Representing the brightest minds in European tech – the Forbes 30 under 30
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Forbes has recently published its 30 under 30 list for 2019. This list examines some of the most exciting, fast growing businesses in the world, and counts the likes of Daniel Ek (Spotify) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) as alumni.

This year a number of these startups, and their visionary founders, are clients of Ballou. In total, Ballou has represented five of this year’s winners.

The list includes Ignacio Bachiller, CEO, and Fran Hein, CMO, of Fever, the data-led entertainment and experience company behind the virally successful Secret London social network. Harry Keen, the CEO and founder of Hazy, the data innovation startup, is also featured.

We’re excited to represent some of the most exciting young talent in European tech. Here’s to this year’s 30 under 30 – we look forward to seeing what they’ll all achieve in 2019![:de]Forbes has recently published its 30 under 30 list for 2019. This list examines some of the most exciting, fast growing businesses in the world, and counts the likes of Daniel Ek (Spotify) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) as alumni.

This year a number of these startups, and their visionary founders, are clients of Ballou. In total, Ballou has represented five of this year’s winners.

The list includes Ignacio Bachiller, CEO, and Fran Hein, CMO, of Fever, the data-led entertainment and experience company behind the virally successful Secret London social network. Harry Keen, the CEO and founder of Hazy, the data innovation startup, is also featured.

We’re excited to represent some of the most exciting young talent in European tech. Here’s to this year’s 30 under 30 – we look forward to seeing what they’ll all achieve in 2019![:fr]Forbes has recently published its 30 under 30 list for 2019. This list examines some of the most exciting, fast growing businesses in the world, and counts the likes of Daniel Ek (Spotify) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) as alumni.

This year a number of these startups, and their visionary founders, are clients of Ballou. In total, Ballou has represented five of this year’s winners.

The list includes Ignacio Bachiller, CEO, and Fran Hein, CMO, of Fever, the data-led entertainment and experience company behind the virally successful Secret London social network. Harry Keen, the CEO and founder of Hazy, the data innovation startup, is also featured.

We’re excited to represent some of the most exciting young talent in European tech. Here’s to this year’s 30 under 30 – we look forward to seeing what they’ll all achieve in 2019!

Upskilling yourself – improving your own PR in 2019
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When asked by 22-year-old entrepreneur Michael Hood about the one tip that he would give young professionals, Warren Buffet replied this:

Invest in yourself. The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills–both written and verbal. If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark–nothing happens. You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you have to be able to transmit it. And the transmission is communication.

As PRs, we’d recommend by beginning with the following changes.

1. Read, read, read…a lot!

This isn’t about reading the entire cannon of Tolkien / Tolstoy on a weekly basis, it can be as simple as making time to read a Sunday newspaper, rather than just skimming the news on an ad hoc basis. Why would we recommend this? We would argue (strongly) that there is a connection between the strength and depth of your understanding of the world, even if that just relates to current affairs, and how creative you are – which in almost all jobs, is a highly advantageous (and employable) skill. However, if you’re willing to invest more time and effort into reading, checking out Bill Gates‘ famous reading lists is also a good idea.

2. Establish a peer-review process and take a public speaking course

In PR, a large part of our day-to-day work is content development. In our account teams we actually draft content as a team rather than an ‘I’. Everything we develop is peer reviewed – regardless of who writes it, it is completely normal (and actively encouraged) for an Account Director to have a Junior Account Executive sense-check work. No matter how talented or senior we are, spelling mistakes can happen. When it comes to the world of talking out loud, it isn’t outrageous to apply this same rigour to oral communication – having a trusted friend or colleague mention when you have an eccentric habit that stops you from communicating as effectively as possible isn’t a terrible idea.

The same rule applies to public speaking – if this isn’t your forte, there will almost certainly be a business case for you to request training on this, in pretty much whatever form of career you have. Warren Buffet himself admitted that in the past, he was terrified of public speaking. Importantly, he acknowledged that he needed to work on this – he spent time working on it, and eventually was able to feel comfortable speaking in front of large crowds.

3. Learn a new language or start teaching your native language to learners

Nothing makes you learn your own language more than learning a new one or trying to explain to a foreigner why you use certain idioms or grammatical constructions in your native tongue. You have to reflect on the grammatical structures and choices of vocabulary, which inadvertently, will help you to use your language in a more conscious way. This might be more time consuming than the two points above, but it is certainly effective.

4. Try smart tools – on and offline

Whilst you shouldn’t stop relying on your brain and/or common sense, using AI-powered smart tools like Grammarly can have a major impact on how you communicate with others, particularly on email, which we’d guess, you spend quite a lot of your day using.

New resolutions, like extreme diets or fitness regimes, often fail because of the extreme deviation from the norm that they can create. Smaller changes, over time, can often be a lot more effective – the same rules can be applied to how you upskill your own personal PR.

Greek startup scene 2018: A maturing ecosystem pointing to a brighter future
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Greece isn’t yet known for its startup scene, but when we went to Athens for our annual company offsite last week, we thought it would be a great chance to look into it and see if we can offer any of our experience. With Maria Loupa from our UK team and Loukianos Zaganiaris from our French team both being Greek born and bred, it felt like a golden opportunity to see what’s been happening on the Greek startup front.

Over the course of two days, Maria and Loukianos met with some of the leading incubators, VC firms and co-working spaces in the capital. And their reception was incredibly positive.

They heard about the challenges the startups are facing and offered some tips on how to tackle comms and content with a ‘PR 101 from Ballou’ workshop. Below is an overview of some of the organisations they met with:

  • The Egg, a CSR initiative by Eurobank, designed to encourage young entrepreneurs to bring innovative ideas and turn them into successful enterprises.
  • The Impact Hub, a local and international connected network, where business and creative professionals are working to design and implement business models that will define the future of entrepreneurship.
  • ACEin, The Athens Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEin), offering support to researchers and potential young entrepreneurs in order to help them develop innovative business ideas and bring them to the market.
  • Found.ation, acting as a startup hub, a digital transformation accelerator for corporations and a tech education hive, igniting innovation and driving transformation through digital technologies, new business models and culture shift.
  • Velocity Partners, a team of founders, operators and investors with hands-on experience and skills that match and complement the vision and ambition of entrepreneurs.

The ‘PR 101’ sessions were really well received by investors and promising startups alike, such as Lefko and TechTalent.jobs, among others. While the Greek startup scene is very much in its infancy, there are some exciting signs of growth. A new report analysing the Greek Startup Ecosystem, labelled ‘Startups in Greece 2018: A maturing ecosystem points to a brighter future’ has been published this week by some of the experts we met with, across Found.ation, Velocity Partners and EIT DIGITAL EIT Digital. It provides a realistic overview and presents opportunities to engage with startups, doing great things across tech, life sciences, agri-tech, travel-travel, health-tech and maritime.

Local startups are maturing, offering innovative solutions and competitive services. Thankfully, this is now gradually being matched with great funding prospects, such as EquiFund, an initiative created by the Hellenic Republic in cooperation with the European Investment Fund (EIF). By leveraging the top-notch research Greek universities and research centers are producing, the available human capital and the relevant historical knowledge, the much-needed investment injections will come. And while Greece may still be the “The Ugly Duckling” of the investment world for some, it may just be the next black swan, kick-starting technologically-fuelled economic growth.

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