By @SimonCocking. Interesting interview with  Matthew Stafford Co-founder , &

What is your background briefly?

I’ve worked with startups for the last 6 years helping them access finance and grow. I’ve co-founded a couple of accelerator programmes, organised many networking events and worked with several large corporates and brands to help them with innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.

Before that I worked in tech companies and big banks on financial services software.

Does it seem like a logical progression to what you do now?

Very much so – 9others started in December 2011 with myself and 9 other people and has grown into a global network in 40+ cities with 4,000+ attendees. I hope the logical progression is to help some of those entrepreneurs more intensively with my experiences and network.

1 min pitch for 9others?

The meals with 9others are so that entrepreneurs and startup folks can help each other solve the challenges of business that we face – the meals are for 10 people (oneself and 9 others) and we share what’s “keeping me up at night”. For each challenge in turn the others around the table then share their own experiences, connections and solutions to try to help solve the problem. The meal is just the kick off – we connect all ‘others’ to each other around the world and hold parties where we invite everyone who’s ever been to a meal to have the chance to meet everyone else.

What positive outcomes has it helped achieve so far?

Starting at the meal with 9others people have gone on to invest in businesses, collaborate, unite as co-founders, solve many, many challenges, become customers, users, and friends! People attend dinners in many cities around the world as they launch their businesses globally and can leverage the trusted 9others network.

Where could it go to ? What’s the goal for 5 years time?

We’re amazed and grateful that the meals have been hosted in 41 cities so far – it’s far beyond what we thought would happen. There are many more than 41 villages, town and cities in the world though and we’d like many more meals with 9others to be hosted in any and all communities where it will prove useful.

What tips do you have for other entrepreneurs?

You have to work hard at building your network. It takes great patience and you have to give a lot more than you get – stick at it and good things will happen.

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently?

Nothing to dwell on too much – I’m always looking forward and when I do falter I know it’s how I bounce back that counts.

Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?

If you’d like to come to a meal with 9others please do get in touch – [email protected]

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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