Seed Academy case study: Moms List

Seed Academy assists Moms List in perfecting a business pitch

Lawrence Family

As parents of a two-year old child, Richard Lawrence and his wife Caroline realised that their home had become cluttered with baby paraphernalia. Deciding it was time to sell some of their second-hand goods, they were hesitant to use a general platform like Gumtree, OLX or Craigslist, which would require inviting strangers into their home to collect goods sold.

“We felt there was a gap in the market for a dedicated marketplace for the baby and mom industry,” explains Richard. And so the idea for Moms List was born. Moms List aims to be the trusted social marketplace for moms, offering everything from baby and child services to goods for sale (new and used), and a place for moms to sell second-hand goods online, through the website or app. Only registered users are allowed to create listings or respond to them, and users are rated by members, providing a measurement for trust. Moms List has plans to add eCommerce functionality soon, which will mean extra security and convenience for buyers and sellers alike.

In seeking to get their business launched, the Lawrences began to look for opportunities for assistance aimed at young entrepreneurs. “I came across Seed Academy, which had a number of good reviews, and so we submitted our idea,” says Richard. “We made it into the group programme, which was a 10-week course that covers different topics.”

Richard says the course assisted them with streamlining their thinking and with pitching their idea to investors. “It was great to network with esteemed entrepreneurs and look at where the business could go. We took our business into development at the same time (as we were building the site while doing the course), so a lot of the thoughts from Think. Be. Do. went into the end product. We wrote the business plan in mid-2014 and we launched in January 2015.”

Within four months, Moms List had seen 65,000 page hits. Currently, the site sees over 6,000 users visiting per month, with over 2,500 moms having registered to date. There are now 1,400 products and services available on the platform.

Richard says that he would definitely recommend Seed Academy to other young entrepreneurs. “Even just from a pure networking point of view, it’s worth it. It also appealed to us that our group was tech-focused.”

While Richard’s corporate background meant that some of the material covered was centred on concepts he already understood, such as finance and marketing, he says he benefited enormously from the input on pitching.

“Looking back, the biggest help was definitely pitching to live investors at the end of the course,” he says. “It was helpful to streamline our five-minute elevator pitch, which evolved quite a lot over the duration of the course.”

He enjoyed the practical steps Seed Academy recommended for developing  a pitch: clearly describe the problem, expand on how your business can help to solve it, include some statistics or market information that gives an idea of the scope for business growth, and explain why your team is best placed to provide the solution.

“Seed Academy guided us on what to include and what not to include,” says Richard. “We then had an opportunity to pitch to the Seed team, and to a panel from Microsoft. In fact, we were paired up with a mentor from Microsoft. We received good feedback, along with some learnings, and it’s something we couldn’t have done before the course.”

After completing the Think. Be. Do. course, the Lawrences put their new pitching skills into good use, with two further pitch opportunities that resulted in an offer for financing.

Another benefit of the Think. Be. Do. course that Richard cites is the relationships he’s built with experienced entrepreneurs. “Being able to email Lara, Brad or Donna with a question has been really useful. We’ve had numerous coffee sessions with Seed members and it’s an ongoing journey. It’s nice to have someone helping you by putting your name out there and representing you.”