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  • Our Team | Ship Shape

    Our Team Daniel Sawko - Co-founder & CEO Linkedin profile Lived the problem we're solving! 10+ years in start-ups & Financial Services Former CCO of one of the UK's fastest-growing Regtechs Oxford University Fintech Programme Alistair Baillie - Co-founder & CIO/ COO Linkedin profile Lived the problem we're solving! 20+ years in Major Banks & Financial Services Institutions, 2 successful exits Former COO of one of the UK’s fastest-growing Regtechs MA Physics, Oxford University Slawomir Kosinski Full Stack Developer Gareth Williams Senior Data Scientist Carrie Skye Data Engineer Bradley Evans Marketing & PR Ekaterina Shushkanova Web Developer Ruslan Suprun DevOps Engineer Joseph Parker Data Operations Analyst Nurlan Ganbarli Front-end developer Want to join the team? Find a role that suits you Kateryna Kovalenko Python backend developer Gareth Jones Senior Product Manager

  • Industry Jargon | Ship Shape

    Industry Jargon Sometimes industry jargon is confusing for us too. We have pulled together a dictionary to help you navigate confusing terms and phrases. Blockchain Data storage technology that is divided into blocks and linked together when requested. This helps provide some cryptocurrencies to... Crowdfunding A method of raising funds through smaller contributions on a larger scale. Contributions are typically made prospecting customers or... Write-off A write-off is used to revalue an asset. This is typically done to reduce the value of the said asset. Warrant A warrant is the right to purchase stock at a fixed price (also know as the 'strike price') at a later date. This is a similar concept to... Warrant Coverage Warrant coverage is an agreement between a start-up and one or more shareholders where the start-up issues a warrant (see warrant ) equal... Vesting Vesting is the process of scheduled issuing of shares or share options for employees for an agreed period of time. This is to ensure that... PLG Product-lead growth is a growth strategy whereby the product itself is the main influence in obtaining and retaining customers.... Convertible Note A financial instrument that enables an individual or firm to loan money to a company, this can convert into equity at a later date... Washout Round A funding round where existing shareholders experience significant dilution. Often, the new investor(s) will gain a significant or even a... MVP An acronym that stands for Minimum Viable Product is typically the first release of a product or service that achieves the basic goals or... Start-up Advisor Typically a group or an individual that provides advice when presented with challenges. A good trait to look for is a track-record of... NPV An acronym for Net Present Value. The NPV represents the total value in a potential investment opportunity. Limited Partner Individuals who invest in a VC fund are known as Limited Partners Lead Investor “A lead investor is the investor that bring the most capital to the table and hence, sets the terms of your round, mainly its price, its... ESG Investing Used to refer to investments that focus on environmental, social and good governance. This can include socially responsible investing,... Assets Under Management A single market value of all the assets held by a client but is managed by mutual funds, venture capital firms, or brokers. Decacorn A new term that is given to relatively new firms that have a valuation of over $10 billion. See our video on Unicorn to see the difference! Due Diligence A process whereby both parties verify the applicable information related to a deal between said parties. White Label Solution A product or service that can easily be re-branded, without changing the fundamental function performed. Broker An intermediary that is typically an individual or firm that aids with the exchange between investors and securities (e.g. start-up equity). Carry The net return as a result of holding an asset. This could be negative or positive depending on the asset and the current market that the... Options Options are the right (not obligation) to purchase a number of shares at a pre-agreed price. Options are an increasingly popular part of... Capitalisation Table A capitalisation table is an overview of a company's share ownership by all share-holders. Hurdle Rate The minimum target rate for returns is set by investors that will foresee the overall return on investment. Bridge Loan A short term loan designed to be used by firms or an individual during the period prior to securing long term or sustainable payment. Bandwidth The ability of an individual to carry out a certain task within a certain time frame. An example of taking up a lot of bandwidth is... Syndicate A group of individuals or organisations who collaborate together in order to achieve a shared goal. In an investment sense, this would be... Venture Capital A form of funding from an individual or firm into a fast-growing emerging business with a goal of return on investment. These investments... Incubator A space where startups can operate during their initial conception and tend to focus on innovation with no set goal or direction.... Bitcoin Bitcoin is a cryptographic store of value used to publicly transact in an anonymous way with certainty that a transaction has occurred.... Green Fund An investment vehicle fund that has invests in environmentally sustainable and socially aware/responsible businesses. Startup Accelerator Programs and mentorships designed to provide resources, training, and networking to aid the fast-growth startups. Don’t forget, there is... CSS A programming language that allows the element to be built into HTML and displayed on web pages. Ship Shape helps you find the right VC investor in seconds, not months Book a call today

