VR content and making it more shareable. 

And that’s how LIV started. The company is the new age VR streaming specialist on the journey to create a truly engaging spectator experience. The team created a mixed reality interface that has been featured in many viral videos from games such as Beatsaber. Its product, LIV App, enables streamers to share the experience of VR gaming with their audience and engage with them in a new way. It basically allows spectators to be part of the game and make decisions by purchasing boosters and what not for the player. 

LIV has also built a strong Discord community with 11,000 users and counting. The company is now based in Prague while the team continues working from across the world. And it is hiring too

Last month, LIV announced a new round of investment in which the company has been backed by Palmer Luckey of Oculus and Jaroslav Beck of Beat Games, among others. With the new funds, the goal is to build the first integrated VR live streaming and real-time audience interaction. 

Make sure to check their Youtube videos and support them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

BY MONIKA BOUDOVA, JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE AT CEW COMMS

3 companies using AI to change healthcare 

We’ve all seen the reports: artificial intelligence is here and it will change the way we look at and interact with healthcare. Most recently, Elon Musk made waves in the industry when he announced NeuraLink, his company to explore ways to connect the human brain to a computer interface, has applied to US regulators to start trialling its device on humans.

NeuraLink, however, is not alone. There are several companies in Europe that are taking the lead when it comes to exploring ways to use AI and machine learning in healthcare. We’ve selected three of them that should be on your radar.

Babylon
Babylon’s mission is to put an accessible and affordable healthcare service in the hands of every person on earth. Using a combination of unique AI technology and medical expertise, Babylon is able to deliver digital health tools in multiple languages and localised for multiple countries. 

In some countries, they offer 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week access to a health professional through virtual consultations. Their current technology allows users to instantly learn more about their symptoms through their AI symptom checker and to assess and improve their future health with an AI-powered healthcheck.

The company recently announced it raised $550 million in Series C funding, elevating the company to unicorn status, with a valuation of $2 billion with a total of $635 million raised.

BIOS
We’ve been working with BIOS since August last year and what a thrill it has been! BIOS is a leading neural engineering startup, creating the open standard hardware and software interface between the human nervous system and AI. They are developing the standards, datasets, tools, and algorithms to enable a new generation of neural treatments to improve the quality of life for millions of people affected by chronic disease. 

Their team combines applied materials, machine learning, software, neuroscience in conjunction with the experience of surgeons, clinicians and patients to create a seamless and accessible user experience. BIOS has generated the largest peripheral neural data set in the world and is leading cutting-edge machine learning research in the neuromodulation and bioelectronic medicine fields.

Last December, they raised $4.5 million to grow operations in the UK and expand internationally. More recently, they won The Europas Awards as "Hottest HealthTech Startup" and were also included in Startups 100 2019.

Lifebit
Lifebit is building a cloud-based cognitive system that can reason about DNA data like humans do. Its first product, Deploit, can be used to scale distributed analysis within a team’s own secure data environments and drastically reduce time and costs up to 80%. 

The company’s AI Engine is the tool of the future for precision medicine and multi-omics data analysis. By using their federated machine learning platform, users can have access to the insights provided by datasets across the globe, while the data stays where it is, private and secure. This allows algorithms to be trained on huge datasets without worrying about data sharing obstacles. Finally, biomedical data can be shared across organisations to benefit the precision medicine industry, enabling worldwide benefits.

In 2018, the startup closed a $3 million seed round led by Pentech and Connect Ventures, and in the previous year, they won the Audience Choice Award at the Women Startup Challenge Europe 2017.

BY RENATA MIRANDA, ACCOUNT MANAGER AT CEW COMMS.


These Are The Tech VCs To Follow

You either love them or hate them, but venture capital is one of many ways to help fund a startup. We regularly monitor what’s going on in the VC world so we know where investors are putting their money - a great insight into the growing markets and most exciting uses of technology. These are the European VCs we think you should follow to stay in the know, pitch to in the future, or just for some simple inspiration. 

