As Axis Stars rolls out version 2.0 of its Elite sportsperson networking, contract and sponsorship management platform, Haggerston Times asks, do we still need to see our sporting heroes suffer?


axis1The elite sportsperson as entrepreneur? It’s hardly a stereotype we normally apply to the world’s top football, basketball, rugby or tennis stars. We, the public are often quick to judge our sporting heroes, but rather than praise them for their achievements we’re often more likely to accuse them of being overpaid, spoilt, arrogant or living in a bubble, unwilling to engage with the real world and the real suffering that is happening around them.

In many ways it’s ironic that we don’t begrudge a straight As student the right to take their pick of the best universities, followed by the top jobs, and then look on as they achieve promotion after promotion, until they are able to retire in comfort and reflect happily on a career lived largely away from the limelight, that has brought them many of the best things that life can offer.

Contrast that with the life of a professional sportsperson who has been plucked from obscurity because they possess a unique talent. From the very beginning their hopes hang by a thread. They mustn’t get injured, they must forfeit their education, friendships, the community they grew up in, instead fighting every minute of every day to be the best at what they do. Because their careers are short, there is no time to stop and smell the roses; instead they preside over a vast network of dependents; families, agents, coaches, teams, journalists, fans and sponsors.

Zinedine Zidane: an artist who gave everything he had to his sport

Another stereotype that is often wrongly applied to sportspeople is that they are all brawn and no brain. But let’s take a moment to consider that. In his book Stillness and Speed Denis Bergkamp talks about the countless hours he spent as a child, usually on his own, kicking a football against a garage door in the backstreets of Amsterdam over and over, experimenting with the different kinds of spin he could put on the ball. His dedication to the physics of football from such an early age meant that he was able to delight millions of fans throughout a stellar career, before retiring and taking a job as a coach, passing on the benefit of his knowledge to a new generation of hard working stars-in-the-making.

Zinedine Zidane was so talented and exceptional that one filmmaker decided his work on the football field constituted nothing so much as a work of art, filming him and only him for an entire match and releasing the footage to universal acclaim. Whatever you might think of him as a person, Zlatan Ibrahimovich’s autobiography has inspired a generation of athletes for whom football is a saving grace that keeps them away from a life of crime and moral deterioration. Didier Drogba is renowned for his charity work and diplomatic influence in his native Ivory Coast and throughout Africa, and away from football, countless elite sportspeople contribute as much as any politician to the moral fibre and wellbeing of societies that have often been guilty of making them feel like outsiders.


So it seems reasonable to argue that sportspeople aren’t dumb, but pressure can do funny things to you. The money that sport at the top level attracts brings with it the worst kind of hangers-on; false friends, an unwanted entourage, bad agents and corrupt practices. Some call it a “circus”. Isn’t it time we called it by its real name: a business?

Sport will always to a certain extent be about death or glory, pushing yourself to the limit, and blood, sweat and tears. But surely as a society we have matured enough to look beyond the agony and give elite sportspeople the chance to look after themselves and their families after the contest is over? It’s pretty tragic to read that nearly half of all NBA athletes are bankrupt within 3 years of retirement, or to pick through the grisly details of a professional athlete’s alcohol induced breakdown, separation from their families or social ostracism. No athlete that has entertained hundreds of thousands of fans should ever have to sign up to that.

One athlete that has been vocal about the problems that a lack of education about how to look after themselves financially and avoid the scams and bad investments that we seem to regard as de rigour for athletes to be subjected to is former France and Manchester United footballer Louis Saha. Fortunately for Louis, just a few weeks after injuries forced him to retire his wife introduced him to Patrice Arnera, an IT and contract management specialist with 15 year’s experience of working with cutting edge technology such as that provided by Salesforce, a company which has been so successful it is now mentioned in the same breath as super star tech pioneers like Apple and IBM.

