Saul Klein and I in Director Magazine

From Director Magazine, text by Amy Duff

Saul Klein of investment firm Index Ventures and Richard Moross, the founder of printing company Moo, talk to Amy Duff about fundraising, building a start-up and great ideas

Richard Moross I had the idea when I was 25, in the summer of 2003. I had 50 different ways of getting hold of people in my personal life, and all these virtual identities, but I didn’t have a design to communicate my personal email addresses and telephone numbers in the way that I did with my business card. The idea was specifically to create personal business cards.

Saul Klein I originally met Richard in 2004 through the Accelerator Group, the seed investment vehicle my dad [Robin Klein] and I run. The first institutional investor we introduced Richard to was Index Ventures. We ended up doing a lot of deals with Index Ventures; I worked with them as an entrepreneur (at LoveFilm), as an executive (at Skype) and then joined as a partner last year.

RM I worked for a design firm, Imagination. I took my business plan to them and they liked it, but it wasn’t the sort of thing they wanted to do, so I plucked up the courage to leave. I spent three months fundraising. I closed a seed round of investment in August 2004.

SK Richard had this concept where he was going to revolutionise business cards with this new format that he called mini-cards. There was a business card for work but not for pleasure. We liked the idea and we liked Richard. It wasn’t a business at the time, just Richard and his idea. We worked with him for a year or so developing the idea, getting the website built, doing deals with the printer and getting the business off the ground. About six months after Index came on board, [VC firm] Atlas also invested in Moo.

RM I didn’t know how much I was looking for. I wasn’t sure what things would cost. According to the business plan, I needed £1m. The reality was that I needed a few hundred thousand. The first round of investment in April 2006 was £2.75m.

SK The thing that impressed us most about Richard, which is true of a lot of great entrepreneurs, is that he has a complete passion for the product. I think of him like Steve Jobs. He has a rigorous attention to detail and amazing flair. Companies like Apple have shown us all that by paying serious attention to design, and the way consumers are going to use a product, you can really make a difference in a category.

RM The biggest challenge for me was finding out what did and didn’t work, what would resonate with the customer, and how you’re going to make money. The original idea was for a social network, connected to a printed card. But people hated the social network side of it, because they already had Facebook and Flickr. But they loved the cards. That was the big step for us. We connected the cards to people’s online communities and retailed it through them.

SK Richard’s created a passionate following in terms of the Moo customer base. The personality of the Moo brand is indicative of some of his core skills. It’s not just a printing company. It’s like customers don’t ever think of Innocent as just a drinks business.

RM The best reason to do a deal with a venture capital firm is for the relationship, the things other than finance that they bring to the business. Otherwise you might as well go to a bank, if you can convince them to take the risk. Both Index and Atlas sit on the board, we meet every month, and whether it’s fundraising, or management, growth or recruitment, they’ve been instrumental in helping structure the roadmap for the business. It’s a good, close, relationship that’s been going for quite a while.

SK For us, the hallmark of early stage investing, and where Index has been successful in Europe is following the high-engagement model pioneered in Silicon Valley in the US. Since we met Richard we’ve helped with hiring, fundraising, product development and introductions. We really like to get involved.

RM Saul has been to pretty much every board meeting since we began, first as an angel investor and now as a member of the Index team. Knowing the journey is as important as understanding the destination. Saul knows what’s worked and what hasn’t, and what my skills are, and my team’s. That’s hugely beneficial in terms of input to the company and to me personally.

SK The first thing you look for is the person you’re investing in. Richard wanted to change an industry. A lot of people have great ideas but they just want to build what you would think of as a lifestyle business. That’s fine, but really you want someone who’s passionate and who wants to build a really big business.

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The Top 1,000 Most Powerful People In British Business

The Telegraph Newspaper has listed me in the Top 100 of Technology, and amongst the 1,000 Most Powerful people in British business. Wow.

