In mid-September, Harold Benjamin Solicitors celebrated their 70th Anniversary with a spectacular event at London’s iconic Somerset House.

Blessed by a warm evening in London and over 400 guests in attendance a live band, delicious food and sumptuous flowing cocktails, the evening proved a tremendous successful showcasing the direction of the firm and the quality of its vision. With over 100 employees the firm has gone from strength to strength with key hires and new-found energy from its current managing partner, Vijay Parikh, being supported by a robust compliance and operational team.

Commenting on the event, Vijay explained: “It was a wonderful evening and I’m very proud to have celebrated the firm’s 70th anniversary with so many of our long standing clients, business associates and our staff. For the firm to remain truly independent for the last 7 decades, is a testimony to its founders, everyone at the firm, our clients and associates. I am certain that the next generation will take the firm into its 100th year and beyond”.

 

 

Photographs by Ed Tayler for Foundxrs Club

Recently, we partnered up with veteran creative guru Arnt Eriksen as he brings to market his first and hugely anticipated Brand and Marketing strategy course. We managed to grab some time with him for a Q&A to understand a little more about him, the course and why he decided to release the education programme.

 

Arnt, could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a leading authority in creative strategy for brand and marketing?

I am a creative strategist and a brand alchemist: I've been in the industry for over 20 years, working with a diverse range of brands, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies across most categories. My passion lies in helping businesses unlock their potential by developing compelling brand and marketing strategies. I've also authored a book, "Brand You Economics", which provides timeless, tangible tools and principles for creating a legacy brand. I started my career as an Art Director for a traditional advertising agency, and have over the years evolved into different roles in various companies and agencies. I became obsessed with the strategy side of things when I received briefs from the agency planners, which in my perspective didn’t dig deep enough, or was based on assumptions and not facts and data. In the past decade, I have immersed myself in brand and marketing strategy to live up to my personal vision of making a positive impact through my knowledge, passion and curiosity.

 

What inspired you to create the "Conquer Brand & Marketing Strategy" course?

I believe that a strong brand and marketing strategy is the cornerstone of any successful business. However, I noticed a gap in the market for comprehensive, accessible education in this area. I wanted to create a course that not only provides theoretical knowledge but also practical tools and strategies that can be immediately applied in the real world. The thing is — there are so many companies that are either lacking a good strategy, and just operate on the day-to-day with tactics that deliver a fraction of the potential results, or they have an outdated plan somewhere which doesn't have any value, as it is not aligned with the intentions, visions and goals of the founders or people working there.

 

 

Who would benefit the most from taking this course?

This course is designed for anyone who wants to elevate their game in brand and marketing. Whether you're a business owner, a marketing professional, or someone looking to break into the industry, this course will provide the knowledge and tools you need to create compelling brand and marketing strategies that are aligned with the business goals, and that will help reach the right people with the right message and create results.

 

What makes your course different from other brand and marketing courses out there?

Good question! What sets this course apart is its focus on practical, actionable strategies. The course is designed to be interactive, with quizzes, assignments, and practical tasks that allow students to apply what they've learned. I've also incorporated insights from leading figures in the industry, such as Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, and Marty Neumeyer, to ensure the content is up-to-date and relevant. But the truth is — it is based on my knowledge and insights gathered over my career where I have worked with more than 400 brands to transform their brand, by giving them clarity and a simplified yet effective way to connect with their audience.

 

 

Can you give us a sneak peek into some of the topics covered in the course?

Sure, the course covers a wide range of topics, from the fundamentals of branding, such as brand purpose, values, and personality, to more advanced topics like how to gather insights, dive deep into the collisions and challenges, the benefits the brand, product or services delivers, and how to define a clear strategy, and the idea that is actionable and has consequences. Each chapter ends with a summary and a learning activity, allowing students to consolidate their knowledge and apply what they've learned.

 

Arnt, you've mentioned that the structure and material of this course are based on workshops and strategy processes that normally cost a lot more if done by an agency. Can you tell us more about this?

Absolutely. The course is designed to simplify the complexity of creating a solid brand and marketing foundation, the bedrock of your company. It's based on the same tools, strategies and processes used in workshops I’ve done for my clients when I was working at an agency. These workshops and strategies would typically cost between £50,000 to £300,000 which is a solid investment for anyone, and not possible for smaller companies.

