Calling all Hackney's young entrepreneurs and driven founders.
Here's an opportunity you won't want to miss.

A chance for you (and your team) to sit around Albion's kitchen table at BL_NK in Old St. with some of the most stellar entrepreneurs, investors and advisors operating today - all willing to give you the most valuable asset they own: their time.

What's on offer?
  • Master-classes run by world class entrepreneurs and rooted in first-hand experience - topics all the way from funding through to marketing.
  • One-on one time with the entrepreneurs, Albion and industry experts to focus solely on your business and any challenges you may need help with.
  • The sharing of real insights in the hope of giving Hackney's next round of innovative businesses a head start.

We want these sessions to make a real difference, so we're limiting each one to two or three start-up teams.

The sessions will run at BL_NK from January - August 2014. You can apply for as many as you like, just apply to the sessions you'd like to attend below and make sure you give us as much info as possible so we can choose teams that will gain most from the experience.

Funding / Thursday 30th January 2014 10.00 – 13.00

Raising finance is one of the most crucial parts of growing your business and it can be difficult to know where to start as a young company. This session gives exclusive access to successful and experienced investors who will share their knowledge and experience.

  • How to keep things lean while you're young
  • What different options are there for funding
  • When and how to pitch to angels and venture capitalists
  • Getting your elevator pitch right
  • How to allocate your funding once you've got it
Saul Klein, Partner
Saul Klein, Partner Index Ventures

Saul joined the London office of Index as a Partner in February 2007. He currently serves on the boards of Alertme, Chartbeat, Codecademy, GlassesDirect, MyHeritage, Seedcamp, Songkick and Soluto.

Saul brings over 15 years of experience successfully building and exiting companies in both the US and Europe as an entrepreneur, operator and seed investor. Most recently he was the co-founder and original CEO at what is now Lovefilm International (Amazon) and part of the original executive team at Skype (eBay).

Saul loves working with seed and early stage companies and is a passionate believer that Europe is only scratching the surface in terms of its potential for entrepreneurs to create great start ups. To support this vision, since 1999 he has been a Founding Partner of The Accelerator Group (TAG) and in 2007 he also started Seedcamp and OpenCoffee Club, which is now active in over 90 cities around the world.

Reshma Sohoni
Reshma Sohoni

Reshma is a founding partner and co-manager of SeedCamp, an incubator which aims to provide a catalyst for Europe’s next generation of entrepreneurs through the provision of seed capital and a world class network of mentors. She has a strong business background beginning her career in investment banking (Broadview) and venture capital (Softbank). She then moved on to work with the Venture team at 3i and spent 3 years at Vodafone in their Commercial Strategy team, working across the Europe and Japan footprints in marketing strategy and pricing functions. Reshma's focus is on investment for B2B, Fashion, Gaming, Travel, and Financial Services.

Jeff Lynn
Jeff Lynn

Jeff is the co-founder and CEO of Seedrs - a funding platform that allows direct, online investment in the equity of seed-stage startups. He has extensive experience in the worlds of corporate transactions and early-stage businesses. He began his career as a lawyer, practicing in New York and London and later serving as co-chairman of the investment committee of a UK seed investment fund. He also currently serves as the Chairman of The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) and acts as a strategic adviser to startups.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.

Branding / Monday 3rd March 2013 14.00 - 17.00

Coca-Cola, Google, Facebook. The right brand can last forever. This session will look at building a brand on a budget that will give your start-up a voice.

  • What's in a brand strategy
  • What can you do in the early days of your company
  • How to evolve your brand
  • Giving your brand leverage
  • Living your brand values
Alex Saint, CEO & Founder
Alex Saint, CEO & Founder Secret Escapes

Alex Saint is a co-founder and CEO of Secret Escapes, the UK's largest private sale club for luxury travel with 4.5 million members. Alex's first entrepreneurial venture was to launch (a leading travel price comparison site) which he sold to Easyvoyage in 2011. His early career was spent in sales and marketing at Unilever, working on some of the nation's favourite food brands.

Alex Klein, Co-Founder
Alex Klein, Co-Founder Kano

Alex Klein is a founder of Kano and leads product and storytelling. He's a former journalist/actor/pianist/academic/toddler and has a passion for prehistoric cave art. He previously worked as Newsweek's tech and finance reporter and as a researcher at Cambridge University.

