“NYC Coffee Startup Tamps Down Bro Culture by Hiring Philosopher - The Wall Street Journal” plus 4 more

“NYC Coffee Startup Tamps Down Bro Culture by Hiring Philosopher - The Wall Street Journal” plus 4 more

NYC Coffee Startup Tamps Down Bro Culture by Hiring Philosopher - The Wall Street Journal

Posted: 03 Dec 2019 07:00 AM PST

Last year, when the #MeToo movement was peaking and companies such as Uber and Facebook were facing boycotts, Jim DeCicco, the CEO of Kitu Life Inc., was feeling uneasy about his own company's corporate culture.

He and his two brothers, who co-founded the Manhattan-based startup that produces Super Coffee, a protein-added beverage sold in stores, were all recent college athletes and self-described "white dudes" who had been hiring guys like themselves.


Europe's top angel investors - Sifted

Posted: 03 Dec 2019 02:04 AM PST

Angel investors in Europe are more active than ever. Last year, $5bn of the total investment in European startups came directly from private wealth, while 2019 is on track to exceed this, according to a new report from Dealroom and Talis Capital released on Tuesday.

The rising prominence of angel investors in Europe comes as a new wave of multi-millionaires is emerging from companies such as Spotify, TransferWise and Delivery Hero. They are in turn reinvesting much of that wealth back into Europe's fast-growing startup ecosystem, which has seen a record $34bn in investment this year.

Here is a list of some of the top angel investors in Europe, based on how much they invest and how many notable investments they have made. They are all important figures in European tech in their own right, but their willingness to back very early startups gives them outsized importance in the startup world.

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They also often play a helpful role in opening doors for startups and giving advice. "Earning the right to be an angel investor on a company's cap table is something I do not take for granted — the money is just one part of the commitment," prominent angel Shakil Khan tells Sifted.

The list below is in no particular order. For more on Angel investing on Sifted, see here and here.

1) Xavier Niel

Picture of Xavier Niel
Xavier Niel. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Xavier Neil is a huge name in European Tech and a well-respected angel investor. Forbes puts his net worth at an approximate $6.1bn, thanks to owning a majority stake in publicly-traded French company Iliad, the parent company of his telecom service Free.

He is the cofounder of Kima Ventures, one of the most active angel investor in the world, backing around two startups a week with checks mostly around €150k. Kima is run day-to-day by Jean de La Rochebrochard, another big name in the early-stage startup world.

Country: France

2) Oleg Tscheltzoff

Photo of Oleg Tscheltzoff
Oleg Tscheltzoff speaks at the NOAH Conference in London. Photo Credit: NOAHConference Youtube.

In 2004, Oleg Tscheltzoff co-founded Fotolia.com, an online marketplace for stock images, which ultimately became the world's largest microstock photography site. He has made over 30 investments as an angel investor, with notable investments in the US as well as Europe.

Country: France

3) Jacques-Antoine Granjon

Photo of Jacques-Antoine Granjon. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Jacques-Antoine Granjon on stage at LeWeb11 Conference. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Amongst other things, Jacques Antoine-Granjon is known as the pioneer of the flash-sale. He is the founder of the French online shop Vente-Privee, which was one of France's first tech unicorns.

Despite painting himself as an accidental entrepreneur, he is now channelling his energy into supporting other up-and-coming entrepreneurs and is one of France's top ten most active angel investors.

In a recent interview, he says he got into angel investing through meeting Xavier Niel, who started up Kima Ventures, and Marc Simoncini, who founded Jaïna Capital.

They told him it would be fun, and he said he liked supporting other founders with mostly €75k checks. "It's a little boost, which means 'We believe in you'," he says.

Country: France

4) Alex Chesterman

Photo of Alex Chesterman

Alex Chesterman is the founder of Zoopla, the UK-based property website. He also founded Lovefilm, which was ultimately sold to amazon for £200m. He recently spoke to Sifted about his latest venture, Cazoo, which is taking aim at the used car market. As an angel, he is one of the most active in the UK, having backed dozens of early-stage tech startups including Graze, Secret Escapes, SportPursuit, UniPlaces, CarWow, Swoon and Farmdrop.

Country: UK

5) Carlos Blanco

Photo of Carlos Blanco
Carlos Blanco speaks at a Tedx conference. Photo Credit: Tedx Talks Youtube.

Carlos Blanco is one of the best-known figures in the Spanish startup ecosystem. He was the founder of Akamon Entertainment, a social gaming and casino company, which was acquired by Tangelo Games in 2015. He is also the founder of Encomenda Smart Capital, an angel fund designed to help manage his many investments. He has written a book in Spanish called Los principales errores de los emprendedores (The main mistakes of entrepreneurs). In 2014 he won Best Business Angel at the AEBAN Awards.