  • Request Indexing | Ship Shape

    Want your thought-leadership to be found by relevant start-ups? Join our indexing queue Your professional content First Name Last Name Email I'm happy for my email to be shared if someone finds me via Ship Shape's search engine Be added to Ship Shape Latest Insights Apr 4 3 min Ship Shape shortlisted for StartUp Awards National Series Mar 17 9 min Why Content Matters Mar 7 5 min Ship Shape on the Welsh Trade Mission in the U.A.E.

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  • Ship Shape shortlisted for StartUp Awards National Series

    Cardiff-based Ship Shape has been named one of the most exciting new businesses in the region after being shortlisted as part of a brand new awards programme. The StartUp Awards National Series has been launched to recognise the booming startup scene across the UK which has accelerated since the pandemic began. In 2020, when most of the world was shutting down, more than 400,000 startups were set up in Britain, with similar increases seen in other European countries. There was stiff competition with over 2,500 applications received in response to the Startup Awards National Series’ first-ever call for entries. Daniel Sawko, CEO and Co-Founder of Ship Shape said: “It’s great to be recognised for the traction we have built around our Venture Capital Search Engine, with VCs, Accelerators, Universities and Investment Banks already using it to deliver significant value-add to the many entrepreneurs they support, in addition to their own in-house research needs. We’re delighted to be supporting entrepreneurs across the UK - even if that means making this competition even more challenging in future!” Supported nationally by BT, EY, Dell & Intel, the programme will celebrate the achievements of the amazing individuals across the UK who have turned an idea into an opportunity and taken the risk to launch a new product or service. Co-founded by the team behind the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, the new series follows the success of the Wales StartUp Awards, after organisers recognised the exceptional potential in the startup scene across the other British regions. Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, the creator of the StartUp Awards National Series, said: “​​New firms are important for generating economic prosperity, employment opportunities and innovation. Since 2016, the Wales StartUp Awards have celebrated this amazing annual contribution to our economy by entrepreneurs and the impact they have on communities across the nation. “Given the sheer volume of phenomenal startups we’ve heard from since then, as well as the huge post-pandemic shift in people’s desires to take their career in a new direction and set up a business against the odds, we felt it was the right time to take the programme nationwide. We’ve been blown away by the standard of entries in this first year and truly look forward to crowning the winners in June.” ENDS For more information or to request an interview, please contact Sam at sam@paperclip-pr.co.uk or 07429 487 554 or Simon at simon@paperclip-pr.co.uk or 07894 151 206. EDITOR NOTES Ship Shape Ship Shape is the Venture Capital Search Engine. Ship Shape is a Search Engine that lets you search individual investors at VC firms, portfolio companies and investment entities. Our results compress the research time required to draw up a well-informed investor shortlist from 183 days to a matter of seconds, dramatically improving the chances of a warm response to outreach. Because we index unstructured data, you can find the investors interested in a specific field. Ship Shape provides you with evidence, in addition to the firm's portfolio of other investments. This gives you confidence, clarity and certainty that you are speaking with the right person. StartUp Awards National Series The StartUp Awards National Series is a collaboration between the founders of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards - an established programme nationally receiving over 5,000 applications annually - and the Wales Start-Up Awards, the only regional awards currently celebrating new businesses in the UK. The StartUp Awards National Series will recognise the achievements of those amazing individuals who have had a great idea, spotted the opportunity and taken the risks to launch a new product or service. Already established and thriving in Wales, the StartUp Awards National Series is now taking the passion and drive to celebrate new business and extending across the whole of the United Kingdom.

