Tail between his legs

Tail between his legs

Founder update

No I’m not talking about Bob who came out of the toilet of the airplane smiling with his tail between his legs, I’m talking about my tail between my legs.

Nerves, imposter syndrome, all the emotions have kicked in this week. Why? Because I’ve just touched down in Dubai and have a total of four days to start our £300k investment raise, of which I need to secure at least £100k of pledges before I leave on the red eye British Airways flight at 0100 hrs on Sunday morning. (Cheapest flight available. Gotta look after Bob’s pennies so they look after the pounds as they say). 

Rest assured I’ll be using every ounce of my sales experience to be upgraded to business class for free on the return leg, and to raise the minimum requirement of £100k before I am allowed to set foot in Bob HQ. 

Wish me luck!

Back to business. So I have 9 meetings lined up across 3 days, with Saturday being a rest day in which I get to explore Dubai and hopefully play some golf with my good friend Chris Hogg (he’s also a very successful entrepreneur so hopefully I can pick his brains, and even get him to part ways with some of his hard earned millions. He’s from the North of England originally so it won’t be easy, but Newcastle did beat PSG 4-1 last night so maybe he will be in a good mood this week).

There are three things that will guide me through all of my investment meetings:

  1. Honesty - no matter what I will ensure I share our journey to date, share the journey of where we want to get to, and answer all and any questions that are thrown at me honestly.
  2. Enjoy it - it’s not every day you get to introduce your startup to people who have already been successful, living in Dubai. Enjoy it I shall.
  3. Ask for the deal - the most important thing when raising money is to remember to ask the big two questions, which are a) will you invest and b) how much will you invest. This is what helps us to achieve our investment target. (Shy bairns get nowt as one of my best mates mums, Lizzie Innes, would say). 

How’s it going in Dubai you ask?

Yesterday was our first day of meetings. It was the first time I got to share the new investment deck and test it out, the first time going through our financial model externally, and the first time someone held our prototype outside of team Bob. And you know what, I was a very proud chap. Everything that we had worked so hard to pull together last week actually paid off, and I felt very comfortable delivering the pitch to very experienced, very wealthy, and very successful investors. The result of the first meetings will come in after a week or two of them reviewing our documentation, but if I had to be put on the spot, I’d say I think, I hope, maybe, just maybe, I might have secured our first £50,000. I certainly can’t count my chickens before they hatch, but to ensure I am being honest, enjoying it and asking for the deal, that is what I hope I get out of the first meeting. 

Blimey, wouldn’t it be great to get a one from one success rate from the first meetings in Dubai. Time will tell. 

This morning’s breakfast meeting, believe it or not actually trumped yesterday’s first meeting. Why? Because I secured a £25k investment pledge over a V60 coffee (blew my socks off and I am still shaking from it) and a chipotle eggs benedict and black croissant (they do things differently here, and I like it). Even more importantly than the money pledge, it was from an ex global director of UNILEVER!!! A very influential and experienced investor with a name in the soap industry backs us, believes in us, and loves the Bob prototype…. CEEEMMOOOOON! All before you lot in the UK have scratched your bottoms, had a shower and sipped on a cup of yorkshire tea.  

Meanwhile, I really need to find a way to counteract the coffee high I am on right now writing the final edits to this email. I can’t see straight and if I had maracas in my hand I’d be making some serious rattling noises. 

I’ll definitely sleep on the plane on the way home (maybe I’ll stay away from any more V60 coffee) as this week is going to take it out of me. Delivering an investment pitch is 50% rehearsal (got to know your sh*t) and 50% agility of mind (being able to think quickly about the answer, but with no bullsh*t answers coming out of your mouth). It’s exhausting because you are on point, on edge, on show, and performing. Every investment meeting is, and should feel, like you’ve just done a spin workout for 60 minutes. You should love it when it's finished and be proud you got through it, yet at the same time it should hurt, it should be uncomfortable like the bike saddle is up your arse, your thighs burning, and your palms sweaty. That’s when you know you are in the right room, with the right investors.

