The Female Focus: Daisy Stapley-Bunten


We’re in awe of what young people are doing these days.

You can be 23, see a gap in the market for a magazine to serve the startup community, gather the support of stakeholders and then get your act together to create it. This is exactly what Daisy did in founding Startups Magazine. We caught up with her on how it all began and the constant inspiration she gets from startup founders.

Did you have a female role model or someone you admired as a kid?

Yes. My mum for sure. She was a single, working mum and taught me about tenacity and hard work. And she was the one to introduce me to strong female music artists, such as Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston. The lyrics of those power ballads spoke to me and preached independence.

How do you think your early years have influenced what you do today?

I’d say a lot. Like anyone, your childhood is a huge part of your identity. My mum instilled a sense of independence in me. I am one of four siblings and I remember always wanting to keep up with my older brother (and sisters).

At CLO PR we’re big fans of the Magazine. How did it all begin?

I work a publishing company called Electronic Specifier. I started out as the editorial assistant, then editor, then assistant managing editor. It was when I went to an IoT showcase where I met all these founders of businesses and learnt how they’d risked everything to get their product to market. This inspired me. I discovered this incredible startup community and realized that there was a lot of information missing in the market that these businesses and founders could benefit from. I pitched the Startups Magazine - my own prototype - to the directors. They, too, have a massive respect for founders starting something from scratch and were intrapreneurial in letting me get the Magazine off the ground. What started as a quarterly publication is now a bi-monthly magazine and it’s exciting to see it grow.

We’ve seen the decline of traditional media and the rise of journalism in new channels. Are you excited about the industry and what could come next?

Definitely. You really have to start looking at the audience and understand them deeply. You also need to understand the user experience – you can’t just put out information and see what sticks. Media are almost switching to a retro format, turning back into print. For us, we’re creating a tactile reading experience but expanding into podcasts and digital because we want to offer more than just long form content.

You’re clearly really passionate about supporting the rise of women in the tech industry. What do you think is stopping women from excelling?

The statistics say that investment in female businesses is desultorily low even though they are extremely profitable, which is depressing. There’s a huge issue of girls not going into and pursuing STEM subjects. You can probably name at least 20 female musical icons, but it’s harder to name female tech icons that can serve as role models. This is bound to change, with newcomers on the scene, but it will take time.

What do you think is missing from businesses in building true diversity?

There is a big debate on whether quotas can work but they can invite resentment. Change has got to be in the recruitment phase: if a white male is doing the hiring, you get more of the same. Proven statistics indicate that diverse boards are more profitable because you get more points of view. Historically, male traits such as assertiveness, have always been the most valued. But more and more, female-led traits like empathy are needed. I think many startups are trying to change this by trying to change this by not hiring based on stereotypically and traditionally ‘male’ traits, and be more open-minded to attract more diverse candidates.

Daisy in action

Daisy in action

You are positive impact personified! What have been some of the most positive results you’ve seen from the work you do?

I get to see the impact in every issue of the magazine. My favourite event so far was our Women in Tech event September 2018, which left me feeling emotional and inspired. I saw all these women and me come together to highlight that there is more than one slice of cake and it’s about working together to even out the slices so everyone gets a piece. The event was filled with discussion and debate. Knowing we facilitated that was special.

How do you keep learning more whilst on the job?

I am learning all the time - no one knows everything. I learn about the industry every day when I talk to and interview businesses and I often put myself on courses.

What have been the essential factors that have enabled you to get to where you are today that you think you'd struggle without?

I think it’s a mixture of positive and negative personality traits. I’m stubborn, so if I have an idea I will throw myself into it. This can sometimes have a detrimental effect on my mental health. I’m also passionate. When you realise how much time you spend at work, you’ve got to be doing something you love. I made this role for me. I also learnt early on that if you’re not confident, fake it and others will believe you. I’m starting to believe in myself too.

Where do you get your inspiration?

The startups I interview. Interviews used to be with a friend of a friend and as the magazine grows, startups have started to come to us. We think hard about the issues in the tech industry we want to champion, like wellness and celebrating women in tech (which we do every year). It is always pinned to what can we do to help entrepreneurs and have a positive impact. We want to push them into the public eye, showing them that there is hope with people working in these areas.

Who's a woman to watch or someone you admire in 2019, who’s been featured in Startups Magazine?

It’s all the women we’ve interviewed! But one sticks in my mind – Lina Chan, the founder of Adia Health. She is ending the taboo around female health, encouraging us to talk about fertility issues. Adia Health supplies finger pricks to test fertility. It has opened up the discussion that this is a huge issue many people are going through.

What exciting plans do you have for the Magazine this year?

The Magazine is branching out a bit more with new issues as well as an awards ceremony. We are also hosting other mini popup events, podcasts, exhibiting at Unbound and Women of Silicon Roundabout. It’s a busy year already!

Catch up on what Daisy is up to on Twitter and LinkedIn and of course Startups Magazine itself on Twitter and Instagram.


Meet Ed Woolner, the man who helped to build Monster Drinks from nothing into a business worth £95 million in the UK and Ireland. But he hasn’t looked back at corporate life since setting up The Powerful Water Company and POW Natural Energy (POW). Ed got sick of justifying to friends what he was selling, which in his words was ‘on the same level as Benson & Hedges’. He set up POW to give consumers choice with a selection of healthy flavoured waters and combat the sugar overloads we see in soft drinks today. This guy is dripping in passion….