Louis and Patrice

Louis Saha and Patrice Arnera: founder of Axis Stars

Patrice and Louis are both ideas people, their wives had concluded, so maybe they could work together? The result is Axis Stars, which has given birth to the groundbreaking idea of treating sportspeople less like playthings, and more like entrepreneurs. Like many great entrepreneurs, sportspeople earn their money young, and like many great entrepreneurs, they make bad mistakes. Mark Zuckerberg may be revered now, but he was reputedly no angel when the first big pay cheques began to drop through his letterbox.

Axis Stars is a networking platform for elite sportspeople that allows them to manage their contracts, sponsorship deals and agents and indulge themselves too with sports cars and private jets if they want to (some things will never change). Joining Axis Stars also gives them access to mentors, opportunities to get involved in charity work and community projects, good advice, and information, such as FIFA guidelines on signing contracts, that will help to keep them on the straight and narrow. Axis Stars have pledged to vet every athlete, agent and sponsor to join the network, and participants will be able to rate the services they provide. Bad apples, it is hoped, will be quickly shown the red card.

It’s all about giving young, headstrong and relatively naive athletes a chance to think of themselves as business people, not objects of ephemeral adoration. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that giving a teenager with no education millions of pounds in wages is going to lead to disaster. So the business case is pretty clear; let’s look at the financials. The global sports industry generated more than $130bn in revenues in 2013 and is defying current market trends by growing at a rate of 8% year on year. Louis and Patrice are projecting cumulative revenues, based on subscription fees, sponsorships and contract commissions of €90m by year 5 of the business based on 8.5k athletes signing up to the service (there have been 200 sign-ups to date) and total revenues of $34.5m driven primarily by e-commerce and sponsorships.

The team hope to release version 3.0 shortly featuring a fully native iOS and Android Axis Stars branded solution. Another key element of the business model is a partnership with FIFA TMS whereby all FIFA contracts will be delivered via Axis Contracts. Global stars already signed up to the platform include ex-footballers Didier Drogba, Gary Neville and Mikael Silvestre, tennis star Gael Monfils, France and Toulon rugby player Frederic Michalak and Basketballer Boris Diaw. The Axis Stars advisory board also includes lawyer Bijan Sedghi and marketing consultant Mike Farnam who has worked with Manchester United and the Jordan and Williams F1 teams.

The team are attempting to raise $4m to fund expansion which includes integration of the FIFA TMS project, on-boarding of players, agents and sponsors, and expansion of the ecommerce capability in a fully branded solution across all digital channels. Between them, Louis and Patrice have already invested $700k as of their own money as well as €300k in sweat equity.

Both founders have worked hard to arrive at the position they are in now and the business model and plans for expansion are consistent with any young and ambitious start-up from any other industry. This one just happens to be for elite sportspeople, fully integrated with Salesforce using a solution provided by Apptus, the high-growth contract management start-up who recently raised nearly $80m to fund expansion. At its most basic level, Axis Stars is simply a good idea being well executed by 2 passionate founders with a humble approach to growing a business, which means raising funds from business people, not former teammates or young stars.

Tennis player Gael Monfils has signed up to Axis Stars platform

Sportspeople give everything for the best years of their lives, partly for themselves, partly for the team, partly for their families and loved ones, and partly for their fans. In the past year we have witnessed the deaths of 2 young rugby stars as well as Australian cricketer Philip Hughes, tragically cut down in his prime. Michael Schumacher lies in a coma in a French hospital whilst fellow F1 star Jules Bianchi may never recover from an accident which has also left him in a long term coma. These are the kind of risks that sportspeople take every day of their working lives, and a large part of why they earn what they do. It’s thrilling to watch athletes push themselves to their limits. What is not thrilling is watching them self-destruct when they are well past their prime, due to financial or other non-sports related issues.

It’s easy to roll your eyes, point to fortunes won and lost, sigh and say “boys will be boys”, “she had it coming”, or “it’s a different world”, but it isn’t and as a society we are better than that. We need to clean up the financial side of the sports business and take responsibility for the education of those who gave us so much pleasure as their stars burnt so brightly for a few glorious years. The days of death or glory are over. If you want to watch someone’s life ripped apart, go to the movies.

