Interview with Brainbroker

What’s your name and where do you come from? Larry Kotch and I’m a bit of a melange. Born in Paris, raised in Kenya, The Ivory Coast, South Africa and the UK.

How did you spot a space in the market for your product or service? Co Founder Jonathan Lemer had been working in a new type of consultancy company using only freelance experts on their projects rather than employees. When we looked for a comparable model in the digital services we didn’t find any, only freelancer websites. During our customer discovery process, we worked out that traditional SMEs were being massively underserved by both the freelancer websites (No security, hard for baby boomers to fiddle with, mixed results) and traditional digital agencies (Ultra expensive, non-technical owners were being taken advantage of). It seemed like a sensible proposition to give ambitious traditional businesses a digital agency that could compete at the price point of a freelancer but with all the security that agencies guarantee. It was like a eureka moment where we realised we were building a service that was the best of both worlds.

How long did you think about your business before bringing it to life? It took us about 8 months to find our niche. We initially decided on a much more complicated platform build and abandoned the idea (Which was far less costly) through our trial selling to potential clients and interviewing them.

How did you raise the funds to start your business? We all put our life savings in initially and took small loans from our family when they saw how serious we were. Afterwards we raised money from a VC when we had demonstrated traction, commitment, skin in the game and a credible financial and operational plan.

How do you stay informed – networking, newspapers, social media? Networking is fantastic, there are loads of start-up events in London where you can learn everything about starting and scaling a company and of course new trends. I read a lot of articles and books on everything from management to lean start-up methodology.

Tell us about one of your business low-points and what you learnt from it It’s hard to remember exactly one thing that would be a low point. I would describe our two year journey so far as a roller coaster ride. You can be so sure of everything and ecstatic one day and in utter despair the next, really questioning whether you were an idiot for starting the company in the first place. One thing I’ve noticed is that your mental state becomes inextricably linked to your perceived fortunes of the company. If the company is doing less well than you had hoped, you feel terrible on a personal level and if it’s doing better you feel ecstatic. Learning to disengage from this and leave work behind has been one of the hardest but mentally important successes of my life.

Name five qualities people need to be successful in a job like yours

  • Perseverance
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Always be on the phone or meeting people
  • Don’t party too much (At all)
  • Information Retention

Do you have a business mentor? Yes I have two. Marc Duke from Tech London Advocates and Ghilaine Chan (Ex Microsoft). They have both been extremely helpful and really get invested into the company. They have become good friends and fantastic mentors in the practical and emotional.

What’s been your favourite piece of press coverage so far? Definitely being featured in Real Business Future 50 – The most disruptive companies in operation today

Name one of your favourite startups? Improbable

Quick fire round!

Apple or Android?Android
Mac or PC? PC
Apples for hand or melons for feet? Melons for feet
Name two chocolate bars you would put together to make a super bar Crunchy Bar and a Kit Kat!

Brainbroker is a new kind of digital agency built to serve small and ambitious companies. They help you build a fantastic digital presence, supercharge your online marketing and use data to grow your business. They are a team of digital project managers supported by a global network of 850+ hand-picked tech freelancers. By organising the agency this way, they provide you with the most cost-effective and tailored solution for all your digital projects

Twitter: @BrainbrokerUK