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Barclays Black Founder Accelerator:
NewCo

 

Naima Camara (COO & Founder) and Dom Vinyard (CEO & Founder) from NewCo chat to us about why they joined the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator.

Tell us about NewCo.

NewCo is an app that enables early-stage start-ups and collaborators to track their time and equity. The more you work, the more you earn. It is an app designed for teams from different backgrounds and cultures, collaborating together to achieve something great. NewCo was founded in March by Dom Vinyard (CEO & Founder) who has 15+ years of experience working at the intersection of UX, engineering and product and Naima Camara (COO & Founder) who has experience helping start-ups scale, strategy and research.
 

Why did you join the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator?

We believe the aims of the program are very much in line with what NewCo is seeking to achieve. Championing diversity and de-risking entrepreneurship to benefit a broad spectrum of society is one of NewCo's core values that we share with Barclays and Foundervine. As a black female founder that is aware of the barriers to becoming a successful entrepreneur, I believe it would be beneficial to form part of a cohort that is facing similar challenges, as these networks are invaluable to succeeding.

NewCo is at the stage where we would benefit from having our business model analysed and critiqued by mentors and peers. We are hoping to raise investment in 2021 and this program could be welcome preparation for this, as we would benefit from engaging with investors and getting our pitch deck investor-ready.

While working at Digital Catapult I also became aware of the work that both Eagle Labs and Foundervine were doing to make the optimal environment for innovation in the UK and being part of these communities would be an incredibly valuable opportunity for us at this stage in our growth.
 

What would be your desired outcome from this programme?

Meeting an entire cohort of like-minded founders with similar goals, challenges and aims. Coming away with new tools to tackle the everyday challenges of running a business, the ability to take NewCo to the next level and to get better at pitching.
 

Which entrepreneur inspires you the most and why?

Grace Beverley the Founder of Tala, Shreddy and B_nd who at 23 years old has founded three businesses, several of which were launched while she was at university. She demonstrated to me that you don't have to have all of the answers when you are starting out and that a lot can be learnt along the way. The representations of entrepreneurs that we usually see are white men over the age of 30 with money to put behind their business, but this should not be the case.
 

What has been your biggest win in your entrepreneurial journey?

We founded NewCo in March 2020 and it started off as a few conversations, followed by brainstorming, then a website and then by September we were starting to get feedback on what we had created so far. The biggest win has been receiving positive feedback from others in the industry that there is a market need for the product we are building and seeing that work pay off by being accepted onto this program and starting to pitch to investors has been really rewarding.
 

And your biggest challenge?

Not knowing where to start: some days it's very clear what work needs to be done and how, whereas on other days you prioritising can be a real challenge or discovering that the task you thought would take a couple of hours requires triple that. Between my co-founder Dom and I, we have experience in product, design, engineering, strategy and operations, but not very much in marketing, sales or raising funding and that's becoming more of a challenge at the moment.

Where did you go for business advice and how did it help you?

For business advice we have mainly been leveraging our network and reaching out to mentors as part of the Hatch Incubator program. It has also been really helpful to speak to other founders about the challenges they face- peer learning can be really useful and looking forward to doing more of that as part of the Black Founder Program.
 

What drives you to make your business a success?

The main thing that drives me to make NewCo a success is seeing the incremental gains we are making within just a few months. I suspect that once we have customers and see people using our product, then that will be even more of a driver. I've always wanted to be part of a team that works together to create something great. Our mission is another great motivator for us, as NewCo's aim is to make it as easy as possible for individuals to come up with an idea, found a business and keep track of their equity.
 

What advice would you give other founders thinking about starting their own business?

Just start. Even if it's one or two hours every couple of days, then that can turn into something before you know it. I don't think anyone starts out knowing exactly what they are going to create or even how, but they make incremental gains little by little until they have something that people want to use.
 

Why did you want to start your business?

I spent three years working at an innovation centre to help start-ups scale when I first started working and always felt so inspired at seeing founders start businesses. I always knew this was something that I would want to do as well and it was only through having a bit more time to reflect that my co-founder and I started brainstorming NewCo. I wanted to start a business to be able to make an impact and create a product that I would want to use, so it seemed natural to want to create something that made it easier to come up with an idea and drive it forward.br />  

What do you do to relax when not working?

I read a lot of books- I like how fiction can transport you into a completely different world. I also spend a lot of time with friends and family. I like yoga and running too.
 

How has covid made you pivot your business?

For the first three months, we wanted to create an app to help freelancers find work and get paid. We wanted to take the friction out of freelancing for individuals, but we soon realised we were much more passionate about making it easier to found a business. Ever since we changed our focus, we became much more driven to creating something impactful and this has made us much more motivated.

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