Accel Ventures
Accel Ventures is a venture capital firm that partners with exceptional founders with unique insights and helps them from inception through all phases of growth. Past and current investments include Facebook, Dropbox, Slack and Deliveroo.

Albion Capital 
Albion is a leading investment management firm focusing on B2B software and tech enabled services in the UK. The team have also backed companies across digital health, MarTech and FinTech. 

Atomico 
Atomico invests at Series A & beyond, leveraging deep operational experience. Investments include  Bossa Studios, FarmDrop, and GymPass. Keep an eye out for its annual State of European Tech report. 

Bryce Keane
Bryce is Partner and Head of Communications at Atomico where he’s worked with companies like Klarna, Lilium, Truecaller or MessageBird. Previously Founder of Albion Drive, Bryce is a PR Jedi - well worth a follow!

Niklas Zennström
Niklas is the CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico, as well as an experienced technology investor and entrepreneur. We’re pretty sure you’ll of heard of one of his most famous ventures - Skype! 

Mattias Ljungman 
Mattias is the co-founder of Atomico. He’s recently announced that he’s starting a new seed fund - Moonfire Ventures - he’s previously backed Klarna, SuperCell and TrueCaller. Well worth a follow to see what’s next!

Backstage Capital 
Backstage Capital work with underestimated and underrepresented leaders and bring them to the top. We are OBSESSED with the team and the portfolio! You should follow them, and the core team of Backstage London are ace - Andy Ayim, Anisah Osman Britton, and Andy Davis

Balderton Capital 
Balderton is said to be one of the biggest European VCs focused on tech companies. Backing European founders with global ambitions, and they’ve definitely proved that as they worked with companies like Citymapper, Nutmeg, and Revolut, among many others.  

Suranga Chandratillake
Suranga is a Partner at Balderton and a former entrepreneur. He founded a company called blinkx, an intelligent search engine for video and audio content. 

Cherry Ventures
Berlin based Cherry invests in Seed stage + companies across Europe. Investments include Eastnine, Manual, and Weengs, with a mix of both B2B and B2C companies. 

Dawn Capital
Dawn focus their investments in their specialist areas of fintech and B2B Software. With headquarters in London, they are the largest European specialist VC. In their portfolio, they have companies like Collibra and iZettle.

Evgenia Plotnikova
Evgenia heads Dawn Capital’s investments in France and Benelux, and more broadly covers exciting B2B companies in software and fintech across Europe. Since joining Dawn, Evgenia led an investment into ZIVVER ($12m Series A) and is actively involved with the company. In 2017, she was named in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of leading young entrepreneurs, innovators and game-changers.

Sarah Nöckel
At Dawn Capital, Sarah is responsible for sourcing, due diligence and execution of investments in B2B software and fintech across Europe. Sarah is also the founder of Femstreet, the leading newsletter on women tech, entrepreneurship and diversity in Venture Capital.

Diversity VC
Diversity’s mission is to create a fairer and more diverse venture capital industry in London and beyond. 

Francesca Warner 
Francesca is the co-founder of Diversity VC, and invests in early-stage tech businesses. She is PHENOMENAL and a true champion. Improve your Twitter feed by following her. 

Downing Ventures 
Downing Ventures is all about early and growth-stage technology businesses. They work with fast-growing business and more than 25,000 investors who help startups reach their goals every day. Investments include Open Bionics and Live Better With. 

Early Bird VC
Earlybird focuses on European technology innovators and supporting the digital economy. Its wide portfolio covers everything from big data to eCommerce and healthcare to fashion. Investments include Lexoo and N26.

Episode 1
Based in London, Episode 1 focuses on startups “hidden in the blindsight”. They believe that they see the world like you, not like typical investors. They were early investors in Zoopla, Shazam and Betfair. 

Five Seasons Ventures 
Five Seasons Ventures focuses on FoodTech and AgTech innovation. Partners Ivan Farneti and Niccolo Manzoni invest in product and process innovation aimed at solving the global challenges of the food industry.

