Tell us about yourself?
For over 15 years, Mo Rassolli’s mentored innovative startup founders, transforming them into noteworthy leaders within their respective industries.
Mo has also successfully launched and scaled several startups. The most recent — and most notable — one is Trendscout, an equity crowdfunding platform that specialises in identifying promising startups, and providing them with the guidance and resources they need to generate funding to launch and scale.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
I genuinely believe that being an entrepreneur takes a lot of passion, perseverance and resilience.
I have learnt a lot during my journey, but my biggest lessons and what I regularly share with new entrepreneurs is to accept failure as part of the journey, never stop creating, believe in your abilities and always keep your eye open for new opportunities.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Market research is critical! Market research allows you to understand if your ideas have the potential to turn into a successful business.
Always have your customer at the heart of every decision you make. A good idea is exciting, but good opportunities are scalable.
Have implementable plans with a customer base you can access and build on. Always ensure that your business idea fills an ongoing need.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
This is one I needed to master over the years. It is challenging to balance the two as an entrepreneur as, ultimately, your personal life and downtime can be non-existent if you do not make a conscious effort for it not to be. I have gotten better at this in recent times by creating work boundaries.
For example, I have a rule that I will not check work emails before 7 am and after 9 pm. I manage my time more effectively daily by creating robust schedules for myself.
I ensure I include breaks as overworking and not allowing yourself to have time out ultimately make you less productive and effective, negatively impacting your ultimate goals and tasks for the day.
I think being realistic about what can be achieved in a day, week, and month is essential. Allow yourself to switch off and recuperate on weekends or evenings. Taking total care of our mental health is vital.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
We are founders, and we help other founders raise capital for their startups. We have the added benefit of assisting founders in surviving and thriving as we have experienced the ups and downs, struggles and successes, joys and pain points.
We would have bitten someone’s hand for the current knowledge and accessibility we share. This makes us stand out from the crowd as we are just as passionate as the new founders we support and want nothing more for them than to thrive as we did.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
Many platforms that help and engage with early-stage startups, founders and entrepreneurs are automated. This automation was created to cut costs and filter out companies with the best chance of raising capital.
Many of these platforms didn’t consider the lack of the human touch — the ability to interact personally instead of data-driven technology.
We don’t automate our processes. The team behind Trendscout enjoys interacting with the founders and guiding them through the entire sales cycle, and I believe this personal touch is what sets us apart. We treat each entrepreneur as an individual.
We don’t send generic emails. Instead, we build relationships with the startups and learn more about their vision, goals, and spirit. We then use that passion and reflect it to the angel investors.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
Sales is all about your clients, and it’s about creating a need and a demand for your service.
With a strong strategy and suitable marketing plan, it no longer feels like selling for us but more like guiding our clients, who, in our case, are startup founders.
Trendscout doesn’t sell a service or a product per se. We have created and offered a solution that startup founders desire and needs. If the businesses on our platform meet the criteria we have set out, and we believe we can help them thrive and scale, we devise a plan and do so.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
In all honesty, we have overcome many significant challenges from the start to date. From finding a startup founder, reaching out and connecting to investors, ensuring we were working with the right marketing company, ensuring we had the right strategy, and having relatable content on our platform.
It was all significant obstacles we overcame by sheer determination. Market research was, I would say, the most significant support for us, by taking the time to listen to other entrepreneurs, other founders, and investors helped us build our platform into what it is today.
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
The advantage of opening a business in London is easy access to all the UK founders, Uk startups and mentors.
London is a great place to operate a company with the added advantage of co-working spaces. This allows you to be more agile and no longer commit to long leases.
London allows everything to be accessible no matter what you need, which makes things more convenient.
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
I would say the issue I have had with being located in London is the travel. Getting around takes time and can sometimes be exacerbating.
This also can interfere with your work-life balance as commuting can take up an extra few hours of your day, which could be spent at home or work, adding value.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
It is a challenging time for anyone living and working in London and as an employer even more so. We have made sure that we adapted to the needs of our employees and ourselves as a business.
Flexibility was vital for us, allowing our employees to change how they work and listen to their needs. Changes made were things such as working from home, or working more at the office, reducing the number of days worked and encouraging car sharing where people drove to work.
All these changes helped support our employees. Communication was vital, listening to employees’ needs but being open and honest about how the business coped during these difficult times and sharing that the increasing costs also impacted the business.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
Manchester is a good place. I believe the cost of living is slightly lower. Business office spaces and property prices are lower, and generally, you get the same quality.
I’ve been to Manchester a few times. The people are fantastic, it is bustling, and they seem to be very in tune with the future of technology, and it is most certainly an alternative to London.
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
Brexit has not directly impacted our business, in all honesty. We are focused as a UK crowdfunding platform/angel investment network.
Crowdfunding is an arena I believe which is least impacted during difficult financial times. Brexit has unexpectedly brought opportunities for crowdfunding campaigns.
As traditional funding sources like banks and venture capital funds dry up, businesses look for alternative ways to finance their business.
Crowdfunding fills this gap. As Brexit unfolds and a recession is on the horizon for the UK economy, crowdfunding will be an alternative finance mechanism once again.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
Our 5-year plan is to have grown ten times more than our current value, and we are currently on target to achieve this.
Our vision is to be the best crowdfunding/angel investment platform by providing the best early-stage business support, offering the best advice, guidance and resources and, most importantly, seeing them achieve their goals by connecting them with the best possible investors.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
If you’re an Investor looking to invest in great early-stage UK businesses, then reach out to us so we can have a discovery call.
This will help us understand what you are looking for from us, what areas you are focused on, what your current portfolio looks like, your goals etc. I definitely think we can help. We have a broad range of early-stage startups.
If, however, you are an early-stage founder and still finding your feet and new to the industry of raising and understanding the ecosystem of fundraising or need support, guidance and mentoring, then pick up the phone with us, send us an email at [email protected].