Founder, startup and investor support

About you

If you are a founder or CEO, or looking to support one in your portfolio, to:

  • build a strong and investable business case for the business, its clients and potential investors;
  • create the right culture and conditions for multidisciplinary innovation;
  • navigate how to create, plan, deliver and scale the business;
  • explore constraints  (e.g. tech vs legal vs commercial) to identify sources of value;
  • get the most out of leaderships, boards and delivery teams;
  • connect with tech, business, government and investor communities across sectors;
  • structure strategic development across product, sales, marketing, operations, and finance;
  • work out which 95 things to not do, and how to focus on the 5 things you should;
  • continuously develop, test and iterate on progress based on user needs;

we can bring our experience to your challenges, and help navigate the ups and downs of delivering the thing you are passionate about.

About us

Dgen’s founder, Gavin Starks, has 20+ years experience creating dozens of companies, employing 100’s of people, and delivering $100M’s in measurable impact. He Chaired the development of the UK Open Banking Standard, was CEO of the Open Data Institute and has led teams of 250+ across sectors spanning the web, data, science, finance, policy, and media.

In the Dgen Constellation, we also have dozens of experts who can help you: from finance to development, marketing to HR, research to investment, who can work on an as-needs basis to help fledgeling ideas develop, funded businesses grow and successful companies scale.  We are looking to learn and combine experiences to help deliver complex, large-scale impact-based projects.

We are currently helping startups (finance, environment), larger businesses (fintech, environment, media), charities (environment, arts) and governments (banking, finance, climate) to develop their innovation strategies. We can engage as a non-executive director, advisor or mentor.

How it works

Ideally, you’ll be based in London so we can meet face-to-face, although much of our work is on international projects (across Europe, North America, and Asia) so online+travel are options.

Early-stage startups

Usually, things work best if we have weekly or fortnightly meetings for 1-2 hours to help focus on what’s important. We are compensated via an ongoing monthly fee plus options.

Later-stage startups

As Advisor, Non-executive or Chair, we will work with the Founder/CEO (and executive management as needed) to develop, constructively challenge and assist the business in the provision of support and advice, including but not limited to:

    1. Executive function: supporting communication with the board, investors, and clients
    2. Business plan: development of written outputs that define outcomes, timings and how goals will be achieved
    3. Business strategy: development of the vision, market positioning, and scale
    4. Delivery tactics: development of the roadmap to execution
    5. Fundraising: direct development of, and participation in, pitches
    6. Commercial models: exploring commercial models (e.g. open vs SaaS vs IP-based, for-profit, non-profit blends)
    7. Culture development: how to develop internally- and externally-facing team cultures that will support the business as it grows
    8. Organisational structure: modelling skills, timing, contractual form, costs
    9. Hiring and people management: defining processes and procedures
    10. Resourcing: analysing the resource needs to support the business
    11. Product development: understanding user-centric design and its relationship with product marketing
    12. Data development: supporting the shaping of your data roadmap
    13. Finance: financial modelling aligned with the strategy and resource needs
    14. Sales: sales modelling, pricing, segmentation, prioritisation, process
    15. Marketing: market sizing, segmentation, campaign approaches,
    16. PR: how to proactively manage external communications
    17. Content: developing the internally- and externally-facing assets required to support the strategy
    18. Monitoring: assistance in the definition and monitoring of quarterly goals, and holding the team to account on delivery.

Email Gavin at or ping via LinkedIn if of interest.