Louis is a serial entrepreneur having started several businesses over the past five years, with his latest venture being BarberQ. Previous to Founders Intelligence he worked at Capgemini, and spent considerable time traveling in South America. Since joining FI he has focussed on partnerships, incubation projects, and venture capital programmes working with leading companies and start-ups across a variety of B2C businesses in the UK, US, and Latin America.
- — What is your favourite start-up? Why?
Kukua — they are building a ‘learning universe’ for children through their main character, Sema: an African girl who invents new technologies in order to protect her village. To create a successful company is one thing, but to do it while simultaneously improving literacy rates in Africa, encouraging STEM, and bringing diversity to children’s entertainment in their most formative years, is another challenge altogether!
2. — What is your Entrepreneurial Insight?
Helping traditional, small businesses transition into the modern age. The SaaS model, in particular for small businesses, is one that I think will have huge implications for whether local businesses can survive moving forward. Locked out from the massive quantity of capital currently flowing through the start-up landscape, you have traditional businesses that have been going for generations now struggling for cash, equipped with fantastic skills in their core business, but lacking the technology and marketing skills to attract the right customers. There needs to be some consideration of how can we help them excel in this tech-enabled world before we lose the diversity of local businesses in every community.
Take barbering as an example: the majority of shops are still using cash only, with no business email address or website to attract new customers, and a massive upheaval is needed to drag them into the modern age. Myself and my co-founders are helping to do this through our app, BarberQ.
The app lets customers find barbershops near them and queue digitally via the app, rather than waiting in store, and it lets barbershops create an online presence, attract new customers and get actionable analytics on their store, after only a few minutes setup and with no tech requirements or expertise on their side. By handling all of the technology and customer aspects, we let barbers focus on their day to day role and compete with the big industry players on convenience as well as quality.
3. — What lesson would you have for leading companies?
The main problem I’ve seen is employees so focussed on delivering in the here and now that they lack enough capacity or responsibility to look at the bigger picture. People can get bogged down in the details and miss the huge disruptive trends taking place in an industry at the macro level.
4. — What podcast or book have you enjoyed recently?
‘The 100 Year Life’: it does a great job at shining a light on the collapse of the three-stage life model and the need for everyone at any age to think longer term about their life, whether that’s money, work, relationships, or physical health. We need to do more as individuals to plan for the future.
5. — What do you love about FI?
The incredible amount going on. Whether it’s through client work, internal projects or walking 30 seconds down the hall to speak to some incredible founders, there’s a great buzz about the place which comes from working with people who are very passionate and genuinely interested in what they’re doing.