Our five favourite titbits from Sifted Summit


It’s the event everyone’s been talking about – and it certainly didn’t disappoint! Last week on a bright and sunny day, a group of us headed out to a lovely new event space in Greenwich to attend Sifted Summit. The atmosphere was intimate and vibrant; the panel discussions provocative and insightful. Here are our five favourite titbits from across the two days.

FieldHouse Associates

  • Can focusing on the “S” in ESG really pull up the “E”?

The best panels are the ones featuring conflicting opinions between participants, and this was certainly true of the discussion about navigating the “ESG reckoning”. In a lively debate, Rakesh Narayana, general manager at Access VC, and Peet Denny, founding partner at Climate VC, went head to head – with Denny arguing that our only priority should be the “E” (environment), while Narayana stood firm that getting the “S” (social) right generally always pulls “E” up with it. There was some audience participation, but the jury remained out. And perhaps that’s the thing about ESG – we are yet to agree on its usefulness, and whether it’s simply a term that prevents harm rather than proactively improving issues related to environmental, social, and governance impacts. 


  • The process behind a successful eight-figure exit

An extremely insightful session on day two saw Timothy Armoo break down the process he experienced through the acquisition of his founded company Fanbytes for an eight figure sum. He summarised that the image of a successful exit is usually seen as public market listings, where in actual fact, the majority are through private acquisitions where both win. Timothy expressed how it is essential to take the decision of when and how to exit from a long-term perspective, considering your company’s data processes, your relationships with potential acquirers and entering into the acquisition discussion at the right time. Very interesting hearing the journey directly from a successful entrepreneur’s mouth!


  • Building resilience in a less buoyant economy

It’s clear that so far we have had a truly extraordinary year – and we’ve been faced with problems we’ve not seen before. Geopolitical events and the “Covid economy” have caused global inflation and put immense pressure on capital markets. So how can businesses build resilience and emerge stronger? Michelle You, co-founder and CEO of Supercritical, stated that “crisis brings clarity to what’s important”. This was echoed by Helen O’Neill, CEO and founder of Hertility, who agreed that when scaling back, particularly with hiring, teams become more focused and more integrated – which actually enables the business to navigate sticky situations more efficiently. Lily Chang, MD at About That Vibe, commented that the new generation of entrepreneurs are purpose-driven. Young talent today wants to change the world, so ensuring teams are truly convinced of the issues they’re trying to solve can be the key to keeping them motivated. Clear employer branding and mission clarity is crucial to maintaining durability. 


  • Not always believing the hype (either way)

Tom Blomfield spoke to Steve O’Hear about not always believing the hysteria in today’s challenging market. Tom argued that in all areas of turmoil or success, there is often both “overhyping” and “underhyping” going on. He remains wary of investors who rush madly into an area and then drop out completely when it becomes less shiny. His advice: stick to your guns. Pretty sound if you ask us!


  • How to navigate when crisis strikes

As recent market volatility follows years of pandemic-induced turbulence, companies haven’t had the easiest of times when it comes to growth. Omio founder and CEO Naren Shaam drew on his own experience to remind businesses that communication is essential. He added that you need to be honest with your employees and investors about what the situation is and that you really don’t know how long it will last. Roxanne Varza, director of Paris startup campus Station F, called out “mission washing” and how teams can see through it when it happens. And finally, Debite CEO Tayga Baltacioglu said it best: “Cash is king.” When you don’t know what the future holds for funding, you need to manage cash flow as best you can to stay alive.


These were just a few of the multiple pieces of wisdom shared across the two days from experts in their fields. Lots to digest, and we are already looking forward to next year!