Eline van der Velden
“Our last quarter was our most successful quarter last year. I think that’s because of the course”
Eline, an award-winning Actress/Writer/Director and ex-Managing Director of Makers, joined the programme to scale Particle 6, an award-winning media production company that brings a science perspective to complex stories and makes them accessible and entertaining.
Particle 6 was in its second year when Eline joined the programme, and while the company survived early rough patches, “there was no structure, and that wasn’t very scalable,” reflects Eline. But, Particle 6 was growing fast. It had made its first international sale earlier in 2018, and although equity investors were showing interest, “I was very anti raising money” says Eline, “I didn’t know how or why anyone would give me money.”
“I was looking for an accelerator programme in order for me to really be that next level leader.”
But, finding the right accelerator was a problem, “There was nowhere to give me any guidance, any structure whatsoever. Nothing to help me that was reasonably priced”.
“Somebody suggested Hatch, and it turned out really well” says Eline, “the content of the course was really at a level of high-achieving people and it was very beneficial for me”.
Specialist financial mentoring provided Eline with the skills and confidence she needed to work with investors. “Jess was phenomenal. She really knew about the stuff that I needed to learn about.” As a result of Hatch’s support, Eline created a Board of Advisors who have been given options to raise finance for Particle 6. “I was able to negotiate these options with my advisors very confidently because thanks to the support I received from the FFA Programme. I also knew what the company was worth because I’d been able to do a valuation thanks to the financial projections I did. This is all because of the course. Six months earlier I had no idea what my company might be valued at.”
The programme provided space to reflect, and expert guidance, helping Eline to step back, and “take more of that visionary role into the future and ensure that top-level company stuff is sorted out and not the day-to-day running of it”. As a result, Eline implemented a new structure at Particle 6, adding full-time employees to the pre-existing pool of freelancers.
The course brought a host of unexpected benefits for Eline and her whole team. Her programme attendance created an absence from the office, which meant Eline had to delegate more responsibility and her employees developed greater independence. “It was nice for them that it was forced in this way, otherwise it probably wouldn’t have happened.” Eline’s course attendance also brought a fresh enthusiasm to Particle 6, “I had lists and lists of all these things I wanted to do and I never normally would have that. I’d come in Monday morning and be “This is what we need to work on.”
The company has benefitted in other ways too. Two employees attended a sales mentoring session with Eline, and, implementing ‘really good suggestions’ from experts, Particle 6 overhauled its website.
Eline’s experience of Female Founders’ Accelerator has shifted her previously sceptical approach to training, and her team is benefitting. “ I’ve realised the power in training. I have these four managers at the top, just underneath me – I’ve put some management training in for them.”
“A lot has changed since I’ve done the programme.” says Eline, looking back on her experience. “I have more of a hold on the business and can think further into the future”