The innovation arm, which Ella likened to ‘a cooler McKinsey’, is comprised of expert analysts and agency-side consultants that work with big corporates like Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, and Warner Brothers to help them implement innovative methods and concepts. This endeavour dovetails spectacularly with the other arms of the organisation to create a fusion of investment with almost unlimited potential.
“We see roughly 3000 tech startups a year”, Ella revealed, “and some of them we will invest in from a VC perspective, but others we will put into a company that’s in our PE fund. The idea is that we test how well that relationship performs, and if it succeeds, we can then take those businesses to someone like Marks and Spencer via our innovation arm.” So, from an operational standpoint, True is quite obviously a pioneer, but it also nurtures the exceptional from a cultural perspective, too…
A Symphony of Values
“To do VC, PE, and innovation, you have to create a cultural environment that allows all of the people involved in those areas to thrive”, Ella claimed, “and that comes from the founders, Matt and Paul; they are the essence of True.” The organisation, like so many others, derives its culture and values from its founders, and the result is extraordinary.
At True’s heart lies a compass of core values: embody helpfulness, champion passion for True, and be your best self. Whilst the first two principles are certainly integral, they are relatively straightforward and require little explanation. The latter, on the other hand, is what truly sets True apart through its revolutionary application. This principle promotes individual authenticity, encouraging each team member not just to bring their professional selves to work, but their unique, personal essence as well. It cultivates a symphony of personal and organisational values, and the result is a harmonious workspace where individuality and the company’s ethos beautifully intertwine.
“I’m a very values-based leader”, Ella shared, “and True’s ethos allows us to articulate the values that mean the most to us.” For her, the freedom to express her own values manifests itself in kindness, but she stressed that is not the case for everyone. In fact, she recommended a tool called ‘VIA Character’ to determine what your top values are so you can clearly see what anchors you. This is of vital importance for leaders, according to Ella, because a divergence from your values, which usually occurs in testing circumstances, can signal the beginning of the end.