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”

5 thoughts on “London Silicon Roundabout meet-up

  1. Hi Harry,

    i thought it was an interesting collection of startups pitching, critical mass with social media apps is always a challenge and with so many me too apps out there, competition for that magic core user group is fierce.

    The question that needs startups should always ask is: what relevance does this have for the customer target market and how much would they pay to use it.

    Biased I maybe, but I felt by far and way the most polished, realistic and measured pitch was by cofounder Nick Holzherr of who I first noticed at Launch48 event. Just surprised they weren’t mentioned.

    That aside, Gerlinde’s pitch with mobile elearning solution was also worthy of praise and it will be interesting to see how the commercial viability pans out.

    Good luck with your own ventures.

  2. Thanks for your write-up, Harry – it’s always helpful to have impartial feedback, whether it’s positive or not.

    As a user, Tagbento is a place to get opinions from real people about products that you might be interested in buying. As a contributor to Tagbento, you share your experience and opinions with the community. Like many content sites online, the majority of users are takers rather than givers, so that’s one aspect Tagbento will have to address.

    Another use case that users have reported has less to do with information sharing or buying: they like Tagbento posts because of plain curiosity into other people’s lives through their tagged photos.

    I think I lost you and some of the audience by not exploring the use cases in sufficient depth – some people just get it and extrapolate their own use cases. Lesson learnt for my future pitches!

    By the way, no mention of I thought that was the strongest pitch, even though I’ll admit I’m personally unlikely to shop that way.

  3. You’re right. I totally forgot about

    Funky web2.0 recipe listings site, but with some added twists. Presentation by a young passionate intelligent guy who clearly knew his stuff, and the whole idea seemed well grounded in clever application of technology to a simple age old concept… recipies. One of the clever ideas is to provide a simple one-click solution to add all ingredients to your shopping basket with an online supermarket site ( can’t remember) I hadn’t realised that was possible, and comes with some potential for affiliate revenues. Neat. I dont think I would use it, because I’m quite picky about where I buy stuff, and I rarely follow recipes.

    However I agree this was a very good pitch, and I’m not sure why it slipped my mind completely when I blogged about it before. Apologies to for that!

    Looking at the site now I’m not entirely sure, but is it still mostly in stealth mode? Can’t seem to get to any actual display of a recipe.

  4. Just been watching The Apprentice. Love this TV show. I watched the whole series, but it wasn’t until the final episode, when right at the beginning the candidates were filmed typing business plans, and the words “click to purchase recipe ingredients” flashed up on screen, I suddenly realised I recognised this candidate Nick Holzherr as the guy who presented over a year ago. Shame he didn’t win. The smarmy recruitment guy won it. Unbelievable.

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