As he did every day, Andrea Rasca, founder and Chief Executive Dreamer (CED) of Mercato Metropolitano (MM) was walking along the River Thames to get to work. But it wasn’t just any other day. That day, Andrea was going to sign off on a deal with a venture capitalist – a deal which would take his innovative marketplace to Tokyo, New York, Dubai, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, and other strategic locations around the world. Andrea’s dream to disrupt food retail and food hospitality was becoming a reality: “Our approach is to draw on the basic principles of ‘small is beautiful’ and ‘natural is good’. MM is a manifesto which goes against the Nestlé and Unilever-type of business. MM revolves around individuals: small-scale farmers, local producers and members of the local community”. However, the big question surrounding Mercato in the months to follow was: Could Andrea prove he had a sustainable business model that was ready to scale globally?
Flying in from Boston, USA to speak to a group of female entrepreneurs at her alma mater in London UK, Dr Beth Marcus reflected on a long and exciting career as a serial entrepreneur. Beth had worn many hats throughout her lifetime, characterised by investors and media pundits at various points as a ‘tech guru’, ‘SheEO’ and ‘doctor’ of ailing start-ups. Throughout her entrepreneurial journey, Beth had faced a series of inflection points that had nearly brought an end to ventures she had started or advised. Sharing these war stories with a younger generation of entrepreneurs got her thinking: How do technology entrepreneurs monetize and scale their innovations? How do you influence partners, customers or teams to succeed? What is the key to picking a winning start-up team, one that could continually overcome the challenges of a rapidly growing business? Towards the end, a student’s hand shot up to ask the question: ‘What is the single most important advice you could give to a female entrepreneur?’, Beth looked across the faces of so many young, over-achievers and future leaders, no different to herself at that age, and said with a smile, ‘fail fast and often’.