London Silicon Roundabout meet-up

I went along to a “London Silicon Roundabout meet-up” last week. It’s a very dragons den style business pitching sort of event, both in the presentations later on, and in the kind of conversations people were having while socialising beforehand. I did my best to describe to a few people, but I shall have to polish my pitch a little. The various projects we have on the go at the moment, make for a rather confusing story. I probably should’ve stuck to describing our iPhone app ‘UK TravelOptions’.

After the socialising with beers on the roof terrace, there was a more formal sit-down presentation session. I think the presenters were told they had five minutes and then given 15/20 minutes. ~100 people in the audience. Some were real investors. Many, like me, were just enjoying playing the role, imagining ourselves to be investors. Lots of chin scratching and awkward questions being asked. These were the presentations and some of my thoughts on them: – User generated news site a.k.a. citizen journalism. Well presented. They have algorithms for deciding if content is unconfirmed vs credible (which he over-egged the sophistication of). Also rating mood of an article on a percentage level. This idea reminded me a lot of (ancient history). But I mainly found it interesting that they’d gone for localised city-based news sites. He didn’t really explain why. – iPhone app for meeting up with friends. Meetings are auto-arranged matching by location (a geo app!) and also by your free time calendar. They’re building their own more exclusive friends network. Just your close friends, rather than hooking into twitter and facebook networks. It was a slick presentation, but it’s doomed to fail. There’s a huge critical mass challenge with that idea, worse, a “geo-critical-mass” challenge. This has killed many other “find friends nearby” app ideas which have gone before it. – I wanted this to be a good pitch. The idea is obvious from the name, and it’s a good one. As a student I was bristling with untapped computer programming enthusiasm, and a need to earn some peanuts, but no obvious gateway into casual part-time skilled job. Companies (as far as I could tell at the time) were only looking for full time graduates. And yet since then I’ve come across countless situations where I’ve thought “surely we could hire a student to do this fun bit of website coding”. Sadly the pitch scored a big FAIL because he didn’t show the actual website! Also his claim of quality (of freelancers) was not backed up with a convincing explanation. – eductional mobile app. Presenting educational content and testing interfaces within a mobile app, but also a platform for creation of content. It was clear they’d engaged with school teachers and academics, and figured out clever ways of letting them, or persuading them, to do simple content authoring for mobile screens. This was my favourite talk. Education is a fun software genre. Mobile education is going to be big. I wonder if john mckerrel’s examtutor apps were one of the competitors they’d checked out. I’m sure my android app will be if I ever release it 🙂

Tag Bento – tagging of objects in photos. Didn’t really understand the idea of this one. Photos of products. e.g. make-up bag spread out on a table. These were ‘tagged’ with linkified areas of the photos taking you to sites for purchasing them. Users could create these object tagged product photos, but it wasn’t clear why.

“I’ll tell you where I am… I’m out”