Country: Spain

6) Thibaud Elziere

Picture of Thibaud Elziere
Thibaud Elziere. Photo Credit: Yves Colas.

Thibaud Elziere co-founded Fotolia.com in 2004 alongside Oleg Tscheltzoff. More recently, he founded eFounders, which is a startup studio focusing on enterprise software startups. Asked what makes a good business angel, he says: "A good business angel is someone who isn't a stakeholder in the company at an operational level, but is always available for the founders to help with their small day-to-day issues as well as their big strategic questions."

Country: France

7) Martha Lane Fox

Picture of Martha Lane-Fox
Martha Lane Fox. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.

Martha Lane Fox co-founded Lastminute.com alongside Brent Hoberman in 1998, which was subsequently sold to Sabre for $1.1bn. She has since become a prominent voice in European tech, holding a number of influential roles including as a cross-bench peer in the house of Lords, where for some time she was the youngest woman. She also founded Doteveryone, a think tank championing responsible technology.

Country: UK

8) Sherry Coutu

Picture of Sherry Coutu
Sherry Coutu. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.

Sherry Coutu is the founder of Interactive Investor, an online investment platform, which she led until its initial public offering in 2000. Since then, she has been an active angel investor as well as serving on the boards of various companies, charities and universities. To date, she has totted up over 60 angel investments.

Country: UK

9) Reshma Sohoni

Photo of Reshma Sohoni

Reshma Sohoni speaks at LeWeb13 Conference. Photo Credit: LeWeb13 Conference Official.Reshma Sohoni is a founding partner at SeedCamp, Europe's leading start-up accelerator, where she was chief executive up until 2010. She previously worked at Vodaphone and at 3i. At SeedCamp, she heads up a team that picks through 4000 pitches a year to choose a select bunch of startups that receive up to £500,000 in investment.

Country: UK

10) Sophia Bendz

Picture of Sophia Bendz
Sophia Bendz. Photo Credit: Rasmus Andersson.

Sophia Bendz rose to prominence as the Global Marketing Director at Spotify, a role she held from 2007-2014. She is now a partner at Atomico, where she runs the Atomico Angel Programme. As an angel, she has a particular focus on Femtech, having invested in Grace Health, Daye, O School, and Boost Thyroid.

Country: Sweden

11) Saul Klein

Photo of saul klein
Saul Klein. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Saul Klein is a serial entrepreneur who cofounded LoveFilm (which was acquired by Amazon for £200m) and was part of the original executive team at Skype (acquired by eBay for $2.6bn then later Microsoft for $8.5bn). He also cofounded the startup accelerator Seedcamp.

Klein is also a partner at LocalGlobe, a venture capital fund he cofounded with his father Robin Klein, who is also a notable European investor. Set up in 1999, LocalGlobe has backed tech companies including Improbable, Transferwise and Zoopla.

Country: UK

12) Kolja Hebenstreit

photo of Kolja Hebenstreit

Kolja Hebenstreit co-founded Delivery Hero, which listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2017. He is also the co-founder of Point Nine Capital, a Berlin-based early-stage venture capital firm that focusses on SaaS and online marketplaces, where he is currently a founder.

Country: Germany

13) Shakil Khan

Photo of Shakil Khan
Shakil Khan speaking at The Next Web Conference. Photo Credit: Jessica Louise Bernard for LeWeb13 Conference.

Shakil Khan has founded a string of tech startups including CoinDesk, a bitcoin news site and Student.com, a student accommodation marketplace. He is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and has advised some of the world's largest digital companies such as Spotify.

Country: UK

14) Taavet Hinrikus

Photo of Taavet Hinrikus
Taavet Hinrikus appears on stage at the 2014 TechCrunch Disrupt in London. Photo Credit: Anthony Harvey for TechCrunch.

Taavet Hinrikus is the co-founder of TransferWise, which he set up with fellow Estonian Kristo Käärmann. He was also the first employee at Skype, a job he fell into while still at university studying computer science when its founders asked him to "help them with something". He recently spoke with Sifted about guerilla marketing, how to 'blitzscale' and hiring post-Brexit.

Country: Estonia

15) Lukasz Gadowski

Picture of Lucasz Gadowski
Lucasz Gadowski. Photo Credit: Spreadshirt on Flickr.

Lucasz Gadowski is the cofounder and chief executive of Berlin-based scooter company Circ. He emerged as a big player in European tech as the cofounder of Delivery Hero, the takeaway delivery company. As well as running Circ, he is currently CEO of Team Europe, which is his own holding company investing in startups with a focus on mobility.

Country: Germany

16) Brent Hoberman

Photo of Brent Hoberman
Brent Hoberman speaks at LeWeb 11 Conference. Photo Credit: Official LeWeb photos.

