The win couldn’t have come at a better time for founder and serial-entrepreneur, Jordan Fantaay, who is looking to release the company’s first commercial product in the next 12 months.
Throughout the pitching process, the rest of the judging panel and I were wowed by Fantaay’s energy and passion, and we’re delighted to be welcoming this innovative startup to our office headquarters in Bracknell, London, for two productive years of collaboration.
I caught up with Fantaay to learn more about why he took the challenge, and why he believes small and large enterprises work better together.
What is Fantoo and how was the business born?
Fantoo is an artificial-intelligence-based email platform designed to make users more productive in a business environment. It does so by saving them time, bringing focus to email-related work, and by providing a stress-free experience in which to do this.
The business was born from frustration with our productivity-killing (email lifestyle) and the desire to take advantage of a mass-market opportunity which appeared ripe and ready to me.
Congrats on winning first prize in Dell’s Startup-in-Residence competition. What are you most excited about?
Thanks. We’re really excited about the two-year opportunity ahead of us to work alongside Dell’s leadership team, as well as the networking opportunities and being able to access resources which would normally be unavailable to a business of our size.
We strongly believe that great teams make great companies, and the tie-up with Dell just gave Fantoo access to some really great people.
Why did you decide to enter the competition?
Having started multiple companies, and brought successful products to market, I’m keenly aware that there aren’t many opportunities for high-growth, early-stage companies to get close to global technology brands like Dell. That’s why entering the competition was a no-brainer.
The competition provided the perfect opportunity to take the stage and drive awareness of what our startup is all about. That’s something, after all, that every entrepreneur strives to do at all times.
How did you find the pitching process?
It was great — there’s always something to learn from any pitch. It was exciting to be able to share my vision with some awesome people, although I definitely had some nerves for good measure.
The Dell team was different to the usual investor audience, so we were careful to communicate the right message to generate the right discussion.
What small business issues are you most passionate about tackling?
As one of Dell’s two Startups-in-Residence, we’re now a part of the Dell U.K. Centre for Entrepreneurs Advisory Council. In this role, I’m particularity passionate about addressing how best to build a bridge between high-growth companies and large enterprises such as Dell and to find out how each can find synergies and commonalities for the benefit of both parties.
Why is it valuable for small and large enterprises to work together?
Small companies must be agile and innovative to survive. But that’s not easy in today’s fast-changing world where products are developed within weeks to months, and can be gone within as little as a year.
In this climate, the ability for startups to work with large enterprises is invaluable. It can open doors to new markets and people, providing small businesses with access to resources not always open to them in the early stages, while large enterprises can benefit from a mutual desire to innovate a market or product category and remain competitive.
How is technology connected to your business growth?
Dell’s technology is essential to how we can grow. Market trends for the future suggest that more on-premise email companies will shift to a hybrid cloud option whereby they will maintain a private-cloud for themselves, either on premise or through a shared cloud facilitator. Our relationship with Dell is key in this regard for our route to market.
You’ve had some great successes with crowdfunding. Is it the best route to finance?
Crowd-funding is a great avenue for raising seed-stage capital for early-stage companies. The caveat is that you must first capitalize on your known and trusted networks — it’s difficult otherwise to get anonymous crowd investors enthused about investing in your startup.
I would suggest doing the rounds at as many investor-networking events as you can. Start to bring 80 percent of your round together before you take it to a crowd-funding platform, and if you’re lucky, as we were, you will be oversubscribed — with access to a great group of investors who will want to offer their advice, networks and knowledge.
Dell Entrepreneur Spotlight Series
Occasional profiles of U.K. entrepreneurs
- 1Dell Entrepreneur Spotlight Series: Casper Oliver
- 2Dell Entrepreneur Spotlight Series: Jordan Fantaay
- 3Dell Entrepreneur Spotlight Series: David Monks