Annabel Dallamore conceived the idea for Stock Shop while working at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Dealing with stock market related questions from the public, Annabel realised that few people understood the stock market or had access to tools and resources to educate themselves about it. She knew there had to be a better way to educate, help and show people how to start their stock market journey, and so the concept of Stock Shop was born.
As she began her entrepreneurial journey, Annabel was looking for guidance on how to start a business and get it off the ground. She was referred to Seed Engine and joined its business accelerator programme. “We started the programme in September 2013 – the day Stock Shop was founded,” she says. “We’ve been with Seed since the beginning and they’ve been with us every step of the way. We pop in and out of their offices and we see them as our extended family. We still have strategy sessions with our Seed mentors and they hold a seat on our Board. They are quite active in our business.”
Annabel notes that starting a business can be scary and daunting, and that partnering with Seed provided Stock Shop with a “safe space” to learn and grow. “They were very nurturing and gave us room to ask questions,” she explains. “There was always someone to lend us a hand, whether it was in marketing support or providing technical advice. They also provided us with seed funding. Our relationships have continued far beyond the accelerator programme and I think that speaks volumes about how much of a difference the mentorship and environment made for us as a business. It really did help us to accelerate our development by helping us avoid mistakes we might have otherwise made, and by being around other entrepreneurs.”
She cites the networking that Seed offered as one of the greatest benefits of the programme and the reasons behind Stock Shop’s rapid growth trajectory. “We took the site live in early 2014, with a launch at the Everard Read gallery with 150 influencers present to demo our product. We’ve subsequently rolled out various iterations on the site, including Stock Shop Academy and Stock Shop Daily News, which started as a blog but will soon be launched as a full-blown news site.”
Annabel says that despite being before its time in many ways, the company is entering its growth phase and is in talks with various organisations (in the UK and Kenya, among other places) about global opportunities.
Seed has been instrumental in Stock Shop’s success, particularly with access to funding opportunities and networking. “I would recommend Seed to other entrepreneurs,” says Annabel. “In fact, I require all of my employees to go through the Seed Academy programme to give them an understanding of how business functions, which is hugely valuable. It ensures everyone is on the same journey.”
She places value on her mentorship relationship with her Seed mentor and says he’s been helpful in teaching the Stock Shop team about how to pitch to investors whilst providing support and a soundboard in what might otherwise be a lonely entrepreneurial landscape.
“The Seed team is what makes all the difference,” she says. “Their people are technically skilled and personally invested, and that’s why they add such value.”