A hot topic right now in the UK startup scene is the need for a government-backed equity fund, specifically targeted at seed stage startups. For varying reasons, many of these startups don’t qualify for some of the funding options already offered by government e.g. the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The need for this fund is something that, on balance, I agree with. This is because so many seed stage founders are currently struggling to keep their businesses afloat due to private capital markets closing off — many of these startups could provide value to the country even in…


A link to Flair’s fundraiser can be found here.

This month, it started to become clear that the coronavirus pandemic was going to have a material impact on the global economy. One of the clear signs for me was that I noticed a few angel investors mentioning how they weren’t in a position to invest in Flair as their savings had just taken a large hit.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had a very siloed view that the way Flair was going to raise our seed round was from traditional angel, equity-based investment. After-all, it worked for our…


Being a founder is probably the closest thing to being a parent that there is. You have a strange connection, that you can’t even properly explain, to this thing that you created. Right now, I feel like my child has had a really bad accident and unless I get her to the hospital in time, she might not survive.

My close friend is an A&E doctor and he had been giving me the inside scoop from the front-lines since the coronavirus outbreak began. He had been pretty calm about it, but last week there was a turning point where he…


I always wanted to go into business, but I was afraid I wasn’t creative enough to come up with any good ideas.

So, I decided I had to train myself to get better at ideation. I felt that improving my personal creativity wouldn’t be much different to improving anything else — I just needed to find a simple, effective method of practising ideation.

Two years after coming up with a method, I’ve been pretty astonished by how much my ability to ideate has improved. …


2 years ago, I was in a pretty odd situation. It was like a mini mid-life crisis, except I was only 23. I basically had no idea what I was going to do next after leaving banking. All I was certain of was two things: firstly, that I wanted to go into business and secondly that I needed a flexible lifestyle to accommodate for a chronic back injury. The issue was that I had no idea what business to start.

I talked to one of my friends about the situation and she said I should apply to do the Masters…


Treating users like Football Fans

Certain football managers are truly loved by their fans. I’m thinking of the likes of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid- it’s almost as if the fans are as loyal to their manager as they are to the club.

It’s clear that these managers make an extra effort to please their fans. For good reason — after all, so many die-hard fans pay good money to watch their team each week, while thousands more fans sacrifice several hours of their day when watching their team play on TV. …


One common thing I’ve noticed listening to successful CEOs is that they usually say the key to their success is the team they have built around them. It’s very similar in football — it’s hard to build a commercial giant of a football club without having an outstanding team on the pitch.

When people ask me what our biggest risk is, I usually say ‘hiring the wrong people’. …


The chapter that surprised me most in Sir Alex Ferguson’s Leading is called ‘Drinking to Failure’. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll have noticed that I keep referring to this book — it’s because I’m a huge Man Utd fan. But I didn’t know that before Sir Alex joined, there was a huge drinking culture at Utd. When he got to Manchester, his first task was to get the players out of this bad habit. He eventually had to sell the players who wouldn’t change because he knew even one bad apple would spoil the bunch. …


I mentioned last time how much I learned about management from reading Sir Alex Ferguson’s book Leading. I actually think there are a lot of parallels between managing a football club and being a startup CEO. I often feel like I’m the man on the sidelines trying to tweak our tactics so we can succeed. Being the manager is a powerful seat to be in, but at the end of the day every manager is only as good as their team. …


I called my cousin and co-founder Darrell last year to let him know that I was up for taking on the CEO role. At that time, we didn’t even have a company, just an idea that we were passionate about. I had a couple of years of work experience under my belt working in a really high pressure environment, while Darrell was fresh out of university, so I felt it made more sense for me to take the responsibility of being the CEO. Looking back on it, I made that decision blindly, because I had no idea what being a…

Nii Cleland

CEO @ Flair

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