Future of Men’s Fashion on show in LCF Ba Men’s Show; it’s in safe hands!

By Thursday, June 25, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

In conjunction with London Collections Mens, LCF Ba menswear students showcased their final collections in an end of term show at Shoreditch Town Hall on June 16th to mark and celebrate their graduate collections.

What was perhaps most striking about this presentation was the clear ability and enjoyment the students showed in taking risks with their designs and materials. This particular course and its students are notorious for pushing boundaries, and the show was nothing if not proof of this idea. After all the show’s own tagline was welcome to an evening of rebellion, as the show was intended to outline the student’s desire to break away from university standard expectations and conventions.


Work by Taylor Yeung

With 26 different designers showcasing their individual collections, it seemed as if there was little missing from what was on offer. Through the effortlessly beautiful town-hall location, and aptly eerie techno soundtrack, the flow of models seemed to allow for a seamless presentation of menswear in the here-and-now. The evening also included a display of print inspired video pieces curated by the designers and their collaborators, further demonstrating the creativity on show. Having taken inspiration from everything including pop culture, food, sports, uniform and the natural world, the array of materials and designs was highly exciting for viewers.

As expected, there was certainly no shortage of the unconventional in this show, with striking prints and proportions present to excite the admiring audience. One designer in particular who seemed to evoke a high level of audience intrigue was Juniper Lai, whose Japanese inspired tall hats grabbed everyone’s attention as her models hit the catwalk. Similarly, the paper origami effect of James Adam Nightingale’s jumpers added a striking and unusual dimension to the piece.


work by Harley Hodges

With some designers using unconventionality in its more severe sense, others just wanted to bring a sense of fun, as Harley Hodges did, including prints of ice lollies and other popular foods in bright cartoon prints on his pieces. A further play on proportionality included designer Martyna Sobzack for whom structure and volume has a very important part to play in the make-up of garments.

Even for those whose pieces were a little more identifiable, such as Rachel’s House’s sportswear inspired collection, there was something fresh and unique in the construction of it. Whether it be through colour, shape or material, nothing to me looked as if it had been copied or directly recreated. This idea, as well as the immediate notion of wearability, rang true through collections such as those presented by Callum Briggs, Natasha Sumerfield and Lucy Severe, all of whom were able to focus on details such as the precision of cut to create flattering and interesting designs. These designs were, even so, never expected, nor banal, but interesting in their discreet play on common garment construction.


work by James Nightingale

What was particularly exciting about witnessing this show was the hope for the future that the talent on display brings for the students, the industry, and of course London as a global fashion hub. With the LCF menswear course known for producing highly skilled and talented multi-disciplinary members of the design industry, this show only further reiterates the prolific position of the fashion industry within London.

Each of the designers are contactable via social media, with a collective Facebook page titled ‘Ba: M 15’ hosting information directly from the event

by Abi Buller, Fashion Correspondent:


Dreamstake founder stories: David Buttress on risking it all and how “talking about Kevin” helped deliver the goods!


David Butress tells his founder story at Google Campus

Dreamstake’s excellent founder stories series continued on Wednesday evening at Google Campus; there were queues around the corner as a packed house assembled to hear David Buttress give a talk about how he helped turn JustEat from a promising Scandinavian start-up into a household name in the UK, with revenues of £157m and profits of £33m in 2014 on the back of over 1bn orders, with more than 1,500 restaurants signed up to the platform.

Like all great start-ups, and given the fact that all of the company’s profits continue to be reinvested straight back into a growth trajectory that he believes to be practically vertical, a start-up is exactly how David still thinks of Just Eat, it began small. Very small.

Flubit, the disruptive ecommerce start-up taking aim at Amazon and E-Bay, are wrestling back the initiative with the launch of BeFlubit


beflucitA few months back I spoke with Flubit co-founder and CEO Bertie Stephens and his COO Steph Fiala about how they had managed to create one of the most enviable disruptive start-up cultures in London; quite an achievement when you consider the competition. We spoke about team bonding exercises, share options for every staff member, the importance of keeping staff informed about what is happening at the sharp end of the business, and the sheer hard work involved in tripling the size of the workforce in a little over 18 months.

