An Incubator Changed My Career: How Young Techies Sparked Innovation in the UK

Brothers find success with European mentoring and investment program, Seedcamp

Abs Farah (pictured), and his brother Kahin founded Fractal, utilizing mentoring and resources from Seedcamp. (Image: Farah)

Abs Farah and Kahin Farah were inspired to convert HTML/CSS coding into compliant designs that render the same across all major e-mail clients, after struggling to create their own designs. This British-based brothers had a desire to make things simpler, and decided to found Fractal, which provides a Web-based service to create and design emails with ease.

The London-based startup received initial seed funding and guidance from Seedcamp, one of Europe’s leading micro-seed investment funds and mentoring programs. Serial entrepreneur John Ndege mentored the Farah brothers as an Expert in Residence at the incubator.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Fractal CEO Abs Farah to talk how Seedcamp helped catapult his career and how the tech scene in the UK is evolving.

BlackEnterprise.com: How was the idea for Fractal conceived?

Farah: Like most startups, the best problems to solve are those that you’ve experienced yourself. This was the case for us when we started Fractal.

A client asked us if we could create an email marketing campaign. At this point, we discovered the difficulties faced by email designers and the lack of tools to help them overcome them. We thought email design was unreasonably hard and so we decided to do something about it.

How did you become a participant in the Seedcamp incubator program?

In the first month or two of starting Fractal a friend of mine told me about Seedcamp. I was blown away by how much help we could get to really push our start up to the next level.

So, we applied and pitched our startup idea. Eventually we won mini Seedcamp in August 2011 along with two other startups. We were thrilled.

We were recently introduced to Seedcamp’s Expert in Residence John Ndege as we needed advice on customer development and how to segment our customers. Since we are technical people, we welcomed John’s experience with open arms.

What advice would you give to other tech professionals who are seeking a mentor?

Farah: Before your start looking for a mentor, it’s important to know exactly what you want. It’s not always that you have to go straight to the most well-known and most visible mentors, as they may not necessarily be a good fit for you.

Consider approaching the founders and key executives of companies in your space who you admire. It’s also important to network, meet people and ask questions. Go to local tech meet-ups and other larger events.

Octavia Goredema is founder of relocation resource Crash Course City and the Twenty Ten Club, an award-winning networking organization and online resource designed to connect, inspire and support black female entrepreneurs. Goredema has been awarded the title Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by The Queen for her services supporting black businesswomen.

ACROSS THE WEB