15 May 2018

lawrence Jones Sean Brown Mercarto UKFast business partner

With Sean Brown, Mercarto business partner.

One of the biggest challenges as an entrepreneur is finding like-minded people to build new business ventures with.

Finding the right business partner inevitably makes or breaks your business. There are no two ways about it.

I have experiences with both sides of the coin. Of course, working with UKFast co-founder Gail, who is my also my wife, has been the most positive experience you could ask for from a business partnership. Although I hear regularly that people would not want to work with their spouse, we’re on the same page, we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and work best together as a team.

However, there have been times over the past 18 years when I’ve brought in business leaders who are the opposite of this. When your ethos is entirely different from your peers and the two of you are misaligned, it is never going to work. All too often I have seen potential business partners who are impetuous and unwilling to work as a team.

There is nothing more infuriating that working with somebody who always knows best and no matter how many times you offer advice in an area where you may have significant experience, they refuse to listen.

So, on those special occasions when you do meet a like-minded individual with an incredible business idea, it’s a no brainer to join them on that journey. That’s why I am so pleased to announce our investment in startup, Mercarto.

A new business partner

I knew from the minute I met Sean Brown, Mercarto business partner and founder, that I wanted to work with him someday. Whilst I never got the opportunity through the company he previously worked at, when he told me about his business some months later, it was something I was excited by from the outset. My marketing director reminded me after my first meeting with Sean that I had said: “I don’t know how or when, but one day, we’ll work with Sean, somewhere along the way.” He had impressed me enormously with his demeanour, creativity and professionalism.

I am a great believer that people’s paths cross for a particular reason, even if that’s to learn a lessons. As Sean explained the concept behind Mercarto it become clear why our paths had crossed. The business has an extraordinary amount of potential to transform people’s lives, reducing barriers of entry for eCommerce businesses. It’s something we are both incredibly passionate about.

Interestingly, Sean joined Tech Manchester and got involved in their mentoring programme and it was through Tech Manchester that I was able to get to know him better. So all those years ago when Sir Howard Bernstein inspired me to make a concerted effort to help the tech community in Manchester, it’s lovely to see how it’s already taking effect.

In a significant moment for Tech Manchester, Mercarto recently become the first startup in the UKFast tech accelerator space, Fast Forward.

The most exciting part about the alliance of two entrepreneurs – young and old – is that we both bring different things to the table. The fact that Mercarto is an eCommerce platform and similar to Shopify and Magento means there will be a huge amount of benefits for our clients as we develop further. It’s fantastic to have a startup of this scale in Manchester as opposed to Silicon Valley.

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