Beating the best at their own game!

But the most exciting thing about working at Flubit I’d wager is that this is a company whose mission statement is all about breaking the hegemony of some of the largest, most profitable and most talked about companies in the world. Amazon, e-Bay, Rakuten, Tesco; the fact that Flubit has these behemoths in its sights must make Flubit a thrilling company to be a part of. It’s rare and totally refreshing to hear a Tech City start-up talking up its chances of taking on the big boys, and even rarer to find one that can back up its words with actions. Flubit are tring to change the way we think about ecommerce forever.

Trip Space Yoga is the place to go if your week feels like a downward dog!

By Friday, June 19, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

trip yoga

Ever found yourself suffering from the Monday blues, only to discover it’s already Thursday? Of course you have! But it doesn’t have to be like that. For centuries, Millenia even, spiritual leaders have been perfecting the art of controlling the mind by contorting the body. We’re talking about yoga, and now it has a new home in Haggerston.

Trip Space Projects occupies two converted railway arches in Acton Mews, the cobbled alleyway next to where the Regents Canal meets Kingsland Road. It’s the perfect home for this funky and ultra-hip collective whose mission is “to organise progressive activities for contemporary performance and social engagement”. It’s all about the body, the being, and the social.

So what kind of PR does your start-up business need (and what is PR anyway?)


Public relations innit! Your company’s relationship with its public. And who is its public? Here’s your first tip; don’t rule anybody out. You never know who might need what service, where, when, or even why. Life is unpredictable, don’t be afraid of that fact. Don’t hold out for the customers you’ve always dreamt of having; to paraphrase George Michael; if you can’t have the ones you want, love the ones your with!

Company Profile: international payments start-up The Money Cloud does what a good FinTech company should; cuts out the middle man


Money Cloud3If we look at the reasons why FinTech has been able to mount a successful challenge to traditional banking and financial services industries, taking a slice, albeit still a very minor one, out of their profits pie and achieving the kind of company valuations that suggests there may be plenty bigger slices to come (think TransferWise, Azimo, or Nutmeg, for example), three things stand out very clearly about the provision of professional services in the financial sector:

London’s Top VCs: Charlotte Street Capital are VC’s dark horses, 3 founders running a lean, mean start-up funding machine


charlotte street capitalA little later than we anticipated (sorry folks), the final part in our “London’s top VC’s” series. A few weeks ago we decided to research 5 different sized VC’s, with different areas of expertise, contrasting investment targets and sizes, and different kinds of internal cultures and investment strategies.

The results have been well received by the VCs themselves, founders, angels and many more casual readers from a range of different industries and backgrounds. feel free to leave your comments below!

Our final instalment looks at Charlotte street capital, a small, hardworking and highly effective team of tech, IT and finance experts that work closely with founders and are steadily building up a portfolio with a lot of potential to deliver stellar returns if the tech industry in the UK continues on its upward trajectory.

London’s Top VCs: MMC Ventures are one of London’s most active, strategic VC funds with enviable experience and great contacts


mmc venturesHaggerston Times has been blogging all week about some of London’s top VC firms, to try to help founders understand who they should be sending their business plans to, and paint a picture of where VC’s fit into the start-up eco-system. All the research conducted has been done purely by us based on what was available online and our opinions are entirely subjective.

Founders should bear in mind, that just as they must impress VC’s with their dedication, passion, and thirst for success, VC’s must wow their institutional and private investors by picking, funding, and developing early stage start-ups into comanies that dominate in their chosen industry sector, to the extent that they become acquisition targets for some of the world’s biggest companies.

Looking at how different VC’s go about their business may help founders understand who they should be partnering with, and what they should be prioritising as they look to scale without sacrificing the core proposition that that inspired them to start a business in the first instance! Today we look at MMC Ventures, who are the only VC we have looked at to date not to have their own Wikipedia page.