So picturing the above, imagine the feeling on top of this when the taxi driver took me to the wrong part of Dubai for my first meeting yesterday, insisting I was in the right place, and then driving off. My first meeting was at 1600 and I was dropped off at 1540 (to the wrong place). Business Bay was the right location and after running up to the nearest hotel I connected to wifi (don’t. The phone is still not working internationally) and re-ordered the next Uber. 15 minute drive to get to the right spot confirmed the cabby. Arriving at 1607, meeting busy investors for the first time, and late. Not the start you want. However, thankfully for me, they too were running late and so they actually thanked me. Oh no gentlemen, it is me who should be doing the thanking. 

Note to self. Go back and give Sher with the Lexus ES a 1 star Uber rating for chucking me out in the middle of nowheresville.

Anywhoo. We made it. Great meeting, and more importantly, everyone loves the prototype! A great success as the great Borat once said. 

The rest of the week is jam packed with sunbathing, golfing, shopping and eating good food. I mean working hard and meeting lots of our current and hopefully future investors. 

And so moving onto the Thingymabob.

Creating the perfect product takes time 

As I mentioned in one of my previous updates and as I continue to tease Will and Beta that I will release product shots far too early ahead of when I am aloud, here’s a picture of our prototype.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for. 

That’s right, our Thingymabob…

Wait, what, you don’t think we were actually going to reveal the top secret product just yet do you? No, no, no muggins does not want to go on Louise’s naughty step again, or have Will or Beta shouting at me for revealing our patentable mechanism. 

Instead, above is a real life picture of our prototype protective diving camera case, which we are using to protect the prototype whilst in Dubai (£8.99 on amazon if you want one too). Unless you are an investor or becoming an investor, then you ain’t getting to see the little Bobster just yet. 

The perfect product does take time, and you (and I) must be patient a little longer. 

Last week we received the prototype and the beta boys confirmed that the next step is to test everything. Everything from the length of silicon style bristles, all the way through to the waterproofing of the product. This resulted in Will going all operational, whilst Max and Alex were scrambling to create last minute renders for our updated investor deck, and asking beta to confirm what the testing would involve.

Harry of beta (now knowing Will is the operation chap) whipped out a 96 point testing checklist for just the bristly bits. Will was happy as a pig in sh*t and turned his attention to directing Max and Alex to work faster on the renders, after being so content knowing there is a four week initial product testing schedule commencing as I am typing these words. 

In summary, the thingymabob prototype is now growing up. It’s gone from being a little boy to a teenager, and quite bluntly put, no one knows how the thingymabob is going to react in its adolescence (testing phase). So with this being said, we are leaving beta to do what they do best. Putting things in microwaves and melting things. 

So whilst Will is satisfied Beta are doing their job, he moved back to our German soap partner to give them some operational heat. I mean love. 

The Soap f*&king stinks

In other quite important news, it turns out I was wrong. AGAIN! I wanted the soap to be scent free. I want it to feel so clean when you wash that it shouldn’t need scent. The lathering goodness foaming all over your balls, cleaning your armpits, and freshening your crack with only the power of the bob soap bar.

Will on the other hand is less markety, a more to the point kind of guy. I’d put him more towards the caveman kinda end. The Dr Squatch, the Lynx, the real man's natural soap smell. He thinks the soap should be so strong in smell and should really leave a man smelling of burnt wood post a campfire.

Needless to say I pulled rank and we went for the first test batch with no scent or perfume for speed, with the aim of getting it delivered so I could bring some samples to Dubai.

What actually happened was the soap turned up on time as planned, but when we opened the unscented Syndet soap (at pH5.5 may I add), it stank! It turns out raw soap stinks. Who knew. 

So, I am in Dubai with a 3D printed soap bar, not the actual first version of the soap, as I felt I could better paint the picture of our soap with a 3D print, as opposed to trying to explain why our soap wouldn’t actually smell of blue cheese left in the fridge since Christmas 2008 (the year I started Uni. Come to think of it, there probably is some blue cheese still in my old fridge actually! Ooosshh). 

2 days to go

So, two days to go. Two days to paint the perfect Bob picture. Two days for all the potential investors to believe in me, in the team, in some 3D plastic soap and a prototype, which is packaged in a diving camera box. Two days to form the foundation of our £300,000 investment round. 

They do seem to like Bob in Dubai so maybe, just maybe, we can do this.

Next week I’ll provide a debrief on how the holiday is going. I mean how the investment roadshow trip is going..


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