1. With strong knowledge and experience in the drinks industry, is there anything that has surprised you about building POW? Despite knowing my way around the trade comfortably, the level of tenacity needed to be an entrant is irrepressible. You’ll have the crap beaten out of you. No blue chip environment prepares you for it. You have to go through the emotion of not having money and being constantly up against knocks and embrace it all. It’s like doing an MBA – you have to go through the sh*t to understand what it’s like to work hard and succeed. There is so much luck and timing involved. Oh, and you need to be able to sell and sell hard. The founder of Clipper (Mike Brehme) once told me that “even if you can have a cure for cancer you still need to be able to sell it” – he wasn’t wrong.

2. What thing would you most like to change about the drinks industry? The bullsh*t in soft drinks. There is so much marketing flab about what’s healthy and what’s not healthy. And the big boys hold so much power over everything, which makes it hard for startups trying to break through. The big corporates need to be offering choice to consumers. Look at Coke; they’re not innovating or creating something healthy.

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3. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting up POW?
The whole process has been humbling. I’ve learnt that you can’t bullsh*t yourself; you’ve got to be brutally honest. If you pretend you can do everything, you’ll fail. 

4. What's the one piece of business advice you wish you'd been given when you started?
Surround yourself with people better than you and who will do the things you’re crap at. There is a science to good brand marketing and this is an area where I fall down, among others. I’ve had to fill the gaps with the right people to do these jobs.

5. Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?
I’ve got so close to it. From finance issues to not having the right people in the business, things you're not good at can knock you off course. But I’ve never been scared of failing. If I had to say goodbye to POW I won’t see it as failure. I wouldn’t give up the slog because I am learning so much all the time. And what does “complete the task” actually mean anyway?

6. What's been the biggest milestone for the business so far?
I am proud of the distribution I’ve created for the brand (this has played to my strengths). Making it through the hardest financial issues and making it into year 3 with good people involved has been a great milestone because the buck doesn’t just stop with me anymore. 

7. Who is your inspiration?
My family have been amazing – we’ve really pulled together. Setting up a business makes or breaks couples and my wife has been a trooper. She’s given me genuine advice and support when I’ve needed it. There have been times when it was only us two running the business…that was fun!

8. What keeps you motivated?
My belief in what trying I’m trying to do. Through POW I want to offer consumers healthier choices. But there’s much more we can do and I’m up for the fight. Getting cut through to the consumer is really hard with so much white noise out there. When I started I didn’t think beyond seeing something on the shelf, but actually the hard learning has only just started. The tough bits balance out the good bits, though. This business buys me and my family choices. I go surfing when the waves are good to clear my head and if I want to go for a run in the middle of the day, I will. 

9. What business or brand do you look up to?
Patagonia. If you’re creating a business, that would be it. They’ve proven that they can win at emotional consumption over material consumption. Finisterre, a local brand to us, are another that have nailed their mission and have created a great brand with a real point of difference.

10.  If you weren't doing this, you would be....
If money was no object, I’d be working with a brand or NGO with an environmental mission – an organisation that gives back to the community. My dream job would involve surfing too. If you cut me open, water pours out.

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Jeremy Hibbert-Garibaldi is trying to start a new food revolution. To transform the food chain for retailers and buyers in the UK food market. COLLECTIVfood is an online procurement platform where restaurants connect directly with hundreds of independent food and drink producers. French and Italian, he is passionate about food and business in equal measures. We find out more...

1. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting up COLLECTIVFood?
Apart from sharing your vision and working on improving your product as a CEO, the most important is to build the right team around you and keep it together. This goes from having the right person at the right seat, to promoting the right culture for everyone to learn new things, be proactive and enthusiastic, to be able to share feedback and overall feel really part of the same journey. And this takes a lot of your time and energy, but is the most important driver of success and growth.

2. What's the one piece of business advice you wish you'd been given when you started?
Don't get distracted. Any action you make and decision you take need to help you achieve your targets. Also, don’t bother anticipating problems that you are not even sure you will face.

3. Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?
No. When you start your own business, you quickly realise how it works: one step backward, two steps forward. The important thing is to keep moving on. I have been through a lot of down times, with team management, account management or fundraising challenges. If you start doubting it just becomes a distraction. Learn what you need from these challenging times, be open to criticism, be flexible, then leave it behind and keep moving and looking forward. Overall, I’m an optimist and a big believer in people.

4. What's been the biggest milestone for the business so far?
We are an online procurement platform where restaurants connect directly with hundreds of independent food and drink producers. The biggest milestone so far is when a great chain of restaurants started sourcing tons of chickens through us. It was the first time we validated our "win-win-win" proposition. Great quality chickens from an amazing family ran farm, straight to the restaurants who are now saving more than 20% on the price, and which means better quality dishes for the end-customers with the guarantee of transparency and traceability.

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5. Who is your inspiration?
This is a difficult question to answer to as it all depends on which topic. Current entrepreneurs and leaders such as Xavier Niel, Bernard Arnault, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Page and Jeff Bezos are all really inspiring. At some point Eric Holder also played an important role in my interest in ethics, laws and transparency. I am really into meditation so a lot of guides and spirituality are also playing an important part in my life.

6. What keeps you motivated?
The learning experience and the positive impact we can have on society. And all the difficult and successful times we share with the team.

7. What business or brand do you look up to?
I am amazed by Slack and how they built their product, including the choice of frameworks and technology. I am passionate about Elon Musk's projects and how these ideas force people to be creative, out of their comfort zone and open to change. Finally, I have a growing interest in Google for their team and resources management and their OKRs ("Objective and Key Results" strategy) implementation.

8. If you weren't doing this, you would be....
A beekeeper on Mars with the help of Elon Musk or I would probably find an innovative way to contribute to what I was doing before: fighting corruption and white-collar crime as I am still passionate about these topics.