MMC Ventures was founded in 2000 by Bruce MacFarlane and Alan Morgan, with the objective of “backing early stage, high growth companies”. Whilst the total funds under management are dwarfed by the likes of Balderton or Index Ventures, MMC are one of the most active investors in the UK in terms of deals done, with a knack for attracting co-investors.

London’s Top VCs: Notion Capital believe the disruption of the software industry by SaaS is the key to establishing itself as a major league VC


notionThis week Haggerston Times is looking at some of London’s top Venture Capital Firms, to help readers (and us!) gain a better understanding of what Venture Capital is all about and whether you and your company should be approaching them with your business plan (clue: you should, but find out which one first and try not to waste anyone’s time!).

So far we’ve looked at Google Ventures and Balderton Capital, 2 pretty serious players, even if Google Ventures in Europe are fairly embryonic (although we have discovered that the European arm of GV were credited as lead investors in a recent $60m funding round for music rights tech company Kobalt, although the US team supplied the quotes!).

Today we look at Notion, who exploded onto the scene when 2 brothers pulled off a “sale of the century” deal; and they are very much in the business of looking forward, not back. High growth, high octane software as a service specialists. We’re also very grateful for the (extremely prompt) feedback from Wayne Gibbins at Notion, which served to reinforce our view that Notion are right on top of their game.


Notion Capital was founded in 2008 when brothers Ben and Jos White sold their business MessageLabs to Symantec for £397m, and decided to allocate £20m to developing a VC fund. The brothers had also founded RBR Networks and internet services provider Star Internet. Stephen Chandler and Ian Milbourn, senior executives at MessageLabs, and Chris Tottman, who worked for both companies, also followed the brothers to Notion as partners.

The fund was intended to bridge the funding gap for tech ventures in the UK, and introduce a more US centric approach to venture capital investment. The first fund has invested nearly $50m, and the second, launched in 2012, has raised around $125m, and received support from the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the European Investment Fund, the first time the two bodies had backed the same project.

London’s Top VCs: Balderton Capital, a big, blue chip VC where all partners are equal and market disruption is the goal


Balderton_Logo_Rev_CMYKHere at Haggesrton Times this week we are looking at 5 of Europe’s best and brightest venture capital firms. We wanted to examine the psychology of VC investing by looking at the key players, what, and just as importantly who they invest in, how much they are spending and how founders can help themselves get in front of them by learning more about them.

We’re not only looking at the giants and the hopelessly exclusive, just as VC’s aren’t always looking for the best qualified or most polished. The start-up eco system in London and the UK, just as in any other business network, is built on relationships between people. It’s worth bearing this in mind as we look at Balderton; a brains trust with a long term approach whose interest in a company is very close to a guarantee that that company will be successful.

Balderton bow to no-one, being one of Europe’s largest VC funds, and like to be the first institutional investor in. Balderton are about hard work, charisma and ingenuity, with just a dash of rocket science.


Balderton Capital, founded in 2000 was originally formed as the European Investment arm of Benchmark Capital, based in Silicon Valley, and one of the world’s largest venture firms. Although the two maintain close ties, Balderton officially became a separate entity in 2007.

Balderton is one of Europe’s largest VC’s, managing around $2.3bn US dollars, the bulk of which is drawn from “university endowments, charitable foundations and pension funds”. Balderton V, the most recent fund, raised £250m, four years after Balderton IV completed a raising of £285m. The most recent funds have been raised with the goal of backing technology companies in the UK and Europe, however Balderton has been known to make investments elsewhere, such as Asia and in the US.

London’s Top VCs: Google Ventures in the UK has £100m to spend and a great team but strangely, online visibility is not its strong point


google venturesThis week in the Haggerston Times we’ll be looking at 5 of London’s prominent Venture Capital Tech investment firms. The goal is to research the firms to try to find out more about what each stands for, who its key staff are, what kind of company culture they espouse, and what the future holds for them and, by extension, the companies they invest in.

