London Business Angels announced that it is backing CitySocialising, the social network that enables outgoing professionals to connect offline with new local friends through shared interests in cities around the UK. The investment follows mentoring by Pembridge and its partners on the g2i investment readiness scheme.
Launched in London in January 2007, CitySocialising subsequently rolled out sister-networks in regional cities around the UK, including Manchester and Leeds. Pre-investment, the business had already achieved annualised revenues of £300,000, based on a user subscription model, and over 23,000 members, despite being developed on a shoe-string budget.
Sanchita Saha, CEO of CitySocialising attributes her success raising funding to a focus on generating revenues from day one. She will use the £260,000 raised to complete the development of a new web platform, which will include live city event listings, bespoke event creation tools, much improved social networking functionality and a site redesign, all to be launched in May. The investment site will also imminently launch in further new cities, including Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool and Cardiff.
Sanchinta Saha says:"The g2i programme was excellent. It was an opportunity to get a snapshot of every step of the investment process in bite-size chunks. It gave me business know-how ranging from finance to marketing and, most beneficially, the opportunity to network with other people who were also trying to raise funding. Having that support from people in the same boat and being able to swap stories was great. We stay in touch and they still provide a great sounding board."
Pembridge Partner Hugh Mason, was one of the mentors who worked with Sanchita on the g2i programme.
Hugh Mason says: "One way to describe g2i would be to say that it's 'business boot camp' - a four day hike through the hard lessons of people who've actually been there and done it before, so entrepreneurs can avoid the well-known pitfalls and seize the opportunities. Sanchita's story is a classic case study: she used a tiny initial investment to create something real but basic, she played around with that until she got the formula right and only then, once she'd proved that users actually wanted what she was offering with their wallets as well as their words, did she seek investment."
Hugh Mason continues: "g2i is intense, but also intensely rewarding and I know all of us who share know-how on it get back as much as we give. The energy, enthusiasm and commitment of the next generation is inspiring and the timing of the City Socialising investment shows that there is still money out there for good ideas, even in these challenging times. I'd encourage anyone in London who is serious about growing a business to see this time of great change as a time of great opportunity. Get set up now and you will be lean and fit to ride the wave as the economy turns upwards."
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