Brent Hoberman co-founded Lastminute.com alongside Martha Lane-Fox in 1998, where he was chief executive until 2006 after it was sold to Sabre for $1.1bn. He is also the co-founder of Made.com, an online furniture shop, as well as several other startups. In total, tech companies he has co-founded have raised over $650m. At present, he is the chairman of Founders Factory (which he also cofounded), a well-known incubator and accelerator.

Country: UK

17) Eileen Burbidge

Photo of Eileen Burbridge
Eileen Burbidge during Money Talks during TechCrunch Disrupt London 2015. Photo Credit: John Phillips for TechCrunch.

Originally from the US, Eileen Burbridge moved to the UK in 2004, where she worked for Skype as head of product development. She has also held product roles at Yahoo! and Apple. She is currently a partner at Passion Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund based in London.

Country: UK

Oliver Jung

18) Oliver Jung

The first business that Jung founded was an eCommerce consulting company called Entory AG in 1997, which was sold four years later to Deutsche Boerse Group. He has since invested in startups, having put money into Adyen, Airbnb, Brex, Bulb, Houzz, Nubank, Revolut, Tripactions and WeWork, amongst others.

Country: UK

Disclaimer: Brent Hoberman is an angel investor in Sifted. Xavier Niel is also an investor in Sifted through NJJ Capital, an investment vehicle he controls. 

UK general election 2019: what small businesses should know - Simply Business knowledge

Posted: 27 Nov 2019 02:21 PM PST

The next UK general election will take place on 12 December 2019 – which key points in the parties' manifestos should small business owners and the self-employed take note of?

We've been through each major party's manifesto and pulled out key policies for small business owners and the self-employed. Read our party-by-party breakdown:

The Conservative Party manifesto for small businesses and the self-employed

"Get Brexit Done Unleash Britain's Potential"

The Conservatives will launch a review to explore how to better support the self-employed including "improving their access to finance and credit (not least mortgages), making the tax system easier to navigate, and examining how better broadband can boost homeworking."

Business rates to be reviewed

The party says it wants "thriving high streets" and that it will carry out a "fundamental review" of the business rates system. They want to "further reduce business rates for retail businesses" as well as extend the discount to "grassroots music venues, small cinemas and pubs."

Clamping down on late payments to businesses

The Conservatives say they will "support start-ups and small businesses via government procurement, and commit to paying them on time."

They also want to "clamp down on late payment more broadly and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner to support small businesses that are exploited by their larger partners."

Access to finance for businesses

The Conservatives say they will "expand start-up loans, which have particularly high take-up from women and BAME entrepreneurs. The British Business Bank has supported 90,000 smaller businesses with over £7 billion in investment or loans, and will continue to grow."

Employment law

The manifesto states that the Conservatives "will strive to achieve the right regulatory balance between supporting excellent business practice and protecting workers, consumers and the environment."

They want to "ensure that regulation is sensible and proportionate" and to "consider the needs of small businesses when devising new rules, using our new freedom after Brexit to ensure that British rules work for British companies."

Here are some key employment law policies:

  • giving workers the right to request a more predictable contract
  • encouraging flexible working
  • allowing parents to take extended leave for neonatal care and making it easier for fathers to take paternity leave
  • extending the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers to a week

Investing in skills

The manifesto promises that "as well as encouraging investment in physical building and equipment, we will help employers invest in skills and look at how we can improve the working of the Apprenticeship Levy."

The Conservatives want to create "a new National Skills Fund worth £3 billion over the next Parliament. This fund will provide matching funding for individuals and SMEs for high-quality education and training."

Making tax fairer

The Conservatives are pledging to simplify the tax system and make it fairer. They want to "redesign the tax system so that it boosts growth, wages and investment" and have cancelled plans to lower Corporation Tax, keeping it at 19 per cent.

Here are some of the party's key tax policies:

  • a "triple lock" on taxes meaning they won't raise the rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT

  • increasing the Employment Allowance for small businesses

  • raising the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year – they claim this is a tax cut for 31 million workers. The Tories want to ensure that "the first £12,500 you earn is completely free of tax"

  • they say they will get stronger on tax evasion by creating a "beefed-up" Anti-Tax Evasion unit at HMRC

  • they will increase the R&D tax credits rate to 13 per cent and review the definition of R&D


The Conservatives promise to "get Brexit done" in January. They will help Britain's small and medium sized businesses become exporters, to "seize the opportunities" Brexit will bring.

Read the Conservative and Unionist Party manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.

The Labour Party manifesto for small businesses and the self-employed

"It's time for Real Change – for the many, not the few."


Labour say they "will make it easier for employers to spend the [Apprenticeship] Levy by allowing it to be used for a wider range of accredited training".

They're also pledging to help small businesses by increasing the amount that can be transferred to non-levy-paying employers to 50 per cent, and introducing an online matching service to help levy-paying businesses find smaller businesses to transfer their funds to.