Hopefully this will provide a little insight for founders searching for funding, business people operating in London and perhaps for the VC’s themselves to see how others perceive them and whether their marketing is co-ordinated and realistic. Fundraising is a serious endeavour, but it’s also a gamethat’s fun to play, and different people interpret the rules differently. Here are our interpretations, far from definitive, very subjective, intended to provoke debate and hopeful that something good might come of it. We’re starting with Google Ventures, the European version, which was launched in June last year with a £100m “prize pot”.


This is the Venture Capital Investment Arm of Google, providing seed, venture and growth stage funding to Tech start-ups. It was founded in the US in 2009 with a £100m capital commitment, which increased to $300m annually from 2012, and now has $1.5bn under management.

HoxTech Angels leveraging Dreamstake pipeline to provide some of London and Europe’s hottest Angel investment opportunities

By Thursday, April 30, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

HoxTechThe third Monday of every month is HoxTech Angel’s night at the Hoxton Hotel. What does this mean? It means that 6 start-ups in the process of graduating from the Dreamstake Academy are invited to pitch to an exclusive assembly of London based investment angels.

It’s reward for the hard work the founders have put into turning their start-ups into investable propositions; a chance to mingle with High Net Worth individuals who have the financial means to turn an entrepreneur’s dreams into reality. And of course for the HNWs, it’s an opportunity to get in on the action ahead of anybody else, before the pre-money valuation escalates and inflates the price of an equity stake.

Investing, like growing a fledgling business, is a science; Hoxtech Angels, run and presented by Paul Dowling and Marina Atarova, who divide their time between running workshops for the Dreamstake Academy, helping new or struggling founders understand the basics of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and helping their “graduate” start-ups secure the investment they need, help the two sides of the funding divide find common ground in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere, but one that often results in long term relationships between founder and financial backer.

This Monday’s start-ups were the most diverse, technical and eclectic bunch yet, being drawn from different industries: retail, the media, FinTech and AI, amongst others. Each of the 5 minute presentations was well delivered and as always the networking over drinks seemed to throw up a lot of opportunities for collaboration. Here is a brief overview of 5 of the 6 start-ups who pitched (the sixth is still in beta and therefore details are being witheld for the time being). If you are interested in finding out more about a particular startup please contact Paul or Marina, or, if you prefer, register to attend the next HoxTech Angels event.

Motivii founder Eamon Tuhami on quitting the day job, founding an ambitious new start-up, and why happiness is a journey that can be mapped


motivii3Eamon Tuhami has half a mind to take his dissertation back to his professors at Derby University and ask to have it re-marked. “They didn’t believe me back in 1999 that digital would be the worlds biggest marketing channel!” he says; perhaps not many lecturers would have done, but most of what Eamon believed would change in online at the time has indeed come to pass.  Given this charismatic founder’s penchant for making things happen, this is unlikely to have been a coincidence!

Eamon’s dissertation was on internet marketing and his career to date has maintained a similar upward trajectory to his subject matter, whilst encompassing some of the same ups, downs, and periods of change. It’s been an adventure.

After uni Eamon joined an emerging internet start-up in Cardiff called Acequote, working in the sales team and quickly being promoted to marketing manager. A year later, and as the internet bubble was bursting and the company was suffering financial losses Eamon opted for redundancy and went travelling with his then girlfriend, now his wife.

He left Acequote with his reputation enhanced, being labelled a “born marketing whizz” by colleague Drew Benvie, who is now the founder of Battenhall PR. In fact, if the sheer volume of positive feedback and solicitations to work again someday in the recommendations section of his LinkedIn page are anything to go by, Eamon can be considered one of the hottest properties currently plying his trade in the “Silicon Roundabout”.

Dance, Fashion, Film…All in one MOVEment!


sadlers wells6fashion correspondent Abi Buller writes: What happens when you merge the mediums of dance, fashion, and film, and put them together in a Sadler’s Wells production?

