Inspiring women: Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz
Following a “long slog” to get their first investor on board, this entrepreneurial duo are rapidly scaling their app business which brings mums together…
Names: Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz
Founded: Mush in April 2016
Start-up elevator pitch: Mush is a new free app which connects mums with other mums in their local community that have kids the same age.
Funding raised: £1.25m
Follow them: @KatieMassieT @mushsarah
Who are Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz?
Former equity derivatives broker Katie Massie-Taylor and ex-advertising exec Sarah Hesz aren’t your typical business partners.
The pair first met in a London playground three years ago and, both with two kids under the age of two at the time, shared the feeling of being “sleep deprived and incoherent” (what Massie-Taylor refers to as “brain mush”).
The two swapped numbers and became a lifeline for one another to “survive” with small kids.
Months later, the duo reflected on their chance friendship and realised how hard it would have been without having the other there to lend support; this provided the lightbulb moment for Mush. As Massie-Taylor asserts “in an era so well serviced with mobile technology connecting people, there should be an app to bring mums together.”
Launched in April last year, London-based Mush has been on a growth ascent with its user base and staff numbers quadrupling in the last six months. A successful trial in Australia, and roll-out to Canada and America is also in the pipeline.
How have they won over investors?
With no contacts in the investment space and needing to raise money at the concept stage, Massie-Taylor admits it was a “long slog to get the first person on board” but says the “rest quickly followed”.
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The pair first raised a £250,000 seed round which was helped by social impact fund Mustard Seed, alongside SEIS and friends and family who “were instrumental”. However, this seed money only lasted six months and so, in November 2016, Hesz and Massie-Taylor turned to the crowd and were successful in closing a £1m Crowdcube round.
What advice do the pair have for emerging female founders in need of funding?
“Research SEIS back to front, and tap into the networks that take advantage of it. Also, don’t be afraid to knock on the doors of people who have done things you are trying to do.”