Yonatan Raz-Fridman, Co-Founder
Yonatan Raz-Fridman, Co-Founder Kano

Obsessively curious. Love making ideas happen. Co-Founder of Kano. A Zell graduate (during which started funkkit). Spent 3 years with the CEO of Keter, a global plastic products innovator. Started Kano to promote entrepreneurship globally by giving people the right tools to learn, make and express themselves.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.

Innocent and Skype / Tuesday 25th March 2014 10.00 – 13.00

In this exclusive session, Skype and Innocent Drinks join forces to share their experiences in business. Richard Reed and Niklas Zennström will spend a morning looking at your business idea, your set-up and your plans for the company in the years to come.

Richard Reed, Co-Founder
Richard Reed, Co-Founder Innocent Drinks

Richard is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of highly successful business Innocent Drinks. The innocent story shows that with a non-corporate attitude, a great product and creative thinking it is possible to create a fast growing, profitable company that acts responsibly.

Niklas Zennström, Founder
Niklas Zennström, Founder Skype

Niklas Zennström is an internet entrepreneur who co-founded Skype, Kazaa, Joltid and Joost among other high-profile technology companies, before founding Atomico, the international technology venture capital firm based in London.
He was recognised by Time Magazine as one of its 100 Most Influential People in 2006, and has received numerous other awards for innovation and entrepreneurship.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.

Marketing / Tuesday 22nd April 2014 10.00 – 13.00

You've started the business, you've built the product, but no one knows about it. It's a common problem for young startups. This session will look at how you can build a working PR and marketing strategy on little (to no) budget.

  • PR and marketing tactics start-ups can employ to get attention in crowded marketplaces
  • How to streamline your strategy
  • Plan for the future; when should you consider scaling your output
Simon Duffy, Founder & CEO
Simon Duffy, Founder & CEO Bulldog Skincare

Simon Duffy co-founded Bulldog Skincare For Men with friend Rhodri Ferrier in 2006. Bulldog makes award-winning skincare products that are purpose-built for men using natural ingredients that really work. Born out of the frustration that there were no natural options available for switched-on men who wanted to reduce the number of man-made chemicals in their bathrooms, the range of ethical products is now available in 13 countries and over 10,000 stores worldwide.

The brand successfully competes with leading multinational brands such as L’Óreal, Nivea and Gillette despite working with a fraction of their resources. In the UK, Bulldog was rated as the top brand across the male and female skincare categories in the Ethical Company Organisation’s 2012 Good Shopping Guide.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.

Innovation / Tuesday 6th May 2014 14.00 – 17.00

You’ve got that great idea and you’ve started your company. Now how do you protect your ideas? How do you keep innovating as your company grows?

  • Advice on bringing a distruptive model to market
  • How to see what's going to be the next big thing
  • How to keep thinking like an entrepreneur
  • Creating a culture of innovation from the top down
Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO
Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO Zoopla

In 2008, Alex launched, which has become one of the UK's most-visited websites and best-known online property brands. In 2012, Alex merged Zoopla with Daily Mail Group’s online property brands to form Zoopla Property Group which owns two of the leading brands in the sector -,, - and where he remains as CEO. Prior to this, in 2003, Alex co-founded, Europe's leading online DVD rental subscription service, which was successfully sold to

Alex is widely recognised as one of the UK's leading internet entrepreneurs and was named by Property Week as one of the 100 most important people in the UK residential property industry. Alex holds an honours degree in Economics from London University.

Sarah Wood. Co-Founder & COO
Sarah Wood. Co-Founder & COO Unruly

Sarah Wood is Co-founder and COO of marketing technology company, Unruly, where she ensures that the company delivers the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet.

Sarah has been voted UK Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the Growing Business Awards, one of 15 Women to Watch in Tech by Inc., one of 10 London-Based Entrepreneurs to Watch by Forbes and a Rising Star in Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in UK IT.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.

Growth / Tuesday 3rd June 2014 10.00 – 13.00

This session will look at how to grow your company from idea to IPO.

