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Luca Newsletter: Edition 1
Same, same but (slightly) different
Hey everybody and welcome to the Luca newsletter!
Rather than create a new blog, I thought it made sense to continue what I started with ‘From Scratch’, as it tells the story of how we got going.
This is our official newsletter, which we’ll publish on our website and social media. We’ll be providing updates on our progress, but we’ll also use it to reflect on the experience of building a startup, and everything that comes with that.
We’ve decided to write a newsletter because we want you all to be a part of the Luca journey. Plus, it’s fun and it helps us take stock. We’ll post a couple of times a month. We really hope you enjoy it!
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Block by block
Since receiving investment from Antler in May, we’ve spent the last couple of months making the transition from a ‘company’ that exists purely on a pitch deck to an actual real life business, and that’s meant a lot of admin. I, at least, didn’t realise quite how much had to be done to incorporate, to apply for SEIS & EIS (tax efficient investment schemes for startups) Advanced Assurance, to get setup with HMRC and business banking, to sort accounting, and more. It’s boring, but necessary, and it feels good to have everything now in place, so that we can properly focus on the important stuff, helping athletes that are struggling.
We took care of branding early on thanks to Vas’ super talented graphic design friend Artemis Nikolopoulou. She’s done a brilliant job and we hope you like the look and feel of Luca as much as we do. It’s funny, I was a little unsure of the new logo when I first saw it, as I wasn’t certain people would definitely read it as Luca, but I couldn’t be more pleased with it now. It’s interesting how our minds can sometimes be so resistant to change (Vas, of course, knew it was a knock out from first seeing it 🙄). Our website, currently a landing page, is in the process of being revamped and will have Artemis’ beautiful branding splattered all over it, as will the app, which is taking shape nicely.
Vas is spending more and more time on development, which he’s been craving. Spending time on mundane admin and business related tasks is no developers idea of fun, so I really appreciate the patience and support he’s provided me in getting everything set up. He’s made great progress on building the infrastructure behind the tool in the last few weeks, and the app should be ready for athletes in the next month, which is super exciting and makes it all feel very real!
For me, my core focus has been on business development and we’re making good progress. We hope to be able to share some news about our first pilot partner in the next newsletter and there are several other conversations ongoing, with both pro and university teams, that we hope to secure as partners before the summer draws to a close. Business development inevitably takes time. A first conversation is never going to lead to a signed agreement. Prospective partners need to have internal discussions and then more internal discussions(!), and that makes a lot of sense seeing as we’re bringing something totally new and innovative, and teams have to work out how they can integrate us into their existing processes and workflows. That said, it’s on us to do a better job of articulating how Luca can seamlessly slot in, and I think this will always be a work in progress.
It’s all Greek to me
I’m just back from spending 11 days in Greece with Vas. Vas is from Patras, Greece’s third city, which lies on the south-west coast. It’s a beautiful part of the world and the weather’s ridiculously consistent for a Brit to get their head around, if a little on the hot side for me! It was important to spend some time in person having been working remotely since the end of April. It was great to see where Vas is from, to meet his lovely family and friends, and to generally get a feel for his life out there. It makes our video calls much more interesting when I can actually relate to what he tells me he’s been up to in his down time.
Vas was a brilliant tour guide and was keen to show me Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient, and modern, Olympic Games. Being just a 1.5 hour drive from Patras, we had to go, especially being a startup focussing on elite athletes. It’s a quite remarkable place and I’d encourage everyone to check it out if ever in that part of the world. I’m always dumbfounded how our ancestors managed to build such magnificent buildings by hand, and Olympia is no exception. It’s nearly 3,000 years old, and the ingenuity that must have been required to build the temples and arches really is something else. There’s a lot we can learn from the ancients, and hopefully we can apply some of that wisdom in building Luca.
We’re now 3 months post investment and I’ve come to realise the importance of being comfortable with uncertainty. The Antler programme was hard, but also easy in a way. We were constantly receiving feedback, pitching the latest version of our deck every week, and so we knew exactly what we had to achieve week-on-week. As the Meerkats would say, it was simples!
But actually building a startup, as opposed to a deck, isn’t simple. You basically have this ocean ahead of you, and you’re not sure which plank of wood to select for the raft that you haven’t quite finished designing! What I’m trying to say is that there are a million things to do, and even more you could do, but you can only do one thing at a time, and only so many in a given day, week or month. You’re never going to know if what you’re prioritising today is the right thing to be focussing on, as feedback isn’t instant. The best you can do is to spend time actively prioritising, and not fall into the productivity trap of just blindly doing the things on your to do list because they happen to be on there.
Anyway, enough from me. I’ve got something to say about thinking next time. I bet you can’t wait…
Thanks for reading all, and catch you soon! ✌️