£150,000 later: What happened after the Start-Up Series – MYZA

From hiring a talented team to securing partnerships, here's how winning The Start-Up Series in March has enabled sleep site MYZA to launch this week...

Recognising the benefits of good night’s sleep, MYZA is the first curated online platform dedicated to retailing products and publishing editorial content designed to encourage healthy and beneficial sleep.

Founded by Helen Collins and Olivia Collins, MYZA’s first landing page gained exciting levels of traction – but the duo knew a funding boost was needed to launch the business in full.

So, in March 2017, they applied for The Start-Up Series: Startups.co.uk and Worth Capital‘s monthly funding competition, which now sees two start-ups per month winning up to £150,000 equity investment each and access to expertise from investment promoters Worth Capital.

The duo won the competition and – propelled by the funding and guidance offered to them by Worth Capital – are preparing to officially launch their website this week.

So, how has our March Start-Up Series winner achieved this – and how could your start-up benefit from The Start-Up Series?

Ahead of this monumental milestone, Startups’ caught up with the Collins’ on how The Start-Up Series has helped them to reach this point. They tell us: “Doubtlessly, Worth Capital’s investment has enabled us to get this far, we have been able to make our idea a reality and develop a website as we originally envisaged.

“In addition, Matthew Cushen [co-founder of Worth Capital] has provided a great sounding board for us, enabling us to ‘bounce ideas’ off him, gain the benefit of his retail experience and generally receive constructive and objective feedback about our brand.”

So how exactly has Worth Capital’s investment and guidance helped MYZA to develop from a concept to a ready-to-launch website? Here’s what the business has achieved in the eight months since its Start-Up Series win…

A hugely expanded offering

According to the duo, MYZA has attracted a number of quality brands, all of whom have signed up to retail their sleep products through the platform. By no means limited to the UK, the start-up has also captured interest overseas:

“In addition to UK brands, we are already featuring US brands and an Australian sleepwear brand who were very keen to partner with us, plus European brands – so the website is looking global from the offset.

“A big highlight for us has been the really positive feedback from brands about our website. It has taken a lot of  hard work to get to this point but it seems to be paying off!”

Alongside securing a range of products to sell, MYZA has been able to kickstart the website’s specialist editorial content by recruiting Dr. Alanna Hupe, who runs the Royal Brompton Hospital’s sleep clinic: “She will be writing articles, conducting Q&A sessions and heading up our team of sleep experts.”

A talented team

In fact, MYZA has had the means to recruit a talented team which has helped to propel the start-up – once just a two-woman team – towards launch, including an “extremely experienced” CTO, two full-time content writers and a head of customer services.

According to the duo, Worth Capital’s business guidance has filled in the cracks in their own knowledge and experience here, pointing them in directions that they otherwise may not have followed – but which have brought fantastic benefits to the business:

“We are not from an technology background. Worth Capital suggested at the outset that we hire a CTO and although initially we were concerned by the potential cost implications, we now appreciate that this was great advice; our CTO is proving to be a tremendous asset and well worth the financial outlay.”

Plans in place for the future

With the help of Worth Capital, MYZA is able to make plans for the next stage of its marketing efforts:

“Following our official launch we intend to focus heavily on [social media] as a means of engaging customers and spreading awareness of our brand. We are also looking at the possibility of appointing a PR who has marketplace expertise.”

The Collins’ ultimate goal for the website? “We are aiming to become the go-to online shopping destination for all sleep needs. We are at the start of our journey but we have some great, innovative ideas for our brand so watch this space!”

How you could win The Start-Up Series:

Finally, the founding duo offer a word of advice to any entrepreneurs who are looking to enter the competition:

“Have an idea which you feel passionate about – and we do not use this word lightly – and a solid business plan including realistic financials. Show evidence that there is a demand for your product or business in the market and importantly how you propose to differentiate your brand from your competitors (if any).”

What The Start-Up Series could do for your business:

MYZA is one of many pre-launch start-ups which have won the Start-Up Series competition and gone on to take crucial steps towards the official launch of their offering.

The Start-Up Series could give you the potential to attract clients, fund research and development, grow your team or otherwise take steps towards turning your start-up vision into a reality.

Each month, up to £150,000 equity seed investment from a £3.6m funding pot, along with Worth Capital’s invaluable business support and guidance, is on offer to two winners – with both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) businesses now considered.

For your chance to follow in MYZA’s footsteps, register your interest for The Start-Up Series here. But hurry: the November competition – which will award seed funding to two early-stage businesses – closes at midnight tomorrow, Tuesday 14 November.

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