TIMELINE & STORY
The MOHARA Story
At MOHARA, we exist to help startups and corporate innovation teams build products that fulfil user needs and deliver extraordinary ROI.
We believe building great products is the result of following a process. Most product teams fail to achieve their goals because they don’t follow a proven process. Every market is different and requires unique product innovation, but this should happen through a process.
There is a mistaken belief that knowing users, being a great developer and addressing a strong pain point is enough to deliver a winning product. It helps, but these parts need to be joined up to succeed – at MOHARA, we specialise in helping teams join the dots and bring products to market.
Richard Sams was a teacher when in 2011, looking to fulfil a creative urge, he started a digital agency with Patcharada Rattana. The agency specialised in building products and became a success. Richard quickly built an international client base and a reputation for quality and solving complex problems – one FTSE 100 company called him Winston Wolf because he always solved their toughest problems.
The Perfect Team
Richard met Ben Blomerley when working for Ben’s startup, AskHerFriends. They immediately clicked, each delivering an important and complimentary skill-set. Richard provides creative juice, tech skills and a great development team; Ben brought a decade of financial services experience, an MBA and wide-ranging startup experience.
The Seed of an Idea
The new MOHARA management team was often asked to step in and help on projects that had gone awry. They met lots of people who had suffered bad code, stolen code, poor products and many broken promises. So many good ideas and great businesses weren’t getting started because they couldn’t deliver a product to market. MOHARA helped these businesses’ get back on the right track, but it made Richard and Ben ask a question – why can’t we help startups avoid problems in the first place?
The Startup Model is Broken
The corporate side of the business was going from strength to strength, but we felt on the startup side, there may be a better way to add value. Startups were finding it hard to get products developed (driven by high competition, less seed stage cash and low supply of the right talent). So instead of the agency model, we set up a partnership one. In this model, we take equity and provide product development resource at cost-rate. We are solving the problems of limited cash and a lack of expertise.
The First Investment
Our first partnership was with a business called Next Step Heritage, which had great ingredients: a strong market need, a passionate savvy founder and a big opportunity. It was perfect; our experience in product development enabled the founder to examine underlying assumptions and build a product that users needed – avoiding the common pitfalls.
With demand growing from startups and corporates we enhanced our engineering and product management capability with new team members in London, Brighton and Bangkok.
We reached the milestone of ten investments within two years; we looked at over 500 startups and invested in ten that had strong potential and were a good fit for our expertise, including Study Rocket, Better Schools Project and DraftFit.
Cape Town Office Opens
To meet the demand for engineering in European business hours and to further develop our capability we opened in Cape Town. The team in Cape Town bring incredible experience working on a range of blue-chip projects and added IoT expertise to MOHARA.
The acquisition of portfolio company Quick Release by Alten was our first exit and a great moment! It validated not only our investment thesis but the value we add as a partner; we played a key strategic role in the Quick Release technology - an important element of the acquisition.
With the team growing in Brighton, London, Cape Town and Bangkok the breadth and depth of expertise is continually improving. Individual expertise is being combined with the MOHARA process and as new team members get up-to-speed we’re delivering better and better outcomes on our projects.
In August 2019 we made our 20th startup investment and we’re proud to work with a range of diverse startups that are all using technology to solve interesting problems. We can’t wait for the next 20.
Building on Success
Now we’ve successfully delivered 100+ products and built an incredible team we’re ready for the next chapter. We have a diverse client base of blue-chip corporate clients and a portfolio of startups that are trying to change the world. The next stage in our evolution is a fund that provides the best startups with capital to grow, which, combined with our expertise, will be a winning combination.
A winning proposition + a savvy founder + appropriate capital + the right product team = the best chance of startup success
Here is to the next ten years cementing our position as the best place for startups and corporates to build world-class products.