As the world opens up from lockdown, there’s a lot of discussion, media attention and politics in play about employees returning to the office after a year working from home.

Some employers are recognising it doesn’t have to be a binary decision, and a hybrid model is emerging: one that sees employees work fewer days a week in the office, allowing teams to enjoy the flexibility of home-working while ensuring social distancing in the workplace. But often this approach is wedded to pre-pandemic constraints determined by physical location, tenancy agreements and productivity paranoia.

There’s a danger of losing the gains…

Chapter 14 — One of our Dinosaurs is Missing

In March 2009, I set off on an adventure around the world, thanks to the goodwill of Twitter — that eventually became a modest bestseller published by Summersadale. In April 2011, I set off on adventures once more, travelling by Amtrak along the coasts and borders of mainland USA, which resulted in a second book called Tales from the Edge of America.

Except it didn’t.

I managed to self-publish half of the book in 2013, but unforgivably for the 11,000 people good enough to purchase it, never quite got around to finishing the second half.

A scaleup CEO, yesterday.

There’s a lot of money flooding into early-stage tech businesses right now.

New seed funds are launching every week, follow-on funds are ballooning in size, and Series A+ funds are pushing deeper into earlier-stage deals, to ensure they can still carve out their required allocation in later rounds.

But larger rounds at earlier stages also create challenges for founders; what was a six-figure round five years ago is now seven figures, meaning revenue targets, headcount requirements and investor expectations have increased accordingly. Suddenly there’s a need to achieve so much more in a similar timeframe.

Cracking scalable growth, improving operational…

A pivotal moment for Ricochet

Since we started Ricochet in 2018, we wanted to make life easier for small businesses. We had an idea, something new — so we researched it, prototyped it, tested and built it.

In the past 18 months, we’ve launched two products, worked with dozens of paying customers, spoke to hundreds of SMEs. We’ve always tried to be honest to ourselves, to our customers, and to you, by pulling apart our failures in public so others can learn from them.

And throughout it all, we’ve discovered how downright dirty, siloed and completely broken the world of business data really is. There’s…

Upstarts helping startups in the North East of England

Newcastle has a big heart, but it’s a small town.

North East England is a big place, but there are 150,000 more souls in Greater Manchester than there are in the 100 miles stretching between Middlesbrough and Berwick.

Population density in the North East is low. Newcastle has a population per km that’s only a third of Edinburgh, roughly an eighth of Manchester, London, Stockholm or Berlin, a tenth of Copenhagen, and a thirtieth of San Francisco.

Low population density means clustering and alignment of people and organisations doesn’t happen nearly as naturally, efficiently or effectively. It means cities…

We’re Ricochet, and we’re building software to automate and assist and sales development workflow. We believe there’s a billion-dollar opportunity to create a category-defining experience, as long as we’re relentlessly customer-focused and unashamedly ambitious.

Significantly, all of us are (at least) second-time founders — we’ve all been through this circus before, so we’re all clear on the type of business we want to build, and the people we want to build it with. So clear, in fact, that we wrote our company values on day one, over a year before anyone else would need to see them:

People first

Whether it’s our…

Some fourth-generation Pokémon, yesterday

Over the past year, on our journey to launching Ricochet, we’ve engaged with over 100 B2B companies. All flavours and sizes, different sectors, different products, different roles— from CEOs to marketers to salespeople — to figure out how we can solve their problems.

Something we learned from all these conversations and surveys, beta-tests and trials, is how businesses all think differently about prosecting to find new customers, depending on their stage of development.

If we mapped out the data points from these qualitative (and occasionally quantative) conversations, we’d probably draw a curve that looked like this:

AKA Once More, with Feeling *

Today, we’re delighted to publicly launch our latest MVP of Ricochet — a B2B search engine to help sales teams find and qualify new business leads faster.

Company information displayed in Ricochet

And yes, this all does sound eerily familiar.

We previously spent six months building something we thought people wanted, and launched that version of Ricochet in January.

It didn’t work for all sorts of reasons, but because we were paying attention to what customers said and how they used it, we cut our losses after less than a month, and closed Ricochet 0.1 in February.

So what happened next?

The problem

The problem we wanted…

Startups are hard.

I knew that. Course I did. I’ve worked with hundreds of them. Kev and Jo knew that. They’ve built plenty of them.

Still, the three of us weren’t expecting to be sharing the story of why, less than a month after launching, we decided to close down the product it had taken us half a year to build.

Since we’re always the first to encourage others to share their experience to benefit others, here’s the story of the life and death (and rebirth) of Ricochet — and what we’ve learnt along the way.

We started Ricochet to…

It’s been six months since Jo, Kev and I started working together full-time, and today we’re excited to launch the first iteration of Ricochet.

If you’re responsible for sales development in a B2B company, you’ll know the pain and drudgery of searching and scraping around for new business — the daily grind to find fresh leads, one eye on the monthly target and the other on the two dozen LinkedIn tabs open in your browser.

Long hours of repetitive, mostly manual effort. Week in, week out.

If this sounds hauntingly familiar, we’ve created Ricochet just for you.

We get that…

Paul Smith

COO at Ori Industries. Previously Co-founder at Ricochet AI (acquired). Entrepreneur-in-Residence @ Techstars & Ignite. Former Hyperlooper and Twitchhiker.

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