Meet the Founder - Jude Cook

December 07, 2018
Charlotte Dougall
Charlotte Dougall

Founder of Blether, helping small businesses do big things online.

Jude is the co-founder of ShareIn, providers of customisable investment software that helps you raise funds directly from your own network of investors.

Tell us a bit about what your startup does?

ShareIn are the market leading experts in crowdfunding software and regulatory compliance and currently operate some of the largest impact investing and property crowdfunding platforms in the UK. Our white label crowdfunding software handles every aspect of the investment process and ensures compliance at every stage, allowing customers to focus on their business of sourcing great deals and finding investors.

What was the inspiration behind your startup?

Back in 2011, it seemed crazy not to use the internet to mobilise first round friends and family funding, however equity crowdfunding didn’t yet exist. This was the original inspiration for ShareIn.
We changed our direction though at the end of 2014 to focus on the bit that we were good at - the tech and financial compliance - and moved away from being a marketplace to being a Fintech (I'm the Fin and my co-founder Andrew Pickett is the Tech). We are now a comprehensive white label crowdfunding software and compliance solution.

What is your background?

I studied Engineering at university, specialising in Fluid Mechanics, and I then went onto become a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte in London. I did a stint in Corporate Finance at BT Plc in London before moving to Edinburgh, keeping my London job. I took a career break to have 3 kids prior to co-founding ShareIn.

Did you always see yourself running your own company?

No - I had only ever worked for gigantic machines. I knew nothing about running my own business!

What are the biggest challenges you face having your own business?

Well I find the whole thing very challenging! But if I had to name a few:

  • I find managing people really tricky - luckily the brilliant team at ShareIn seem to cope!
  • The rollercoaster of it all - not even day to day - It can be hour to hour.
  • The all-consuming nature of it. I have to pretend to be normal and not be so obsessed with the world of ShareIn.
  • Sometimes, for the best interests of the company, I must make tough decisions that impact people’s careers. I don’t enjoy that.

If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?

Don't ever try a B2C! However, if we hadn't tried a B2C business, we wouldn't have been able to transform into the B2B we are today. Other businesses value the tangible cost savings and professional services we offer and can appreciate the costs involved supplying those services. In my experience this is not the case when selling to the general public.

Do you have one piece of advice you’d give to people looking to make the jump to self-employed?

I'm a great believer in testing the water before you jump in. Experimenting in your free time is a step in the right direction. Prototype minimum viable products and get them in front of users early, they can help you shape products that have real marketable value.

Find out more about ShareIn on their website.

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