Sometimes it’s those last minute gigs you get wind of and attend that can make all the difference – to either a founder looking for investment, or an investor looking for the next great idea.
Tonight, at WeWork on the South Bank, on the 8th floor, from where the views across London are simply breath-taking, Tech City Coffee, the Meetup derived from the legendary email and Thursday morning Meetup society is hosting a networking party with a guest list that any founder, or funder would look twice at.
Representatives from crowdfunding sites Syndicate Room and Seedrs, the Enterprise Europe Network, ScaleUp, who provide “active support” to start-ups, including help with funding and mentoring, and at least 3 different investors related to Oxford – the Oxford Investment Opportunity Network, Oxford Innovation, and Oxford Early Investments – the city is clearing a byword for successful entrepreneurial endeavour! – will all be present.
Joining them will be the Startup Funding Club, led by Stephen Page, who run several funds for early stage start-ups, the Thames Valley Investment Network, which helps creative media, FMCG. Lifestyle and green-tech companies raise between £150k to £750k, and special guest David Murray-Hundley.
Better known by his alter-ego, Murray Hundley became a games developer at the tender age of 11, some of his earliest memories consisting of publishing games using the BBC’s Superior Software in the late 70’s.
From these humble beginnings Murray Hundley went on to become one of the founding members of Commerce One, which at one stage achieved a market cap of $22bn, before it bankrupted him!
Undeterred, the entrepreneur and “digital nomad”, having made and lost a fortune in his 20’s, won it all back during his 30’s; the much-travelled Murray Hundley has been on both sides of the funding divide, begging investors to take a risk with him, and now representing companies that “actually raise money or lend money with no BS”, as he puts it.
With 3 successful exits behind him already this year, Murray Hundley is worth grabbing 5 minutes with, and preferably more. So do you position yourself by the door to catch him on the way out, or by the stage so you can be the first person to approach after he has said his piece!
The event is run by Osmond Da Silva, who runs the Tech City Coffee Meetup and works tirelessly to find new and original ways of getting founders and funders to mix, with assistance from Arina Osiannaya, founder of “the Business Funding Events”.
Although this is a paid for event, and sadly the Early Bird tickets are now sold out, standard tickets at £15.50 are not unreasonable (especially when compared to the fees some start-ups are asked to pay to attend some of the trendier / swankier pitching events) and is also a handy way of discouraging any chancers or timewasters from giving VC’s and angels an ear bashing, an occurrence which often keeps them from attending more free events around the city. Expect booze and nibbles, too!
London is quite possibly home to more Meet-ups, societies and gatherings of entrepreneurs, developers, investors, mentors and gurus, than almost anywhere else in the world – perhaps because there are so many great venues to host at – WeWork, Huckletree, Central Working, RISE London, Level 39 to name just a few – and certainly because there is so much happening.
Especially for those who still have the energy, after an exhausting day’s hustling to get their new business off the ground, to go and meet more people, and shake more hands, and confront more opportunities.
Creating a successful startup is, to a certain extent, a numbers game, but it’s also about strategy. That means finding the right events, but also the right people. And once you have found them, it’s about not letting go.
If you are still talking to an investor, or a founder, as the two of you wait for the last / night tube, only then can you call it a successful day in startup-land!