I specialize in ‘venture building’ – a method of supporting startups through the early phases of their growth (from inception to Series B). Venture Building in practice is where a seasoned and respected entrepreneur temporarily joins the founding team of a new startup – full time or part time – and help guide it through the most dangerous moments of its early growth. Venture Builders are not advisers – they get their hands dirty and do the actual work. From selling to coding, I have venture-built half a dozen times with some of the greatest startups in the UK.

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Founders Mentored

A selection of companies supported

The Rattle

Cofounder & CEO (2017 - present)

The Rattle has been the company Chris had always wanted to create but was never (until now) been brave enough to do. The Rattle was founded by Chris Howard, Bobby Bloomfield, and Jonathan Eades – and supported in its early days by Samuel Lehane. The Rattle brings together the experiences and understanding of Jon, Bobby, and Chris into one collective – aiming to create a new cultural renaissance in music and ensure artists never need to choose between a career and making important art. Bobby was (is) a celebrated music artist with over 10 years expierience touring the world, creating groundbreaking culture, and ‘being famous’. Jon was the founder of the celebrated music technology accelerator, Abbey Road Red. And Chris… well.. we know who he is. Bobby, Jon, and Chris all felt there was no where in the world it is possible to be a culturally relevant music artist AND be the founder of your own music startup at the same time. So, The Rattle was born. The Rattle is now a global collective of artists, technology makers, and startups united in creating a cultural renaissance, supported by physical facilities (called Rattles) in the UK and USA, and mentored by Grammy Award winning artists and MBE/CBE awarded entrepreneurs alike.

www.therattle.com

Memgraph

Venture Builder (2016)

Founding Adviser (2017)

Founded by two Mathematics Olympiads, Dominik Tomicevic and Marko Budiselic, Memgraph began as an attempt to create “the world’s fastest database”. Well, they succeeded. Proudly supported by Bill Gates, Dominik and Marko decided to turn their prototype into a startup and establish the first cloud-based in-memory Graph Database to compete with the likes of Neo4J. Chris met Dominik and Marko while as the Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars. Chris, Dominik, and Marko became fast friends and Chris was rapidly invited into the team. Keeping that a secret while also being EIR was quite the challenge! in 2016, Chris devoted 6 months to helping turn Memgraph from a piece of code to a highly respected startup. Upon closing one of London’s largest ever seed rounds (led by Connect Ventures), Chris stepped back to continue other passions in music and food and remained a Founding Adviser to Dominik and Marko. Memgraph to this day remains the world’s fastest Graph Database and is well known for being one of the UK’s most celebrated technology startups.

www.memgraph.io

EMS

Founding Adviser (2016 - 2017)

Founded by veteran ‘Unicorn Entrepreneur’, Alex Sullivan, EMS is an AI-enabled virtual assistant designed to help people move home within London. One of the greatest challenges in moving is cutting through the Estate Agent BS and actually being shown homes that suit your lifestyle. After a whopping exit with World First, Alex decided to take all he had learned in building billion dollar companies and apply that to the housing market. Chris first supported EMS through an introduction via a MassChallenge mentor, Matthew Yaegar. Since that introduction, Alex and Chris became fast friends and Chris supported Alex through the initial launching phase of the company to its first major fundraise. EMS is currently undergoing a major transformation with a major partner (news soon). 

www.ems.ai

One Third Storied

Founding Adviser (2015 - 2018)

Founded by Alex Somerville and Jonny Pryn, One Third Stories began out of undergraduate research in languages by Alex & Jonny. Their research proposed a ‘clockwork methodology’ for learning a new language – a carefully crafted method of starting an illustrated novel in one language and ending it in another. Alex & Jonny continually tested this method and found that engagement from children in learning a second language spiked tremendously. After successfully gaining a Virgin Startup Loan in 2015, and completing an ambitious Kickstarter campaign in 2016, One Third Stories now has tens of thousands of monthly subscribers for its home-delivered story-boxes where stories are delivered in English and finish in a multitude of different languages. Chris first met Alex & Jonny as their Virgin Startup Loans adviser and remained on their advisory board throughout several fundraises and milestones – helping build their team, grow their customer base, and understand the perilous dynamics of investors.

www.onethirdstories.com

Datasine

Founding Adviser (2015 - present)

