How To Build Your Tech Startup

Support for UK tech and creative startups

LBAcademy held its Executive Launch on 27 September 2017. The theme “How to build your Tech Startup” highlighted the prime objective of the Academy to support UK tech and creative startups. The event was hosted by Ade Awokoya, Founder – LBAcademy, at the co-working space, The Bridge in Southwark, London.

The event was aimed at entrepreneurs with ambitions to build a startup in the tech or creative sector and also provided a platform to network. A select list of growth-oriented startups seeking know-how, connections and inspiration were invited to learn from those actively supporting UK companies to grow and scaleup.


After a short welcome and introduction by Ade, the event kicked off with a keynote by Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ UK.
Gary co-founded, a Barcelona start-up that raised over €4M in funding before being sold. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he worked as a lawyer in New York, Madrid and London. He is also an associate professor and the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at IE Business School in Madrid. Gary was appointed by the Telefonica CEO to setup Wayra as an accelerator for tech startups.

Gary started by introducing his background and journey from Ivy League corporate lawyer to entrepreneur to running a ‘tech accelerator’. Wayra is a subsidiary of Telefonica S.A (TEF), a leading global telco. TEF provides a platform for the best start-ups to grow globally.

In a presentation entitled ‘From Idea to the Market’, Gary outlined 15 key steps forsuccess, emphasising the need for an entrepreneur’s self-belief. He also mentioned the issue of diversity in tech being a stumbling block. A copy of his slides is available for community members on LBAcademy Facebook Group (see below).

He closed by sharing details of Wayra’s new initiative with Startup Europe – SEC2A –aimed at start-up founders of African descent and others with a product focused on Africa. Details here

Gary’s presentation was well received by the audience. He then joined the first of two panels:
Panel One: How to start and grow your tech startup
Panel Two: How to succeed in the African market.

Richard Tandoh, Publisher, Private Equity Africa, was moderator for both panel sessions.

How To Build Your Tech Startup

Panel One: How to start and grow your tech startup – Panelists (L to R)
Richard Tandoh, Publisher, Private Equity Africa
Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK
Mark Martin, Co-Founder, UKBlackTech
Paris Petgrave, Co-Founder, WeLoveWork
Nzube Ufodike, Co-Founder, Professionals for Africa

Startup founders need to tackle challenges such as building an enabling business network and access to finance to start and scale their operations. Richard had the panelists introduce themselves before asking them questions including:
1. What are the key ingredients for a successful tech startup?
2. What are some of creative ways you have seen tech startups raise capital?
3. What is your favourite tech startup fail/success and why?
The panelists shared their insights at length with a snapshot being:
1. Self-belief, as set out by Gary, but also finding a strong team, which share your values is key – ‘it’s a bit like dating’, said one panelist.
2. Building a pre-product to raise revenue. UK startups tend to be more revenue focused than, say, US ones.
3. It is less about individual successes and failures and more about trends. The key is to have a strong/unique idea and to dominate your market. Also, keep in mind investors are risk-averse and tend to follow the herd.

How to succeed in the African market

Panel Two: How to succeed in the African market – Panelists (L to R)
Richard Tandoh, Publisher, Private Equity Africa
Dotun Olowoporoku, Managing Partner, Starta Advisory
Oyin Solebo, Co-Founder, MoveMeBack
Louisa Mensah, Agile Coach, Agile in Africa

Going global is an opportunity to replicate your business in other market places. As new technologies bring the world closer together, companies can scale-up by going global.
After introducing themselves, the panelists were asked:
1. What challenges do Africa-based startups face?
2. Have you had experience recruiting, building or working with Africa-based teams?
3. What advice would you give a UK tech startup that wanted to move into the African
The panelists shared their insights at length with a snapshot being ;
1. African startups tend to face a talent shortage and finding suitable skillsets is an issue.
2. It can be challenging working with Africa-based teams. It requires strong adaptive leadership.
3. UK tech startups moving into Africa will need to adjust to the culture and mindset of their chosen country or countries.

Closing Remarks
Ade rounded-up and expressed his thanks to the audience. Close was done by Toni Osoba, LBAcademy Community Manager, who explained that attendees could stay in touch on our Facebook Group

Networking followed at the nearby ‘Flat Iron Square’.

LBAcademy is a UK Business Growth Hub that provides digital skill and talent training to Tech & Creative Startups for high growth.