Ade Bullock, a second-time founder who embarked on a 12-week fundraising programme to accelerate the growth of his B2B SaaS application called Workup. Workup aims to help businesses operate more efficiently by offering a unique productivity platform that combines people management, project management, and time management. Ade, having been on this journey before and bootstrapped the new venture for a year, recognised the need for external funding to scale the business and build a capable team.
Background and Context
Before joining the fundraising programme, Ade had already experienced building a company from scratch, but this time, Workup was a different type of venture—an ambitious B2B SaaS application, taking all his prior learnings. Ade had self-funded the startup to get it off the ground, but he joined the programme with the goal of building a strong network and exploring multiple avenues to attract potential investors given his background as a CTO. He believed that the programme would not only provide financial support but also valuable insights to propel his business forward to create the best financial growth strategy.
Meet Workup: The Productivity Application
Workup, Ade's B2B SaaS application, focuses on enhancing overall productivity for businesses by centralising people management, project management, and time management in one platform. This integration streamlines processes, making the company more efficient and effective in its operations.
Expectations and Goals
Before joining the programme, Ade's primary goals were to build a strong network and refine his fundraising approach. He sought connections with potential investors and experienced entrepreneurs, recognising the value of advice and support in the early stages of his entrepreneurial journey.
Ade said: “The key thing for me to get from this experience was to build a strong network and explore multiple avenues to attract potential investors. It all revolved around finding the right routes to investors and ensuring that my messaging and presentation were spot-on.
Building a solid network was vital because it not only helped me connect with potential investors but also provided valuable insights and advice from experienced entrepreneurs. These connections opened doors to opportunities I might not have discovered otherwise, so I’m glad I went on the 12-week programme.”
Ade found the accelerator programme to be a transformative experience. The classroom sessions provided a solid foundation of knowledge, but the one-on-one sessions with programme mentors, Jim and Vernon, proved to be the most impactful. The opportunity to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs in the cohort was also rewarding.
Ade said: “I think meeting the rest of the cohort has been such a rewarding aspect of this programme. The opportunity to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, learn from their experiences, and share our own journeys has been truly invaluable.”
Learning and Growth
The programme empowered Ade to refine his fundraising approach, particularly focusing on his pitch deck and messaging. It helped him understand investors' perspectives beyond technology and product aspects, allowing him to present his business more effectively.
Ade said: “The programme has truly been a game-changer for me. While I had some understanding of the fundraising process, I had never actually gone through it before. Being part of this programme felt like gaining real-world experience and has opened up new perspectives for me. Initially, I was somewhat hesitant about committing to multiple rounds of fundraising. I had hoped to secure just one round and be done with it. However, thanks to this programme, I now realise that the fundraising journey is likely to involve two or three rounds. This newfound awareness has helped me better prepare for the fundraising process ahead.”
Mentorship and Support
Ade praised the mentorship provided during the programme, especially the personalised attention from Jim and Vernon. They were supportive, accommodating, and connected the participants with valuable contacts from their network.
Ade said: “One of the highlights is the opportunity to have a one-to-one relationship with Jim and Vernon. They are incredibly positive and always ready to lend a helping hand.
They have been so supportive and accommodating, always willing to do whatever it takes to assist. They even connect us with valuable contacts from their network. This has been incredibly beneficial as it opens up new opportunities and expands our reach.
I believe the success of the programme lies in their personalised mentorship.”
Networking and Connections
Networking opportunities during the programme were highly valuable. Ade made meaningful connections with investors, industry experts, and other founders. These connections opened doors to potential customers, investors, and partnerships, benefiting his business in the long term.
Ade said: The quality of the connections and speakers has been exceptionally high. They are all highly experienced individuals who bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from them and tap into their expertise.
One significant connection I made was with Barclays Eagle Labs. Thanks to Vernon, I now have a strong and beneficial relationship with them. These connections have proven to be some of the most valuable outcomes of the programme.”
Achievements and Outcomes
As a result of the accelerator programme, Ade made significant progress in refining his pitch deck and financial model. His plan was to prepare to raise in 9-12 months time, so the connections and progress he made during the programme positioned him for future investment opportunities perfectly.
Ade said: “The programme has really honed in on what's necessary and helped me focus on the key points that investors want to hear. As a tech founder, I tend to be heavily focused on the technology and product aspects. However, I've come to realise that investors are interested in more than just that. Understanding the broader aspects of the business and what's important to investors has been invaluable. It has given me a wider perspective on my business and how to present it in a way that resonates with potential investors.”
Vision for the Future
Ade's vision for Workup is to reach exit within five to six years. The programme has enabled him to strategize and plan with a clear direction in mind, making his exit goal more feasible and strategic with key milestones mapped out along the way.
Ade said: “I'm aiming to do a proper funding round early next year, but before that, I'm going to seek one or two smaller angel investments. My goal is to secure these smaller investments before Christmas or within the next two to three months. It will provide the necessary initial capital to further develop and scale my business. If all goes according to plan, I hope to have the foundation in place with the angel investments and then proceed with a more substantial funding round in January.”
Value and Pound Gained
Ade estimated that the programme's value to his business was worth tens of thousands of pounds, considering the support, insights, and connections he gained during the 12-week duration.
Ade Bullock's journey with Workup on the 12-week fundraising programme has been transformative. The insights, mentorship, and connections he gained have significantly accelerated his entrepreneurial journey and positioned him for future fundraising success. Ade's determination to secure funding early next year and work towards his exit goal showcases the confidence and knowledge he has gained through the programme.
“I can confidently say that the business is now in a much better place compared to three months ago. The progress, the insights, and the connections made during the programme have significantly contributed to its growth and development.” - Ade Bullock