A Founder Reflects
On July 3rd, 2012, Match Capital Limited was registered at Companies House, so having just past our 2nd anniversary, it’s interesting to reflect on the progress we have made, in pursuing the original premise of the company.
The fact that we are still around suggests we are stubborn at least, as every entrepreneur believes his creation is the next best thing, and he needs to be dragged kicking and screaming to the knackers yard, to give up on his original dream and vision. Back in the Summer of 2012, the dream was to create a website where entrepreneurs, who were on the equity capital raising trail, could discover online, the most relevant potential investor for their businesses. This would in turn revolutionise what I then saw as the incredibly inefficient status quo, with would-be entrepreneurs running around London like headless chickens, talking to all and sundry, ‘hoping’ for serendipity to strike, in meeting potential investors. As I have noted since, many commentators often observe, “hope is not a strategy”.
Was it possible, therefore, to write a program which would match up the right entrepreneur with the right investor? That was my original thought, and from September 2012, with my by then co-founder, Patric Johnson, aided and abetted by our young enthusiastic MBA graduate, Vaibhv Gaur, we set about recruiting a technologist who could build the original MVP (That’s Minimal Viable Product, an acronym I had never heard of prior to 2012).
After a couple of false starts, we recruited a great technologist, Kevin Sorber, who had built an equity trading platform called Blockcross for Icap, the world’s leading inter-dealer broker, and where Patric and I had first met.
It took us about a year to get the website, and the program, to work in such a way that we were comfortable to put it out into the public domain, in ‘beta’, to gauge public opinion, particularly from the entrepreneurs we were trying to help.
In March 2013, we had also been joined by another ex-Icap colleague, Matt Hobbis, whom I had first met back in 1992, when he was a very young, very calm under pressure broker of Latin American debt products, then, an opaque illiquid crazy marketplace.
What Matt, Patric and myself were very experienced at was taking previously opaque markets, and making them more visible to users, and we fundamentally believed that this feature was missing from the venture capital market, and that our technology, if correctly constructed, would solve this problem.
At the end of 2013, when we were at Cambridge Judge Business School, for a start-up weekend, we met a young entrepreneur, Rael Cline, building a business called Media Gamma, in partnership with a well-known technologist, Jun Wang, of University College London.
On a subsequent conference call, Jun, having reviewed our website, suggested we meet a PhD graduate of UCL, Jagadeesh Gorla, who had co-written with Jun a research paper entitled “A Theory of Information Matching“. This paper was published back in May 2012, just around the time we were contemplating building a product which touched upon the very basis of the academic work. “If you build it, they will come”, and all that !
So, ironically, serendipity had played its hand in our development, and with Jagadeesh on board, we took the matching capability of our technology to a whole new level, where we now have paying subscribers to our service from Ireland, Scotland, England, Finland and Switzerland, so far, with interest to replicate our model in Brazil, of all places!
Suddenly, we feel like a real company, and with the backing of some friends and family in our recently successful SEIS capital raising round, the future suddenly looks bright indeed.
So, after 2 long years, the ‘idea’ has become a reality, with people actually prepared to part with their hard earned cash, to avail of what we have built.
This is, while extremely satisfying, also hugely humbling, that entrepreneurs in different countries find what was once our original thought, worth supporting commercially.
So, have we made progress? ABSOLUTELY.