1: Arun Sarin, chief executive, Vodafone
2: Ian Livingston, chief executive-elect, BT Group
3: Charles Dunstone, co-founder and chief executive, Carphone Warehouse
4: Nikesh Arora, president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Google
5: John Pluthero, executive chairman, Cable & Wireless
6: Matthew Key, chief executive, O2 Europe
7: Ben Verwaayen, chief executive, BT
8: Tom Alexander, chief executive, Orange UK
9: Sir James Dyson, founder, Dyson
10: Richard Lapthorne, chairman, Cable & Wireless
11: Sir John Bond, chairman, Vodafone
12: Jim Hyde, managing director, T-Mobile UK
13: Kevin Russell, chief executive, 3 UK
14. Sir Michael Rake, chairman, BT
15: Paul Walker, chief executive, Sage Group
16: Mike Lynch, founder and chief executive, Autonomy Corporation
17: Andrew Sukawaty, chairman and chief executive, Inmarsat
18: David Ross, co-founder and deputy chairman, Carphone Warehouse
19: Warren East, chief executive, ARM Holdings
20: Peter Jones, owner of Phones International Group
21: Andy Halford, chief financial director, Vodafone
22: Hanif Lalani, group finance director, BT Group
23: Roger Taylor, chief financial officer, Carphone Warehouse
24: Gavin Patterson, chief executive elect, BT Retail
25: Gordon Frazer, managing director, Microsoft UK
26: Andy Green, chief executive, Logica
27: Nick Read, chief executive, Vodafone UK
28: Ronan Dunne, chief executive, O2 UK
29: Sir John Chisholm, chairman, Qinetiq
30: Francois Barrault, chief executive, BT Global Services
31: David Dunne, chief executive, AOL Europe
32: Bill Allan, chief executive, Thus
33: Sally Davis, chief executive, BT Wholesale
34: David Goldie, chief executive of telecoms, Carphone Warehouse
35: Delia Bushell, director of broadband & telephony, BSkyB
36: Jim Marsh, chief executive officer, Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia & US
37: Simon Ainslie, managing director, Nokia UK
38: Duncan Mitchell, managing director, Cisco UK & Ireland
39: Sir David Brown, chairman, Motorola UK
40: Mark Mitchinson, UK and Ireland vice president, Samsung Mobile
41: Andy Dewhurst, chief executive, Tesco Mobile
42: Hideki Komiyama, president, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications
43: Graham Love, chief executive, Qinetiq
44: Andrew Harrison, UK chief executive, Carphone Warehouse
45: Malcolm Fallen, chief executive, KCOM Group
46: Philip Rogerson, chairman,Thus
47: Joep van Beurden, chief executive, CSR
48: Andrew Ralston, chief operations officer, Orange UK
49: Martin Balaam, chief executive, Redstone
50: Brian McBride, chief executive, Amazon UK
51: Dermot Halpin, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Expedia
52: Simon Nixon, chief executive, Moneysupermarket.com
53: David Shrigley, chief executive, Wolfson Microelectronics
54: John Brigden, senior vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Symantec
55: John Whiting, chief executive, Phones 4U
56: James Bilefield, chief executive, OpenX
57: John Gildersleeve, chairman, Carphone Warehouse
58: Doug Dunn, chairman. ARM Holdings
59: James Collier, co-founder and chief technical officer, CSR
60: Brian Na, president, LG UK
61: Tim Score, chief financial officer, ARM Holdings
62: Josh Silverman, chief executive, Skype
63: Michael Abrahams, chief executive, KCOM Group
64: Joanna Shields, international president, Bebo
65: Mary Turner, chief executive, Tiscali UK
66: Tim Smart, president, BT Global Services UK
67: Charles Nasser, chief executive and founder, Claranet
68: Danny Rimer, partner in technology investor Index Ventures
69: Christina Domecq, chief executive, Spinvox
70: Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder, Joost
71: Sushovan Hussein, chief financial officer, Autonomy Corporation
72: Tony Hobson, chairman, Sage Group
73: Tudor Brown, chief operating officer, ARM Holdings
74: Celia Francis, chief executive, WeeWorld
75: Rakesh Bhasin, chief executive, Colt Telecom
76: Tony Rice, group managing director and finance director, Cable & Wireless
77: Natalie Messenet, founder, net.porter.com
78: Charles Wigoder, chief executive, TelecomPlus
79: Allen Timpany, founder and chief executive, Vanco
80: Steve Nicholson, chief executive, The Cloud
81: Tristia Clarke, marketing director, Carphone Warehouse
82: Hossein Yassaie, chief executive, Imagination Technologies
83: Janus Friis, co-founder, Joost
84: Peter Dubens, chairman, Freedom4 Communications
85: Brent Hoberman, chairman WAYN.com
86: Edwina Dunn, co-founder, Dunnhumby
87: Jason Gissing, founder, Ocado
88: Peter Ward, co-founder, Wayn.com
89: Alan Coppin, chairman, Redstone
90: Rob Horler, founder, Diffiniti
91: Paul Harrison, finance director, Sage Group
92: Mark Fitzgerald, founder, MX Telecom
93: Jon Burton, Traveller’s Tales
94: Katarina Skoberne, co-founder, OpenAd
95: Ajaz Ahmed, founder and chairman, Akqa
96: Suranga Chandratillake, chief executive, Blinkx
97: Toby Rowland, founder, king.com
98: Alexander Amosu, founder, Amosu Luxury
99: Richard Moross, founder, moo.com
100: Nancy Cruikshank, chief executive, videojug