  • Why Content Matters

    If you’re a Venture Capitalist, what’s the point in writing content and sharing your opinion? To provide some insight and guidance around effective content publishing, our CEO and Co-founder, Daniel Sawko has answered some common content-related questions we've been asked. TLDR: Write content to give yourself the best chance of increasing relevant deal flow. Content that is relevant to technologies of interest amplifies your market signal by informing entrepreneurs of your investment thesis. So how do you do this most effectively? Listen to the full Q&A below or read and listen to a specific question about Why Content Matters. (The questions and answers have been slightly edited to make them easier to read.) Contents of Questions asked 1. When you refer to Venture Capital content, what does this actually mean? 2. What type of content is best to publish? 3. When I publish content, is it a lasting reflection of myself or it's just a point of view that I currently have? 4. I've seen that [X] is a hot topic in VC at the moment. Should I write content about this just so I can rank higher in the Search Engine even though it's not my speciality area? 5. I recently just changed the technological area I’d like to attract deal-flow in. How long will it take to index in Ship Shape and when can I expect to see some increased deal flow in that new area? 6. How does the VC individual expressing a view potentially conflict with a firm that they work for/with? How do those two things balance? 7. I understand the value of content, but I don't necessarily want to be publishing so other VCs can see what space that I'm going into. What would be the competitive advantage of me publishing content? 8. I'm quite busy in my professional and personal life so I don't have a lot of time to write content, where's the best place that I can get started that can increase my value add and deal flow? 9. I write a column every Sunday for a newspaper/magazine, will I be disadvantaged compared to other VCs? 10. What’s the quality of content like in the industry at the moment? 11. Is there is an exception where only the top VCs understand the value of publishing content? 1. When you refer to Venture Capital content, what does this actually mean? A: Content is a means of attracting deal flow in VC. It shows what you’re thinking with regards to new technology, new business models, and new ideas. This is usually in a written format (although podcasts are increasingly popular) which makes it easier for those who are researching your thesis on how to approach you for a conversation. If you have a target audience you want to have in your deal flow, publishing content makes it easier for entrepreneurs to understand you and whether they should approach you or not. 2. What type of content is best to publish? It really depends on the platform that you intend to publish on. Twitter has a 280 character limit compared to Medium or Substack with longer-form content. A VC has to consider a few things. First, the platform and what is the most suitable tone and length. Second, the format in which you write - that could be an interview format ‘Q&A’, which is not only great to submit for indexing, but can be a clear and easily digestible signal and indicator to the market of your area of speciality. 3. When I publish content, is it a lasting reflection of myself or it's just a point of view that I currently have? We all say things, or write things down, that maybe a few years later we don't necessarily think is as relevant anymore. I think most people who wrote about blockchain, bitcoin or crypto in the early days might have revisited that position because time usually results in us changing our minds. Although some individuals, especially in deeper technological areas, can be remarkably consistent in their thinking. So ultimately, it doesn't need to be ‘forever’. But if you think about it from the perspective of trying to signal as clearly as possible to the market what your intentions of investment are, then yes. If you can make it as true to your position you make it easier for entrepreneurs, startups, or others in the industry reading that content to be able to better understand your position. Ultimately that is market signalling, which obviously is very helpful for enabling smoother interactions. To contrast that, much of the market today and the way that everyone navigates via tags like ‘Fintech’ or ‘Medtech’, is really bad at conveying what the signals are for which individuals to approach with regards to a particular startup idea or topic. The market isn't actually that good at signalling what your true beliefs are because there has not been an information management system that can do that. 4. I've seen that [X] is a hot topic in VC at the moment. Should I write content about this just so I can rank higher in the Search Engine even though it's not my speciality area? If you want to start attracting deal flow for a particular search area, then you should write content for it. If you're keen to jump in a trend, then you might have to play catch up in regards to the quantity of content being produced. In the short term, responding to trends is not always a reliable indicator of your interest or expertise. It's always going to be a balancing act between which areas you would like to respond to that would be hot topics, and also demonstrating a consistency that entrepreneurs and those using the Search Engine can identify. Ultimately, from a personal brand building perspective, if you're a Venture Capitalist, you might have ambitions to set up your own fund or get a promotion either internally or by moving sideways. In the long run that may be driven by demonstrating a certain consistency, or at least not changing tune too regularly. 5. I recently just changed the technological area I’d like to attract deal-flow in. How long will it take to index in Ship Shape and when can I expect to see some increased deal flow in that new area? If you want to see the benefits from changing thesis or your area of specialism then the sooner you publish content, the better. You will still rank for historic content, but ultimately the lighter your historic content is the lower the traffic and the noise will be from that. But if you're starting to write new content our Search Engine will pick that up if you’re being indexed by us (if you aren’t sure - you can ask us to check!). Ultimately, a lot of VCs are still trend-driven and will always stick with new emerging trending technologies which means there is always going to be something new to write about. Therefore, potentially there's going to be a lot of competition for ranking high for searches in that new area. But like with Google, there are definitely competitive niches and there's also competitiveness with regards to the pace and depth of content publishing - the depth of the content itself is something that we score. So take a search phrase, like ‘cultured meat’ for example. If you mention this phrase multiple times throughout a long-form article, you will score far higher than a single tweet where it says “I love cultured meat”. Yes, that single sentence will rank, but ultimately, if you have a longer-form content, which includes multiple references to ‘cultured meat’, then you will rank higher. Therefore the long-form content explaining your changed thesis will actually drive more traffic to you sooner and further explain to the market why you adopted a new area specialism. 