Forward Partners 
Forward Partners supercharge tech startups from day zero all the way through Series A. Since 2013 they've backed over 50 startups, working with founders to build great products, achieving higher valuations, faster. Investments include AppearHere, Hailo, and Baby 2 Body.

Frontline Ventures 
Frontline Ventures focuses particularly on European seed-stage B2B companies with an ambition to expand to the US - more than half of its portfolio companies have US offices. Based in London and Dublin, they provide both capital and experience to help shorten founders' learning curves. 

William McQuillan
William is a Partner at Frontline Ventures and was the youngest partner of a European VC fund when Frontline was founded. 

Sitar Teli 
Sitar has been a VC for 14 years, focusing on early-stage investments in both consumer and B2B companies. She is now a partner at Connect Ventures where she led rounds for companies like Citymapper or Typeform. 

Index Ventures
Index Ventures helps small companies go global. They share lots of success stories of businesses that they’ve worked with over the past 20+ years and how they continue to grow. Companies like Dropbox, Deliveroo and Revolut are just a few of the big names they have in their portfolio.

Ari Helgason
Ari is a former entrepreneur with both an operating and investing background. His core investment focus is on enterprise software, SaaS and fintech across all stages. Before joining Index, Ari was at Dawn Capital in London where he invested in and worked with SaaS and open source companies in Europe and the US. 

Local Globe 
Local Globe focuses on seed funding, the first stage of any funding round. Nevertheless, they’ve worked with today’s tech giants like Transferwise and Zoopla.

Saul Klein & Robin Klein 
Father and son duo who have worked with many of the biggest European tech successes, including Kano, Seedcamp, Index Ventures, Moo, LoveFilm, Zoopla, Transferwise…the list goes on! 

Octopus Ventures 
Octopus Ventures look for talented entrepreneurs who have big ideas and want to build global businesses. They’ve worked with over 70 companies and helped them raise more than £150 million last year. Based in London and New York with Venture Partners in San Francisco, Singapore and China, their typical investment is from £1 million for Seed to around £5 million for Series A.

Akriti Dokania
Akriti is an investor at Octopus Ventures where she focuses on deep tech businesses in the field of AI, Machine Learning, B2B Enterprise Software, Cyber Security and next-generation automation.

Gian Seehra
Gian focuses primarily on health companies at Octopus Ventures. Before becoming an investor, he led a biotechnology company in Canada. 

Passion Capital
Passion Capital partners with entrepreneurs and operators to apply their experiences to help founders and early-stage teams in the digital world. Since 2011 they've funded 70 early-stage tech startups, including Monzo, Adzuna and Tide.

Seedcamp 
Seedcamp is a mighty classic. They operate across all of Europe and have helped prominent companies like UiPath, Revolut and Transferwise make their mark. They focus on early world-class founders who are attacking large, global markets and solving real problems using technology. 

Carlos Espinal 
Carlos is the managing partner at Seedcamp and an experienced seed-stage investor. He works closely with their portfolio companies on everything from settling founder disputes to setting fundraising milestones. He’s also the host of Seedcamp’s podcast called This Much I Know

Reshma Sohoni 
Reshma co-founded Seedcamp in 2007 and is one of the most influential people on London’s VC scene. She works with companies on wide-ranging topics that help push them from those difficult early days into being household names.

BY MONIKA BOUDOVA, JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE AT CEW COMMS.

We need to talk about your direct mail…

First of all, I’m going to have a rant. 

I’ve always received cold emails across my career, but the volume at which they grew when I set up CEW was crazy. I know, as a business owner/decision-maker it was bound too. But what continues to shock and aggravate me is just how terrible the direct mail hitting my email and LinkedIn is. 

When we were fortunate enough to be included in the Startups 100 last year, the amount of inbound I received shot up even more. We were now one of a hundred names on a list that a huge variety of service-based businesses could approach. We became an easier target.