Making tax fairer

Labour says: "…we will make Britain's public services the best and most extensive in the world. We'll ask those who earn more than £80,000 a year to pay a little more income tax, while freezing National Insurance and income tax rates for everyone else.

"We will end the unfairness that sees income from wealth taxed at lower rates than income from work.

"VAT is a regressive tax that hits the poorest hardest and we guarantee no increases in VAT.

"We will launch the biggest ever crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion and reform the inefficient system of tax reliefs."

Reviving the high street

Labour is pledging to "revive high streets by stopping bank branch closures, banning ATM charges and giving local government new powers to put empty shops to good use."

Business rates to be reviewed

To tackle the pressure of business rates, Labour says it'll "review the option of a land value tax on commercial landlords as an alternative and develop a retail sector industrial strategy."

Starting and running a business

The manifesto also mentions setting up a Business Development Agency, which would offer "free support and advice on how to launch, manage and grow a business".

Introducing a living wage

On the subject of pay, the Labour manifesto promises to "rapidly introduce a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 and over, and use savings to public finances to help small businesses manage the extra cost".

Protecting the self-employed

Tailored support and protections for the self-employed feature on the Labour agenda for the self-employed, including:

  • collective income protection insurance schemes
  • annual income assessments for those on Universal Credit
  • better access to mortgages and pension schemes

Clamping down on late payments to businesses

To tackle late payments that "leave small businesses and the self-employed waiting months to be paid", Labour says its measures will include banning late payers from public procurement.

There's also a promise of no quarterly reporting for businesses below the VAT threshold.

A new Ministry for Employment Rights

Labour says it will introduce a Ministry for Employment Rights. It would put an end to bogus self-employment, creating "a single status of 'worker' for everyone apart from those genuinely self-employed in business on their own account". This, they say, is to prevent employers getting around workers' rights. Overseas-only recruitment practices would also be banned.

Zero-hour contracts would be banned and the law tightened up so that people working regular hours for more than 12 weeks have a right to a regular contract.

Labour would also bring in four new bank holidays on the four patron saints' days of the UK, and stick with Sunday trading restrictions.

Amending the Companies Act is also on the Labour agenda, "requiring companies to prioritise long-term growth while strengthening protections for stakeholders, including smaller suppliers and pension funds."


Labour wants to "revolutionise parents' rights by increasing paid maternity leave from nine to 12 months, doubling paternity leave to four weeks and extending pregnancy protection.

The dismissal of pregnant women without prior approval of the inspectorate would be banned under a Labour government.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit would be scrapped under a Labour government. The party says it would "immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect."


Labour is another party that's promising to deliver free full-fibre broadband to all. They say this'll be achieved by 2030.


The promise stated in the manifesto is that "within three months of coming to power, a Labour government will secure a sensible deal. And within six months, we will put that deal to a public vote alongside the option to remain. A Labour government will implement whatever the people decide."

Read the Labour Party manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.

The Liberal Democrats' manifesto for small businesses and the self-employed

"Stop Brexit Build a Brighter Future"

The Liberal Democrats say that the first step of their plan is to "stop Brexit and use the Remain Bonus to invest in public services." Here's what else they say:

A plan to replace business rates

The Liberal Democrats will replace business rates in England "with a Commercial Landowner Levy based solely on the land value of commercial sites rather than their entire capital value, thereby stimulating investment, and shifting the burden of taxation from tenants to landowners."

They want to protect our high streets and town centres "by scrapping the rule which allows developers to convert offices and shops into residential properties without planning permission."

They will also expand the Future High Streets Fund.

Access to finance for businesses

The party want to create "a new 'start-up allowance' to help those starting a new business with their living costs in the crucial first weeks of their business."

They want to "expand the activities of the British Business Bank, enabling it to perform a more central role in the economy by tackling the shortage of equity capital for growing firms and providing long-term capital for medium-sized businesses."

They claim they will continue to "support investment in new UK digital start-ups by reforming the British Business Bank's support for venture capital funds to enable it to help funds 'crowd in' new backers rather than acting as a funder of last resort."

And they will help finance training for individuals by creating "a new Skills Wallet for every adult, giving people £10,000 to spend on approved education and training courses".

Clamping down on late payments to businesses

The Liberal Democrats say they will require "all government agencies and contractors and companies with more than 250 employees to sign up to the prompt payment code, making it enforceable."

They want to ensure "that the company at the top of a supply chain cannot abuse its position to shore up its own cashflow at the expense of smaller suppliers."

Employment law

The Liberal Democrats say they will expand "the rights and benefits available to those in insecure forms of employment, such as offering parental leave and pay to the self-employed."