6. How does the VC individual expressing a view potentially conflict with a firm that they work for/with? How do those two things balance? They exist together. There's definitely always a role and room for firm led content. Expressing a company-wide view is something we obviously see across multiple industries, and VC is no different. I think where VC is slightly different is that you need to think about VC firms as living organisms. Essentially there are certain parts of that organism where it's better to take different ideas. VC firms have individuals that work there, every one of those individuals will have a series of interests and particular business models that they favour. You want to know which individual to go to and approach, which is where the building of an individual personal brand really matters at a VC firm. This is because it's the clearest possible indicator that you can give to the market that you're the right person to go and speak with within that VC firm. For example, with regards to tinnitus treatments, there's a brilliant startup that recently raised and they are part of Y Combinator 2022. They have done their research, and they managed to find probably the best person in the industry to go and speak with to invest into their business. Now, where can you do that today? 7. I understand the value of content, but I don't necessarily want to be publishing so other VCs can see what space that I'm going into. What would be the competitive advantage of me publishing content? So ultimately, it's to do with the way that our scoring algorithm works. It's the same as asking a startup, or any business, do they want to rank on the first page of Google? The answer invariably is yes. The question is how do you do it? Well, the frequency and freshness of content that has been published is ultimately one of the factors that drives where individuals and VC funds rank in our Search Engine. Ultimately, that hugely benefits entrepreneurs and startups that are using our Search Engine, who can identify who to go and speak with about a particular topic. We want to reward that. 8. I'm quite busy in my professional and personal life so I don't have a lot of time to write content, where's the best place that I can get started that can increase my value add and deal flow? That is a really good question that comes up quite a lot. VCs love Twitter. The problem with Twitter is that it's very difficult to get long-form content that really drives understanding of what you're talking about. Trying to collate a series of tweets into meaningful longer-form content is so difficult that individuals have to take to writing multiple tweets or develop a thread in order to get a point across (obviously they do do this). With nothing longer than the 280 characters, it's very difficult to get any sort of detailed thesis about a particular topic across. LinkedIn is also popular. We see an increase in terms of the frequency of posts and content sharing, We do see very good levels of engagement on blog posts like Medium and Substack. One of our new initiatives that we've started is from an Innovation Grant to transcribe audiovisual content. For example with podcasts - there's really good long-form content of individuals who are answering questions in a very detailed manner. A VC friend is terrible at writing content regularly, but she loves making podcast appearances. With our Search Engine, she makes sure that the ‘half-life’ of that data lives for far longer than the window in which that podcast episode does the rounds on social media. That makes it really easy for those who want to go through and search to identify who to approach and reach out to. 9. I write a column every Sunday for a newspaper/magazine, will I be disadvantaged compared to other VCs? If you're writing a weekly blog, weekly newsletter, etc, as long as we know where to go and index that content from, we will be able to index that within our Search Engine. This enables that content to be found by those who are using the Search Engine and you will start seeing the benefits in terms of your scoring and ranking on the results page. So if an individual is telling us that we should go in index that content, we will. 10. What’s the quality of content like in the industry at the moment? I think there's really high-quality content out there. If you look at the Venture Capital industry and you look at the quality of the blogs that are written, the articles are written by some of the brightest minds of our generation. I could quite happily spend an entire weekend reading blog posts, articles and thought leadership pieces that a number of VCs are writing. The big problem is you can't easily search for all VC investors and the content they have produced. A big part of the problem is that entrepreneurs and investors navigate via 90s ‘Yellow Pages’ style structured databases - you just can't do it. You can't really do it via Google, and you can't do it on LinkedIn or Twitter, or any similar social platform like that. You're really stuck. If you want to find a curated view of who to go and speak with in Venture Capital about particular topics or technologies or subject area, there's hasn’t been a single place that you can go to the industry. We don't have a Reuters or Bloomberg for pulling together that type of content. That is what Ship Shape is offering. 11. Is there is an exception where only the top VCs understand the value of publishing content? The true value of publishing content is not yet a phenomenon that has really taken off in the VC industry. There are some VCs, these tend to be the larger ones, that have teams of copywriters and ghostwriters that support the VC team in terms of producing content. Often those teams, however, have one or two objectives. One of which is to satisfy the investor relations piece demonstrating that the firm is going the right way; and the other is ultimately to target deal-flow. The problem in today's market is actually the reward loop between publishing content and attracting the right deal flow hasn’t been truly established. It isn't strongly reinforced by a system, as there has been no direct link which means the adoption of writing high-quality content is confined to smaller groups within Venture Capital. Perhaps this would not be the case if there is a better method of identifying or attracting deal flow via high-quality specific content.