This course offers a unique opportunity to gain that same level of insight and expertise at a fraction of the cost. As a founder and brand owner you sit with the essential information, and this course gives you the guide and the questions needed for you to unlock the insights, and a process to make it all make sense. You do the work at your own pace, which means you can finish the course in 6 weeks' time, or in 6 months, it is entirely up to you. The important thing is to take the time and to really do the work. The video material and course material has all the information needed, and the learning activities and quizzes will make sure you can test your knowledge before progressing to the next chapter. The reason it is given at this very low cost is for two reasons. One: you are the one doing the work, so you have to find the insights, the data, and the facts that are relevant and needed, as well as put on paper all the information you have to make sure you progress and create a solid strategy. Two, I truly believe this will be beneficial for all parties involved. You are the brand that gets the needed foundation and prepares you to create assets and tactical activation that will actually work, but if you are a larger company, it gives you the needed insights to challenge your agency and make them deliver its best work. Every founder, entrepreneur, influencer, and company owner should take this course, as it will give the needed tools and insights to create success and achieve the brand's business goals.

 

 

What can students expect to achieve by the end of the course?

By the end of the course, students will have a comprehensive understanding of what a brand and marketing strategy is and why it is needed. They'll be equipped with the tools and knowledge to create compelling brand narratives, connect with their target audience, and drive business growth. But more than that, they'll have the confidence to make strategic decisions that align with their brand's purpose and values. As I said, a brand strategy is the foundation for your brand house. You can’t execute marketing tactics if the foundation is not solid. That will only damage the brand sooner or later, and once it has fallen apart, it will be a much harder challenge to rebuild. Knowing why you do what you do, how you will execute it, and what the benefit is for your audience, it is much easier to make sure everything you do for the brand is aligned with the strategy so that the audience knows through interactions, perceptions and behaviours the authentic brand story, and reasons why they want to do business with you.

 

Finally, why should someone enrol in the "Conquer Brand & Marketing Strategy" course?

If you're serious about elevating your brand and marketing game, this course is a no-brainer. It provides a comprehensive, practical, and up-to-date education on how to create a brand and marketing strategy. Plus, you'll be learning from someone who's been in the trenches and knows what it takes to build a successful brand and the creative marketing tactics based on said strategy. This course is an investment to secure your future and the future of your business. Whether you're rethinking and elevating your current brand and marketing or starting a new company and wanting to do it right from the start, this course adds tremendous value.

As a member of FOUNDXRS Club, you already have the right mindset, and know the value of investing in your business, your network and knowledge, and best of all, you get it at a preferential rate, with a bunch of extra bonuses that is exclusive to the members.

There are many on the planet who can be defined as inspirational, visionary or even iconic, but very few ever possess the ability to encompass all three.

In May, we had the pleasure of welcoming Sonu Shivdasani OBE as part of our ‘Audience with’ series. One of the most inspirational and influential entrepreneurs in the world of hospitality.

Nearly 30 years ago, Sonu founded Six Senses Spas & Resorts and Soneva. After his exit from Six Senses, his focus remained on Soneva with his wife and co-Foundxr Eva (together creating the word Son-Eva).

Now regarded as one of the most luxurious resorts on the planet, Soneva consists of two resorts in the Maldives, one in Thailand and sailing yacht docked in the Maldives.

Residing on his island in the Maldives, and with only two days in the UK this year, we managed to grab 2 hours with the visionary for an intimate Q&A with club members. Club co-Foundxr and interviewer KP showed his admiration as he introduced the entrepreneur and delved into how he started and went about creating a luxury resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

 

 

Photographs by Glenn Foster for Foundxrs Club

Music on video by ‘Sunglasses Kid’

Who doesn’t like a little indulgence? And that’s exactly what we had recently as we partnered up with Equiano Rum and J.J. Fox Cigars in St James, London.

30 Club members had the pleasure of spending the evening with co-foundxrs of Equiano Rum Aaisha Dadral and Ian Burrell along with J.J. Fox representatives and cigar experts Tazminah Edoo and Yiannos Ktistis.