It was rare that I responded to any email or LinkedIn message that came after that. If I did it was to ask for CEW to be removed from their mailing list, and sometimes I might be polite enough to decline. 

For the first time in a (almost) ten year PR career, I have more empathy for journalists than I ever have before. [Note - the following rules also apply to pitching the media.]

The amount of time wasted reading emails from people who couldn’t be bothered to do their research in the first place, is frustrating, and personally, I just think it’s plain rude. 

We’re all increasingly time-poor due to the demands of work, demands of life, and the notifications and calls for our time from people we already know and want to stay connected with. 

So, if you are the person who needs to send a direct mail - for whatever reason - to someone you don’t yet know, PLEASE READ BELOW. 

1) Think about the ‘why’
The email you send a prospective client will be different from the first email to a potential investor. 

The information you share, how you position it, and the way you approach them all need to be considered. The two things to invest time into are your messaging and getting to the crux of what you’re asking for - but doing it in such a time that people receiving the email don’t waste time and can make faster decisions. 

Invest more time before you hit send, then you do wasting time in follow up emails. 

2) Research
What was really clear when CEW was featured in the Startups 100 list, was that practically every company who emailed us was sending the same email to the other 99 companies. 

Aside from a generic ‘congratulations...’ and ‘we’re super impressed by...’ the rest of the email would go on to talk about a service that we didn’t need, and relate it to the sort of company that we aren’t. 

It seems so simple that you’d assume everyone knows they should do it. BUT RESEARCH THE COMPANY AND PERSON BEFORE YOU EMAIL THEM. 

A simple 30 seconds spent looking on our website or LinkedIn would tell you enough to know if you are a service of value to us. 

Adding as much as a few lines that are targeted about the business you are contacting makes a significant shift in the mindset of the individual reading it. The second I see that someone doesn’t understand what we do - I STOP READING AND IGNORE THE EMAIL. 

You need to reel people in. Personalise the email and make sure that who you are targeting is relevant. 

For critical future contacts invest even more time in the research piece upfront. 

3) Seriously, make sure you get somebody’s name right. 
I’m not going into detail on this, just highlighting that if you email cathy@cewcomms..., do not address the person in the email as Kathy/Cassy/Catchy/Thy/Caroline. 

Yes, I once responded to an email and someone who popped Cathy in the first email, then responded to ‘Caroline’. 

Small details are the big details! 

4) Please stop ‘expanding our networks’ 
This is something I see a lot on LinkedIn, and I hate it with a fiery passion. 

Firstly, anyone who connects with you so you can both ‘expand your networks’ is using this as a sales technique. 

Personally, it comes across as incredibly phoney to me and while I used to say ‘yes’ to most people approaching me through LinkedIn, I now mainly say no unless I can see you’re part of my existing network. Which goes against the whole point of ‘expanding our mutual circles’. 

I prefer to add people I have actually met in person or have had a lot of contact with. However, I know this isn’t the case for a lot of people who use LinkedIn and it carries a sales benefit. 

All I suggest is that if you are going to add a cold contact, be honest about why you’re adding them. Make it punchy, pay attention to the details as with email, and stop adding time-wasters like me to your network if all I’m going to be is another number. 

Make the connections that really count. 

5) Review your tech and be careful with follow-up emails
We know that a lot of salespeople use systems to send out initial emails and follow up with the people they were contacted - we get it, tech saves time etc. but if you’re not watching all the details like a hawk, it can backfire terribly. 

Firstly, make sure you’re being GDPR compliant and make opting out easy to find. Add a button or flag you’re ok to receive an email responding that you want to be removed from the database. THEN REMOVE THEM STRAIGHT AWAY. 

This is where the human to tech relationship can fall down. If you forget and then they get another email, you’re in trouble. 

But another issue is when tech doesn’t spot out of offices, and can’t take what the out of office might say, into consideration. What if you send a chaser email to someone who was recently bereaved, or someone who said they’re disconnecting for two weeks. The tech may be ‘at fault’ but it’s people that need to pay attention to all the details. 

