How To Position Your Start-Up With Natasha Lytton
In series 2 of the Beyond The Balance Sheet podcast, we interviewed Natasha Lytton, Head of Brand, Marketing, and Portfolio Support at Seedcamp - Europe’s first early-stage investor in pre-seed and seed-stage companies.
With experience working in Chief Marketing Officer roles at consumer-focused start-ups across FMCG, retail, and food technology, Natasha understands the growing pains that come with joining an early-stage company as well as how much needs to be done to make the company succeed from a marketing and positioning perspective.
Speaking with Natasha, she exudes passion for all things start-up and thrives on the ability to advise seed-stage businesses on how not to fall into the same traps that she’s seen, time and time again whilst working in-house for early-stage businesses.
Natasha explained: “Previously I'd been working in start-up companies, and I was the first marketing, hire and meant to be shaping what the marketing department was going to look like and I realised, Oh, it's really bloody hard coming into these start-up businesses, balancing everything to do. Very little clue of what does and does not work as well and limited resources to make things happen.
I loved the pace and just how much ownership kind each member of the team would get, but also, I just saw the same mistakes happening time and time again.”
Natasha’s experience in the start-up world enabled her to transition into her role at Seedcamp where she works on the brand itself but also supports their portfolio of 400 companies on everything from defining brand purpose to growth strategies and the art of creative storytelling.
“We’re really the first investor for people who are building businesses that can change the way we live, interact, and purchase, and it's really founders with unwavering and relentless ambition and envisions that, that we believe in and take chances in.”
For anyone new to the world of investment, there are different stages of investment rounds for example, pre-seed and seed stage and traditionally, those are qualified by investment amounts. However, Natasha believes that capital, whether acquired through investment or raising funding via a loan, is actually one of the easiest things to get at the moment, whereas building a business from scratch is really hard, and if you are trying to build a million pound plus business then a bit of upfront capital isn’t going to be the only thing that gets you there.
That is what sets Seedcamp apart from other VCs out there.
"Seedcamp has always been a network driven fund and that's really integral the ongoing success off the business because it's not just supporting the founder, but as they grow and build a team it's supporting their team.
Whether it's me working very closely with a lot of them on their marketing or, Alex who supports our companies on talent and hiring, or we have people helping with product and leadership, we're really thinking about every aspect of what it takes to build a business and how we best support all founders on that journey.”
And they don’t just get that from the Seedcamp team, but also from the ‘Seedcamp Nation’, an extended network that includes Seedcamp’s experts and residents, venture partners, mentors and all of the founders themselves. If you gain investment from Seedcamp, you gain that network and a platform of thousands of founders who are maybe only a couple of steps ahead in the journey and are there to share their learnings with you.
“It really is this amazing, self-fulfilling kind of cycle where later stage founders will invest in the earlier stage companies or they'll provide guidance. And, and you know, that that's really what's impactful because we talk about seed camp being where you can get your first customers, your advisors, build your team and really get the support on the journey.”
So, let’s imagine now that you’ve got an amazing product, and a great investor and accountant on board and you’re making your first marketing decisions – what sort of things should you be thinking about?
“The way I always start is less from a marketing perspective but more from a positioning perspective.”
For start-up founders out there, Natasha asks four vital questions when she works with early-stage start-ups on their marketing and positioning:
- Why is what you’re doing important?
- How are you framing it?
- What are the stories you’re trying to tell?
- How do you bring this all to life?
“Have a look at the market that this product would sit in, think about where there's an opportunity to create something unique that nobody else is doing right now and how you would bring that to life as creatively as possible.”
“A founder is nothing without the people that surround them. Being able to bring people along and make them evangelists for what it is you're doing, that's the most phenomenal marker of success.”
If you like this article, it’s just a taste of what you’ll discover in episode 3 of our Beyond The Balance Sheet Podcast, where we talk to Natasha in detail about her experience working at Seedcamp and Natasha shares her secrets about what investors are looking for in pre-seed and seed-stage businesses, the importance of a strong team and her experiences being the first marketing hire at start-ups in-house.
If you would like to get in touch with us about how we can help you achieve your business, marketing, and financial goals, please don’t hesitate to contact us.