  • What tactics do successful entrepreneurs and businesses use to cope with sudden growth
  • How do you know when it's time to take the next leap
  • What can you learn from successful businesses
Richard Moross, Founder
Richard Moross, Founder

Richard is one of the leading figures on London's tech scene, with an excellent track record in business and a reputation for smart creative thinking.

Prior to founding MOO, he worked for design company Imagination as a strategist, for dotcom startup, and for the BBC. He has developed a keen eye for what he calls "remarkable consumer products" - things that people actually love to own. That's what's at the core of MOO itself.

Outside MOO, Richard is a board member at investment fund Seedcamp, a founding member of the Awesome Foundation's London Chapter, and a member of the Young Presidents Organisation and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Matt Gooch, Head of European Banking
Matt Gooch, Head of European Banking William Blair

Matt Gooch is the Head of European Banking in London. He joined William Blair & Company’s Chicago Corporate Finance Department in 1997 and relocated to the firm’s London office in 2000. He has been involved in more than 100 completed mergers, capital raises, and restructuring assignments in a variety of industries while at Blair. Matt is a M&A specialist and has extensive experience throughout Europe and the U.S.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.

Talent / Tuesday 1st July 2014 14.00 – 17.00

The right team can make or break your business. This session will look at how you can retain, find and secure the perfect team.

  • How long you should go it alone
  • How to know the right time to hire
  • How to get the right people to keep you growing
  • How to know when it's time to say goodbye
  • Sharing your business with your senior team
Mayank B. Patel OBE, Chairman
Mayank B. Patel OBE, Chairman Azibo Holdings

Mayank is an investor and an entrepreneur with a business portfolio including Currencies Direct Limited and Tor Currency Exchange Limited (TorFx).

Mayank’s portfolio of business achievements includes Entrepreneur of the Year from both BT and London Business Awards and listing as one of Britain's top 100 entrepreneurs by Management Today. In the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours, Mayank was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to Financial Services and Entrepreneurship.

Alex Bard
Alex Bard Starprop LLP

Chartered surveyor turned property developer, since 2007 Alex has acquired approximately 100 buildings and won planning consents to build over 1.25 million square feet in East London where his company are major landowners. The Estate Office Shoreditch, currently accommodate over 1000 local businesses in their buildings providing space with flexible terms at affordable rents. Their latest project ‘The Stage’ incorporates a new 40-storey residential tower, original Shakespearian and modern theatre, 250,000 sq ft of office space and 45,000 sq ft of shops and restaurants.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.


You’ve had the great idea and you've built your first prototype. This session will look at the product development and testing tactics that work for great businesses and how you can use proven methods (that will work) in your own company.

  • The value of 'relentless testing'
  • The role of product directors
  • Why the user is always right
  • Keeping your Lean Startup mentality as you grow
George Berkowski
George Berkowski Serial Entrepreneur

George is a serial entrepreneur and product-centric guy. Ex-Head of Product for HAILO he was central to building the company into a global success story. Prior to HAILO he founded, building it into one of the most innovative social dating and video chat sites on the web with 10 million users before it was bought by George is the Chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum UK – a forum for leading entrepreneurs and thought leaders (including people like Ray Kurzweil, Guy Kawasaki, Niklas Zennstrom and many others).

He is now a consultant for fast growing start-ups, including a Hailo for private jets called and has a written a book "How to Build a Billion Dollar App: A Step-by-step Guide to Turning Your Smart Idea into a Global Business".

Oded Ran, CEO
Oded Ran, CEO Touchnote
Oded is CEO of Touchnote, a London start-up and the world's most popular postcard-sending service. Touchnote's apps help millions of people be better friends and family members by sending their photos as beautiful, printed postcards.

Previously, he was Head of Consumer Marketing for Windows Phone and Head of Mobile Services, growing Microsoft's mobile business in the UK. Prior to joining Microsoft, Oded held roles with Retalix and the Israeli Defence Forces.

Oded has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the Hebrew University. When not obsessing about all things mobile or travelling around the globe, Oded spends his free time trying to train the family dog.


Apply now

You can apply for more than one session.

How to find us

37 East Road
N1 6AZ

Nearest tube stations
Liverpool Street or Old Street

Nearest train stations
Liverpool Street, King's Cross, St. Pancras and Shoreditch High Street

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