“There comes a day where you take that plunge, and is a bit more of the wake up in the morning and be like, ‘right **** it, let's do it’. Maybe don't quote me directly on that, but it's a moment where you’re willing to take the plunge. There is that kind of rip the plaster off point. Because you can have all the ideas in the world, but you wake up one day, quit your job and you realise you have that sudden pressure, the urgency that gives you.”
Dan Warne is arguably one of the University’s finest exponents in the world of business and entrepreneurship, given that at the age of just 37 he is already 18 months out of a five year stint as Managing Director of Deliveroo, having taken the plunge into establishing his own start-up – Sessions Market.
Many people will have the germ of an idea of establishing their own business, but putting this into practice is an entirely different matter, let alone then persevering in the face of a global pandemic. This is all the more impressive as the bread and butter of Sessions is the hospitality industry, linking national operators like pubs and hotels with early-stage food concepts.
Taking control of your career
“I've found in my career feeling that being in a rat race and not an end decision maker has frustrated me. It's propelled me to try and move more quickly into a position where I would be, even if that enterprise might not be as big as one where I might be in a middle management position.
“I have a certain kind of risk profile as well. For me, being in bigger companies with a slower career build is a safer route, but not a route that can get you into senior positions as fast as perhaps as I've been fortunate enough to get into. You can get there by taking a big risk in joining companies where they’re earlier stage and therefore if you are able to grow them and affect them positively, you end up in a more senior position.
“In my case I probably spent a year seeing a trend in the marketplace towards communal collective dining, so food halls where lots of people come under one roof to dine. At Deliveroo I had spent a lot of time focusing on building a market for people eating at home, which ultimately was consumers just wanting the convenience of a product at home. And so what was the realm of the high street as a result of that?
“You like to believe it's this lightbulb moment where you think, ‘OK, this is the business I'm going after, this is how I'm going to set it up, you get the financing in place and away you go.’ I'm sure this is different for different people who have started their own businesses, but for me it was more of an evolution.”