The last London techstars demo day I attended was in 2013, shamefully I missed last year but I have to say this was the best and biggest demoday I’ve been to. I was apprehensive about the move from the St James Theatre in Victoria across town to the east end, but WoW !!! The Genesis Cinema on the Mile End road took my breathe away..
Jon Bradford (at the time much rumoured to be leaving) thanked the sponsors, the teams and the 600+ people in the event. I’ve got to say, it was a bit of a love in with lots of people being thanked. It felt like a swan song …
Mark Solon, a visiting managing partner for @techstars announced a $150M growth and seed fund raised this year and that techstars is a platform for mentors to engage.
Then the show began, each techstars demo day get’s just a little bit more corporate and professional, I sort of miss the rock band intro’s – but it’s also clear some of the teams are now focussing on different problems than how to make the next best “app” . The first team up;
Bidvine is the fast, free way to get competing quotes for local services from interested, available professionals. No legwork. No hassle. Sorab Jahanbani CEO and founder has built 6 companies in 10 countries in 3 verticals, specialising in building 2 sided market places announced that 60% of UK households have unfinished projects and this was despite £3bn spent on advertising by the providers in this space. bidvine aim to transform this marketplace by making it really easy for households to post requests for work and suppliers to bid. Verdict : I would certainly use the platform but the success will be based upon getting a critical mass of providers signed up.
Big Data for Humans (@bd4hcorp) where introduced by Max Kelly ( (former Virgin insights founder) introduced Peter Ellen. Peter is “Passionate about customers” and his aim is to helps businesses understand their best customers and the data. His company examines customer dat, Identifies trends and as a result Identifies new sales opportunities . Verdict : Jury out for me.
geospock, the founder Steve Marsh gave a compelling introduction to his credentials in solving the problems of dealing with large amounts of data in traditional database technologies. Outlining how the competing elements to dealing with large scale data problems are scale, throughput, realtime . Verdict : I would have liked to see Steve differentiate the use case from the USP
indybo (Innovative Do-It-Yourself-RoBot) A passionate introduction by Chris Mairs (cbe) chairman of codeclub (the volunteer led org to teach kids how to code) Chris stated how important it was to teach children the basic skills to allow them to code. He introduced Iskander, the 25 year old CEO who explained indybo was born out a passion that learning should be fun and they aimed to teach young children how to build and program robots, bringing coding and coding skills to a new generation. Verdict: Very cool idea, price point seems a tad high $99-$299.
kimono Sean Nolan (@geeklondon) knows enterprise ! having formed and sold a network consultancy company called Tomorrow communications in 2012. His thesis is messaging and email is a real pain in the enterprise and with a predicted $71Bn market for enterprise collaboration and enterprises it’s certainly a big space to go after. Big Enterprise rely on over 800 Bn mailboxes I can concur this space is ripe for disruption. A highly competitive marketplace right int he middle of a once in a generation shift. Verdict: Having already used the product I believe Sean is on the right lines – can he make his product stand out from the crowd?
knyttan Hal Watts and Ben Alun-Jones are co-Founders of Knyttan and have a dream of democratising fashion design and manufacturing using digital technology. By effectively turn industrial knitting into 3D printers they can change minimum order volumes from 50 to 1 and reduce manufacturing times from 90 days to 90 minutes. Verdict: Brilliant idea, a difficult supply chain to disrupt on scale – but a great start.
lystable @lystable – Peter Johnston the founder and CEO addresses reflected on how he spent most of his time whilst working previously at Google, M&C Saatchi and Weber Shandwick organising getting suppliers and talent to work on multiple projects. Verdict: One to watch.
rainbird – Ben Taylor imagined if the jobs of 500 claims agents could be done by 50 people ! Their AI platform helps businesses improve decision making improvement. Human’s make mistakes and need help and their platform helps with decision making, since start of techstars 12 pilots one with the UK largest retail insurer.Verdict: Proof is in the pudding and pilot.
swarm Joel Dietz @fractastocal described Swarm as economic reward for the community. He explained the well known story of the company that starts small, grow large, exit and the founders and investors make a lot of money. The users and community makes nothing. Reddit where an example of a company that tried to address this problem but found it a complex tech and legal problem. Swarm is hoping to be the equity crowdfunding solution using blockchain. Verdict: Neat Idea but not convinced they have spent enough time developing an MVP
ub @shop_ub wants to be your Universal shopping basket, Marcus Greenwood, CEO wants to enable affiliate sales platforms for anything, anywhere with one click. The problem UB are looking to solve is the affiliate sales platforms (octer, sylect, crabble) an industry worth $80bn cannot complete the sales from within their app as they have no shopping basket that has a meaningfull link to the underlying merchant. Verdict: a neat problem and solution well explained.