Remember, every ‘lead’ you’re emailing is a human being, just like you. Email them as you would want to be emailed and be respectful of their time. It’s very simple really, but far more effective in the longer term. 


BY CATHY WHITE, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF CEW COMMUNICATIONS.

PropTech and InsurTech, A Big Relationship to Watch

PopTech and InsurTech, sitting in a tree….

It takes but a minute to check my Twitter and spot some serious themes. I wax, not-very-lyrical about the dreaded B-word, some sport, and my clients. That’s about it - follow if you want, but you’ve been warned. 

However, I’m not ashamed to be increasingly more fascinated by the work people are doing in some key places, places I wouldn’t know much about without these clients. My first ever client to be in one of the “-Techs” was a PropTech team. Since then, I’ve had my finger in the various PropTech, InsurTech, MedTech, HealthTech, LawTech, RegTech and other -Tech pies. Today we will stick to just three, PropTech, InsurTech and FinTech. Which, by my way of looking at things, are part of one big sector - FinTech.

So how do FinTech, PropTech and InsurTech fit together? 
They just do… I would need a lot more space to cover the whole topic, so here is a very brief intro to a small part of it.

InsurTech is definitely a FinTech sub-section, I will have a live TV debate with anyone that questions this. I firmly believe that PropTech is connected as well. Think about it, a lot of what it does is handling data and transactions, the very cornerstone of FinTech.

London FinTech laid the path
A lot of what residential PropTech has achieved in the last few years has been the same as what Monese, Starling, Monzo and other challenger banks have done. They have revolutionised the way people handle their finances on a day-to-day basis. People can split bills instantly, shift money to savings accounts/pots, instantly set-up direct debits, receive email receipts for expenses and more, oh and travel for less! 

[FYI, young people like traveling freely and going to a host of other nations, when the hell they want, not hinting at anything here, but don’t take that away from us just when we can spend our money abroad without being charged, cough.]

That is what PropTech has started doing too. It allows for bills to be split easily, contractors to be booked (FixFLo), rents to be paid, documents to be signed, Right to Rent checks to be sorted (CheckDocs) for example. Furthermore, people can agree tenancy terms, request rent payments and pay said rent payments (Rentr)! It gets crazy when we start to share keys and open doors remotely..  from the swipe of a phone (I will get myself Klevio One of these days…) and so much more… easily from our devices on the fly. 

Who wants it?
The purchasing power of youth is bigger than ever, well, the size of the demographic at least. The requirements of these users are different, they want fast, convenient, relevant and flexible - mobile-first products are a must! 

Our client KASKO for instance, the team behind the term InsurTech as a Service, recently created a new insurance product for Co-op Insurance. A flexible, relevant insurance product for student renters. 

It isn’t the first and won’t be the last InsurTech to be PropTech or PropTech to be InsurTech either. 

Another client, Reposit is making waves. Co-Founder Jude and his team, created the now much-discussed deposit replacement market. With Reposit, tenants can pay the equivalent of one weeks rent, which works like an insurance plan, protecting them against all elements that would be covered by a traditional deposit, but differs as one doesn’t have to pay 5 weeks rent to be covered. FCA Regulated and FSCS protected - which is vital in gaining trust when operating in such an important space - one handling people’s money and livelihoods.

Enough shameless plugging though, the important part here is that this is again, InsurTech…. most definitely FinTech and, come at me if you think it isn’t PropTech.

The list can go on, there is an awesome team out in France called LUKO, creating wee devices as well as insurance products that sense leaks or changes in the home and therefore help you with repairs and, you guessed it, insurance claims… PropTech and InsurTech strikes again! 

Ever heard of Cocoon? The smart security camera that watches and listens to changes in the home. If you have one, Aviva will give you a discount on home insurance. SmartHome (which is PropTech for the consumer) making your insurance cheaper… erm, bingo… InsurTech…

Touching a little more on SmartHome gear, this new tech that is creeping into everyday homes switches power off when you leave, warns of leaks, senses smoke and notifies the right people, spots burglars better and is going to change the way buildings and cities operate in time… 

If that doesn’t have an insurance link… Then I quit. 

