Updated: Mar 7, 2020
Happy Weekend all! Doing something a little different on the blog today and featuring one of the super cool, London startups I've had the pleasure of working with during volunteer work with City University's Commercial Legal Clinic, Start-Ed.
I sat down with Déjà Vu founder, Anjalee Sewpaul, to discuss her experience as a startup in London and how Start-Ed helped her expand the Déjà Vu team, prepare her to be an employer, and make the company GDPR compliant. It's been a pleasure writing this article with Anjalee and I hope you enjoy and are inspired by her story...
What is Déjà Vu?
Déjà Vu is a loyalty platform for London’s street food trade and premium casual restaurants. Our goal is to help increase frequency of loyal customers to a particular brand and also enhance the relationship between patron and business. Frequency obviously equates to value for the brand, but also it unlocks a wealth of insights into a business’ top performers; what brings them back, feedback, what they look for, changing trends, etc. Therefore Déjà Vu offers the customer facing app which allows users to find venues nearby and uncover information about our partners to help them navigate the saturated London food market. Secondly Déjà Vu is an analytics tool which we utilise to provide customer insights to our partners to keep their most loyal happy and keep them coming back.
The Start-Up Experience: Challenges & Joys
The freedom to create something from scratch and see it all the way through is one of the most rewarding things about being a start-up founder. You have exposure to literally every part of a business so the learning curve is extremely steep, but there is no other job that would give you this perspective. It’s exciting as much as it is scary.
Of course, there are also challenges every day. Some which come in the form of competitors and substitutes popping up which we need to carefully consider and some which are internal. An example of a constant internal one is not being myopic about your idea and being open to change is also a huge challenge. You’ll always be precious about your baby, your idea, but that doesn’t mean you’ve explored all the options. This is why I push myself to balance listening to my team’s thoughts and ideas, but also being able to push back and stay firm to something my gut tells me. You’d be surprised how difficult that is sometimes, but at the end of the day the biggest challenge will be to prove to the world your idea is worth it.
We shifted the original idea of Déjà vu from just being about restaurants to also include Street food when the team went out and saw that there was niche in that market we could try to fill. The shift was an easy decision to make, but it also comes with its own challenges. Every decision you make will have a knock-on effect so being mindful and thinking things through properly are daily struggles when you have an untested idea.
Déjà Vu + Start-Ed: Free Legal Guidance, Really?
When I started the Déjà Vu brand, I was already running my company Inporium as a Limited Company. However, I had never had to hire employees, it was just me. I needed to understand from a legal perspective all the aspects necessary to be a successful hiring manager and company. With GDPR approaching it was also necessary for me to prepare my company to be data compliant. These were not small tasks and I found it increasingly overwhelming to figure out where to start.
When I was introduced to the idea of the Start-Ed Pro Bono Clinic at City, University of London through a current Law student, I was skeptical as to how informative a free clinic would be, but in the end, it was one of the best decisions I think I’ve made so far. Start-Ed was extremely easy to access, and I was able to ask the organisers about employment law in advance of the clinic I was to attend. In advance of the clinic they arranged for relevant solicitors and law students to be there to provide their advice, under the assumption this was just advice not legally binding information.
When I attended I was there for close to an hour and was able to go through all my questions with those there who also flagged aspects to me which I had not even thought about. Afterwards I continued my contact with the employment solicitor who ended up professionally drafting my employment contracts for both my employees. She was excellent and as my team expands in the next year, I will look to her for more help. Start-Ed was invaluable to me and I have already highly recommended it to many within my network.
If you are interested in learning more about Déjà Vu click here and if you or someone you know could benefit from the City, University of London Start-Ed legal clinic, click here.
Until next time!
T & A