Nick Holzherr: "There's never been a better time to set a company up"

The Apprentice star’s tips for tech start-ups

The runner-up of BBC’s TV show The Apprentice 2012, Nick Holzherr, says there’s never been a better time to start up a tech firm.

The CEO of food discovery platform Whisk received £500,000 investment in his business after being rejected by Lord Sugar in the final stages of business TV show The Apprentice.

Holzherr was speaking at London’s Ecommerce Expo and offered his advice to attendees. 

"There’s never been a better time to set up and run a tech company," he said. "The Government guarantees investment in tech businesses via tax breaks. So if you have an idea, now is the time to do it.

"When raising finance, the most important thing is your concept/business model. Some people get carried away with marketing strategies, but believe in your model and the rest will follow.

"You also need to be half a rhino and half an ear – be thick-skinned but be able to listen. Focus and perseverance is absolutely key. When you hit that ‘project plateau’, keep going – don’t give up. Get as much feedback as possible on your ideas."

Holzherr also talked about how he dealt with being rejected by Lord Sugar, by not dwelling on it and by learning why Sugar said no.

He added: "Learn why people are saying no – why they aren’t buying a product or investing in your company. Either you’re not communicating well enough or not to the right person. Try to see if you’re selling it the wrong way. I sold it the wrong way to Lord Sugar."

The Apprentice star went on to talk about the future of the tech market, and believes wearable tech and personalisation will grow in prominence.

"I think there will be a lot more personalisation, with websites using cookies to update and personalise for you. This will be great for advertisers who will be able to target their users even more strongly.

"We’ll be more connected, health will be strong sector, with gadgets that track our vitals and provide recommendations.

"I also think online grocery shopping will be a big space."

Holzherr’s Whisk technology works by integrating itself onto recipe websites and allows users to instantly order ingredients online from grocers such as Tesco.

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