  • Ship Shape on the Welsh Trade Mission in the U.A.E.

    Transcript available at the end of this page “The biggest takeaway of all, is that the U.A.E Government believes it is only 5% complete on its vision for the U.A.E. It takes the same approach to business, which for entrepreneurs means that the government has a philosophy that is fundamentally aligned with visionaries and those willing to take risk.” Last week our CEO, Daniel Sawko, joined the Welsh Government as part of the Welsh Trade Mission in the U.A.E. Daniel welcomed the invitation to be part of the Trade Mission alongside a number of brilliant Welsh tech companies and organisations. The Trade Mission provided a great opportunity to meet and collaborate with prospective partners in the U.A.E. The warmth of the welcome from our hosts in the U.A.E was clear from the outset, with those we met with being exceptionally helpful in making introductions and actively following up to help us make the most of our visit. A welcome as warm as the weather! Daniel had this to say about the Trade Mission: “The Trade Mission to the U.A.E. opened our eyes to the multitude of opportunities for our business in the U.A.E. There is a market of significant potential that has a proven need for Ship Shape’s Venture Capital Search Engine" Here’s a brief breakdown of Daniel’s time in the U.A.E. Monday: The first day in the U.A.E led to Daniel visiting Hub 71 in Abu Dhabi. Hub 71 is Abu Dhabi’s Technology Ecosystem that supports new startups to grow and develop while also accommodating investors to identify new opportunities. You can read more about Daniel’s visit here. Daniel felt encouraged by how open and welcoming businessmen and businesswomen in the U.A.E are to new ideas and their continuo us strive for improvement. Tuesday: Time for Expo 2020! We were in Dubai as part of the Welsh Government Trade Mission that had a presence at the U.K Pavilion. This provided a great opportunity to see new innovations and ideas from around the world while also gathering together to watch the Welsh Government - Technology Summit that discussed various topics including Monetising Insurtech. Present that day were a large num ber of U.A.E guests, members of the Welsh business community in the U.A.E, and the Welsh Government. Daniel had a great chat with Vaughan Gething - the Welsh Economy Minister and Welsh Trade Envoys, Paul Gyles and Aled Miles. Daniel had a chance to meet with some new and familiar faces, from Fintech Wales; Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO of Fintech Wales and Eamon Tuhami, Mentor and Tutor for Fintech Wales Foundry and to meet Mark Prendergast, Hub Host for Global Welsh in the GCC. The spirits were high with the excitement of exploring Expo 2020 coupled with the celebration of St. Davids Day which fell on Tuesday 1st March. You can read more about Daniels day here. Wednesday: On Wednesday, Daniel was invited to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Daniel was welcomed by Rana who showed Daniel why DIFC is the Middle East, Africa and South Asia financial hub. Daniel was taken aback to see how collaborative business and people are in the U.A.E and the wider MENA, sharing a vision to succeed, That night, Daniel attended a celebration of International Women’s Day to celebrate women in business, including a fascinating panel by prominent Welsh entrepreneurs! Following, Daniel was invited to the after-party of the newest Dragon (from BBC’s Dragons Den) St even Bartlett, where the Welsh of the West End performed a great set, including traditional Welsh choir songs and spoke with young entrepreneurs launching their own podcast. Thursday Thursday was another busy day for Daniel as he met with the inspirational Ankit Sarwahi, Managing Director of Middle Eastern Venture Partners. Following