They also want to:

  • establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine Living Wage across all sectors

  • change the law so that flexible working is open to all from day one in the job

  • establish a new 'dependent contractor' employment status in between employment and self-employment, with entitlements to basic rights such as minimum earnings levels, sick pay and holiday entitlement

  • review the tax and National Insurance status of employees, dependent contractors and freelancers to ensure fair and comparable treatment

  • shift the burden of proof in employment tribunals regarding employment status from individual to employer

Simplifying the tax system

The Liberal Democrats want to take Corporation Tax to 20 per cent "and keep the rate stable with a predictable future path."

They will also:

  • "simplify business taxation to lower administration costs – supporting smaller companies – and reduce opportunities for tax avoidance."

  • tax capital gains and salaries through a single allowance, and scrap the Marriage Tax Allowance

  • "end retrospective tax changes like the loan charge" and "review recent proposals to change the IR35 rules"

Read the Liberal Democrats' manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.

The Brexit Party manifesto for small businesses and the self-employed

"A Clean-Break Brexit is the key to changing Britain for good."

The Brexit Party say: "… our Contract with the People is a targeted set of deliverable pledges. We are not seeking election as a government. We are seeking to deliver the Brexit that we were promised three and a half years ago."

Replacing business rates

In addition to Corporation Tax reform, the party plans to replace business rates with a simpler system to help small high street retailers and leisure operators outside the M25. It plans to fund this through an online sales tax.

What about Corporation Tax?

The party wants to introduce zero-rate Corporation Tax for the first £10,000 of pre-tax profits. Some 66 per cent of companies (which adds up to more than a million, according to their manifesto) pay less than £10,000.

The economy

Along with boosting lending to small and medium-sized firms, the party plans an overhaul of financial services regulation, cutting red tape, increasing competition and creating freeports in certain regions to encourage investment and create new jobs.


The Brexit Party says it'll bring in a new workable apprenticeship scheme, scrapping the "cumbersome Apprentice Levy" and introducing tax incentives for employers to take on genuine apprentices.

Import tariffs

According to their manifesto, 20 per cent of UK food is brought in from outside the EU. The party's proposed 'Clean-Break Brexit', they say, will mean tariffs on certain foods, footwear and clothing can be reduced to zero.

Building houses

"We need to simplify the planning and development processes to encourage small and medium sized developers", according to the manifesto. They say this will speed up the pace of development to increase housing supply. It comes with a promise to simplify planning consents for brownfield sites.


According to its manifesto, the Brexit Party wants to put money behind digital infrastructure. It says it'll partner with service providers to offer free base-level domestic broadband in deprived regions and free Wi-Fi on all public transport.

Read the Brexit Party manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.

The Green Party manifesto for small businesses and the self-employed

"If not now, when?"

Small business support

Putting forward its Green New Deal, the Green Party says it recognises, "the many challenges facing businesses today, especially small, local businesses, run by families or individuals – and the enormous value they bring to the communities they serve.

They're pledging to give small businesses access to lending at affordable rates, by helping to establish a network of regional mutual banks.

Their plans also include freeing up funding by requiring traditional banks to increase their lending to small businesses and businesses focussed on the sustainability transition.

According to the Greens' manifesto, 15 per cent of government contracts would go to small and micro businesses. The rollout of high-speed broadband also features on their agenda.

Reporting on late payments

Businesses would be required to publish and report the difference between agreed payment days and actual payment days, with fines for large companies that fail to pay small businesses on time.

Employment Allowance

The Greens say they'll "increase the Employment Allowance to £10,000 (currently just £3,000) per year, allowing small businesses which employ people to claim back the equivalent National Insurance of four full-time workers earning the average salary."

They believe "this tax cut will benefit hundreds of thousands of small businesses, allowing them to hire more people, increase wages or reduce prices."

Abolishing business rates

Business rates are set to be abolished by the Greens, along with Council Tax, replacing them with a LVT (land value tax).

"The new LVT would charge the landowner a proportion of the capital value of the land each year (estimated to be around 1.4% of current values)."

Simplifying the tax system

The Greens' plan to simplify tax involves merging Employees National Insurance, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Dividend Tax and Income Tax into a single Consolidated Income Tax. They believe this will provide the public purse with around £20 billion extra a year, and will mean all income is treated the same way for tax purposes.

Their manifesto also promises to stop pension funds being subject to Corporation Tax and then Income Tax when paid out to individual pensioners.

Under a Green government, Corporation Tax would rise to 24 per cent, in line with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average. They want to see public country-by-country reporting and consolidated Corporate Tax across the EU to prevent profit shifting.

HMRC gets a mention too, as the Green Party wants to see the tax man become an independent agency of government, answerable to Parliament. This, they say, is to stop politicians striking secret deals with powerful corporations and individuals.


They also want to introduce new support for entrepreneurs and small business owners from BME backgrounds, and provide 35 hours a week of free childcare for all, from the age of nine months. This free childcare will include on-site crèches and flexible working to help parents who choose to go back to work.