FinTech is massive, we have seen billion-dollar valuations a few times of late, and it has done a sterling job of growing trust in the wider space. In turbulent times, money is still flying from VC pockets into London startups and further afield… But the time is upon us, Fin’s two children, Prop and Insur have grown up fast. I think these two are set to take over as powerhouses of investment in the foreseeable future.

Unicorn hunting season is open. 

BY DOUG HUNTER, ACCOUNT MANAGER AT CEW COMMS.

5 newsletters you need to sign up to get your tech fix

Staying on top of everything that’s happening in the tech world can be an exhausting task. Every day we are bombarded with startups announcing new funding, shiny products being released, the latest data-breach scandal, and many, many more news breaking every minute or so.

And here’s where the beauty of newsletters come in as they help you save time by listing all the must-reads in one place. The tech industry sure is full of them, but some are precious gems. Carefully crafted with not only the news you absolutely have to know but also some curiosities that can come in handy on your next networking event, making you look good as an empowered and informed member of society.

Here are some of our favourites at CEW that we definitely recommend you sign up for.

The Download
This well-rounded daily round-up by the MIT Technology Review has everything you need to know about tech. Edited by Charlotte Jee, this newsletter is, as they put it themselves, a “daily dose of what's up in emerging technology”. This one is short and sweet, focusing on the most interesting stories of the day. The newsletter also has a ‘Top 10 Must-Read’ section, perfect for people on the go with not much time to do the complete rounds on all tech websites to see what’s what. Kudos to the ‘Quote of the Day’ section - a personal favourite of mine.

Sign up here.

Femstreet
Femstreet is the only thing that will make me check my work email every Sunday. This weekly newsletter is put together by Sarah Nöckel, B2B SaaS Investor at Dawn Capital. It focuses on women in tech, entrepreneurship and diversity in Venture Capital. Sarah has really turned the newsletter into a community with its own Slack channel. There, women from all over the globe share their insights, experiences and advice.

Sign up here.

Lady Bits
This monthly newsletter is edited by The Next Web. Made by women and for women (but guys - you CAN and SHOULD read it too!), it highlights women’s stories in tech, in a more lighthearted way. It brings a mix of serious news with memes. Despite its controversial debut, it is a newsletter that will certainly bring a smile to your face and evoke many ‘oh no they didn’t’ kind of moments.

Sign up here.

Sifted
As most people working in tech already know, Sifted is the FT-backed media site “telling the untold stories of European tech”. Its daily newsletter is a gift that keeps on giving. Edited by Amy Lewin, this newsletter won’t give you the breaking news, but it will give you the most interesting stories that you never thought you needed to know.

Sign up here.

Steve’s ITK
No tech newsletter list would be complete without Steve O’Hear’s ‘Steve’s ITK’. One of the most prolific writers in the tech scene, Steve gathers all the pieces he’s recently published, comments, updates and even rumours all in one place. 

Sign up here.

BY RENATA MIRANDA, ACCOUNT MANAGER AT CEW COMMS.

How to prepare for a new business meeting

There are times in life where you sink or you swim. You can be presented with the chance of a lifetime, which you can grasp, or let fall through your fingers like a handful of sand. In the life of a startup, these opportunities come at you thick and fast, or at least they present themselves as such. Startup life is intrinsically reliant on agility. So, we move on and treat each new lead as if it can be the next big thing for our businesses. When these leads have been watered and are beginning to grow, they sprout into new business meetings. And, this is where everything can get very, very, real, and you need to be prepared. How? Read on.

Plan, plan, execute
Whilst you may have got through some team meetings by winging it, you will not get through a new business meeting by spouting whatever that double espresso flings out of your mouth. It’s essential to prepare an eloquent slide deck that comprises all proposals of what you can do for the prospective client. Do not make these slides overlong, word-heavy and dense. They need to be a pleasant backdrop to your words. Stick to short sentences and include powerful images. Don’t include words where none will suffice, and this will keep your eyes off reading the screen rather than actually presenting.