Founded by Igor Volzhanin and Bogdan Shkarupa in 2015, Datasine began as a conversation between Chris and Igor at one of London’s infamous Silicon Drinkabouts. Based on the computational psychology research of Igor & Bogdan, Datasine developed a technology that was able to understand someone’s basic psychological traits from their bank statements. After successfully graduating the Techstars London accelerator program in 2016, Datasine refocused its efforts to using its technology to allow banks to better understand the needs of their customers without conducting themselves in an untrustworthy manner. After a handful of venture-backed fundraises later, Datasine is now the UK’s pre-eminent psychology-driven AI tech suite for brands to better communicate with the people they care about. Chris has helped Igor from the very inception of the company and remains to this day an active adviser in the business. 

www.datasine.com

Envio / Makercase

Venture Builder (2015 - 2016)

Founding Adviser (2016 - present)

Founded by James Wilkinson and Chris Howard in 2015 after a whistle-stop tour of Guatemala together, James’ vision was to create a smart delivery service that would allow upstarts and niche brands to allow their fans & customers to ‘try before you buy’ their wares. Initially branded as Makercase – providing fully equipped toolboxes for weekend or weekly hire in smart ‘mini-bar’ enabled delivery boxes – James led Makercase through the Techstars NYC accelerator in 2017 and rebranded the company to Envio in order to widen the scope of who this new courier technology can support. Chris spent a year with James venture-building Makercase – a quasi ‘temporary cofounder’ – supporting James through the murky mires of first-time startup. Once James got the hang of it (to his credit, all by himself), Chris stepped back and remains an active adviser to this day. Envio is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s most talked about IoT startups winning competition after competition and providing direct-to-consumer technologies for brands and retailers across the globe.

www.helloenvio.com

Founders4Schools

Venture Builder (2015)

Director of Special Projects (2016)

Adviser (2016-2017)

Founded by entrepreneurial superstar, Sherry Coutu CBE, Founders4Schools is a tech-enabled matchmaking platform for schools and founders within their local area. The premise is that if an inspiring founder speaks with students of their local school, and share that they studies something nerdy, then students will feel inspired to study similar subjects later in life. Founders4Schools is a registered charity with a mission of closing the UK’s skills gap in STEM. Chris first became involved with F4S after a chance dinner with Sherry in 2014. Chris was invited to help turn around the charity by revamping its technology and applying a few tips and tricks from Chris’ computational psychology background. Founders4Schools remains the UK’s largest and most impactful entrepreneurial charity for young people. 

www.founders4schools.org

VNUE

Founding Adviser (2014 - 2015)

Founded in 2014 by Christopher Nocera and Matthew Carona, VNUE is a music technology company specializing in the recording and live-streaming of music direct from the venue. In 2015, VNUE successfully IPOed after acquiring competing startups from the West Coast of the USA to create one the US’s largest platforms for artists and venues to monetize their live shows. Chris provided hands-on support, advice, and strategic help to the founders throughout that transition. VNUE is now led by music executive, Zach Bair. 

www.vnue.com

MassChallenge

Alumni in Residence (2011)

Mentor & Judge (2013 - 2016)

Founding Managing Director, UK (2014)

Founded in 2008 by John Harthorne and Akhil Nigham in Boston after successfully winning MIT’s prestigious 100k Competition, MassChallenge pioneered the concept of a corporate-backed accelerator program & competition for high-impact entrepreneurs. Chris’ first startup, Libboo, was one of a handful of winners of MassChallenge in 2010. After exiting Libboo in 2013, Chris was invited by John & Akhil to lead the founding of MassChallenge’s first full-scale expansion beyond Boston, helping to secure millions of dollars in funding and launching the UK’s largest ever entrepreneurial network. MassChallenge remains one of the world’s largest accelerator programs.

www.masschallenge.org

Libboo

Founder & CEO (2008 - 2013)

Founded in 2008 by Chris Howard & Richard Hawthorn, Libboo started as a project to encourage online collaboration of books until Richard & Chris met with legendary investor and entrepreneur John Landry in 2009 at MIT. Inspired to do something meaningful, Libboo was accepted into the MassChallenge and Techstars accelerator programs where it settled on a founding mission of “helping talented authors break free from traditional publishers”. Libboo (now Prolific Works) continues to this day as one of the world’s leading alternative publishing mechanisms – helping authors identify advocates and distribute their content in alternative ways. Now under the leadership of seasoned executive, Jason Freeman, Libboo has since re-branded as Prolific Works.

www.prolificworks.com

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