‘MOVEment’ is a dance, fashion and film hybrid performance project presented by AnOther Magazine and created in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells to display the unification of multiple creative forces. Featuring fashion designers Gareth Pugh, Prada, Calvin Klein, Iris Van Herpen, Hussein Chalayan, Alexander Mcqueen and Stephen Jones Millinery, in conjunction with respected dancers and directors.

sadlers wells3

Devised by Jefferson Hack, co-founder and editorial director of Dazed group, and featuring choreography by Wayne Mcgregor, the production was unlikely to disappoint. With each designer resulting in a unique artistic vision to represent their brand and chosen narrative, seven films were presented to eager audiences on 17th-18th April at Sadler’s Wells theatre. Through diverse and experimental collaboration, the film projects convey engagement with bodily motion, creating atmospheric and captivating sequences. Each asked to create bespoke costumes for specific to the project, the designer’s had to consider their choreographer and dancer collaborators to enhance their narrative vision.

Food StartUp School at WeWork: Raising the bar!


foodsus1It’s not that often that you can take somebody at their word in business but when Victoria Albrecht arrived in London from St Andrews University a year ago on a mission to shake up the food and drink start-up scene and we had all known then what we know now, people would have been queuing around the corner for a slice of the action, maybe even a piece of the equity “pie”?

Already the first Food StartUp School London held in Hoxton Square was a success, largely due to the excellent speakers, her non-stop networking, the sponsorship deals she arranged and a unique presentation style that won plenty of admirers, oh and of course the masses of free food and drink on offer at the stalls prepared and presented by London’s founders, from brownies to cayenne drinks and delicate canapes. Life is never dull around Tech City!

Technology reviewed, refined, and restored at ‘This Happened’ MeetUp:


this happened 7fashion correspondent Abi Buller writes: The power and influence of technology within our everyday lives is certainly not news to most of us. But has anyone really considered how we can begin to rehumanize our digital lives?

The speakers at Saturday’s “This Happened London”, a quarterly event held at the V&A, considered this notion. While not disputing the importance and usefulness of technology, the speakers were creatives simply considering the journey from hands on human makers to a species where everything is accessible and instantly available to us.

Dreamstake FinHack Funding Forum & Startup Showcase: startups are leading London’s FinTech charge!


image1FinTech has been variously described as the saviour of London’s startup scene, the industry that will finally put paid to the hegemony of the traditional high street and investment banking industries, and a bubble that is in serious danger of falling under the wheels of its own overhyped bandwagon.

The facts are that after London was hit hardest by the global banking crisis, losing its place as the world’s leading financial hub to New York City for the first time last year, the capital has increasingly turned towards FinTech to showcase the fact that it is still fighting hard to maintain an edge over its rivals as the most innovative, efficient and lucrative destination for financial services.

The rise of MallTech means you had better take your smartphone shopping with you!


CONCEPT_IMAGE_WW_SHOW_SS14“Brands can’t lord it over customers now. Before, it was about waving the flag of the brand. Now consumers are turning themselves into brands through social media. Gap doesn’t make you cool; you make Gap cool by choosing to wear it.”

Antonio Bertone, former marketing chief at Puma, speaking to Wired magazine, sums it up nicely. Over the past decade there has been a substantial and not so subtle power switch from brand to consumer, and it’s largely thanks to social media and the ease with which we can now compare and contrast brands online.

Why I’m sticking with tibdit!


tibdittibdit is one of the most interesting and challenging start-ups I have had dealings with over the past year. A couple of weeks back I spent the day with 3 of their team, Justin, Iain and Rosemin, helping to man their stall at Wordcamp, a festival and celebration of all things WordPress related.

In between pitching tibdit to an assortment of brainy, techie types queuing for lunch (all of whom were intrigued by the concept), I found myself chatting to Caroline Sullivan, the Guardian’s renowned music journalist, and attending Render Positive Jon Buchan’s awesome speech on the power of marketing and the written word. If it had been a virtual presentation, I would have tibbed it.