this, Daniel spo ke with Riham Osman who is the Head of Amazon Fintech Hub in Dubai discussing their role in the U.A.E’s financial sector and how it evolved over the past decade. Lastly, Daniel met with Marwan Alserkal at the Artificial Intelligence Office of the Prime Minister of the U.A.E. (with thanks to Riham Osman for the introduction). Round up: The Welsh Trade Mission has already seen success with vast opportunities explored and new relationships formed. The Welsh Government organised a great trip to the U.A.E and put on a brilliant panel and St. David’s day event at Expo 2020. From the few day s Daniel spent navigating the U.A.E alongside the Welsh Government and Welsh business, it is clear that U.A.E welcomes international businesses with open arms and proactively changes the environment to make it more business friendly. The Trade Mission is a sign of confidence in the Technology economy of Wales, the first part of the U.K to return to pre-pandemic size. Daniel and Ship Shape would like to thank the Welsh Government for the invitation to the U.A.E as part of the Trade Mission and thank you to U.A.E for welcoming us and the Welsh community. The biggest takeaway of all, is that the Government believes it is only 5% complete on its vision for the U.A.E, it takes the same approach to business, which for entrepreneurs means that the government has a philosophy that is fundamentally aligned with visionaries and those willing to take risk. Here is a quick video of Daniel talking about his trip to Dubai. Transport is available below. Transcript: So we went to the U.A.E. last week as part of a Welsh Government Trade Mission with the technology sector. Honestly, was hugely surprised and impressed with the ecosystem that the U.A.E. are developing. There are thousands of startups and dozens of VCs that are really helping to make the U.A.E. the real tech hub of the Middle East Actually, there's just a different attitude to engaging and actually aligning the country with potential business interests. So, recently they changed the working week, weekend use to start on Friday, it's now shifted over Saturday - Sunday. They also have initiated a golden visa programme for 100,000 coders from around the world have a 10-year golden visa to the U.A.E.. Again, as a startup founder, hugely impressive that Government has shifted gears to make things easier for entrepreneurs. Likewise, the level of engagement in the community was excellent. We met with hub 71 in Abu Dhabi, and as part of Abu Dhabi Global Markets. Really good levels of engagement and likewise, they're really keen to promote a deep-rooted infrastructure that ideally links capital with entrepreneurs and smart money in a very sort of coordinated fashion. It is the same story over in Dubai International Financial Centre, with over 1000 startups in the FinTech Hub over there. Had some great meetings; a special shout out to the Amazon FinTech Hub, who were really helpful in terms of understanding the payment gateway infrastructure. We are a startup that wants to enable subscriptions from various Middle Eastern banks in future so to get the lay of the land from them was fantastic and they made some great introductions for us to the community. Likewise, really good meetings with Middle East Venture Partners, Shorooq partners, and also Rainmaking in the region. So they were just very impressive individuals who knew a lot about the growing infrastructure and ecosystem that's going on up there. Brilliant to be part of the Welsh Government Trade Mission out there, great to get go to Dubai Expo in the U.K. pavilion. It was a pretty great trip and we're looking forward to getting back perhaps later this month for a number of follow up meetings that were particularly promising.

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