Mandeep Singh is Co-Founder and CEO of StreetHub, the mobile marketplace for independent retailers. StreetHub (https://www.trouva.com/) shows you, in real-time, what fashion and home products are in local shops around you. You can then buy items for five minute collection or 90 minute delivery. For retailers, StreetHub is aggregating independents to give them the scale and technology to drive more customers into their shops. StreetHub is backed by a group of leading Venture Capital funds including Index Ventures and Octopus Investments.
Mandeep holds a B.A. from the University of Cambridge. He co-founded his first business, a web design agency, in his bedroom at the age of 15.
Mandeep’s parents, now retired, were both Lancashire GPs.
He went to school at QEGS in Blackburn. He then studied Natural Sciences and Management at Churchill College, Cambridge University.
“Before university I’d largely worked on my own web design business, alongside my studies, so I went down a more typical graduate route after Cambridge,” Mandeep told me in an interview. “I joined OC&C Strategy Consultants, advising corporate and private equity clients, working closely with retailers such as Topshop, BHS, DFS and Asda, Wal-Mart (where I was seconded for six months). I then became an investor at BC Partners, one of Europe’s largest private equity funds, acquiring Foxtons and Accudyne Industries (jointly with Carlyle).
Working with senior management of large businesses at such a young age was a fantastic experience. OC&C was a great apprenticeship in the world of business, whilst at BC Partners I learnt a lot, not only from investing in companies, but also from spending time with management (e.g. at Foxtons board meetings). However, most of the great companies I’d worked with had been founded by great entrepreneurs, which inspired me to leave to try and help create a great company myself.”
Mandeep said that he’d always had an “entrepreneurial itch.” He set up a web design agency at age 15 with a friend, “which we ran in our spare time alongside school from our bedrooms – I learnt much, from how to run a business to how to overcome the scepticism of banks and friends and family! I would never change the career I had after Cambridge, as it prepared me well for entrepreneurship and was great training, but I finally took the plunge again in late 2012,” he smiled.
One of the most important early steps Mandeep’s co-founders and he took was to not assume that they knew what independent retailers wanted. “We had a great understanding of the retail market and how technology (or multichannel) was impacting larger retailers, but took the time to pound the streets and talk to independent shop owners – they told us what they needed, not the other way round,” he explained.
As their savings began to ran out they approached a group of business Angels to invest as part of their seed fundraising – some they knew from their previous jobs, most they only met when they were pitching. “We were fortunate to have a great group of individuals invest, including the CEO of World First, ex-COO of Shutl, CEO of Jack Wills, CTO of Just-Eat and former Directors of Vodafone, eBay and Google,” Mandeep commented.
“Whilst we were raising from Angels we were approached by some of the major Venture Capital (VC) funds, and ended up closing a $1.2m seed round in December 2013 led by a group of Europe’s leading VCs, Octopus Investments (Zoopla, YPlan and SwiftKey), Index Ventures (Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, ASOS) and Playfair Capital (Duedil, Birdback, Believe.In).”
Mandeep and co had to dip into their savings. “Until our seed round we were solely funded from the savings of us founders. It was a bit of a shock to the system after having been employed but gave us the time and resources to get the business off the ground, and you always try and spend wisely with your own money!
StreetHub is the first shopping app and website based on location. We show you the unique products that are near you, right now, and you can buy them for collection in five minutes or delivery in 90 minutes. So amazingly, the products you see first vary depending on where you are – in west London, you see some superb fashion pieces reflecting local shops and demographics, but in Shoreditch you can find some great affordable pieces for the home.”
Mandeep has one ambition for StreetHub. He finished by saying,
“We want StreetHub to help every great independent retailer, no matter where they are. So we want StreetHub to become the destination for finding unique products from local shops for every town and city in the UK, and beyond.”
“We want StreetHub to become the destination for finding unique products from local shops for every town and city in the UK, and beyond.”
For more info, go to https://www.streethub.com/ or download the iPhone app at http://bit.ly/gotostreethub.