FT Start-Up Stories

Financial Times

The Financial Times's Jonathan Moules talks to entrepreneurs about building successful brands, giving birth during a funding round, and rebuilding a reputation in the wake of bankruptcy. Real stories from those who've done it, from idea to exit.
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Uncovering the secrets of computing

23:18 | Aug 13th, 2018

Alex Klein tells Jonathan Moules about his ambition to transform attitudes to computing with his kit to help people of all ages make their own and write the programmes to go with them.
How not to hire a psychopath

23:35 | Aug 6th, 2018

Geoff Watts and Julia Fowler co-founded EDITED, an innovative tech company that brings data analysis to the retail industry, nearly a decade ago. They tell Jonathan Moules that the toughest problem they've faced was when they hired someone who wasn't...Show More
Pursuing the AI dream

20:35 | Jul 23rd, 2018

Twenty years ago, Chetan Dube left the world of academia, at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, to pursue a career in business. He tells Jonathan Moules what inspired the move. 
The accidental entrepreneur

21:01 | Jul 16th, 2018

Michelle You, co-founder of the music ticketing and concert discovery platform Songkick, tells Jonathan Moules about the fun of creating a business, and the sense of failure she felt after the company was acquired by Time Warner.
Creating trust in an online world

21:37 | Jul 9th, 2018

When Peter Mühlmann’s mum had some bad experiences making her first purchases online in 2007, he decided there must be a way to guide consumers to businesses they could trust. The result was Trustpilot.
Buddi: what to do when a deal goes wrong

20:33 | Jul 2nd, 2018

Sarah Murray’s mobile alarm and tracking technology company faced an early setback when a government contract she’d been pinning her hopes on fell through. She tells Jonathan Moules how she dealt with the disappointment and bounced back.
How fighting a computer bug turned into a vocation

25:31 | Jun 25th, 2018

Marcin Kleczynski’s interest in computer software was sparked at the age of 14 when a battle to remove a virus from his home computer brought him into contact with the world of cyber geeks. He teamed up with some of them to provide a free service, la...Show More
The business that spun out of control

21:30 | Jun 18th, 2018

Julie Deane set up the Cambridge Satchel Company as a way of financing her children's education, but its rapid success attracted outside investors and the venture took a direction that made her feel uncomfortable. She tells Jonathan Moules how she re...Show More
iZettle: beating the incumbents

22:47 | Jun 11th, 2018

If you are trying to fill a gap in the market and a very conservative industry tells you it can’t be done, then go for it because there is “massive opportunity and the sky’s the limit”, iZettle’s Jacob de Geer tells Jonathan Moules
Dale Murray: networking saved my business

19:23 | Jun 4th, 2018

Dale Murray co-founded Omega Logic, which provided an electronic solution for mobile phone top-ups just as mobile phone use in the UK was becoming widespread. Timing played a big role in the success of the company, but it was ultimately her networkin...Show More
Start-up Stories returns

00:39 | May 30th, 2018

We’re back. Start-up Stories is returning with a new set of entrepreneurs sharing their insights about the joys and challenges of starting a business. So look out for our first episode in series five - from Monday June 4
A payment solution for Latin America

23:03 | Sep 11th, 2017

Philipp Bock set out to solve one of the biggest problems faced by consumer businesses in Latin America - the lack of a localised cross border payments infrastructure.
The Aspen busters

21:29 | Sep 4th, 2017

Glenn Keys and Andrew Walker were childhood friends who'd both served in the army and run businesses. Eventually they found a way to pool their resources, creating a company that provides tailored healthcare solutions in 12 countries from the UK to...Show More
Challenging the consumer giants

20:18 | Aug 28th, 2017

Jeff Raider has helped pioneer a high quality, low cost model for selling consumer products like glasses and razors online. He tells Jonathan Moules how he did it.
A winning commute

21:41 | Aug 20th, 2017

A crowded train journey home after a Chicago baseball game provided the inspiration for Katie Hill-Gottesman's Commuter Ads business, as she tells Jonathan Moules
Europe's tech pioneer

22:54 | Aug 14th, 2017

Bernard Liautaud's startup was the first French company to go public in the US back in the 1990s. He describes how he steered the company from idea to exit and now advises other European companies hoping to take the same route.
Building a successful team

18:22 | Aug 7th, 2017

Slack co-founder Cal Henderson and his collaborator Stewart Butterfield started out with the aim of creating a successful video game but ended up doing something completely different.
Blazing a trail for cycling safety

21:09 | Jul 31st, 2017

Emily Brooke wanted to help solve the worst problem faced by urban cyclists - safety. She tells Jonathan Moules how she went about it.
Beating off the competition

