Founder and CEO, Laura Stembridge is at the helm of the ship leading a team of six. "We’re building a really strong team and will be making three more hires early next year".
Laura has over 12 years industry experience and a passion for the tech world. Starting life working in Sports Event Management where she secured grants of up to £250,000K to improve sports provision in local communities, Laura later turned her hand to Management Consultancy. During her time as a Management Consultant (c.10 years) Laura worked with companies including BP, Unilever, NHS and British Energy assisting them on the implementation of global IT enabled change programs.
Laura set up her first business aged 23, which ran successfully for four years. “I have always has the entrepreneurial bug and knew I wanted to set up another business, but this time in tech, it was just a case of coming up with the right idea at the right time. Jambo is getting amazing feedback and traction, I am really excited to see how things develop over the next 1, 3 and 5 years”.
Tech is always something that has interested me. In terms of what tech can do the possibilities are endless and I find this really exciting.
Laura is a keen sportswoman and loves travel – 40 countries and counting!
What is Jambo and how does it work? (Please give as much detail as possible)
Many business opportunities occur from chance encounters over which we have no control. Who you meet locally, at events or whilst travelling for business is left almost entirely up to chance. Those first conversations can be cold and super awkward, making building a network both tedious and daunting. Jambo was designed to change this. With the rise of technology and mobile first platforms, our mission is to put humanity back into networking and ensure you never miss a connection again.
Jambo, a mobile first, location-based platform and invite-only community helps business professionals build genuine and valuable connections, in real-time, wherever they are. The Jambo community is highly curated, we know your time is precious; we want to ensure you meet the right people. We use an innovative algorithm to suggest people for you to meet based on your preferences.
After downloading the application and making it past the ‘gatekeeper’ who looks after the waitlist, members are able to network with those around them who share similar interests. Whether you’re looking to connect with people on the next floor of your office, whilst on a business trip, or at an event, Jambo can help you meet the people you want to meet professionally or socially, either on a 1-2-1 basis or 1-2-many via Tribes which are in-app communities. If you fancy meeting people in London who are passionate about Fintech, or those in New York who love running then we have a Tribe for that!
Jambo also has two other cool features;
1) it lets you see who else is attending events ahead of time so you can get the most out of your time and meet the people you want to meet who will add value
2) if you’re away on business, we’ll notify you when members of your network are also in the area to help you keep your network active.
Users will be able to download the Jambo for free on the App Store and Google Play from 30th November. People can pre-register for membership to the Jambo Tribe by signing up to our private beta on our website.
Who was Jambo designed for and how can they start being active on the app? Do members have to pay a fee or is it free?
Jambo is designed for working professionals and business travellers who want to network both professionally and socially, whilst on the go. Whether you’re looking to meet new people from your company, a sales lead, or somebody to grab dinner with whilst you’re away on business, Jambo allows you to connect with those around you and build genuine connections. Networking shouldn’t be about meeting new people and taking turns to pitch; it should be about getting to know people personally. Not only is this more enjoyable, but it helps cultivate richer and more valuable connections.
Jambo is free to download from both the App and Google Play Stores. The sign up process if simple, users log in using their LinkedIn credentials and then they’re ready to go. We’ve made the process of sign up super easy, because nobody likes having to fill in the same information over and over again. Users are given full membership to the Jambo community as soon as their profile is approved by the Jambo Gate-Keeper - their role is to ensure that the integrity of the community remains highly curated.
Users will be able to download the Jambo for free on the App Store and Google Play from 30th November.
How did you come up with the idea and when was Jambo officially launched?
Jambo was born out of personal frustration. I used to travel extensively for business and frequently attended conferences. I thought business travel would be the best thing since sliced bread, getting to see the world whilst working - what could be better? Little did I know how lonely and isolating the experience would be, room service, dinner dates for one, you know the drill! You would see other business travellers in the same situation. It’s crazy because you get to go to some of the world’s best cities, but you never get to experience them as a local.
Then there are the serendipitous moments when you randomly bump into old colleagues, contacts or people from your company at conferences and on business trips. Sadly, these are few and far between.
Imagine if there was a way to see who from your professional network was nearby. Imagine if you knew that the person at the event worked for the same company but in a different office. Imagine if you had a way to meet other business professionals quickly and easily whether you are in your office or on the road travelling. Jambo was born!
How many active users are there on Jambo?
We launched our alpha with 1,000 test users. We currently we have over 10,000 people on our waiting list for our private beta which launches on IOS and Android at the end of the month. Business professionals can sign up for our private beta via our website here and gain Founding Member status of the Jambo Tribe.
You have recently won the Alibaba UK Creative Cloud Competition. Tell us about this and what did it entail?
Winning the UK Alibaba start-up competition was really great; I still can’t believe we won! The process was similar to pitching for investment - we had to submit an application form detailing what the business is and why we should make it through to the final. Eight start-ups were taken through to the final. On final day, founders were required to give a a 10 minute pitch about their business which was followed by a 10 minute Q&A to a panel of judges from Alibaba, Cocoon Networks, UK Trade and Investment and London and Partners. I remember being last to pitch. When we entered the stage, one of the judges saying ‘finally, a female founder!’. The judging criteria looked at the problem being solved, the solution an degree of innovation, the team and traction. It was a really great feeling winning the competition, especially being a female founder! A lot of doors have been opened since we have won.
Tell us about your recent trip with London mayor Sadiq Khan, and the other 29 innovative London start-ups chosen to attend. What was the event about? (please give as much detail as possible)
After winning the UK Alibaba Start-up competition, we were awarded a place on the Mayor’s International Business Programme (MIBP). A programme run by London and Partners on behalf of the Mayor’s Office, which is design to help support scale-up companies gain traction in the UK and launch internationally. Through the MIBP we were invited to accompany London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, on a Trade Mission to Chicago and New York.
During the Mission we were given the opportunity to pitch to investors, FTSE 100 companies and build relationships with other organisations and influential business people in both cites. One of the highlights of the trip for myself was accompanying Sadiq Khan to the New York Stock Exchange where we went up onto the platform and rang the closing bell. That’s a career highlight for me thus far!
The core focus of the Mission was to support the “London is Open” campaign post Brexit and enable the participating scale-up companies to network with industry leaders and company c-suite execs who it would ordinarily take us months to get to if we were to reach out to them directly.
The Mission was a really valuable trip for us, we certainly got a lot of contacts and leads out of it! It’s great to know that our friends and contacts across the pond love Jambo as much as people here in the UK.
If you could choose any public figure/influencer as your mentor, who would it be and why?
Casey Neistat. He’s a YouTuber who produces really great daily content. Casey also runs a tech-start up in addition to producing content for his YouTube channel. He has an amazing work ethic and somehow manages to find time for sport, and more importantly his friends and family. The passion he has for what he does is contagious. I love his commitment, drive and ambition. He’s grown his following to c.5m on YouTube – a pretty amazing achievement!
Technology is evolving very fast and it is becoming a highly competitive market. What are your expectations in terms of business growth for Jambo and what is next?
We’ve had a really good response to Jambo so far. It seems the problem we are solving is a pain point for a lot of people. People are genuinely positive about the product and are bought into our vision of putting humanity back into business networking and making the business world more connected both locally and on the road. We’re super excited to launch our private beta at the end of the month on iOS and Android.
We have a bunch of cool new features on our product roadmap that we will be implementing early next year. Jambo is going to go from strength to strength and I can’t wait to go on that journey with our users!
Will you be downloading Jambo? Let us know on Twitter.