After the success of the previous Cigar & Whisky evening, we had to bring this back, but this time we wanted to make it slightly different. Understanding those who enjoy whisky generally have a palate for rum and cognac. It’s usually a natural progression.” Explained KP, Club co-foundxr.

 

Photographs by Glenn Foster for Foundxrs Club

As part of our ‘Audience with’ series, in April we had the pleasure to hosting high-end sneaker gamechanger and Foundxr of The EDIT LDN, Moses Rashid.

Although a serial entrepreneur he identified a gap in the market after paying a premium for a pair of sneakers and wasn’t even provided a bag to carry them in. He realised, not only was there a market for the product, but even more a demand of providing limited edition and high-end sneakers with a great service.

After establishing ‘The Edit LDN’ in 2020, Moses launched into stratosphere (yes, that’s where jets fly at supersonic speed) seeing the business grow at 525% year on year. In 2022, The Edit LDN hit $12m in revenue and raised $4.8m in a seed round. After securing a global partnership deal with NBAs Chicago Bull, the Edit LDN is gearing up to a valuation of $200m by 2026.

 

 

 

Photographs by Glenn Foster for Foundxrs Club

Now live in 32 countries, with more than 4.1 million users, payment technology venture ‘Curve’ has grown from strength to strength. Investec has supported Curve throughout its ambitious journey, with the success of the ongoing partnership put down to a shared commitment and understanding of entrepreneurship.

 

By 2014, the payments landscape was increasingly fragmenting and the volume of financial products available to UK consumers was increasing at a rapid rate.

While many commentators felt that this digitalisation would provide convenience, entrepreneur and founder of ‘Curve’ Shahar Bialick recognised the opportunity that arose out of increased complexity. He believed that the evolution presented an opportunity to transform the user experience by creating a platform – or app – where consumers could see, spend, and save their money in one place.

To integrate transactions across providers was an ambitious idea. To make it happen Bialick would need expertise, funding, and the ability to act fast. He turned to Investec – a bank and wealth management firm with a history of supporting entrepreneurs.

 

 

Belief in the mission

Bialick met Grant Bergman, head of Investec’s private company fundraising team and Devin Kohli, the co-head of Outward VC, a venture capital fund which is supported by Investec and invests in series A stage fintech start-ups. Both were struck by the clarity of Bialick’s vision.

“He had a clear rationale for why the product should work,” says Kohli. I remember thinking: if Spotify can be the new entrant and re-bundle music, if Amazon can do it for e-commerce and Booking.com can do it for hotels, someone should be able to do it for finance.”

It was the founder’s belief in his mission, along with his clear awareness of the payments industry, that convinced Kohli and Bergman to invest in 2014. It was the start of a close relationship that would evolve with the entrepreneur’s journey. Outward VC subsequently invested in Curve’s funding rounds in 2017 and 2019 and 2022.

 

Support for business growth

By 2020, more than two million clients were using Curve, which had doubled its user base; launched Apple Pay and Google Pay integration across all markets; and unveiled Curve Credit in beta. Alongside further innovation, the company was planning a US expansion and looked to raise £100m to fuel its ambitions.

Investec became exclusive adviser to Curve’s Series C funding round later that year. “Curve was becoming a well-known UK fintech,” Bergman explains. “We had already introduced the business to investors in our network, but this is where our advisory expertise came to the fore, by offering insight on market positioning, terms and valuation.”

The mission was a success. Investec raised the target of £100m from a range of investors including Vulcan Capital. A crowdfunding round also generated £9.9m from approximately 12,000 investors, £6m of which was raised in two hours and 49 minutes.

As Curve expanded, Investec was able to assist with its Foreign Exchange and cash management needs too.

 

Navigating challenges and emerging stronger in the face of adversity

Although Curve has gained traction, it has also faced challenges.

In 2020, global payment processor Wirecard became insolvent. “The FCA shut down Wirecard’s operations in the UK, which in turn meant Curve and many other businesses could no longer accept payments,” explains Kohli.

Curve needed to integrate with a new system, create new safeguarding and settlement accounts and satisfy the regulator, as soon as possible.