When creating the plan for what you are going to say, ask yourself some key questions:

  • What’s the best outcome of this meeting, and how do I get there?

  • What are the key points I need to make?

  • What do I need from the client?

  • What’s the backup plan if there’s a technical glitch?

You should voice record yourself answering these questions and then make your notes from your voice clip. This way, your notes will mimic your speech and your presenting style will be more natural and have a friendly flow to it. If you write notes and learn them word for word, you risk your presenting style being monotonous and boring. You want to engage your audience to believe your every word.

Research and converse
We all like to be made to feel special. If you can impress your client with knowledge of themselves and their company, you’re already in their good books. Delegate different members of the company for your team to research and pull together the most interesting things about them. This can be done by doing a social media sweep and by exploring their company history. Bring up what you have learnt about them in flowing conversation and it will give a back and forth to the presentation that will be impressive, and show that there is the potential for you to work well together.

Any questions?
There’s always a point in any new business meeting when the potential new client asks “So, have you got any questions for us?”. If a tumbleweed rolls past to a deafening silence, this is not good. So, from your research and from the conversation during the meeting, have some questions ready to ask your potential new client. If the client has been responding coldly throughout, this is your chance to break the ice. You can be as off-the-wall as you like, depending on how you want the client to perceive you. Don’t be afraid to be out-there. They'll remember you for it.

This is also your chance to shape the end of the meeting to your own ends. If there are things that you want to highlight about your company, ask questions that you can link back to great things that you have done. Be energetic, be inquisitive and win them over with how you present yourself and your company.

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE AT CEW COMMS.

How to pitch journalists

There are a few ways you can define what a pitch is, from the quality of a sound to a level of intensity. In PR, however, it is the term we use to describe when we are approaching journalists with specific stories that we’d like them to cover.

For any PR professional, the components of a pitch are an essential string to their PR bow. The perfect pitch will produce the most fruitful ends - like a beautiful harp, comprised of the finest materials, producing beautiful melodies. These three steps below will help you approach journalists and have the potential to transform your business and your relationship with the media.

Do your research
Begin by finding a journalist that you think would be a good fit to cover your story. This can be done by searching on Twitter, or by finding articles with similar topics to the story you are planning to put out and seeing who has authored them.

In your pitch, you should show that you’ve done your homework: let them know why you are approaching them and mention similar articles they’ve written before. Give tangible and understandable reasons for why your story should run, don’t simply blurt out nothing statements such as “my company is so much better than [COMPANY], use it next time”.

Always keep the tone of the pitch positive and upbeat. You should come across as friendly, knowledgeable and confident, without seeming narcissistic and self-centred. This is not an overnight process. So, don’t be disheartened if your pitch doesn’t go to plan. Rework, reform and retry. Don’t get lost in self-deprecation, that’s not good for anyone.

Be agile
Whilst it’s completely acceptable to have a blanket term for beginning your pitches, they should definitely not all look the same. You need to really keep a close eye on your wording and if certain phrasing is not getting you any results, then bin it. Achieving pitch perfection is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to run those miles with agility at the forefront of your mind, shape-shifting your pitch to fit the needs and quirks of each journalist and publication that you send it to.

Show that you can devote as much time as they may need from you, to get your story to run. This can be in the form of offering a phone call or a coffee meeting. You want to make the journalist feel special, and that you’d go the extra mile for them.

Follow up
If you’ve taken the time to create a spectacular pitch for a spectacular publication, don’t rush to waste the time you’ve spent. After all, it’s much more beneficial to have one great piece than several generic ones, as a top-tier piece will filter down to the smaller ones anyway. Give the journalist some time to clear their inbox, and send a polite chaser email after a few days or give them a quick phone call.

Good luck, and happy pitching!

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE AT CEW COMMS.