I’ve been to many PfM events recently, but their London event is rightly the flagship. It was held at Nabarro, which is a law firm focussed on supporting the entrepreneurial community.
The line up was very impressive, and the audience were typically high-calibre. I’m not trying to argue that everyone in the provinces lives in a mud hut without electricity, but London’s a World City, and attracts the cream of the talent. It’s this event you should head to first if you want to sample the PfM brand.
Here’s a rundown of the more notable pitches:
Roy Price from Proxicap specialises in finding MDs for small businesses where they owner isn’t really willing (or maybe able) to take the firm where it needs to go. He has business interests in London and France, and I’ve personally seen fit to pursue some of the offers he’s had in the past. I’m personally better at supporting an existing management team, but if you’re an MD-type character looking for a high-growth SME opportunity, this might be worth exploring.
I’m used to getting messed about by people who are looking to use my time for free, but Zaur Mammadov from Vincore had a novel strategy for dealing with freeloading. In his pitch for management, he explicitly stated they weren’t looking to pay anyone for the mentoring they were after. The bold as brass technique had me hooked immediately, and I was very happy to talk to them further.
Raishma Couture is an exciting fashion brand, concentrating on high-end pieces for the South Asian community in the UK. They boast a long list of celebrity and high-profile work, including more than one Royal client. One of their dresses received worldwide coverage at the recent Royal wedding. Raishma Islam, the founder, was looking for support to take her brand forward in the ready-to-wear market, which is to include online. That’s a fantastic opportunity for people to get involved in a prominent brand aiming at new and diverse markets, whether in a marketing, operations or financial role. (@RaishmaCouture )
Owner Venture Managers couldn’t be more different. James Wooster and his team are in the business of finding off-market businesses for sale, and then putting together the funding and management teams to launch a management buy in or BIMBO deal. They concentrate on deals around the half million mark, attracting big hitting PAYE managers to make the jump to a role with some serious upside. £300,000 might sound like a great salary, but many entrepreneurs exceed that by orders of magnitude – and OVM is about helping them reach that potential. This is a novel business model to me, and I’m keen to find out more about it. They’re looking to find people to bring more deals to the business.
Active Minds sell a range of activities for dementia patients, using their online store and healthcare account sales. These range from art materials to help people retain motor and perceptual skills, through to picture books to aid retention of long-term memory. This is a really interesting product range, with a large and growing market. Ben Atkinson-Willes was looking for help to assist the firm’s growth. ( @active__minds )
Five Squids is a new take on virtual working. You can post or take any job for a fiver (and also at higher price bands). This firm is a young web company, which is trying to grow in the face of completion from big-hitting players like vWorker and elance, plus young upstarts like TaskRabbit. Terry Koutsios and his team offer a lightweight, easy-to-use alternative, which needs work to help it grow. ( @fivesquids )
I remember hearing about StudentBeans a long time ago at OpenCoffee, and it’s good to see that they’re not just surviving, but growing. With an expanding team, James Eder is looking to attract talent into the parent ‘Beans Group’ firm. A confident pitch and an exciting opportunity set this out as a front runner among the businesses in the room. I’m sure they’ll last another 7 years on top of their existing 7, and there are not many businesses I can say that about. (@thebeansgroup )
I’ll certainly try to head back to Pitching for Management’s next London event.