Boost for local businesses

A VAT reduction on food and drink served in pubs, bars and restaurants, on hotel bookings and on theatre, music concert and museum and gallery tickets features in the manifesto, to "help 125,000 businesses at the heart of their local communities".


On the subject of Brexit, the Green Party say they're "a proudly pro-European party and are unequivocally campaigning for Britain to Remain in the EU."

Read the Green Party manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.

The SNP manifesto for small businesses and the self-employed

"Stronger for Scotland"

The SNP's manifesto is focused on Scottish independence. They want an independence referendum within this parliamentary term, which will give Scotland "the opportunity to choose to be an independent European nation."

Devolving tax powers

The SNP had previously said they won't support further reductions to Corporation Tax. They're campaigning for further devolution of tax powers. They also want:

  • a rise in the Employment Allowance from £3,000 per business per year to £6,000 per business per year

  • a reduction in employers National Insurance contributions

  • a "greener tax deal for heating and energy efficiency improvements in homes and businesses"

  • "immediate action, including reform of Companies House, to uncover the beneficial ownership of Scottish Limited Partnerships, other companies and trusts"

  • "a review of the tax rules around intermediaries – known as the IR35 tax rule - and problems with implementation of the Loan Charge"

Employment law

The SNP say they will "press for the devolution of employment law". They want the statutory living wage to rise "to at least the level of the real living wage, and for an end to age discrimination."

They're also pledging "to increase parental rights" – including:

  • increasing maternity leave to one year
  • setting "maternity pay at 100% of average weekly earnings for the first 12 weeks, then 90% for 40 weeks or £150.00, whichever is lower"
  • increasing shared parental leave from 52 to 64 weeks with the 12 weeks to be the minimum taken by the father
  • if the father doesn't use the leave, he loses it – it can't be transferred

Access to finance

The SNP are asking that Scotland "gets a fair share of any investment by the British Business Bank and that it works closely with the Scottish National Investment Bank."

Read the SNP manifesto for the 2019 UK general election.

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Ian MacKinnon - Business in Vancouver

Posted: 03 Dec 2019 12:00 AM PST

Ian MacKinnon doesn't think of himself as a startup founder first.

"In my core I see myself as a software developer who started a company," said the chief technology officer and co-founder of Later Media Inc.

MacKinnon's fascination with ones and zeros goes back to his high school days in the mid-1990s – a period in which the internet was just emerging and software "wasn't the cool thing that it is now," he recalls.

His tech-driven career path eventually landed him an internship at Google LLC.

But the idea of settling in Toronto after graduating from the University of Waterloo with a master's degree in computer science seemed "anticlimactic" to MacKinnon.

Instead, he moved to Vancouver on a whim and got involved in the startup scene, working as a developer and eventually a co-founder at a number of companies.

By the time he helped launch Later – a marketing management platform for Instagram – in 2014, one startup he co-founded had already fallen by the wayside.

But there were some signs that Later.com was catching on.

"It was actually something small, really – it was when we had 100 daily active users," MacKinnon said, adding that number showed there were enough people returning every day because they found the platform genuinely valuable.

The exact value was later put to the test when the company determined it was time to start making some money.

"When we turned on paid plans, that was the ultimate decision of whether we were providing value to people," the 37-year-old said.

"A lot of people who were used to getting something for free didn't like that we started charging. But a lot of people started paying, and that's when we really knew that we were providing something of value."

Today, Later has tapped more than two million brands and agencies as clients, including YouTube, NBC News and Rolling Stone.

Birthplace: Oshawa, Ontario

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: Master of math, computer science

Currently reading: Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool by Emily Oster

Currently listening to: Darknet Diaries podcast, Jack Rhysider

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Astronaut or lawyer

Profession you would most like to try: Comic

Toughest business or professional decision: When my first startup failed I had to decide whether to get a "real" job or not. A lot of my friends were starting to buy houses and start families so it was a hard decision to stay with startups and not go to work at some big safe company with RRSP matching

Advice you would give the younger you: It's always better to focus on something a small number of people care deeply about rather than something a lot of people only care marginally about

What's left to do: Keep growing Later.com into the world's premier social media management platform while looking for ways to incorporate new machine learning technologies into it. I'm also going to be a dad in the new year

Join us to celebrate the 2019 Forty under 40 Awards on January 30, 2020, at the Westin Bayshore. For tickets and event information visit https://www.biv.com/forty-under-40

Starting Your Business: The Tools, Resources and Mindset You Need to Succeed - Entrepreneur

Posted: 31 May 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Never underestimate how much money you need to start, how long it will before you turn a profit or how hard you will have to work.

