Sign in

CEO & Founder of Firedrop.

When I was 17, my parents went through a difficult financial period. The details aren’t particularly relevant for this article, suffice to say the family business hit a very rough patch and at one point there was genuine talk of losing the family home. As a teenager wrestling with the conflict between childhood and young adulthood, overhearing their stress-fuelled arguments was both confusing and distressing. On the one hand I wanted their financial problems to simply disappear, yet the most fundamental feeling was a desire for them to prioritise keeping the family together. As a naive adolescent it was easy…


Photograph: Isabelle Whiteley / That’s What She Said Project

Computer vision technology is automating a lot of things that traditionally require Photoshop skills, including image manipulation and airbrushing. Worryingly, it is becoming less and less subtle about the commercial applications of such tech in the realm of body image transformation, a fertile commercial playing field with young women the prime target. As A.I. innovation spreads ever further into the alcoves of human activity, we need to ask ourselves whose responsibility it is to monitor the impact on human beings. Whilst a lot of interesting technology is being developed, most of it is still being developed on the foundation of…


Have you ever tried submitting a support request to a major tech company? If you have, and you received a response, you are one of the lucky ones. Most of the time you will get completely ignored, even if you’re an advertiser. What the eff, Silicon Valley?

In 2009, after one of Facebook’s major UI changes that invariably ignited a volcano of tantrums from users who liked it how it was, Mark Zuckerberg allegedly sent round a memo to Facebook employees stating that:

“The most disruptive companies don’t listen to their customers”

Whether this memo was real or not, it highlighted a point about Silicon Valley’s attitude towards its users that has only become more entrenched since then. A couple of years ago I tried to communicate with Facebook’s advertising team about an ad that had been disapproved, and despite several tries never got a response, at…


Crowdfunding is all the rage, with new platforms popping up ever more frequently. Many consider it to be the future of investing, others warn that its risks are often underestimated. And then there are the different types of crowdfunding: reward-based, equity-based, debt-based, flexible, fixed and so on. It can all seem bewildering, but like most things the underlying logic is simple.

The most important benefit to crowdfunding is that it makes investment in small companies and startups accessible to everybody. For this reason, it is more important than ever for people to fully understand this new world, as most of the negative publicity around crowdfunding is largely focused on misuse and misunderstanding of the platforms. In this article I will cover the different types of crowdfunding platform, along with the main incumbents in each category, and explain some of the primary pitfalls that ensnare many newcomers.

But first, a definition.

What is the crowd?


Have you heard that 90% of startups fail? It’s a statistic that gets bandied about quite often and unsurprisingly puts a lot of people off investing in or launching them. But having launched and invested in several startups myself over the past 15 years, I have seen several reoccurring mistakes by founders that account for a large percentage of these failures. Here are the four biggest ones.

1) Believing that revenue is optional

This is indigenous to the tech startup scene, but it definitely crops up elsewhere too. There is a mythology, perpetuated almost entirely by the Silicon Valley VC set, that a startup is somehow a new and trendy concept whose primary model is basically “raise lots of money, acquire as many users as possible, and then figure out how to monetise them or sell to someone who can”.

It’s a seductive idea because, for the founder, it bypasses the daunting prospect of having to worry about revenue, sales and all those other scary things. This feels great of course, because it…


You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin. You’ve probably also witnessed some of the hysteria that has periodically surrounded it. What you may not know is how the technology underpinning this fashionable cryptocurrency is poised to change the world. It is called blockchain and it is one of the biggest potential game changers since the invention of the printing press.

Crypto-what?

If you’ve attempted to dive into this mysterious thing called blockchain, you’d be forgiven for recoiling in horror at the sheer opaqueness of the technical jargon that is often used to frame it. So before we get into what a crytpocurrency is and how blockchain technology might change the world, let’s discuss what blockchain actually is.

In the simplest terms, a blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions, not unlike the ledgers we have been using for hundreds of years to record sales and purchases. The function of this digital ledger is, in fact, pretty much identical to a traditional…


Plenty of people have ideas for businesses, but I am frequently amazed at how few understand exactly what’s involved in making that business a reality. It’s a question I get asked all the time, and it maddens me when I see people throw money at “company setup” services (normally charging a lot of money). In this post I want to walk through the exact legal steps you need to follow to get up and running with your business, with the hope that once you’ve seen how simple and quick it is, you’ll be inspired to break the shackles of employment and go forth as your own boss.

Before we begin…

Before I dive in, I want to set some expectations. This is not a blog post about business ideas, or how to raise money, or any other kind of conceptual facet to business. This post only covers the legal process for getting a trading entity set up, targeted at people who have got a solid business idea, and just want to get it up and running from an administrative point of view. …


Artificial Intelligence is rapidly creeping into every fold of our daily lives, from helping us with music recommendations to preventing suicides through early signal detection. It is also treading precariously into the creative fields, which undoubtedly represent its biggest challenge to date. As we are already discovering, A.I. is both incredibly adept at producing creative work, whilst simultaneously making it impossible to love.

When Hello Games, an independent gaming studio in sleepy Surrey announced to the world that they were building a space exploration video game which would feature more than 18 quintillion unique planets to explore, the gaming press exploded with hype. But when the game was eventually released, it was met with a tsunami of disappointment and criticism.

The Grid, an A.I. startup that promised to deliver a fully automated website builder (and a respected rival of my own business, Firedrop), fell into a similar trap as its heady balloon of voracious hype eventually burst as the end product failed to…


Lately, artificial intelligence has been very much the hot topic in Silicon Valley and the broader tech scene. To those of us involved in that scene it feels like an incredible momentum is building around the topic, with allkinds of companiesbuilding A.I. into the core of their business. There has also been a rise in A.I.-relateduniversity courses which is seeing a wave of extremely bright new talent rolling into the employment market. …


There is an inconvenient truth that very few outside of academic circles are willing to discuss, but plenty have expressed concern about: artificial intelligence and automation are going to replace millions of jobs, and sooner than most people might think. This is an issue that goes beyond robots in factories or fully automated shipyards threatening the manual labour markets, it is extending into more specialist professions such as law and medicine as well, where algorithms are already being used to automate some of the simpler decision-making layers of the job. Ross Intelligence is an A.I. service for lawyers that takes…

Marc Crouch

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store