18:32 | Jul 24th, 2017

Will Dean tells Jonathan Moules how a legal challenge acted as a catalyst for the growth of his extreme sports business Tough Mudder.
Plugging into the global maker movement

21:52 | Jul 17th, 2017

Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh imagined a product for fixing things that would help end the global throw-away culture. She tells Jonathan Moules how she turned her idea from a fun concept into a reality.
Framestore and the Soho creative cluster

19:40 | Jul 10th, 2017

William Sargent founded his visual effects company over 30 years ago in London’s Soho district, and tells Jonathan Moules that the location was key to the early success of the business.
Live panel debate: living in a world of optimism

24:54 | Dec 12th, 2016

Six entrepreneurs who have featured in recent episodes of FT Start-up Stories discuss survival strategies and key ingredients for success with Jonathan Moules in front of an invited audience at the Financial Times in London.
Series 3: The Coconut Merchant 10/10

15:28 | Dec 5th, 2016

Al Shariat trained as a lawyer, but then took a job with the UNDP in Iran, working on microfinance and other projects. It was this experience that inspired him to change direction and set up a business providing ethically-sourced coconut products to ...Show More
Series 3: Mixcloud and the art of bootstrapping 9/10

19:30 | Nov 28th, 2016

Mixcloud, a music streaming service, got off the ground and achieved profitability without any external funding - something highly impressive and unusual in the world of tech start-ups. Nikhil Shah tells Jonathan Moules the story.
Series 3: The intelligent vending machine 8/10

16:57 | Nov 21st, 2016

Phil Davidson is a bit of a health nut, and was frustrated when working long hours as a broker in London that he couldn’t find healthy food in the office vending machines. So after a spot of travelling, he decided to design his own.
Series 3: Market research from the grassroots 7/10

15:19 | Nov 14th, 2016

Tugce Bulut's market research business Streetbees uses social media and mobile technology to gather data from paid volunteers in 87 countries
Series 3: The surgical robot maker 6/10

16:04 | Nov 7th, 2016

Engineer Paul Roberts and his co-founders spotted a need in the market that was not being met for a device that could make keyhole surgery more widely available to patients all over the world. He now has a 50-strong team working to bring the devices...Show More
Series 3: Working with investors 5/10

15:22 | Oct 31st, 2016

Nuno Sebastiao had trouble finding European backers for his untested tech start-up based in Portugal. But he found US investors more willing to take a gamble because they understood the technology behind Feedzai's fraud detection service.
Series 3: How to thrive in a downturn 4/10

15:32 | Oct 24th, 2016

Gary Grant found that his "ethical" approach to business that put people before profits helped his toy shop chain thrive when others were closing down.
Series 3: Discovering that missing ingredient 3/10

14:50 | Oct 17th, 2016

Daniel Reilly made a mistake that is all too common among tech entrepreneurs. He failed to test the strength of demand for his product before launching it onto the market. But the experience left him with a renewed respect for founders and helped h...Show More
Series 3: Finding harmony in Europe 2,10

15:49 | Oct 10th, 2016

Lopo Champalimaud, wanted to expand his online marketplace for health treatments rapidly across Europe. He chose the unusual route of recruiting other entrepreneurs who provided both local knowledge, an existing customer base - and a new name for th...Show More
Series 3: Launching by stealth 1/10

14:16 | Oct 3rd, 2016

Shakil Khan and his co-founder kept their student accommodation website out of the media spotlight during its early years while they tested the market and its global potential. He tells Jonathan Moules why he thinks this was the right strategy
Series 2: The serial entrepreneur 10/10

13:43 | May 2nd, 2016

John Stapleton co-founded a successful food business in the UK and then sold the business with the idea of setting up a similar venture in the US. As he tells Jonathan Moules, things didn't quite go to plan.
Series 2: The surfing cure 9/10

13:37 | Apr 25th, 2016

Richard Walton moved from London to Costa Rica to take up surfing and run his business remotely from there after a health scare prompted him to rethink his work-life balance. He tells Jonathan Moules how it worked out.
Series 2: The whistleblower's tale 8/10

12:52 | Apr 18th, 2016

Ismael Ahmed, an expert in remittances, used funds from a compensation award to finance his start-up WorldRemit. He tells Jonathan Moules that a successful revenue model was key to attracting the second stage funding he needed to go global.
Series 2: The ice breakers 7/10

14:06 | Apr 11th, 2016

John Lynch moved from Connecticut to Krakow in 1991 as a volunteer for a US aid mission designed to train entrepreneurs in the newly liberated Eastern Bloc. After a year, he decided to stay on and start a business himself, becoming an 'ice-breaker' i...Show More
Series 2: The benefits of agility in a changing world 6/10

