Join Now! /

Life is a pitch

Startacus RSS

by Startacus Admin

Joel Silverman is the co-founder of KidsKnowBest. With zero background in media/kids/tech, and a career as a Mayfair hairdresser he pitched and raised investment from the president of the Marriott Group. Joel explains all...

"Being a Mayfair hairdresser is not only an amazing career, it also helps open doors from ideas you dream of. I am co-founder of KidsKnowBest, together with my long time friend and business partner Rob Lough, I want to tell you how I managed to raise investment from the President of the Marriott Group.

Joel and Rob - Kids Know Best 16 months ago, Rob Lough, my business partner and co-founder of KidsKnowBest, phoned me. He’d had his eureka moment after taking his twin girls to the cinema.

It was a rainy afternoon in Glasgow and all that he could think of doing was taking his girls to the cinema. After reading reviews of an animated film in various newspapers, all of which gave it terrible ratings, he was stuck for choices. He reluctantly took the twins to see it. The cinema was empty and to his surprise the kids loved it! ‘Why am I reading a review of a movie by a 40-year-old man? Why can’t I ask a five-year-old what they think?’ Would you ask an eight-year-old what car to buy?

Investment; I am sure you’re thinking why Rob decided to call me (my background is a hairdresser in Mayfair). Well, I have always been very interested in the idea of starting my own business. From an early age I was a self starter, always looking out for a product that people needed. I am driven to become successful and to bring a service that people are lacking.

Rob and I discussed KidsKnowBest at length for months on end. He knew my drive and my black book could get our venture off Kids Know Best - raising investmentthe ground. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know after all. A good friend owns a tech developer that specialises in start-ups. I knew if he thought KidsKnowBest had legs, he would help it run.

We invested our own time and money into building an MVP. I was extremely excited by the potential. Rob and I didn’t have enough to funds to get KidsKnowBest to the level we wanted it to. We knew we needed an investor to build our website and grow our brand. The usual questions arose; Shall I crowd fund? Do I do a friends and family raise? Do I go to an incubator? Do I know an angel?

While I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, I do feel people buy people. Obviously, the idea has to be exciting and you really need to understand the market. The research Rob and myself put into KidsKnowBest before trying to raise funds took significant time, we are always researching! You can never be completely satisfied with your product. But if you have trust from investors and you work hard, I believe that is most of the battle won.

KidsKnowBest I thought our investment would come quite easy (I am the optimist). In a nutshell, it did. But it didn’t come from a source I thought it would be and it didn’t actually come from anyone I targeted to pitch too. From my hairdressing days, meeting some of the most well connected and successful people, I knew we could find smart money with the right business plan. The first thing I learnt is that, no matter how detailed the numbers are, at this stage they really didn’t matter. It was all about the concept and the trust our investor showed in us.

I spent every evening working on the business and I couldn’t help but discuss it with my clients and friends who sat in my chair. Our angel is a very successful lady (President of the Marriott Group and on the board of PVH) and one I would call a friend of 5 years. KidsKnowBest was mine and Rob’s dream. I had no idea our Angel was looking at investing. The more we spoke, the more I understood her love of children and of helping people like ourselves grow. She feels like it is time to invest her hard earned money into something that can hopefully be life changing. I didn’t realise from me discussing KidsKnowBest, that she wanted to invest in our business.

Our angel had been approached by many people. None excited her like ours did, I didn’t even pitch to her. She asked me for a detailed business plan and the amount of money we needed. Rob and I knew if we could seal it, we could really fly. There were always little bits of nitty gritty to deal with. Lawyers want to earn their money too. Eventually we raised investment in Feb 2017.

In 18 months – 2 years’ time when we are looking to raise VC level funding, the above won’t resonate as much. The numbers become vastly more important. But on my side, I wouldn’t want to give any part of the business to someone or a company I didn’t like. We buy into our investors as much as they buy into us. Every day is a learning curve. Start-ups have many ups and downs. But so far the biggest lesson I have learnt is be positive, believe in your dream and always be ready to pitch.

You never know when you will meet your perfect investor!"

Cheers Joel, an inspirational read. For other informative and inspirational reads, you might want to take a look at: 


Subscribe to our newsletter

If you would like to receive our startup themed newsletter, full of the latest startup opportunities, events, news, stories, tips and advice, then sign up here.
Startacus RSS
Business DealsSubmit Your Startup
Win TicketsNetwork and Collaborate
Our Latest Features

Published on: 17th April 2018

If you would like to enable commenting via your Startacus account, please enable Disqus functionality in your Account Settings.

Create an Idea!View Other Ideas, Projects or Startups
Why not Sign Up?
Create Projects
Edit Projects
Self Interviews
Self Starter of the Year
Product Giveaways
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Check us out at our Google+ page!