venture CATALYST, London, 12th June 2012: http://venturecatalyst12june.eventbrite.co.uk/
Tim Hall, MD of pod, met Chris Spencer-Phillips, MD of First Flight at a business network group when Tim was in the throes of setting up pod; keen to find a rich pool of contacts with experience, specific skills and expertise to help him start his emerging business on the strongest footing possible.
Tim conceived the idea of a healthy, fast food outlet when he discovered he had a minor heart condition and decided to eat well and take better care of himself. Tim’s surprise at not being able to find what he was looking for led him to start pod - a business providing delicious, healthy, fast food. pod currently has 16 eateries across London that have a strong culture and brand message - even the premises are built from sustainable products (right down to the organic paint) and incorporate packaging recycling facilities.
During the early stages of pod’s start-up, Tim talked to Chris Spencer-Phillips at First Flight about introducing investing Non-Execs to the Board to provide further expertise and also some seed funding to help get the project off the ground. Tim himself had left a comfortable, if stressful, position as CEO of an automotive consultancy and wanted to explore new horizons. With an appealing opportunity to exit and make some money, Tim was able to get pod off the starting blocks.
Despite his business background and dedication, Tim needed more power to the Board to interest investors at the right level. Through Chris Spencer Phillips he appointed 4 Non-Execs with backgrounds that were perfectly aligned with his requirements; brand building, property roll out, finance and logistics. He needed people with experience, contacts, energy and also to help fund the business.
Nicholas Payne is a former Director of Grand Metropolitan Foods who rolled out Burger King in the Middle East and Asia. Whilst pod is the antithesis of a burger chain, the working model of a fast food store is the same no matter what the ingredients are.
He also took on Alastair Eperon, former Director of Boots with responsibility for food and drink, Nicholas Rowe, former MD of Diners Club and Vice President of American Express with a passion for healthy food and also Chris Upton, former Group FD of Arcadian International plc, a £60m hotel and leisure club group.
“Chris provided us with a wholly appropriate shortlist of 25 people from which we took on 4. We also attracted investment from some of those we didn’t appoint which shows how versatile First Flight’s database is and how attractive pod is as a venture.” commented Tim.
“If it hadn’t been for Chris, I am sure I could have managed to create a strong Board of Directors as our strategy is sound and people believe in my skills and drive” explained Tim. “However, the help we have had from First Flight meant that I got an impressive group of people together very quickly and was able to start trading after just 12 months.
The experience I have had with First Flight was easy, professional and directly relevant. Chris grasped the concept of the business and found us the right people to take it forward. They clearly know what they are doing and I have recommended them to other colleagues several times already.”
Tim explained that he has a Board of Directors ready for the company to grow into rather than the other way round. “You don’t win the tournament by bringing in a fabulous team at the very end, they have to play all the matches.”
Pod has grown fast and will have 22 outlets by February 2012; it is a challenging model using fresh, often unusual ingredients but its success is representative of its UK appeal and that gives Tim Hall the confidence he needs to continue to develop and grow the business with more outlets planned which will enable the business to move confidently towards an exit.
“Thanks to First Flight I have had the Board of Directors I needed to progress pod to make a major impact on the UK retail food sector” concluded Tim.
FULL ARTICLE + PHOTOS: http://www.ffplacements.co.uk/images/files//Pod%20early%20stage%20investing%20Non%20Exec%20case%20study.pdf
:: Started in 2005 by Tim Hall
:: Delicious, healthy fast food to eat in or take-away
:: International menu
:: Menu offers fresh, seasonal ingredients
:: All fruit & veg is from London’s New Covent Garden Market
:: Uses compostable packaging
:: Recycling facilities at each outlet
:: 16 outlets in London rising to 22 by early 2012.
ABOUT FIRST FLIGHT
:: First Flight is the only company focused solely on providing Chair & Non-Executive Directors & we pioneered the concept of investing Non Execs
:: We have completed some 140 Non Exec projects across all sectors and we work with companies at all stages from early stage companies such as Pod Foods to £300m revenue mutual Simplyhealth.
:: Largest active candidate database with entrepreneurs and ex directors of blue chip companies
:: 125 Non-Exec projects where candidates have invested £4m
:: Vast experience across a variety of sectors
:: Highly knowledgeable account directors and management team
:: First Flight was the sponsor of the “Non-Executive Director of the Year” at the Quoted Company Awards 2010 & 2011.
Cityzone is a club for SME directors, investors and advisers - serving listed, private and VC-backed companies - that need market intelligence, expertise and opportunities to grow their businesses in the UK and overseas. Cityzone is also a marketing organisation that helps members to reach their target audiences through our 43,000 strong database, events, web publishing / internet search and bespoke projects.
DIRECTORZONE WHAT’S NEW: http://www.city-zone.com/modules/page/Page.aspx?pid=738
CONTACT CITYZONE: Please call +44 (0)20 7700 2727 or use the Feedback / Contact form in the menu to the left of this page.
CONTACT. Logged in members can contact the author of this article through CZ Mail. Please Log in and return to this page.
IMPORTANT. This article or any part of it may not to be reproduced without the written consent of the author. Cityzone takes no responsibility for the contents of member articles published on this web site. For a range of business advice, expertise and solutions, please see the Cityzone Who's Who and Company directories.