Former City duo start retail academy
Tuesday 21 January, 2014
Co-founders Matt Truman, chief executive of the business vehicle, True Capital, and Paul Cocker, formerly of Deloitte, are partnered with property giant Land Securities to set up a retail hub in central London to provide the expertise needed to translate ideas from the back-of-an-envelope into high-street successes.
They decided to take the plunge after a trial run that saw them develop AlexandAlexa, a luxury childrenswear retail business, into a venture which now has a global dimension.
Cocker said: “We’re not like a Dragon’s Den investor making the odd visit to see how our investment is performing. We want to provide day-to-day support over a six-month period to help the entrepreneur get the business off the ground.
“Retailing is undergoing a period of dramatic change and it’s going to accelerate. There’ll be a convergence of technology that will be good for investors but there are a lot of people with good ideas out there just waiting to be helped.”
A new subsidiary, TrueStart, with serial entrepreneur Richard Mergler as chief executive, has been set up, running a programme involving an initial £25,000 investment per business and a total of £2m across the portfolio of companies over the first two years.
The pair are aiming to fill the hub with 20 to 25 businesses, taking them through an intensive business accelerator programme.
Cocker rejects suggestions that the partners are demonstrating excessive optimism in setting their sights on turning out a series of £100m companies. He adds: “We’re confident we can do it. Our entrepreneur accelerator model is well focused.”
TrueStart will be housed in Victoria, central London, as part of Land Securities’ £2bn transformation to turn the area into an retail and creative destination.