How I assembled a star-studded board for my start-up

how-I-did-it-jedo-thumbNot many businesses under a year old can boast the head of small business banking at one of the ‘big four’ as chairman, but Anneliese Urquhart’s preparation and persistence managed to gather a board that many large corporations would be proud of.


Like many, Urquhart travels frequently within Australia; but she realised on her travels how difficult it is to find information on local events.


Noticing that this is a common problem for many, Urquhart created Jedo in September last year.


Jedo is described as an online directory for all types of events across Australia.


It utilises social media, mobile and mapping services to deliver information-rich media listings for users and provides the opportunity for them to host and share their own events.


Jedo members receive notifications on events that fit their interests, as well as sample content and can also buy tickets for events.


Urquhart said many businesses looking to promote events find the ever-changing digital and social media space overwhelming, as they juggle social media platforms, search algorithms that change without notice, listings on their own sites, mainstream media, and a constantly evolving array of bloggers.


“It is because of these challenges that we created Jedo,” she says.


“We make event promotions simple for event organisers – they spend less time on social and digital media and get seen more often.”


“We help event organisers spend more time on their core business rather than worry about listing and promoting their events.”


“The creation of Jedo involved extensive planning and research. We continue to plan and research on an ongoing basis. This keeps us focused on the right priorities, benchmarks our services against others, and helps us come up with new solutions to make event promotions in the digital and social space even easier.”


On top of extensive research, Urquhart says Jedo was promoted through word-of-mouth, as she has spoken with around 2,000 event organisers via sales contacts.


This painstaking research and preparation was to pay off in the assembly of an unusually senior board for a start-up less than a year old.


Nick Reade, general manager of small business banking at ANZ, and Chris Nolan, chief operating officer of leading media agency Starcom Media, supported the conception of Jedo and are now respectively chairman and director of the business.


Urquhart also managed to get Matthew Palmer from Macquarie Bank to come on board as legal advisor and company secretary.


These big guns were enticed on board via a combination of effective groundwork, a niche opportunity in a relevant area and a pitch conducted on the fly.


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