Startup Productivity Tools event 28th Nov

This event was put on by Tech Meetups, an international setup with events all over the world – the first of theirs I’ve attended.

I was unfortunately late, so I missed the presentation from HootSuite, who aim to allow management of multiple social media campaigns. My loss.

PRESENTATIONS

ProdPad: As I arrived, Janna Bastow was presenting a tour through the set of tools offered by ProdPad, the startup she founded with her partner, and which they have successfully bootstrapped. ProdPad offers a suite of services clustered around the earlier stages of product development for teams – starting with ideas, offering tools for capture and management, for gathering comment and feedback on them, all recorded and transparent to all stakeholders – specific permissions can be given to users outside the organisation.

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Start-Ed: Free legal advice meetup Nov 20th 2013

As the name suggests, this is not so much a networking event, as an opportunity for startups to get free legal advice. The organisers bring along some working solicitors, and team them up with a number of law students.  They sit around a large table, and you put your issue to them, then talk it through.

There were three tables on this occasion, and they saw us one at a time, on a first-come, first-served basis. There wasn’t any noticeable time pressure – you had as long as you wanted to explore your issue.

It’s a great idea –

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Co-Founder Speed Dating & Pitching #4

Another thought provoking evening out.

Two in-depth presentations, followed by a dizzying parade of 30 second pitches. Event details here.

Mobify

First presentation up was from one of the founders of Canadian tech outfit Mobify, Peter McLachlan. I didn’t know them, but it seems they have provided tools and support for many major brands to translate their web offering to mobile formats. We were treated to a compressed history of the outfit, a classic tech startup of three Computer Science graduates having some insight and then plugging away making clever things happen one after another – by their own admission, many of them blind alleys.

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London OpenCoffee 31Oct’13

A straightforward social / networking event  in the cafe of UCL’s Roberts Engineering Building. I’d been warned that this can be a hit/miss event with small turnouts, but today’s was great for me. I would guess there were 15 or so people, most of whom I didn’t get around to speaking to, so no complaints from me.

I ended up having a good chat with a guy called Kishan who wasn’t intentionally attending – just happened to be working on his laptop in the corner where we congregated. Turned out he works with the UCL Advances team, which supports startups from UCL staff and students, but also works with external entrepreneurs.

He showed me a UX application he was working on that allows sample users to work naturally, in their own time, rather than coming in to an artificial ‘lab’ setting. They use the camera on a smart device or laptop and record the user’s voice as well as recording all screen interactions. Back-end number crunching gives analytics.

As it happened, I had arranged to meet Liz from tanktop.tv there, and they are looking for some UX testing and stats, so things worked out rather neatly.

A lighter weight commitment than the evening events I’ve attended, but none the worse for that.

EVENT RATING: Good – go again.

Don’t Pitch Me… Oct ’13

An event nicely tuned to allow early-stage startups to show and tell without being under pressure to sell themselves hard – the idea being that they are looking for constructive feedback from the attendees rather than collaborators or investors, with equal time allowed for presentation and Q&A for each slot. The evening is structured to allow lots of time for networking, both before and after the presentations.

Each of the four presentations made me sit up and think, which is obviously to a large degree down to the discrimination of the organisers, the cheerful and effective Three Beards, but also suggests the incredible fertility of the startup scene, and the enormous range of smart/ingenious/useful/revelatory wrinkles that are still to be shaken from the unfolding digital fabric.

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Tech Debate: “Equity vs. Salary for co-Founders”

This Developers & Entrepreneurs Meetup wasn’t actually my first. Over the last couple of years, I have been to a couple of other similar events. Nevertheless, it’s the first one I’m going to write about here, so I’m grateful it was a good one!

This wasn’t a ‘pitching’ event, but a well managed discussion around a fairly well-defined topic. We heard from two speakers about their own very different experiences in finding their co-founders, and what sort of conversations and agreements they had come up with  (Jose Bort of pickevent.com and Kwesi Johnson of  Imakethathappen.com – both startups that have launched recently) .

Both were very open, and their stories were interesting, which got things off to a good start, and from then on there was a fairly free flow of contributions from around the room.

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