11 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Is one of your main goals for your life to start your own business? Maybe building your own business has been on your bucket list for a very long time? Don't begin with your current employer; you've already heard the success rate or lack thereof for new startup businesses.

We all have the success ratio of business failure seared into our brains. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 30 percent of businesses fail within their first year and around half of all businesses close-up shop within five years. Only a third of businesses will make it to their tenth anniversary.

There are a number of factors why so many businesses don't succeed. The leading cause is lack of profits and funding, meaning underestimating how much money is needed to fund a business. Does this mean that you should give up on your dream? Absolutely not. But you need the proper tools, resources and mindset before jumping feet-first into your new adventure.

Starting a business, 101.

Starting a business isn't easy -- though it seems like it's effortless when accomplished entrepreneurs share their success stories. We hear about founders who seem to quietly buy a website and turn it into a million-dollar business. In reality, starting a business involves careful evaluation, planning and several financial and legal activities. Let's quickly recap the steps you'll want to take before launching your business.

Evaluate yourself: When thinking about what steps you'll take before launching a business, consider what skills and expertise you already possess. As you examine what you're passionate about and the lifestyle you want to live -- pause ask yourself, "Why do I want to start my own business?"

Brainstorm business ideas: Begin thinking about what bothers you in the business sector and how you can fix it. Maybe you have the knowledge or expertise to improve an existing business idea. Are you aware of trends and find yourself always thinking ahead of the curve? Do you possess skills that you can apply to a new or existing industry? These questions will help you brainstorm additional business ideas.

Conduct market research: Market research will let you know if there's an opportunity to make a decent profit in differing areas. Extensive exploration and analysis of your market will help you determine what gives your idea a competitive advantage over other similar fields and industries. If possible, give potential customers a chance to interact with your product or service so they can provide feedback to you.

Write your business plan: Your business plan is a blueprint that will guide you throughout the life of your business. In a nutshell, it should discuss the purpose of your business, who your customers are, your long-term goals and how you'll finance your business. 

Make your business official:  There are clear-cut areas to have locked down for a solid business:

  • Determine the structure of your business (LLC, corporation, or partnership).
  • Give your business a name.
  • Registering your business in your state and also federally.
  • Obtain a state and federal tax ID.
  • Acquire the proper permits and licenses.
  • Open up a business bank account.
  • Register for trademark, copyrights, or patents.
  • Be sure to get legal advice where needed.

Pick a business location: Thanks to technology, it's possible to start a business remotely right from your home. For brick-and-mortar business ideas you'll want to think about demographics, accessibility, proximity to competitors, and the cost of rent and utilities.

Finance your business: How will you finance your business? There are numerous ways you can cover the economics of your new business including saving up the money and funding the business yourself. Many ask friends and family for help or obtain a grant or loan. Other options may be crowdfunding, trading equity, or working with Angel or Venture Capitalist investors.

Develop and improve your product or service: Seek frequent feedback from your target audience to determine what they like and what they don't or won't accept. Hire specialists who can help you turn your dream into a reality.

An essential ingredient for a winning business is your mindset.

Unlike becoming a doctor, electrician, mechanic or lawyer -- there are no standardized tests or certification to announce that you are now prepared to become a business owner. Even an MBA is woefully underwhelming in its claim for business preparation. While there are always classes that business owners will find useful, finding the right ones may take some time.

Your university can give you the classes or courses, and the information you desire in essential areas such as accounting, marketing basics, finances, etc. However, the fact remains that as a business owner, you'll need to develop the right mindset.

No matter how educated, experienced, or passionate you are -- having a winning business mindset will help you. Your mindset will make a difference in how you conduct your business and make personal decisions. Mindset determines how you keep yourself up, happy, motivated and driven.

Related: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Online Business

The entrepreneurial equation.

According to Carl Roth in her influential book "The Entrepreneur Equation," here are ten mindsets that every entrepreneur should develop before starting their own business:

Assess your motivation: Yes -- it is your business. But, you will have to answer to customers, partners, lenders, and investors.

Evaluate how you work with others: Even if you're a solopreneur -- you still will have to work with other people -- such as accountants, lawyers, customers, and freelancers. You will want to work together seamlessly with everyone you can in your new business; strengthen your communication and people skills.

Know your responsibilities: Starting and running your own business is a 24/7 job. Know how that's going to affect your personal life.

Sharpen your management skills: You need to know how to manage your team so that they can be more productive. Additionally, you'll need to know how to interact and work with vendors and suppliers. Having experience in your industry could assist with this.

It's not what you know, but who you know: Take stock of your network of professionals. Think about people who can connect you with differing business services -- like lawyers, as well as investors and lenders.

Be honest about your relationship with money: Financial management can make or break your business. If you're a careless spender, then you'll probably have cash flow problems. Get control here first -- or you'll be spending more than you're bringing in.