13:01 | Apr 3rd, 2016

Alicia Navarro has been dubbed the 'queen of the pivots', a process of developing a business by changing the direction of travel - and living with an expectation of constant change. She tells Jonathan Moules her story.
Series 2: Ethics versus the bottom line 5/10

14:24 | Mar 28th, 2016

UK founder Jamie Waller tells Jonathan Moules how an ethical approach helped him get ahead of rivals in the debt collection business
Series 2: How drone detection saved Robin Radar 4/10

14:00 | Mar 21st, 2016

Dutch entrepreneur Siete Hamminge tells Jonathan Moules how his tech start-up was nearly undone by the long lead times required to seal deals with big companies. He found an alternative use for his bird detecting radar technology and saved the busine...Show More
Series 2: Learning and the lean start-up 3/10

13:21 | Mar 14th, 2016

The Drum is a magazine and events business for the marketing industry. It was well regarded but not particularly profitable, and Diane Young its chief executive found herself looking for ways to boost her flagging motivation. She tells Jonathan Moule...Show More
Series 2: Bare Conductive and the Chinese counterfeiters 2/10

13:42 | Mar 6th, 2016

Matt Johnson, an American entrepreneur in London, built his business on developing uses for electronically conductible paint, using open source technology. He tells Jonathan Moules what happened when he discovered his product was being cloned.
Series 2: Going wild in the woods 1/10

13:08 | Feb 29th, 2016

Tristram and Rebecca Mayhew started their tree-top adventure business after deciding they wanted to get out of the city. They tell Jonathan Moules about the risks they took, what they would do differently next time, and how it all worked out, with a ...Show More
Successful entrepreneurs tell their stories

01:32 | Feb 22nd, 2016

Jonathan Moules introduces a second season of his popular FT Start-up Stories podcasts, in which entrepreneurs talk candidly about their successes and failures: real stories from those who've done it, from idea to exit.
Episode 10 - How to exit your business

14:52 | Dec 28th, 2015

In the final episode of the series, Jonathan Moules looks at the reasons why founders decide to sell up and hears a cautionary tale from Paul Collins, chief executive of M&A advisor Equiteq
Episode 9 - Going for growth

14:34 | Dec 21st, 2015

Andrew Mullinger of Funding Circle tells Jonathan Moules why he and his co-founders opted for a rapid rate of growth and the difficulties that entailed.
Episode 8 - Defining your brand

12:00 | Dec 14th, 2015

Branding is about more than just a logo, says Adrian Lomas of digital marketing company Blueleaf. It's about defining a clear purpose for your business and making sure everyone - from staff to customers and competitors - know what that is.
Episode 7 - How to manage when family life intrudes

15:17 | Dec 7th, 2015

Maria Sipka was looking for a US business partner for her marketing company Linqia when she became pregnant and found herself in the middle of a crucial funding round within hours of giving birth. She tells Jonathan Moules her story.
Episode 6 - Making the most of failure

12:02 | Nov 30th, 2015

Alex Cheatle's business had a near-death experience when he lost customers after the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s burst. He tells Jonathan Moules that the experience proved invaluable. Music: Kevin MacLeod - Off to Osaka
Episode 5 - Setting the right price

14:51 | Nov 23rd, 2015

The Brompton folding bike has grown into a global brand sold in 43 counties. During the recent downturn, it raised its prices by over 65 per cent without putting a dent in sales. Finance director Lorne Vary tells Jonathan Moules why having a bold pr...Show More
Episode 4 - Getting close to your customers

10:56 | Nov 16th, 2015

James Watt found the secret of success was building a community of fans for his craft beer. They have provided investment, ideas and even helped find locations for his expanding network of bars. Picture credit: Rosie Hallam
Episode 3 - Hiring

08:32 | Nov 9th, 2015

Entrepreneur Martin Spiller tells Jonathan Moules that using recruitment professionals doesn't always make sense when you are looking to hire graduates. He found a talented designer for his design start-up by chatting to a barista.
Episode 2 - Funding

12:20 | Nov 2nd, 2015

Andy Harter funded his technology start-up with an early version of crowd funding. He tells Jonathan Moules how fans of his software provided an excellent source of seed capital and market research
Episode 1 - The idea

12:17 | Oct 26th, 2015

Alberto Lopez tells Jonathan Moules how he developed his idea for Alva, a corporate reputation management service, in the British Library. What's really important, he says, is that you do something you know well: "Knowledge of the domain is key."
Successful entrepreneurs tell their stories

00:56 | Oct 15th, 2015

In a new FT business education podcast, you can hear Jonathan Moules in conversation with entrepreneurs on the front line, who tell stories of building a successful brand through tweets, giving birth to a child in the middle of a funding round, and r...Show More