Investec’s payment teams with support from its executive stepped in to allow funds to move to Mastercard, with its teams working over the weekend to create a viable solution. Less than 60 hours later, Curve was back online. Bialick would later say: “We would not have been able to accomplish this feat without Investec’s unequivocable support.”

Curve successfully navigated the COVID pandemic and has emerged stronger, with the launch of a new credit offering. It is now live in 32 countries, with more than 4.1 million users. Meanwhile, Investec continues to support Curve as the business raises additional capital.

The success of the ongoing partnership can be put down to a shared commitment to and understanding of entrepreneurship. “There’s always been a natural affinity,” Kohli and Bergman affirm. “Investec is a first-generation entrepreneurial bank. That spirit really permeates the culture and makes us the right fit for this type of dynamic partnership.”

Investec is also on-hand to help with entrepreneurs’ lending and wealth management needs. “We connect individuals with our colleagues across both private banking and wealth management,” adds Bergman. “Our understanding of complex and irregular income structures means we can help clients achieve their personal financial goals, while understanding their desire to grow a business.”

 

 

To find out more about Investec, please contact Private Banker Elieen Redmond: email Eileen.redmond@investec.co.uk or telephone: 0207 597 5289

 

Important information: Investec Bank plc is an investor in Curve through Outward VC Fund LLP, its venture capital fund.

 

Most of you will know Andrea from the multi award-winning, national daytime chat show ITVs ‘Loose Women’ where she had the opportunity to interview some of the biggest names in the business including Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Drew Barrymore, Michael Bublé and Amy Schumer. This was now the time for Andrea to take the hot seat as Faiza Syed of the Club hosted the entrepreneur.

 

The event was held at the beautiful grade II listed building in Farringdon, Old Sessions House. With a packed house of nearly 50 members, the event saw Andrea share intimate stories of her journey along with words of wisdom for entrepreneurs in the room.

 

 

 

Photographs by Glenn Foster for Foundxrs Club

Earlier this year, Club members experienced the cultural and meditative process of Japanese tea making. The masterclass was hosted by entrepreneur Yuri ‘Yureeka’ Yasuda, founder of SAYURI, an artisanal Japanese green tea, and matcha brand. Yuri took members on a journey steeped in tradition and modernity, sophistication, and simplicity where members learnt to perfect their morning matcha ‘ceremony’; one of Japanese culture's most honoured traditions.

Following the masterclass, Club members enjoyed a lunch curated by the chefs at Lucky Cat by Gordon Ramsay.

 

 

Photographs by Glenn Foster for Foundxrs Club

Over 45 members gathered in Mayfair for the Club's ‘Audience with…’ series. This time with a gentleman whose app needs no introduction. He personally may not be a household name, but his App surely is. Introducing Dhiraj Mukherjee, co-founder of Shazam.

In 1999, Dhiraj and three of his friends founded ‘Shazam Entertainment Limited’ and created what now has become one of the world's most downloaded apps ‘SHAZAM’. In Sep 2018 Dhiraj and his friends sold the company to Apple in a deal worth $400 million. Although this philanthropist and ‘tech for good’ investor is used to speaking in auditoriums filled with people, as a friend of the brand he agreed to join us for an intimate evening with our Club members.

Interviewed by Kalpesh Patel (Club founder), Dhiraj shared his experience and advice on everything from growing the business to the hurdles his team had to overcome to know when to grow and when to sell.

 

Photographs by Glenn Foster for Foundxrs Club

With nearly 300 Club members and partners in attendance, the Foundxrs Club End of Year party was the biggest event of the year. Not only in numbers but in energy.

The theme of the party was simple, ‘Celebrate’! No matter how big or small, the idea was to bring members and partners together under one roof and celebrate 2022.

Partnered with Crazy Co, Investec, VAR Capital, DAL Concierge, Interpolitan, Cobra Beer, Blue Alpine, Fortis Wealth, Ethos Construction, and Carter Bond Solicitors, all of whom are Club members, the event was hosted in London on Saturday 26 November. Members took full advantage of reconnecting with their peers, enjoying the festivities, and celebrating until early hours of the morning.

The appointment of Ruchira Talwar as the new Managing Director of Foundxrs Club was announced at the event which simply added to the celebrations.

 

Photographs by Glenn Foster for Foundxrs Club