Assess your personality: Being a business owner means that you need to be flexible and prepared for the unexpected. If you get extremely stressed when things don't go as planned -- running your own business won't gel with your personality type.

Examine your competitors: A close assessment of your competition allows you to determine what makes you different and how you stand out from other businesses. This information and analytical thought can be used to build your brand.

Test your scalability: Successful business owners do not do everything on their own. They rely on automation and delegation. If your business sinks because you're not around -- then use your skill to have a successful career. Better a successful path of achievement than remaining a failed business owner, though you may "get" to have this passage under your belt, too.

Related: 4 Differences Between Solopreneurs and an Entrepreneur Working Alone

The best entrepreneurial guides and resources.

Starting and running your own business is no easy task. You work a ton of hours, have to face financial uncertainties, and you'll be putting out numerous fires. To make matters worse, you're probably doing all this work by yourself.

The goods news is that there is no shortage of guides and resources that can lend you a hand in starting and managing your business.

General information:

US Small Business Administration: The US SBA is a go-to resource for business owners. Here you can find most of the information you will likely need. You'll learn how to write a business plan, structure a business, register a company, and apply for a permit.

Entrepreneur: Entrepreneur.com is a well-respected publication that shares advice on starting and growing a business. Daily publishing guarantees the popular and up-to-date articles and guides that discuss everything from marketing to taxes to productivity.

The Self Employed: The Self-Employed.com is an excellent site where business owners can find advice about funding, taxes, and marketing their business.

Funding and financing.

Loans: If you need a loan check out sites like Kabbage, BlueVine, Fundbox or Small Business and Community Development Programs.

Grants: For grants, resources like The National Association for the Self Employed and Small Business Innovation Research Program are some of your best options.

Peer-to-peer leadership: Prosper and Funding Circle can connect you with peer-to-peer lenders.

Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding your business? Launch a campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

How to manage money: Evergreen Small Business provides advice on how small business can keep track of finances.

Legal: LegalZoom allows you to incorporate your business and is affordable.

  • Rocket Lawyer lets you create legal documents and ask lawyers questions.
  • Nolo has business forms, as well as guides on how to structure your business.
  • Atrium is a new upcoming law startup that helps small businesses. Help with everything legal.



  • YEC can help you with professional networking. EO for the more seasoned entrepreneur. Be willing to help others.
  • Business Networking International (BIN) can help you get referrals by connecting you with other businesses in your community.
  • SCORE is an organization that pairs businesses with volunteer mentors. This institution helps business owners develop and grow their business. There's also online resources and online courses.
  • LinkedIn Small Business requires a membership. Once joined, business owners can use LinkedIn to connect, promote, and network their business.
  • Volunteer Match can locate volunteer opportunities in your community.
  • Your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club.

The essential tools you need to start a business.

Finally, you need to use the right tools to help you grow and maintain your business. Thanks to technology, these tools are affordable, easy-to-use and can automate some of your most redundant tasks. While not an extensive list, here are some tools you should consider. I personally use each and every one of these tools and can speak to how amazing they are!

  • Expensify can easily track your expenses.
  • LivePlan can help develop a solid business plan.
  • WordPress is a free platform to build a customized website.
  • 99Designs is a great site to find designers for your logo or website.
  • Fiverr and UpWork are excellent locations to find talented freelancers.
  • Aweber and MailChimp can be used to generate leads and run an email marketing campaign.
  • Hootsuite and Buffer automates your social media efforts, like scheduling posts in advance and engaging with followers.
  • Due or QuickBooks can make your accounting as painless as possible.
  • TurboTax lets you do your business and personal taxes yourself.
  • Trello is a project management system that lets you assign and mentor tasks.
  • G Suite is the foundation of your business and it comes with Gmail and Drive.
  • HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform that comes with CRM and marketing and sales suites.
  • Google Adwords and Facebook Ads can market your business online.
  • Google Analytics provides demographic and behavioral information about your audience, along with which marketing efforts are working.
  • With Calendar, you can share your calendar with others, as well as use machine learning to receive smart scheduling suggestions.
  • G2 helps with all your company reviews.
  • Intercom helps you to chat and market strategically to your potential customers.
  • For customer service, use Survey Monkey and FreshDesk.
  • LastPass remembers and stores all of your passwords.
  • Keeps in touch with clients and virtual workers via Zoom, Lifesize, Slack and Skype..
  • Gusto handles your HR and payroll needs.

Related: 10 Lessons to Learn From Failing Startups (Including My Own)

There are so many variables you'll face when building your new business. Go into your business knowing that you can do everything correctly and still come out on the short end -- with a failure. There are things for which you can't possibly prepare. Even those things will keep you up nights, they'll provide you with experience for your next go around.

Get tough; go for your new business with everything you have and don't hesitate. You will have many wins in building your business -- but nothing worth doing is effortless.


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